Kurayami Monogatari

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KOTOKO – Kuchu Puzzle December 4, 2013

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 10:37 am

kuchupuzzle

Track Listing

  1. My-Les
  2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  3. Kuchu Puzzle
  4. frozen fir tree
  5. Light My Fire
  6. Damare yo, Peter
  7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  8. Fushi-Gina-Ana
  9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪
  10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo
  11. Loop-the-Loop
  12. Restart
  13. P◇lyG△n
  14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

CD2

  1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

1. My-Les

KOTOKO opens up her 6th album with the promotional song used for the album, My-Les and it starts off quite strong with some electro mixed with some heavy guitars and that’s always good to hear.  To be honest, I really do like what I’m hearing on the track and KOTOKO herself sounds really powerful and cool.  Though I hear that dubstep breakdown in this song and it honestly felt slightly out of place to transition to the mid8.  Still minus that small gripe, My-Les is a pretty cool way to start the album off.

2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-

I learned with our next track that WING OF ZERO was used as a theme song for the video game, BALDRSKY ZERO.  I actually heard the original version and loved it because it reminded me of “SCREW” with its electro synth style.  On this album, it got touched up (hence the title) and the song added some new tricks like some grittier guitar riffs to go alongside the arrangement.  To be honest, the original was fine just as it was and didn’t need the added stuff found on this album.  Though WING OF ZERO is good all-around so I guess I do somewhat enjoy this still with the additions it got.

3. Kuchu Puzzle

We get into the title track and it’s definitely a shift of focus to KOTOKO’s rock side.  I will say I’m not enjoying KOTOKO’s vocals in this song as she’s putting off this cutesy voice and it doesn’t work with the strong guitar lines and awesome arrangement.  I think if she had resung this in a lower tone, I think I would’ve loved this song a whole lot because it’s just badass *sigh* maybe this’ll grow on me because damn this arrangement is awesome.

4. frozen fir tree

When this song begun, I kind of thought this was song made for Ayumi Hamasaki because it had that certain 90’s avex sound which caught me off guard😄.  Then I see that the song was produced by sat (of fripSide).  Then it all clicked because I’m not too big of a fan of his works because they tend to sound like generic clones of one another.  Sadly, this is the case here because this song sounds like many of fripSide’s stuff, though KOTOKO’s voice is slightly deeper than them.  Can’t say I’m a little more than bored with this one.

5. Light My Fire

What I thought was the first single of the era (I’ll talk about it later), we get the 2nd single of the era Light My Fire and I LOVE THIS SONG from KOTOKO.  This is what I wanted “Kuchu Puzzle” to have ended up like because it’s arrangement is awesome and KOTOTO’s vocals are just awesome to listen to.  Plus the chorus is so good and powerful.  I just don’t understand why “frozen fir tree” had to be placed in between them to be honest.  Definitely my favorite from the era!

6. Damare yo, Peter

I’m kind of enjoying KOTOKO taking such an interest in rock because it seems to be working for on this album so far.  Damare yo, Peter is a bit lighter than the previous track and it does have a certain anison vibe to it which is pretty nifty.  I also kind of get indie rock vibes as well which is also cool in and of itself.  Also, KOTOKO sounds rather not as dramatic as she usually tends to be, so this was a nice track overall.

7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-

I didn’t expect KOTOKO to well do this.  If you don’t know, KOTOKO wrote SHOOT! for the anime/idol group RO-KYU-BU! (who I reviewed and thought they were done when they clearly weren’t >.>).  So it’s nice to see KOTOKO do her own version of the group’s debut single.  I love how she changed the arrangement to less idol/rock and has a stronger electro vibe to it.  Honestly, I already love it more than the original because there’s no messy melodic issues like there was with the group.  Plus, it’s pretty funny to see KOTOKO rap in the song too…so much fun xD.  Still, I think she made this song SO MUCH BETTER than what RO-KYU-BU! did.

8. Fushi-Gina-Ana

Hm, a MAIKO song (I kind of was expecting another “BUCCANEER”.  I can hear some of it since it’s a mix of guitars and electro which I suppose cool but once again KOTOKO is using that cute voice that I’m not too fond of.  The song is quite busy and has a lot going on with the instrumentation.  I mean, I like the flow of the song, but there’s just something missing about it.  I’m just kind of like…ehh with this song.

9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪

When I saw the title of our next track, I instantly thought that this was going to be the “SHORT CIRCUIT”-esque track.  Though this song sounds like a mix of that and “Escape from the City” from Sonic Adventure 2 >.>).  Though it also is such a genki song from KOTOKO which made me think of the former.  I really like how frantic the song is, but I feel like deep-voiced KOTOKO would once again make this even better.  Still, I can’t shake off that SA2 thought…it sounds so much like the aforementioned song so much to me xD.

10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

We get into a small stretch of older songs starting with the only B-side to make the album from “→unfinished→”.  Actually didn’t we just have this kind of song with “frozen fir tree”?  It sounds like their the same track, but I actually like KOTOKO’s vocals in this one as she brought the dramatics out here and I quite like how she just sounds.  Though I can’t help but think sat produced this track too (though this did come before “frozen fir tree”.

11. Loop-the-Loop

I was REALLY surprised that she decided to include this single even though in her discography it makes sense.  Though it’s the only single that she didn’t release under Warner so it kind of sticks out in that response.  This anison pop/rock sound doesn’t exactly work with this album and would’ve preferred it back on “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket”.  I’m not too big of a fan of this song and its inclusion seems random at best.

12. Restart

Though I suppose “Loop-the-Loop” was to kind of bridge into Restart which was the 4th and final single released for the album and sadly I still can’t really can’t get into this track.  I mean it’s very anison and pretty generic (though the verses are nice with that synth beat) but this never really stood out to me and if it wasn’t for the previous song, this would’ve been the worst A-side she’s released in the era.  It just seems so pale to me.

13. P◇lyG△n

I was wondering where our awesome electro would be and it turns out P◇lyG△n would be that, but it oddly reminds me of MELL’s “kicks!” with the mix of gritty synths and the lighter synths.  Even though it isn’t a total badass track, I do love the flow of the song.  It’s a pretty nifty song and kind of gives us that cool I’ve Sound track…quite awesome!

14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

The album ends with →unfinished→ and it’s a new version!  Though it seems like this version starts with a piano intro and not the fade in, but also the song seems to be this electro/anison track through and through and not have the slow points in the verses like the original.  I enjoyed the original as it is, but this new version feels like it’s at one level then entire way through so I couldn’t attach myself to it as well.  Odd choice to be the ending track though >.<.

CD2

1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

So if you bought the album at certian stores, it comes with an English version of her 3rd A-side released.  I like that its based off the original version and I had to do a double take because this song is VERY Engrishy and a lot of the time I was trying to decipher her voice.  There are some words she does well, but that’s rare in this song.  It’s not the best bonus incentive…and fans of this song will be like WTF…so in the end…not that great…

Tracks Recommended

  • Light My Fire
  • P◇lyG△n
  • WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  • SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  • Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

Song of Avoidance

  • frozen fir tree

As this is KOTOKO’s 6th album, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it with the 3 Warner singles (and then random “Loop-the-Loop”).  KOTOKO released a semi-good album with Kuchu Puzzle.  I mean it’s slightly better than “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket” but still many of the gripes I had there were here as well…it’s just that a good portion of the songs were better on this one.  I still can’t say I’m a fan of her cute voice and having sat produce some of the tracks was a bit meh in the end.  Still not bad.

 

2 Responses to “KOTOKO – Kuchu Puzzle”

  1. Heya, first time commenter here.
    Just came across this blog/post as I was searching for some review of the album because as I was listening to the first song it felt like it was missing something and I was wondering if anyone else felt like that. It was like it just left me hanging there waiting for something to happen. Perhaps it was the chorus part that didn’t feel “powerful” enough for that song. Sadly I can’t really describe it any better than that. I’m not that knowledgeable when it comes to music terms and things like that. Also that dubstep part was really out of place in there but other than that I really liked the song.
    I mostly agree with you on the rest of the songs, too. That was good review and you have got a nice blog. Need to keep an eye on more of your reviews.

  2. I would like to point out about two songs from this album from mmy point of view:

    1) WING OF ZERO -the ring-

    I’ve listened to both versions from the game (Baldr Sky Zero) and KOTOKO’s album. The game version is more into synths and effects which is has more electronica feel that reflects the proven formula of their music arrangement back to the days of Baldr Force EXE. The album version, “-the ring-“, has that in-your-face attitude feel when it comes to drums and electric guitar riffs, as I noticed the more punchy kick drums and more presence of guitar riffs while synths and effects are toned down, if not removed completely. It reminds me of Mami Kawada’s “CLIMAX” from her album “Linkage”.

    If we’re gonna use the game “Baldr Sky Zero” as a reference on how the song can be utilized, it would be this:

    “WING OF ZERO” (game version) is suitable as a opening intro (well, it IS used as an intro), while “WING OF ZERO -the ring-” is suitable as an insert song during intense battle gameplay. Watch any BALDR SKY ZERO battle gameplay on youtube while listening to “WING OF ZERO -the ring-“, you’ll see what I mean.

    2) SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-

    I agree on what you said, KOTOKO’s version is much better that RO-KYU-BU version. And more:

    1) much cleaner intro/outro sections without the piano lines and exaggerating guitar riffs overlapping the well-executed synths
    2) overall music arrangement is leaning towards a more serious feel
    3) the presence of dubstep (and well-executed at it, too) on the 2nd pre-chorus section of the song reinforces the serious tone and feel

    To be more specific, listening to two different songs made me notice the difference approaches on the music arrangement:

    If I’m listening to the RO-KYU-BU version, I felt that I’m listening to some notable FripSide’s songs. KOTOKO version on the other hand, I felt that I’m listening to some notable I’VE Sound songs.


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