Kurayami Monogatari

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mini – Electro Hako Banban Picasso ver. 0 May 24, 2014

Filed under: mini — solarblade @ 5:34 pm

electrohakover0

Track Listing

  1. Crazy Stripper – ver. 0
  2. Electro Hako Banban Picasso (12Color Chain Mix)

1. Crazy Stripper – ver. 0

It was surprising mini would release a kind of (rental single) prior to the album because it’s unheard of (unless you’re an electro buff).  Crazy Stripper seemed like an idea that was dropped from the album fully but the instrumental sounds really aggressive and some of mini’s lyrics are quite sexy.  I wonder where this is going…sad it hasn’t been looked at since >.>

2. Electro Hako Banban Picasso (12Color Chain Mix)

The other track on this single is basically a digest from her album (since this came out before that release, so it acted like previews.  For a 5 minute preview, it covers a lot and reminds me of how awesome the album really was.

 

 

It’s funny how I never reviewed this, but here it is…I mean this little teaser of a single is nice, but Crazy Stripper was such a lost opportunity for me and could’ve made a great track and the album digest was a nice little addition.  I wish she came back though >.>

 

Ai Otsuka – More More

Filed under: Ai Otsuka — solarblade @ 4:16 pm

moremore

Track Listing

  1. More More
  2. Fu Fu Fu
  3. More More (Instrumental)
  4. Fu Fu Fu (Instrumental)

1. More More

Wow Ai-chin, this song is kind of different for the era isn’t it?  It kind of reminds me of her older works with the piano-fronted melody with some added extra spice in the brass and bass lines.  It’s definitely a cute track for Ai and she definitely aces at songs like it.  If anything it reminds me of a toned down “Rocket Sneaker”.  Overall, it’s a pretty fun song and I’m happy it’s on the album!

2. Fu Fu Fu

As for the B-side, the tune takes a more chilled out style for its sound with a more synth-based style which is of course a way to take me away.  It’s a surprising track as it’s so straightforward and really shows off Ai’s vocals in such a relaxing, but upbeat style.  It’s really hard to decide which song is better on the single, they both showcase her so well!

 

 

As the 4th single and final to represent her upcoming “LOVE FANTASTIC” album, More More was a really nice way to lead to it as both songs featured are really nice songs that brought that old classic Ai-chin feel and I’m enjoying it (plus her last single “Re:NAME” was also great)…I’m very excited for the album (despite only 5 new tracks LOL).

 

9nine – With You / With Me May 22, 2014

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 10:05 am

withyouwithme

Track Listing

  1. With You / With Me
  2. Positive
  3. Party9
  4. With You / With Me (Instrumental)
  5. Positive (Instrumental)
  6. Party9 (Instrumental)

1. With You / With Me

Man, I’m just loving the fact 9nine is knocking these A-sides out because once again I’m loving With You / With Me a lot.  Like the rest of the A-sides released for the era, this track has a really cool dance beat and the vocals are just right and doesn’t kill me.  I was surprised the mid8 was another dubstep production, but it doesn’t get too deep so it avoided my hate lol.  Overall, this is probably my favorite of the A-sides they’ve released.

2. Positive

The first B-side, Positive is so strange.  Like the intro is trying to be hyper andtrying to build up to something but it cuts to something light and cute like an instant which threw me off lol.  This song kind of goes back and forth which is odd but the chorus is exciting at the least and love the arrangement.  I think I can grow to enjoy this.

3. Party9

I am finding myself wondering if the group this era was just all about EDM since there was no slow song and most of the songs were danceable lol.  Party9 to me is like the previous two tracks fused for such a great tune!  I find myself dancing along and enjoying the ride of synths and beats the entire time except once again, dubstep kind of just kills the middle of the song…besides that,  Great B-side!

 

 

9nine closes their “MAGI9 PLAYLAND” era with a great single!  I wi be honest and say that I though the single was a double A-side with that title, but With You / With Me is a great song for the group and is my favorite of the three.  Both Positive and Party9 made exceptional B-sides and had great things about them (though the latter got plagued by Dubstep).  I’m excited for the album!

 

9nine – Re:

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 9:43 am

re

Track Listing

  1. Re:
  2. (Luv=) 0 or H8?
  3. Tsuzuku Tsuzuku…
  4. Re: (Instrumental)
  5. (Luv=) 0 or H8? (Instrumental)
  6. Tsuzuku Tsuzuku… (Instrumental)

1. Re:

The tune begins with some cute musicbox sounds before unleashing it’s true sound as a total strong dance track with blazing synths and bright atmosphere.  Like I said about their last A-side, the group seems to be putting more effort to their songs so I’m happy to hear that Re: is a continuation.  It’s almost similar to “Shoujo Traveler” but less sounding like an anison tune and more an idol track with some mismatched dubstep thrown in.  The voices are up at a higher range so it does tend to sound kind of pitchy, but it’s overall a solid track!

2. (Luv=) 0 or H8?

With such a strange title, I was curious of what the group would do with this.  I should’ve guessed but the intro is that 8bit style before kind of getting into this synth-heavy pop tune.  It’s kind of the group’s last B-side, “Anemone mo ne” but with the synths replacing the strings.  The tune is cute and the arrangement would’ve made a great tune for a video game lol.

3. Tsuzuku Tsuzuku…

The other B-side, Tsuzuku Tsuzuku… takes some of those synth but gave them a more buzzing feel and I kind of enjoyed it.  It’s like a glossier EDM tune.  I love the arrangement, but the girls vocals are really pushing it because they hit some super high notes and they kind of wrecked it each time.  I’ll take the instrumental track XD

 

 

9nine’s next single, Re: wasn’t as strong as the previous single but this was better than majority of the previous era.  Re: would’ve been perfect if not for that dubstep in the mid8 section…still great to hear the group using EDM again.  (Luv=) 0 or H8? was an interesting song, but I think I remember the instrumental more than the girls’ melodies lol.  Tsuzuku Tsuzuku… also the same but the melodies from the girls are REALLY offputting here.  Overall…slight slip.

 

9nine – Evolution No.9

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 9:17 am

evolutionno9

Track Listing

  1. Evolution No.9
  2. Just A Koi
  3. Anemone mo ne
  4. Evolution No.9 (Instrumental)
  5. Just A Koi (Instrumental)
  6. Anemone mo ne (Instrumental)

1. Evolution No.9

I was wondering if the group could pick up their slack after the last era of singles and starting with Evolution No.9, they went for a more rock-flavored sound and I quite found it more enticing the most I listened to it.  After the verses, the song gets a bit more interesting with dance beats thrown in.  The vocals do have some slight emotive issues, but the song is cool and one of the betters ones they’ve had in a while.

2. Just A Koi

Into the B-sides, first up is Just A Koi and it begins with a rather interesting synth/vocal melody that kind of sounds a bit darker than I would’ve expect from them.  I quite enjoyed the song though and showed the ladies vocals a lot better.  I love the chorus the most to be honest and well I can’t believe it won’t be on the album lol.

3. Anemone mo ne

I was surprised the song starts with strings, but it provides some kind of melody hahah.  Of the songs, this is the poppiest one of them, but it’s so strange to listen to.  The beat is pretty simple, but the vocal lines have a bit more going on.  Even though sort-of rap is random to listen to.  Strange tune for me to listen to.

 

 

Kicking off their 3rd major album era, Evolution No.9 totally kicked things off on a good with with the three songs.  I feel like with “CUE” they really didn’t put too much effort into it (and even some of the singles through their “9nine” era).  This single to me felt like they were going for it again.  The leading track sounded cool and fun to listen to and so was Just A Koi.  Anemone mo ne is different, but I kind of like it…the chorus worked as well as the arrangement.  Looking forward to their next singles!

 

AKB48 – Mae Shika Mukanee May 16, 2014

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 7:26 am

maeshikamukanee

Track Listing

  1. Mae Shika Mukanee
  2. Kinou Yori Motto Suki (Smiling Lions)
  3. Kimi no Uso wo Shitteita (Beauty Giraffes) (Type A only)
  4. Himitsu no Diary (Baby Elephants) (Type B only)
  5. KONJO (Talking Chimpanzees) (Type C only)
  6. Koi to ka… (Theater Editions only)
  7. Mae Shika Mukanee off vocal ver.
  8. Kinou Yori Motto Suki off vocal ver.
  9. Kimi no Uso wo Shitteita off vocal ver.
  10. Himitsu no Diary off vocal ver.
  11. KONJO off vocal ver.
  12. Koi to ka… off vocal ver.

1. Mae Shika Mukanee

So we’re on the Senbatsu single huh?  Man I can never get myself into these very well lol.  Mae Shika Mukanee is another pop/rock affair and I’m not the biggest fan of these songs very much.  Not even “Heart Ereki” could really do much to change it.  This song might be one of the better ones, but it’s still not really up there to really save them any skin.  It’s just not my kind of song.

2. Kinou Yori Motto Suki

The remainder of the single features grouping by animals (which I really don’t get where this all came about).  As the B-side found on all editions, Kinou Yori Motto Suki is well kind of run-of-the-mill but at least it kind of has somewhat an engaging arrangement and the guitars are nice.  It’s still somewhat plain though.

3. Kimi no Uso wo Shitteita

Type A’s track actually has a bit more life into it when compared to the previous track for sure.  I really liked the arrangement for some reason and the girls has a bit more emotions running here which is another reason why I enjoyed this song a lot.  It’s definitely my favorite off the single!

4. Himitsu no Diary

Type B’s get the cutesy Himitsu no Diary which once again just by arrangement, seems better than “Kinou Yori Motto Suki”.  Sadly the song is still kind of bland and lacks something for me (plus, their pronunciation ALMOST sounds like diarrhea)…take that as you will, but this song isn’t working.

5. KONJO

Type C gets KONJO and honestly, the synths perked my ears up to pay attention and honestly, it surpasses “Kimi no Uso wo Shitteita” because I’m just digging a lot with this song.  This could’ve been a great Autumn A-side for the group. Could’ve used a little bit of a tempo boost, but this is a pretty cool song for the single!

6. Koi to ka…

Oh a theater edition that doesn’t include the Kenkyuusei getting  their own track!  Not surprised though that it’s a ballad.  Not sure if there’s really anything meaningful for it, but this song is kind of bland and vanilla for my tastes.  I mean it’s OK, but it doesn’t really leave much of an impression besides being a Aki.P ballad.

 

 

After their last single (with the mortifying long title) and their 3rd album, they come out with Mae Shika Mukanee and this single is kind of better than their last couple of singles!  I mean yeah, Mae Shika Mukanee is bland and kind of a “Heart Ereki” ripoff and Kinou Yori Motto Suki & Koi to ka… are just boring as hell.  The rest of the single is a win.  Kimi no Uso wo Shitteita is somber but really interesting to hear and Himitsu no Diary while lyrically hilarious as a nice arrangement…but KONJO was the winner here…has all the right elements to have been one.  However, there’s one thing I wanna say….STOP USING THE OTHER GIRLS FROM OTHER 48 GROUPS!!!!…If you wanna push them that’s fine but keep it out of AKB and let those forgotten AKB girls have a decent chance….AKI STOP BEING SHADY!!!!!!!~

 

Shoko Nakagawa – 9lives

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 6:00 am

9lives

Track Listing

  1. Miracle a Go! Go!
  2. 9lives
  3. Sakasama Sekai
  4. Zoku Konton
  5. Shiroi Chou no Yume
  6. Ii yo ne
  7. Seven Seas Romance
  8. millefeuille nights
  9. Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato
  10. chocolate chaud
  11. Nuigulumar Z
  12. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-
  13. Ai Ippai, Sei Ippai
  14. Last Wish -Onaji Iro no Christmas-

1. Miracle a Go! Go!

Usually, Shokotan has good openings and Miracle a Go! Go! might not be as one would’ve liked but she starts with something upbeat and fun to listen to.  I can say that this song really sounds like an anime intro with this kind of cutesy sound and Shoko’s voice is up there in pitch too.  For a song to kick things off, it’s average to me.

2. 9lives

Already on the title track?  Being the promotional track, 9lives was a surprise to me as we go from something cute and pop/rock to something heavier and more cooler from Shokotan.  I love her using a more deeper tone with her voice because she just summons a stronger force in her voice and she sounds perfect!  This definitely ranks up there with the best songs she’s done since her debut!

3. Sakasama Sekai

Then we get into the first half of her second single released for the era with Sakasama Sekai and I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it when it was released.  I’m sensing that this album is going for this anime-esque pop/rock feel.  On this album, the track still has problems fitting in and trying not to sound bland.  I still think parts with the synths stood out more than the rest of the track…that’s not good is it?

4. Zoku Konton

As she took a little of a hiatus after her best album, Zoku Konton was a pretty ballsy way to return by giving us a more darker side to her music.  While it still has its anime sound, Shokotan really gave her all here and while the chorus sounds lacking, it’s a cool track and Shoko gave a great vocal performance and the harpischord/strings sections are nice and gothic!  Cool cool.

5. Shiroi Chou no Yume

We finally get a pretty lengthy amount of new songs starting with Shiroi Chou no Yume.  As the first ballad from the album, Shoko tried to do a more dramatic tune here and in some places, I really liked it, but the song sounds almost too familiar to my ears…like the melodies sound done before.  It’s not bad though so that should be good right.

6. Ii yo ne

Kind of a sudden twist moving from something like “Shiroi Chou no Yume” to Ii yo ne which has a cutesy tone.  At first it was quirky and silly but the chorus was loud and a bit in your face XD.  Honestly, the song annoyed me more than anything else really…Just seemed like something that should’ve been a B-side.

7. Seven Seas Romance

Getting out of that sugar fest, Seven Seas Romance brings us back to something like “Sakasama Sekai” with a definite anime intro groove to it.  At least I enjoyed this one a lot more since the tune has a nice progressive sound and Shoko’s voice isn’t trying to be overly girly.  The tune is good, but doesn’t quite reach to the same levels as “9lives”.

8. millefeuille nights

Our next track was released as a “TV” version so here we get the full version!  I was surprised with the quick-paced sound that really sounds anime-heavy (for good reason).  I think of the cutesy stuff, I found myself bouncing around with this track and Shoko gave the tune life (even though the kind of denpa arrangement is already working).  Fun song for the album!

9. Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato

Hmmm, a song that mixes the previous track with the album’s overall rock sound?  Yep, that’s the case for Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato and it actually works alongside Shoko’s rock vocals and the energy is once again much appreciated!  It did feel rather short, but it’s still a pretty great song nonetheless!

10. chocolate chaud

I didn’t think our next new track would begin with such a dark and spooky intro…I have to give props to Shoko for that one  As the song kicks in, it follows the spooky feel with a gritty rock sound.  I liked the sound of the tune and the background vocalists added a nice touch to the track.  It might not have the power like other tracks, but it definitely ranks up there!

11. Nuigulumar Z

Released as a collaborated single, Nuigulumar Z was a surprise to see on the album (especially over some other digital singles).  Of course Shokotan is singing the lyrics for the most part while Tokusatsu provide the music and background chants.  It’s an interesting inclusion and one of the better songs on the album surprisingly!

12. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-

Taking a chill pill after “Nuigulumar Z”, Once Upon a Time was also an A-side from the single preceding the album and I wasn’t interested with it at first release.  At first, the song sounded mysterious with that strings melody and deep vocals from Shoko which I loved, but then it opens to such a forgettable chorus…at least the song kind of tries to make amends with some different directions (like the 2nd verse being a bit brighter and nice).  Actually this song really grew on me and is now prolly my favorite A-side she’s released since returning.  Even though the emotions are quite bipolar for me XD.

13. Ai Ippai, Sei Ippai

As what most people thought was going to end the album (Shokotan hid the last track til the last minute).  Ai Ippai, Sei Ippai is a mid-tempo track from her and as such it does sound like a final tune since it has a sullen feel to it, but Shoko sounds solid here as well.  Even though it isn’t one of the bangers, I can say this song is one to listen to.

14. Last Wish -Onaji Iro no Christmas-

The actual final track is a rather special track for Shoko.  If you didn’t know, this is a cover of her late father, Katsuhiko Nakagawa’s 1986 single of the same name.  For covering such an important song to her, Last Wish was of course updated to fit Shoko’s voice and she sounds really pretty here making the song a bit more Wintry than the original.  She definitely honored her father in a really nice way and a great song chosen.

Tracks Recommended

  • 9lives
  • millefeuille nights
  • Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-
  • Last Wish -Onaji Iro no Christmas-
  • Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato

Song of Avoidance

  • Ii yo ne

It felt like forever since Shokotan released a studio album that wasn’t full of covers.  As her 4th album, it started off not-so-good with the first half (cept for 9lives and Zoku Konton) but then it started accelerating in the later half and really it got pretty good.  Better than “Cosmic ♬ Inflation”?, I’d say by a bit yes!  Though the first half of it might take some time to stick.