Kurayami Monogatari

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AKB48 – Koisuru Fortune Cookie February 2, 2014

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 1:24 pm

koisurufortunecookie

Track Listing

  1. Koisuru Fortune Cookie
  2. Ai no Imi wo Kangaetamita (Under Girls) (Type A, K, and Theater Editions only)
  3. Kondokoso Ecstasy (Next Girls) (Type A only)
  4. Suitei Marmalade (Future Girls) (Type K only)
  5. Saigo no Door (Type B only)
  6. Namida no Sei ja Nai (Type B only)
  7. Aozora Café (Theater Edition only)
  8. Koisuru Fortune Cookie off vocal ver.
  9. Ai no Imi wo Kangaetamida off vocal ver.
  10. Kondokoso Ecstasy off vocal ver.
  11. Suitei Marmalade off vocal ver.
  12. Saigo no Door off vocal ver.
  13. Namida no Sei ja Nai off vocal ver.
  14. Aozora Café off vocal ver.

1. Koisuru Fortune Cookie

I definitely noticed this song garnered a lot of attention back in 2013 so I finally dug my claws into this song.  I was pleasantly surprised the song was kind of done in a idol / disco way.  It gave the tune a funky drive and it sounds fun to listen to right from the beginning.  I mean as the Senbatsu A-side I was expecting something uber lazy but I was proven wrong and this song has a fun dance to go along with it!  Not bad of an A-side!

2. Ai no Imi wo Kangaetamita

The Under Girls return again for the B-side found on most of the editions of the single, I instantly got anime vibes from the songs intro and through the rest of the track.  I don’t know why but the UG’s voice don’t sound all that good together for some reason and this song kind of reminds me of that pretty much, not a great song for me.

3. Kondokoso Ecstasy

So the single features songs from the Next and Future girls.  Starting with the Next Girls, they get Kondokoso Ecstasy and like its A-side, it has a disco groove going on and I kind of liked it because it screamed 70’s and the vocals sounded nice and a bit deeper than normal AKB songs out there which is a great move!  Fun song overall and I think is one of my more liked songs from AKB.

4. Suitei Marmalade

I was kind of expecting the Future Girls to get a more futuristic song, but the song sounds like a bland summer song from AKB with some whoa-whoa chants and more bad harmonizations which kind of disappointed me a lot.  I guess it stands out for being a bit more summer than any of the other tracks on the single, but I was tuned out from it so to speak.

5. Saigo no Door

Type B had two tracks but were special because they were songs dedicated to Tomomi Itano and Mariko Shinoda who were both graduating.  We first have the song for Tomochin.  I’m not particularly a fan of her voice as it’s so nasal and she doesn’t have much of a range and she has center vocals and has solo lines.  Though she gets shadowed by the other girls that were singing with over her.  It sounds nice though I’ll give it that and Tomomi didn’t sound strained like normal so that’s good too.

6. Namida no Sei ja Nai

The other song is another ballad but this time it’s all for Mariko.  Now I actually liked her (espcially since “Uekara Mariko” was all about her xD).  Anyways, Namida no Sei ja Nai is surprisingly a lot more basic sounding than “Saigo no Door” and kind of reminds me of “Yume no Kawa” in presentation which kind of disappoints me and I don’t hear a lot of Mariko by herself either unlike the previous tune.  For a sendoff, I think someone got screwed.

7. Aozora Café

Ending the single is of course the Theater Edition exclusive with the Kenkyuusei with Aozora Café and to be honest, the song is just as generic and bland like their last effort.  The voices are a little better, but I just couldn’t shake this song off much as it just did 0 to me.

 

 

As this technically ends the “Tsugi no Ashiato” era (though two more singles were released after this, of course I’ll review), Koisuru Fortune Cookie ends on an OK note.  Koisuru Forture Cookie isn’t half bad and I find it cute to listen to sometimes.  The rest of the single though was kind of forgettable.  I mean Tomomi’s farewell song was good and so was the Next Girls track.  The other songs just weren’t up to snuff for me.  Makes me wonder how the album is going to turn out xD 3 Discs I know…>.>

 

AKB48 – Sayonara Crawl

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 12:39 pm

sayonaracrawl

Track Listing

  1. Sayonara Crawl
  2. Bara no Kajitsu (Under Girls)
  3. Ikiru Koto (Team A) (Type A only)
  4. How come? (Team K) (Type K only)
  5. Romance Kenjuu (Team B) (Type B only)
  6. Haste to Waste (BKA48 (Type B only)
  7. LOVE Shugyou (Kenkyuusei) (Theater Edition only)
  8. Sayonara Crawl off vocal ver.
  9. Bara no Kajitsu off vocal ver.
  10. Ikiru Koto off vocal ver.
  11. How come? off vocal ver.
  12. Romance Kenjuu off vocal ver.
  13. Haste to Waste off vocal ver.
  14. LOVE Shugyou off vocal ver.

1. Sayonara Crawl

I actually totally need to catch up on AKB48 lol.  Sayonara Crawl kind of sounds like 90’s J-pop mixed with the group’s typical Aki.P sound which together doesn’t mesh very well to me and I felt like the song was trying to be a lot stronger than it should be.  Released as their pre-summer single, I wasn’t totally intrigued by it and kind of just was that generic AKB song…though in A-side form.

2. Bara no Kajitsu

The single’s main B-side is sung by the Under Girls, not surprisingly enough.  Bara no Kajitsu usually is something that’s middle-ground and sadly this song doesn’t really do much for me either because the girls sound so not into it and the arrangement sounds almsot dated and tired for me.  I do like the guitar riffs but that’s all this song has going for it.

3. Ikiru Koto

Of course this single is also the Team single so we have songs from Team A, K, and B (which they got switched around).  I kind of was surprised that the Team got a slower song in comparison to the other two and I kind of dig it.  The vocals in this song sound pretty good together and even though “Yume no Kawa” is a much better ballad, Ikiru Koto isn’t bad and it’s one of the better B-sides they’ve had.

4. How come?

Team K gets the cool song with How come? and I was surprisingly enjoying the song for the most except the verses where they caked on auto-tune on the 3 mains in the song.  Still it’s a catchy song though the majority of the girls don’t get too much to work with since the chorus is repetitive which is a bit disappointing.  It’s one of the best on the single luckily…comparing to…

5. Romance Kenjuu

Team B’s song Romance Kenjuu oddly enough of the songs sounds like it would’ve been made for an A-side position.  I’m liking the fact that the harmonizations are done so much smoother than in “How come?” and the energy of the song is really nice for Team B (which they usually don’t get memorable songs).  Good B-side overall and it ties with the previous song as best song on the single.

6. Haste to Waste

If you were wondering, BKA48 is pretty much Baka48 as in the girls in this group did so poorly on smarts that they got put together and had a song together.  I really felt bad that they kind of got their own song, but the song is oddly cute and bright despite the reasoning this song exists lol.  Though the members chosen were actually some of the more well-known members like Yukirin, Sasshi, and Kojiharu.  Though Rina got lead vocals because she did the worst xD.  Funny, but also catchy song overall!

7. LOVE Shugyou

The trainees get a song on Theater Editions with LOVE Shugyou and it’s pretty basic for them with this song and it sounds like MANY other AKB songs (and related groups) tracks.  Actually it reminds me of a summer song…that’s not good right?  Oh well, forget about this one.

 

 

AKB’s Sayonara Crawl was actually not a bad single but there were some stinkers.  Sayonara Crawl was a bit mundane and bland of a song and was surprised Aki.P even thought it was a good choice to promote the hell out of it.  The Kenkyuusei song was also quite bland of a song as well…just forgetful.  Luckily, the Team songs were all pretty good in their own way and Haste to Waste is definitely adorable in the right mindset.  Hmmm…are they getting better…not sure QUITE yet…

 

yanaginagi – Euaru

Filed under: yanaginagi — solarblade @ 12:02 pm

euaru

Track Listing

  1. Hontou
  2. Yukitoki
  3. Ao no Parade
  4. concent
  5. helvetica
  6. Ambivalentidea
  7. euaru
  8. Zoetrope
  9. Laterality
  10. Strange Attractor
  11. Qualia
  12. Translucent
  13. Vidro Moyou
  14. Uso

CD2

  1. Agapē
  2. 1/2
  3. Ren’ai Circulation
  4. light prayer
  5. Uninstall
  6. Swallowtail Butterfly ~Ai no Uta~
  7. Kaze no Toori Michi

1. Hontou

nagi opens the album with Hontou and oddly enough kind of reminded me of the Jeopardy theme with an extra beat after it hahaha.  Though she comes in only doing some light ~la-la-las~ as the arrangement gets more fuller and filled out.  Short and to the point and sets the album’s mood nicely.

2. Yukitoki

As we start the vocal tracks we have nagi’s 5th A-side, Yukitoki and I did say it was the weakest amongst the singles but it’s still pretty damn good so it’s definitely not bad.  It has a certain anison sound to it which does make it somewhat generic considering what is in the arrangement but nagi sounds light and fluffy which gives the tune a more livelier feeling and I like it overall.

3. Ao no Parade

I was excited to hear the album’s songs and Ao no Parade definitely met expectations!  Being a little more synthy than other tracks, Ao no Parade kind of takes the anison out of “Yukitoki” and makes it a bit more broader sounding and soothing to listen to and I enjoyed every minute of it.  It’s definitely one of the surprising tracks but amazing though!

4. concent

Of all the B-sides nagi could have chosen for the album, why did it have to be the one from her debut single, “Vidro Moyou”?  I mean it’s not even a bad song, but nagi had so many better B-sides to choose from lol.  Anyway, it’s a completely entity of a song coming after “Ao no Parade” in where the song sounds more experimental, but I still love how nice her vocals sounded against the piano/synth arrangement.  Nice song overall (still sad that “Surrealisme” is missing).

5. helvetica

I’m not sure why, but when I saw the title, I was thinking it was going to be a dark song.  What we got is a more experimental and quieter “concent” and coming after said song made sense to me and we get to hear nagi sing in a more sleepier tone and I quite enjoyed that.  It’s relaxing music and I found myself being calmed down with this track…definitely a song to listen to!

6. Ambivalentidea

We get even more quieter with nagi’s 2nd single, Ambivalentidea and not much has changed in my opinions about since the review.  I like the orchestration in it and it’s like a Final Fantasy ending theme but handled majestically with nagi giving a stellar performance!  There were just something so beautiful and yet powerful about it at the same time…this is definitely one of her best songs!  It’s like KOKIA wrote it for her, but I doubt that’s the case….but damn nagi…so much praise out of this song!

7. euaru

After that glorious piece, we move into the title song, euaru.  After all them dramatics, euaru comes in with a happier piano melody and nagi’s tone is more brighter and playful.  The song sounds nice and all, but most of the time, I was kind of spacing out and in my mind coming back in, it makes for amazing background music (once again…sounds like the instrumental would be perfect for a video game).  Nice, but your focus might go astray.

8. Zoetrope

It’s so hard to decide whether Zoetrope or “Ambivalentidea” is the best A-side because they both provide a different experience.  Though I will say this song brought some energy back into the album after having 4 slower and lighter songs coming before it so entering this, I was happy to hear Zoetrope because it’s something no one saw nagi doing at the time.  This song is loud, brash, and powerful and nagi once again performed superbly.  This will definitely have you at the edge of your seat!

10. Laterality

Kind of fitting to have the 3rd A-side to come after the 4th because I also felt like nagi excelled in Laterality as well.  It’s not as furious as “Zoetrope” but it definitely follows its footsteps nicely (even though this came out first).  There are some traces of those typical anison chords in the chorus, but I though the song had a fantastic piano melody (and that bass solo!).  Great song!

11. Strange Attractor

When I listen to this song, I get reminded of school food punishment (especially “futuristic imagination”) but I kind of like the similarities as they give nagi a chance to put her voice in their sound and I quite love it to be honest.  Some might think it sounds like “Yukitoki” but I fell in love with this one and nagi sounds great (especially those high notes) damn nagi!

12. Qualia

As the album’s longest song at 6 minutes, Qualia I thought belonged more towards the first half of the album than the second because it’s another ballad and also has that kind of experimental sound fused with the simple piano melodies.  I thought the song sounded kind of dreamy and super pretty to listen to.  Not as amazing of a ballad like “Ambivalentidea” buuuut this is pretty damn close haha.

13. Translucent

Though I can’t say the same for Translucent which is another ballad on the album and also the plainest of the songs here.  I suppose nagi was trying to be more heartfelt in this one and it showed with her voice that’s for sure, but for a song that only had piano as the only instrument, Translucent felt so….underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the album.  I was expecting a higher dropoff, but no…it didn’t seem to really phase me any.

14. Vidro Moyou

I can’t believe it’s been a couple years that this has been out.  nagi’s debut single, Vidro Moyou might have been defeated by her singles after, but this showed the talent that was about to blossom.  It has a nice light dance beat about and nagi’s voice is pleasant (though I think there’s some auto-tune found here).  Like “euaru”, this song makes for great background music nowadays but for heavy listening, I think it also works as well.  Cool song overall!

15. Uso

We finally get to the end of the first disc with Uso and it kind of has a child-like atmosphere behind it with some disc scratches playing behind it.  I don’t knoow why, but I actually got bored of this one even quicker than I did with “Translucent” and I’m not entirely sure why.  I suppose the arrangement does seem a bit sleepy to me and nagi’s voice is a bit too soft for me…but I’m not even sure that’s the case…ehhh too confusing!

CD2

1. Agapē

The second disc is actually a couple of cover songs starting with Agapē which is originally by melocure.  At first, the song started slow and I was beginning to dislike it but it grew into this upbeat pop/rock track that definitely was loud and had a lot of drums XD.  nagi did pretty well with this song and she gave a solid performance.

2. 1/2

Originally sung by Makoto Kawamoto, 1/2 is pretty much a solid choice to cover and nagi sounded like she was having fun with the tune and once again them high notes are sounding sooo good.  Actually her voice sounds almost anison-ish which caught me off guard, but it’s still a good cover.

3. Ren’ai Circulation

I definitely think it’s the most recent of the songs covered here…this being a cover of a tune from Kana Hanazawa, Ren’ai Circulation is also placing nagi’s voice in a more cuter sound and mixing in her whispy vocals, the song sounds so adorable to listen to (especially that synth melody).  Cute overall, still not amongst the best songs but still good nonetheless.

4. light prayer

Oh damn, a cover of school food punishment’s light prayer…I was so ready for this one and if the band needed to replace Yumi, nagi is an amazing replacement because her voice suits them so PERFECTLY and she gave a great performance!  I already love the original and this was so faithful to the original.  Yeah definitely my favorite amongst the cover songs!

5. Uninstall

Another cover of a song I’m familiar with being originally sung by Chiaki Ishikawa, Uninstall is a song that’s covered a LOT these days, but it was a pretty big song back in the days.  nagi’s take is also done pretty well and once again I kind of sit on that seat where I actually would say nagi did better than Chiaki 0.o  Impressive cover as well!

6. Swallowtail Butterfly ~Ai no Uta~

OK, we all should know this song as well as it’s been covered from hell and back xD.  I already know nagi would sound 100 times better than Chara did with the original (as with most covers of this).  There’s not much else I can say here that I haven’t with the previous two tracks.  Though I guess it also has a little bit of bore, but I wasn’t too fond of the song to begin wih lol.

7. Kaze no Toori Michi

Finally, we get to a cover of Sayuri Horishita’s Kaze no Toori Michi and I hear acoustic guitar in this song which is nice to hear after an album full of synthetic sounds and piano (though the latter is found here).   I liked the relaxed tone of the track and nagi’s voice is very soft here.  I liked it, but I zoned out quickly after a while listening to it.  It’s nice if you’re into songs like this.

Tracks Recommended

  • Ambivalentidea
  • Zoetrope
  • Ao no Parade
  • light prayer
  • Strange Attractor

Song of Avoidance

  • Uso

Wow, for a debut album, yanaginagi struck gold here!  Euaru is such an amazing album that I’m surprised that it was just so well done overall.  There were a couple of boring tracks, but 90% of the album was pure gold and is worth a listen.  Now the second disc might be not as interesting (though the school food punishment cover is a MUST LISTEN).  I can’t wait to see what surprises she has in her 2nd era! *RECOMMENDED*

 

MEG – CONTINUE

Filed under: MEG — solarblade @ 9:10 am

ƒvƒŠƒ“ƒg

Track Listing

  1. prologue
  2. Tabidachi no Uta
  3. SAVE
  4. Hanaretai no wa…
  5. WE LIVE, WE LOVE
  6. Kimi ga Tame
  7. Uchuu no MON DIEU
  8. KISS OR BITE (album ver.)
  9. Kurumiwari
  10. clair de lune
  11. A BATTLE OF PARADOX
  12. CONTINUE

1. prologue

Opening the album we get a bit of an introduction with the prologue.  It sounds so dreary and evil that I couldn’t help but perk my ears in interest.  After a little, strings enter the fray with some synths backing up and I was like…MEG being all Final Fantasy on us or something?  I’m actually surprised it wasn’t made into a full song because it sounds like it’s going to be a grand album…maybe…

2. Tabidachi no Uta

Typically, artists with songs titled as such means it’s going to be slightly boring (the song title meaning “Song of Departure”).  Not surprising that the song is a ballad with MEG and piano.  It does follow very well after the “prologue” in where it has this kind of RPG-ish tone to it.  MEG’s vocals are also not bothering me as much as some other songs she’s done which is surprising.  This was actually quite pleasant!

3. SAVE

Being part of the two singles she released simultaneously, SAVE comes with and after “Tabidachi no Uta” this was a bit of a stretch to make this song as it’s quicker-paced and the style is also different focusing more on a fusion of pop/rock and chiptune which makes it a bit different.  After the single release, I’ve started to enjoy it a lot more and has a nice groove and the strings in the song make sense since in a weird way continues this style MEG is trying to put out.  Not bad actually.

4. Hanaretai no wa…

Oh MEG, that intro was a bit odd.  In recent times, MEG has been tapping into some unique styles for music and Hanaretai no wa… seems to be another one that goes into that category.  I enjoy the laidback tone of the song and the synths are simply something to die for.  Groovy song we have and definitely is an early favorite on the album!

5. WE LIVE, WE LOVE

When I get into WE LIVE, WE LOVE, I get this strange 80’s new-wave sort of feel mixed in with some more of that RPG-ish tone and I felt myself being pulled into the music moreso than MEG’s singing.  I think this song kind of represents MEG’s more cute side to her music and if it was just relegated to this, I’d be just fine with this for sure!

6. Kimi ga Tame

Man, why is MEG just hitting the right notes?  Kimi ga Tame switches up from the synths and turned to some rock for Kimi ga Tame and I’m in total love with it!  Her voice does get covered up by the guitars (as they’re furious and definitely the focus).  I will also admit that MEG’s voice isn’t entirely all that strong on their own here but you can tell she’s trying and I’m loving the energy that the song is just throwing out there.  Definitely another awesome track!

7. Uchuu no MON DIEU

I thought there was some kind of theme (with the whole video game shtick).  Uchuu no MON DIEU though seems so oddball on this album.  Opening with pipe organ, harpischord, and a choir that moves into something Elton John would be impressed with and then slows down to MEG actually SINGING and not in her usual style as well….is this even legit?!?  Though once the song opens up more we’re back to MEG sounding like herself lol.  The song itself is bright and full of life, but sometimes I feel it was a bit messy and the back-up vocalists seem so hokey!

8. KISS OR BITE (album ver.)

Wait the other A-side get an album version and “SAVE” doesn’t? *shrugs*  The difference between the two are might quite quickly as it has a different intro.  This time a lightning crash opens alongside some synths and a man’s voice.  The song also got some arrangement touch-ups adding some more gritty guitar riffs and synths to make it more electro/rock and edgier.  It’s quite a buff over the original and I did enjoy that song so it was a good touch-up in the end.

9. Kurumiwari

Ooooh, plucked strings!  Kurumiwari sounds like a song that was made for Halloween with its spooky arrangement and it adds a sense of creepiness because of MEG’s cutesy vocals (though some of the layering on those high notes are bad).  Don’t think it’s over though because halfway through the song, it changes into this almost carnival-setting before settling back in its spooky tone…did Tomoko Kawase produce this? xD.  Strange song though, but I definitely can see myself enjoying this with more listens!

10. clair de lune

Wow, MEG is just making this album all over the place xD.  clair de lune opens with some dissonant chords from the pipe organ which follows through after “Kurumiwari’s” more odd style.  Adding some orchestral stuff, MEG comes in to sing alongside the pipe organ and it sounds really unique and yet something cool.  I actually would prefer this over “Kurumiwari” since it doesn’t have that random carnivale section in it 😛

11. A BATTLE OF PARADOX

Of all the song titles this album had, I was most curious with this one because it just sounds like it’d be a different kind of song for MEG.  I mean strings, brass, and guitars just sounds so good together and MEG really has this nice raspy tone to her voice that just suited the darker sound A BATTLE OF PARADOX.  Though the bridge was trying to set up something big, I was kind of disappointed with the chorus lol.  Later on, we get some gritty dubstep synths thrown in and they kind of threw me off for a loop.  It’s a song you would have to get used to, but I think it’s definitely a grower in that respect.

12. CONTINUE

The album ends with the title track and I was kind of confused because it sounded like a 5 year old was just randomly playing notes on some Casio xD.  Though more synths joined and MEG’s melody actually made it come togther quite nicely.  Even though there’s no supreme big chorus, the song builds on itself and the addition of the strings and brass just made the song seem like the PERFECT ending to this album and I was just left in awe at the end of it all especially since it slowly dies off until all that’s left is piano…what a great way to end it.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kimi ga Tame
  • Hanaretai no wa…
  • CONTINUE
  • clair de lune
  • KISS OR BITE (album ver.)

Song of Avoidance

  • Uchuu no MON DIEU

Wow!  After “WEAR I AM”, I kind of was gaining my interest back as she moved on from Nakata to bigger and better things.  CONTINUE solidified my love for MEG again.  I almost found this to be her best album period as it had such a refreshing sound when compared to her last albums and she sounded good and not waily.  The only thing that bothered me was in fact Uchuu no MON DIEU…it felt so hokey and tacked on and didn’t really fit the album.  Otherwise, this album ranks up there with “STEP” as her best yet! *RECOMMENDED*