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Battlefield 4 (PS3) February 28, 2014

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 9:14 am

battlefield4

Overview

Battlefield 4 is a FPS (First-Person Shooter) that was released not only for the PS3, but for the XBOX360, PS4, XBOX ONE, and PCs as well.  Even though it says it’s the 4th it really isn’t but hey whatever works and catches peoples eye right?  The series is pretty well-known for its gameplay and focus on other things besides gunning down people xD.  Now I will say right here that IT’S MY FIRST GAME UNDER THIS GENRE…yeah I played Halo but never owned it so it really doesn’t count so bear with me!

Story

The story begins in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku where you are recognized as Sgt. Recker who belongs in a tag-along team named Tombstone.  You meet up with your teammates Dunn and Pac (and soon after Irish).  As you find your information, they all try to escape, but the building they were standing upon got attacked and it fell.  Of course you survive the fall and manage to try to escape but during it, their vehicle gets attacked and they swerve into the water and they had to shoot the window out to survive, but sadly Dunn died as he was stuck in the seats (and also was dealing with a missing leg).  Tombstone is next sent to Shanghai to meet with another guy and to protect a lady and her “husband”.  They manage to do that but China freaks out because they think their leader is dead and the unseen antagonist basically blames the US for doing it and Russia joins China’s side.  They escape only to find their fellow ship is being attacked and they searched it but returned and that was attacked as well.  After fighting off the Chinese, Tombstone goes into Singapore to try to signal their teammates but unfortunately one of their own, Hannah double-crossed them and seemingly Pac dies leaving Irish and Recker in a jail in the Russian mountains.  Recker meets another guy, Dima and both would find Irish and Hannah (admits to being a double agent to protect her “husband”, Jin Jie who was to be assassinated by Chang) and they try to escape via a tram.  Unfortunately that was shot down and killed Dima as it crashed.  The remaining members travel down the mountains and meets up with a team trying to get into their base in Tashgar which was being attacked by both the Chinese and Russians.  They get through and are tasked to blow up the dam (which they do) and they get to fly back to the Valkyrie (their ship).

As they get to their ship, they see it’s being attacked again and fight through to the inside to meet up with their allies (and Pac who survived Singapore).  They have a conversation and Jin Jie shows himself to the Chinese troops who didn’t think he was alive and they stop attacking, but Chang starts attacking the boat to try to “bury the truth” and Tombstone (minus Pac as he stays behind) decide to blow the ship up with C4.  As they get to the boat, they stick the bomb on and go up on grappling guns, but when they try to detonante, it doesn’t work so Recker has to choose between sending Hannah down or Irish (also you could do nothing and let Chang blow up the Valkyrie).

======================================================

That ending was shady as all hell: I’m not well-versed in FPS stories, but that ending was a little racist to be choosing between Irish (black guy) and Hannah (Chinese chick)…it felt so wrong to do it and I really wished there was an option that Recker could’ve died.

Recker, y u so quiet, qorl?: Honestly, he says ONE word in the entire story and it’s at the beginning where he says “fuck”….I really don’t know why they decided to make Recker mute but lord I wanted him to say something of importance…

Short story though: For as long as that story is, it’s laid out in 7 parts which is surprisingly small for a game like this…what happened?

Gameplay

For what it is, it’s a shooter so you already have a guess to what kind of gameplay it calls for.  There are things that make it standout too.  From the Campaign point of view, you collect weapons and various gadgets along the way and they steadily get better and you start to get a feel for what you like. Of course you’re dodging enemy bullets and helis and etc. but it’s really a kind of get from point A to point B without dying.  That said, it did feel a tad linear, but with FPS’ you’ve got to deal with that.

Multiplayer is a totally different fest.  How that works is that you have 4 kits to work with: Assault, Engineer, Recon, and Support and they have their pros and cons about them so you should look for one that you would be solid on (of course you can bypass and use Carbines which can be used in all 4 maps).  Also the more you play, the higher your level and the more guns and gadgets and abilities you get!  Also there are more vehicles available in multiplayer like jets and more 4-wheeled excursions.

Also there’s different styles of gameplay which I can explain

  • Conquest: Basically, it’s taking over certain spots of the map and try to not let your opponent taken them.  Now the most for the PS3 is 32 but in the newest generation of systems and the PC, it’s racked up to 64 on one map (totally jealous).
  • Domination: Smaller mapped version of Conquest.
  • Team / Squad Deathmatch: Simply a small part of a map where all you need to do is kill your opponents.  The difference between the two is a matter of Team has more members while the Squad is more like 4/5 people against each other.
  • Rush: It’s a bit hard to explain, but it’s like whoever takes the most objectives gets more of the map?  I don’t know, but I haven’t played it enough to really say much.
  • Obliteration: You have a bomb in the middle of the map and you have to blow up your opponent’s objective with it and vice versa with them.  Also it’s a new style of gaming introduced to the series here.
  • Defuse: Another new style, it’s a small map and one bomb, however, once you’re killed in a match you out for that round, so it plays more to the strategic side of FPS’.

Maps

So not counting the DLC, multiplayer comes with only 10 maps and I was pretty surprised it was so low given that I would’ve expected DICE/EA would’ve had enough space to put more in.  Some of the maps in the game are really nice (Dawnbreaker, Operation Locker, Siege of Shanghai) and some that just wasn’t good (like Zavod 311).  Biggest thing added though is the Levolution which is essentially changes to the map that are subtle or huge which is pretty good but sometimes causes unnecessary deaths but some are reasonable lol.  Still I could’ve had more maps to play on then just the 10…but I suppose that’s why the DLC is there, but it does make me wish some of the places in Campaign were maps >.>

Graphics / Sound

Graphics: For being a late PS3 game, it looks really good!  It looks real almost and seeing things like rockets and explosions and seeing stuff like the hightower in Siege of Shanghai falling down just impressed me for what it’s worth.  For the Campaign it was pretty good, there were some odd movements and syncing issues with the voiceover but overall it was nice (and Irish looked a bit….odd).

Sound: Even though there isn’t a whole lot of music to be had, the voiceovers sounded really good here especially with the main characters.  Beyond that the voices in multiplayer kind of just meld into one another and I couldn’t care less because I was too focused on not getting shot.  BTW, yeah the gunfire and explosions are all great too

DLC

Well, I cant speak too much about it, but there are 5 different DLC’s but only two of them have been released: China Rising and Second Assault.  So far it’s really just new weapons, two new playstyles: Air Superioriety and Capture the Flag, and new maps so really it’s what it is.  Though in February, it was a month of free unlockables and downloads for free weapons which is to make up for the problems this game has had since being released.

Overall: 6/10

I’m surprised big-named sites are giving this game such high markings without really diving into its issues.  For a novice to shooters, I kind of was expecting a lot more than what we got.  I know FPS gamers don’t come to a game for its story and granted BF4’s was quite weak and short of one…something I never expected (even Goldeneye 64 was longer >.>).  Into the real complaint though is the abnormally HIGH amount of bugs and glitches this game has and still has even when it does update.  The biggest one is if you have a save for Campaign and go into multiplayer…it’ll delete your progress…that’s totally not right and a HUGE flaw for me.  Sometimes the game freezes which is absurd (but Playstation All-Stars has the same problem too) and there’s just other odd issues.  I know EA is doing Fan Appreciation month to kind of apologize for it, but really fix it!

Otherwise if it didn’t have those problems, I probably would’ve rated it slightly higher because multiplayer kills time and when you have friends playing with, it just makes the experience better as teamwork goes a long way in multiplayer.  Overall it’s OK, but for the amount of hype it got…it’s definitely disappointing.

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BABYMETAL – BABYMETAL February 26, 2014

Filed under: BABYMETAL — solarblade @ 7:41 am

babymetal

Track Listing

  1. BABYMETAL DEATH
  2. Megitsune
  3. Gimme Choco!!
  4. Ii ne!
  5. Benitsuki -Akatsuki- or Benitsuki -Akatsuki- (Unfinished ver.) (BABYMETAL APOCALYPSE Limited only)
  6. Do・ki・Do・ki☆Morning
  7. Onedari Daisakusen
  8. 4 no Uta or 4 no Uta (444 ver.) (BABYMETAL APOCALYPSE Limited only)
  9. U・ki・U・ki★Midnight
  10. Catch me if you can
  11. Akumu no Rinbukyoku
  12. Headbanger!!
  13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai
  14. Road of Resistance (International Edition bonus track)
  15. Gimme Choco!! -Live at 02 Academy Brixton, London- (International Edition bonus track)

1. BABYMETAL DEATH

Wasn’t surprised that the trio would kick their album off with this song!  Being a B-side from “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” I was surprised at first because the intro is haunting and almost wants to lead into an epic song.  At least the tone of the song sets the album up for what’s coming for the rest of the album.  It’s very heavy and the arrangement is very quick and you can tell with the guitar riffs and drumming that went on.  The girls for the most part are kind of laying low while the growling goes on…they have small parts but still it sounds like an intro that went on a bit too long.

2. Megitsune

Moving to the trio’s 4th single released, Megitsune definitely impressed me musically more than it did vocally but SU-METAL rocks this song out completely and the melody of the song is just bangin’ amazing!  It’s just an amazing song and was heavily impressed by the song in its entirely…it’s my favorite of the A-sides and for good reason.

3. Gimme Choco!!

I was pretty sad that the album would only contain 3 new songs.  The first is the one that promoted the album, Gimme Choco! and unlike “Megitsune” it has a little more synthwork and a little more cuter side to it especially the chorus.  Plus it seems like YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL have a little more light here and they seemed to work well together surprisingly.  Not bad of a choice to promote the album with.

4. Ii ne!

Released as their technical first single, Ii ne! was on a joint single they did with Kiba of Akiba (which I didn’t review) plus it was on their Sakura Gakuin album but a revised version, but this is the original.  This is where I started to really enjoy the group and about when they started to get warmer reception from idol fans.  It’s a fun track to listen to, but the rap section is still a big WTF for the song since it sounds like YUI and MOA are leading it before coming back to death metal growls.  That part reminded me of Chelsea Grin…weird…Old song, but a pretty good song all-around.

5a. Benitsuki -Akatsuki-

As one of the B-side from “Megitsune”, Akatsuki is a SU-METAL solo (wait, already?).  There’s no doubt that she’s the group’s best singer so she’d get a song that would really cement that mindset.  She begins the song by herself and piano before the angry guitars come in and turn this into a death metal song with pounding drums and some good piano lines too.  The other two girls do provide some backup melodies, but it’s mostly SU for the majority.  Still a good song overall!

5b. Benitsuki -Akatsuki- (Unfinished ver.)

So on these special limited editions we got a different version of this B-side which is a surprise because I didn’t think they could.  The biggest difference is the fact that the entire song is just piano, so there’s not metal explosion to be had, so the flow on the APOCALYPSE edition is kind of wacked up because of this.  The other two members also also cut so we’re left with a total SU-METAL solo here.  I liked it overall, but I think the album works better with the original.

6. Do・ki・Do・ki☆Morning

Wow I wouldn’t have thought they would include this song.  I remember when I reviewed Sakura Gakuin’s debut album and running into this little gem.  Little did I know, this would make the three so popular that today, they’re bigger than the main group 0.o.  It’s definitely the song on the album that really has that idol feel somewhere in it amongst the nitty and gritty.  Suffice to say, it was surpassed by its successors lol.  I still do think the pre-chorus is the best damn thing about this tune.  That nostalgia tho…it’s still good today even though vocally it’s a bit eh xD.

7. Onedari Daisakusen

The other B-side from “Megitsune” comes next and this one focused more on YUI and MOA here and they’re the younger vocals here.  The song they got is a bit more and I was surprised of the direction of the song by making them rap here and there but sing too and their voice are so high.  Like I said on the single review, this would be great sung live but the studio version doesn’t really do much for the tune.

8a. 4 no Uta

We get our next new track from the group with 4 no Uta and it reminds me of “Ii ne!” with the first half being more of a hard rock song.  I mean I can get behind this quite a bit because it can be catchy.  Though like the aforementioned song they throw in a random segment of reggae and it goes back to heavy rock and back to reggae.  It’s definitely not conventional and it’s not handled as smoothly as “Ii ne!” was.

8b. 4 no Uta (444 ver.)

Once again, the APOCALYPSE edition comes with another redone, but of a new song?  That’s a bit bogus right?  To be honest, there’s really little difference here except this version lacks the echo filter…otherwise it’s nothing totally different.  Song is still really bipolar XD.

9. U・ki・U・ki★Midnight

Next up is the B-side from “Headbanger!!” and it’s a lot like “Do・ki・Do・ki☆Morning” in where it has it’s darker rock moments but also has a more idol-like sound but still continues to rock out during them parts.  Like the various experimented songs, this one features dubstep as its middle.  Solid song overall!

10. Catch me if you can

Moving to the other B-side from “Ijime, Dame, Zettai, it’s another YUI and MOA led song and this one felt like it hit harder than “Onedari Daisakusen” did and I actually found this the better of the two songs.  Also like the previous track, it had another bout with dubstep and this one felt messier but this song was jsut heavy and edgy as it is and it didn’t need it, but overall it was good.

11. Akumu no Rinbukyoku

The last of the new tracks, Akumu no Rinbukyoku was a lot heavier than the other two new tracks and it seems there’s a clear lead in SU here.  Surprisingly as a SU song, I kind of forgot about the song midway through as it didn’t have as much excitement as with other songs.  Though once again, cemented why SU has such good vocals!

12. Headbanger!!

As the trio’s 2nd single (technically), Headbanger!! was so wild and relentless and I loved the PV that it got too haha.  The tune is pretty loud and definitely the energy is through the roof…though I loved the part where SU sang in front of some harpischord…so cool.  I enjoyed it pretty much through!

13. Ijime, Dame, Zettai

I love that they chose to close it out with their first major label single.  Right from the piano intro, Ijime, Dame, Zettai left the best sound of the A-sides and it mixed what I loved the most about BABYMETAL into one track because SU leads this one and lord she took this song to new heights.  It’s rockin’ and just closed the album with a strong point!

14. Road of Resistance

So the next year over, it seems that BABYMETAL had become popular enough to release the album internationally and came with some bonus tracks!  First is the song they released after this album’s release but was only a digital single at the time.  I love how epic it begins with some great power chords and some dramatic percussion.  Though it switches gears quite abruptly to a more furious setting.  I love SU-METAL here as she brings some good vocals to a powerful song.  Still find it weird that it’s on this album and will be on their upcoming album…

15. Gimme Choco!! -Live at 02 Academy Brixton, London-

Last but not least, there was a live performance of Gimme Choco!! and boy do they bring it in live settings because the band playing was really hardcore and the trio actually managed to keep up with everything that was going on!  Really awesome performance  of the song and just solidifies how great the group is!

Tracks Recommended

  • Ijime, Dame, Zettai
  • Megitsune
  • Ii ne!
  • Benitsuki -Akatsuki-
  • Headbanger!!

Song of Avoidance

  • 4 no Uta

Wow, even though it took a while for this album to come together, BABYMETAL’s self-titled debut was pretty awesome!  I mean despite that there’s only 3 new songs on the album it was mostly a strong album for the trio and definitely would love to see more, but I’m not sure it they’ll continue though Suzuka is doing fine without being in Sakura Gakuin.  Great album though!

 

Kaya – GOTHIC

Filed under: Kaya — solarblade @ 5:11 am

gothic

Track Listing

  1. Gothic Elements (Instrumental)
  2. Vampire Requiem
  3. remains of mind
  4. Curse of Rose
  5. Traumerei
  6. PENDEL-drei (Instrumental)
  7. Marionetto
  8. Coppelia
  9. BABYLON
  10. PENDEL-zwei (Instrumental)
  11. SODOMY
  12. Infection
  13. SALOME
  14. PENDEL-eins (Instrumental)
  15. Memento mori
  16. VORWISSEN-null (Instrumental)
  17. Danse Macabre (Type A only)
  18. Tempest (Type B only)

1. Gothic Elements (Instrumental)

Opening the album, we get an introduction, woo >.>.  It’s the longest of the 5 instrumentals this album has…yeah…Like the title says the intro is dark and has a haunting piano line mixed with some filtered sounds thrown in.  Things get louder as the opening moves further and then meets its high point and dies off until all you hear left is crackling fire.  Interesting…

2. Vampire Requiem

Fitting to see that the album really begins with the first A-side he released after “QUEEN”.  Back then however, I wasn’t a fan of this song.  Working with HIZAKI, you can really tell the gothic tones with this song and I love the stringwork with the intro.  As Kaya begins singing the song changes into this oddly crawling goth track.  As he gets closer to the chorus, the tune cleans up and it starts to sound better.  BTW, it seems like most of the A-side got touched up VERY slightly for the album, but I couldn’t tell the changes.  Overall it’s not bad, but still my least favorite A-side of the era.

3. remains of mind

I was surprised Kaya would bring back remains of mind on this album.  If you remember, this was the B-side from his debut single, “Kaleidoscope”.  It was also redone to fit more of Kaya’s current voice and the arrangement has been updated slightly too.  I love the changes and they still kept a lot of what I enjoyed from the original.  Not too much was changed though so its relatively the same tune from before and it still is one of his bests IMO.

4. Curse of Rose

Moving to the B-side from “Vampire Requiem”, Curse of Rose still kind of sticks out as a sore thumb to this album by being more rock than electro so it kind of finds itself just a bit out there but fits with the goth look for the album.  It’s pretty dramatic of a song and I like it for it, but it kind of seems out of place amongst the multitude of electro songs here.

5. Traumerei

Wow, with each edition it’s weird that we only got 4 new songs each.  The first new song opens up with some lone, dramatic violin before the song opens with a dark arrangement, like “Vampire Requiem”.  It kind of sounds like it would’ve fit more after the intro as it’s dark and it’s raining in the background while Kaya sings.  It kind of sounds like a folk song which caught me off guard.  It’s a nice track to listen to to get the theme of the album perfectly.  Still surpassed by many of the other tracks, but still good!

6. PENDEL-drei (Instrumental)

We come to our first interlude with PENDEL-drei.  As a minute long interlude, it really stands as the creepy one that’s for sure.  Some creaky sound and a ticking clock (or a metronome) moves and it’s just there for aesthetic aural noise…didn’t make sense to me.

7. Marionetto

I’m not sure why the song has a new title, but it’s “Marionette” from the “Nocturne” single.  The changes here were pretty minute, but some of the arrangement was tweaked better and Kaya’s build in lines sound a bit cleaner as well.  Overall, the song is still pretty good and brought the album to focus more on the electro songs.

8. Coppelia

Fitting that Coppelia would come after “Marionetto” as it was the same way on the “Nocturne” single.  Coppelia is still that creepy song, almost a bit too creepy especially with that pipe organ intro.  I have decided that I really like the whispery lines he does, but otherwise this is kind of a typical song for Kaya…though the chorus is playful…I liked that.  It’s a tune that’s slowly growing on me.

9. BABYLON

Moving to the B-side from “SALOME”, BABYLON really suited to be right after “Coppelia” because they both had a certain circus melody going.  He sounds like he’s being even more playful in the song and Kaya gave a pretty good performance with this song.  It’s dark, danceable, but a bit fun…definitely one of the album’s cooler songs.

10. PENDEL-zwei (Instrumental)

Another minute long interlude comes our way and it’s the same goddamn thing as the previous interlude…with the ticking pendulum (hmm…seems to make sense with the title) it fades out though when it ends.  Strange…

11. SODOMY

It leads to a song that really throws me back to the “GLITTER” days with the synth arrangement having that certain “Epicurean” feel but not as heavy.  Kaya’s darker vocals really seem to catch me here and I enjoyed losing myself to this song.  Even though the song could’ve been a tiny bit more faster, this song is pretty nifty and is probably the best of the new songs.

12. Infection

Back to old songs, we move into the B-side from “TABOO”….wait…why is TABOO not even on this album?!?  Anyways, I’m OK with this as well because Infection keeps with the motif of the album and the harpischord is here to add amongst the creepy strings and flute and timpanis here before suddenly becoming this fast-paced electro track.  Kaya is being filtered similarly to “Rose Jail” but Kaya’s vocals are just flying through the arrangement and I love it!  Definitely another favorite from the album!

13. SALOME

As the 2nd A-side, I was definitely hoping Kaya would redeem himself after the “Vampure Requiem” single and he did it in a pretty big way.  Just like “Infection” it’s pretty fast-paced and has a lot going for it.  Kaya is singing in a deeper tone and there’s some growls and then Kaya just is singing powerfully all over.  Great A-side!

14. PENDEL-eins

>.> Is this really all there is to it with these instrumentals…35 more seconds of the ticking.  Though there are clocks going off as well which kind of brings a lil something, but it’s still useless.

15. Memento mori

As the song chosen to promote the album, Memento mori starts with some metal xylophone which gets replaced by piano once Kaya begins to sing.  This kind of reminds me of “Curse of Rose” earlier because of its more guitar-heavy sound than other tracks.  It’s OK, but I don’t think it made a good song to promote IMO since it really is outside of Kaya’s electro stuff.

16. VORWISSEN-null (Instrumental)

The ending of the album is really the final instrumental xD.  At least it breaks from the “PENDEL” tracks by sounding like almost like an ethereal ending to the album.  It’s a lot brighter and happier chords are played by synths it goes on for its 1:15 length which is a bore to me…but whatever lol.

17. Danse Macabre

Depending on which type you got, you ended the album with the different song.  Type A gets Danse Macabre and I was surprised it wasn’t on the main tracklist but at the same time it kind of worked after “VORWISSEN-null” as its arrangement is more electro and the synths were brighter (as in, this probably should’ve been on “QUEEN”).  Kaya is singing in English and I could barely understand what he was saying and his vocals were a little higher in places.  It’s a good song, but definitely doesn’t fit on GOTHIC.

18. Tempest

Type B buyers get Tempest which was written by Kaya himself so this was an interesting song to listen to.  This has a bit more fire behind it and suits more for the album than “Danse Macabre” did that’s for sure.  The arrangement doesn’t let up a lot and it has twist and turns, but for some reason I totally forgot about it.  I don’t know, but I suppose it’s good but there were better songs!

Tracks Recommended

  • Infection
  • SALOME
  • BABYLON
  • Danse Macabre
  • remains of mind

Song of Avoidance

  • Vampire Requiem

Where do I start with this album?  GOTHIC to me seemed a bit more random than “QUEEN” did even though it did have a cohesive sound (disregarding Danse Macabre).  Most of it was pretty good, but only 5 new tracks? and 5 instrumental tracks…the latter just seem too much for this album especially three of them were of ticking pendulums…wtf.  Still it’s a smidge better than “QUEEN” but I think the tracklist could’ve done without some songs (and had “TABOO” tbh).

 

Mai Kuraki – Wake me up February 25, 2014

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 9:22 pm

wakemeup

Track Listing

  1. Wake me up
  2. always giving my heart
  3. Wake me up ~Instrumental~

1. Wake me up

When I first heard Wake me up, I was tilting my head in confusion because it didn’t sound like Mai-K singing…it’s like the voice was more rich and fuller in comparison to Mai’s typically thin vocals.  Alas, it was Mai and it took me by surprise!  There are traces of those thin areas but it seemed whoever she worked with focused on bringing her voice out.  Then the song became more of a bright dance song which is quite nice for Mai.  It’s a nice change and her voice is something I’d have to get used to, but it’s a good song overall.

2. always giving my heart

Seems like she gets such boring titles for her songs doesn’t it?  Of course with a title like that, it was screaming ballad and that’s what it is here.  Mai’s voice sounds like what I’m used to and she actually sounds real pretty in this song.  Then the song adds a beat and it just reminded me of songs from her first two eras.  It’s alright, but I’m just kind of zoned out from it XD.

 

 

It just seems Mai wants to try to get a more louder tone with her voice and her effort in Wake me up was a solid try, but she does sound a bit honky in areas, but the dance beats were nice…but “TRY AGAIN” did much better.  always giving my heart might be a nostalgic run to the past, but it didn’t leave much of an impression on me.  Be an interesting album when she announces one >.>

 

Fairies – Run With U

Filed under: Fairies — solarblade @ 9:08 pm

runwithu

Track Listing

  1. Run With U
  2. SILLY BOY
  3. Wild Baby (CD only)
  4. Run With U (Instrumental)
  5. SILLY BOY (Instrumental)
  6. Wild Baby (Instrumental)

1. Run With U

Man, this group is just never gonna go back and forth are they?  With how disappointed I was with “Hikari no Hate ni”, they returned with Run With U and it fits amongst the more cooler songs the group has.  I quite liked the style of the song and the chorus is pretty catchy.  It seems there’s more girls singing as well which is always a good thing.  Good song, still not up there to beat “White Angel” but this is pretty good!

2. SILLY BOY

As for the B-side, I was expecting a plain ballad, but with a title like SILLY BOY, I was in for the surprise.  It actually kind of the same groove and edge which is great to hear.  Add that I hear the girls getting more a little more into the track and I think of “Beat Generation” and “HERO” with this one but has a bit more power and idol rapping in it and I quite enjoyed it!

3. Wild Baby

Well, this is a first, we get a second B-side (albeit on the CD only release of the single).  It begins with the group shouting the title before going to a more pop/rock feel for this.  I will say that the power of the song is good, but the shouting does kind of bother me in this song.  It’s a pretty good song overall and the chorus could be catchy, I just wished they didn’t shout the title lol.

 

 

FINALLY we can have an album from Fairies!  As their 7th and final before their self-titled debut comes out, Run With U made up for the shallow and bland mess they put out with “Hikari no Hate ni”.  All three songs are a bit more on the cooler side of Fairies and they all turned out well, especially the leading track and SILLY BOY.  I just wished the group focused more on this and less cute stuff.

 

Koda Kumi – Bon Voyage

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 8:27 pm

bonvoyage

Track Listing

  1. Introduction ~Bon Voyage~
  2. SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA
  3. LOADED feat. Sean Paul
  4. Winner Girls
  5. Imagine
  6. Koishikute
  7. LALALALALA
  8. Let’s show tonight
  9. Interlude ~Bon Voyage~
  10. TOUCH DOWN
  11. Crank Tha Bass feat. OVDS
  12. LOL
  13. Go to the top
  14. Dreaming Now!
  15. On Your Side
  16. U KNOW

1. Introduction ~Bon Voyage~

Kuu’s album opens up with motif of the album, the cries of seagulls…though I was surprised how fast she left it for a more darker sound.  It’s been a while since I’ve said I wanted an introduction to be its own song and the one for Bon Voyage is quite up there…that bass line and the attitude Kuu brings just brought a fire here that I enjoyed.

2. SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA

Chosen as one of two promotional videos for the album, SHOW ME YOUR HOLLA had a lot to live up for and the title was just giggity enough to make me focus lol.  I did lulz with the Engrish opening, but the song quickly rushes in and it’s a bopper!  I like the fact Kuu just sounds so excited and into this song to give a cool song.  I like the saxes and horns as well.  Reminded me of “show girl” but with a little more ass bouncing lol.  Good song!

3. LOADED feat. Sean Paul

Oh, I guess Kuu is going to make this a thing for every album, collaborate with an artist that’s more well known in the West.  The song is just as heavy on the beat as the previous tracks but Kuu sounds a little auto-tuned in some places.  I was worried because with Sean Paul, he’s almost near impossible to understand, but he sounds a bit more clearer than normal so it worked out.  Though there’s parts where they both sing different parts and I’m like…what??  Still, this song is just so much fun to listen to and despite Sean Paul’s goofy voice, I liked it!

4. Winner Girls

I can’t help but say the intro annoyed me lol.  At least it’s not the chorus which would’ve drove me insane.  The tune kind of fits with Kuu’s more up-tempo dance tracks which is nice and all, but the song felt repetitive especially how many times she repeated the title here.  I think it could’ve been handled better, but this was just forgettable.

5. Imagine

We slow down a bit with our next track, Imagine.  She had a come a long way when it comes to mid-tempos and I actually quite dug Imagine with a nice arrangement and a glowing chorus.  It’s a surprise for me to jsut enjoy this song a lot.  Kuu just sounds great throughout!

6. Koishikute

I was wondering when we’d hit some A-sides and it’s the ballad of the era!  Though it’s the only ballad the album has to offer so it kind of sticks out in an odd way.  The things I said about “Imagine” also applies to this song, but with a slower tempo.  It wasn’t my favorite of the era, but I liked it nonetheless.

7. LALALALALA

Kuu really needs to work on finding someone who can put her songs on the album to flow because this was random as hell hearing LALALALALA come after “Koishikute” because they’re so different from one another.  As one of the 3 leading tumes from her “Summer Trip” single, I wasn’t into this one, too much and I still feel like the song was meant for Ayu more than Kuu.  I mean for a summer rock tune, it’s nice but yeah.

8. Let’s show tonight

It’s weird that we get a short song and a interlude back to back.  Let’s show tonight is another one of those burlesque songs (that would’ve fit “TRICK”).  Being only 1:21 in length the song definitely screamed missed opportunity because it had a good thing going, but before it could really take off it just ends.  *sigh*

9. Interlude ~Bon Voyage~

The interlude sounds like the intro, but a little more beats and the vocals are heavily filtered out throughout.  Kuu has some moans and some shouts…but there really isn’t much else that really goes on.  I mean…I’m not sure why it was made for the album since it doesn’t fit after how short the previous track was, although it suits our next track.

10. TOUCH DOWN

I was surprised that she chose this over “IS THIS TRAP?” as I loved it more than this one, but this really worked with the interlude.  There’s something so edgy and cool about the arrangement from this song and coming back to it since the “Summer Trip” single has got me jamming to it once again.  Maybe it’s the beat and low synth and guitars just got me interested in it.  Did feel a bit long, but I enjoyed this a lot!

11. Crank Tha Bass feat. OVDS

You might be asking, who is OVDS?  It seems they are a Taiwanese Hip-Hop/Rock band so hearing Kuu collaborating sounded so strange.  I found it funny when Kuu said the title like ~clonk the vase~.  This is a pretty gritty song and one of the more intriguing songs on the album.  This song is just funny to listen to and hearing Kuu give that extra sass was great…though I have to say the rapper from OVDS is pretty good and liked his lines more XD.  The other odd thing is the whole ~put your hands up, put your, put your hands up was strange XD.  I’m so unsure how to feel because it’s so feisty but the engrish is just laughable.  It’s definitely a memorable song on the album, I can’t deny.

12. LOL

The other song chosen to promote the album, LOL sounded like it’d be a fun and quirky tune.  It started like a dance track which is a win already…but then she did the whole ~hahaha, laughing out loud~ in such a weird nasally tone and I was off my seat cracking up.  After that, the song brought Kuu back down to Earth and the song was cool, but the chorus kind of just threw me for a loop.  I would’ve liked it if it weren’t Kuu’s nasal tones thrown here (lord is this the first time I complained about Kuu’s tone?).

13. Go to the top

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this!  As the oldest A-side represented here, Go to the top starts with some 8-bit hits before turning into a rock track with some of the 8-bit playing in the background.  I was worried how it’d fit on the album, but it fit quite nicely.  It’s a fun song to listen to and she gave a pretty rad performance.  Definitely raised my interest after “LOL” to be honest.

14. Dreaming Now!

Going from the oldest A-side to the last single before the album, Dreaming Now! kind of brought back the basic, fun Kuu back to us.  I like the sound of the song and it has a nice beat going for it.  I do think the song mixes dance with a little of reggaeton and funnily enough it worked.  It’s a pretty good song and one of the best from the album.

15. On Your Side

Rounding out the album are the final new track starting with On Your Side.  I was surprised how much bass is in this song as it’s one of the more mid-tempo songs.  It’s like they fused “Dreaming Now!” and “Imagine” and popped this song out from it.  I don’t know why, but this tune struggles to leave an impression on me…I think it’s lacking in comparison to a lot of the tracks here.

16. U KNOW

I was surprised Kuu once again ended the album with an upbeat song and ironically, it’s the best saved for last.  It has a similar feel like “Go to the top” by having some 8-bit, but instead of a edgy sound, the tune goes towards more of a dance tone and Kuu sounds quite strong and the chorus is just catchy!  Definitely a cool song to end the album with a crowd applauding.  Overall sweet tune!

Tracks Recommended

  • U KNOW
  • Dreaming Now!
  • Imagine
  • Go to the top
  • LOADED feat. Sean Paul

Song of Avoidance

  • On Your Side

It’s been a while since Kuu released a studio album hasn’t it?  Bon Voyage has a long time to make since Kuu released a lot of odd stuff and 4 singles.  For the time off between this and “JAPONESQUE”, Kuu didn’t seem to take as many risks here and this time left all the cutesy songs behind and I thought it was great!  The album itself isn’t bad and for the most part stands high, but there were some issues, but they were mostly on Kuu lol. Repetition, tone issues in one, and just boredom in another.  Those aren’t total issues though…overall not bad!

 

Mami Kawada – Break a spell February 24, 2014

Filed under: Mami Kawada — solarblade @ 3:18 am

breakaspell

Track Listing

  1. Break a spell
  2. remaining snow
  3. Break a spell <instrumental>
  4. remaining snow <instrumental>

1. Break a spell

It’s definitely something for Mami to begin a song that way.  It sounds totally unique and different for how to come in with Break a spell.  It does kind of harken back to more of her “SAVIA” days by having a more grittier sound but also kind of having the synth beats like she has become from her last album.  Though the chorus is oddly more brighter and anison in style, but the verses are in my opinion the better part of the song.  It’s alright I suppose lol.

2. remaining snow

For the B-side, I was kind of suprised the song sounded so 90’s lol.  remaining snow for me sounds uncharacteristic for me and almost idol-like strangely enough.  I don’t know, but this song is something, but I can’t seem to get behind it because it just does sound odd coming from Mami and C.G., you would think we would’ve gotten a mysteriously dark song for a B-side…but I suppose not.

 

 

Mami begins a new era (yes, because “FIXED STAR” was promoting the best album she had AND that was on there too) with Break a spell.  The single wasn’t all that great.  The main track started out good, but that chorus was kind of bland and didn’t sit well for me while remaining snow is just odd and not like Mami at all lol.  Hopefully there’ll be better ones soon!