Kurayami Monogatari

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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.

 

U-KISS – Memories

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 4:36 am

memoriesukiss

Track Listing

  1. FLY HIGH ~Intro~
  2. Break up
  3. Bungee Jump
  4. Fall in Love
  5. Spring Rain
  6. Standing Still ~Japanese version~
  7. nightmare
  8. CRAZY 4 U
  9. Baby, Touch Me
  10. Shape of your heart
  11. SOMEDAY ~Japanese version~
  12. Never End ~Ending~
  13. Ballade Medley ~The Grand Takt Kiss~ (CD only first press)

1. FLY HIGH ~Intro~

Of course the group would begin their album with an introduction right?  Though I will say, I like that it begins on a high note as it’s filled with synths and energy.  I do enjoy the parts when the group joins in to count down the song and it becomes a really cool EDM track…they really should’ve spent some time making into this a full track to be honest.  Kevin and Soohyun really made the vocal parts awesome!

2. Break up

Being the 2nd and final A-side released for the album, Break up was the first single as the temporary 5-nin and I was definitely feeling the absence of Dongho and AJ in this tune, but I was liking the energy of the group irregardless.  A lot of Soohyun and Hoon here which made the song a little more smoother and classy.  Of the 3 A-sides, I think this stuck onto me the most, but there’s been better from the group no doubt!

3. Bungee Jump

Kind of a funky title for the first new track from the album.  Like “Break up”, it’s got a more grittier dance sound, but lightens up in the pre-chorus which is quite something.  When we do get to the chorus, the whole ~bungee ju-ju-ju-ju jump~ shtick is annoying to me, but besides that I actually enjoyed the energy this tune brings.  It’s an interesting tune and I can easily see myself enjoying this more and more.

4. Fall in Love

As part of the first single released for the era, Fall in Love was the first song in Japan without Dongho and I was worried it might’ve have upsetted some of the balance, but honestly it quite evened out (maybe except for Eli).  As a song, it’s quite a romantic track set to a nice K-pop beat.  Though let’s be honest, this song really worked for Soohyun who had many solos in this one (even over Hoon and Kevin!).  Also did good for AJ who had the rap and mid-8 section as well.  “Break up” did grow onto me, but “Fall in Love” was something on another level IMO.

5. Spring Rain

After 3 dance tracks, we tone it down to our next new track, Spring Rain which I figured would’ve been a ballad right from the title.  Surprised to hear Hoon start the singing first before Soohyun XD.  When it comes to the group’s ballads, once you heard one, you’ve heard them all XD.  There’s nothing totally that makes this stand out from others like “A Shared Dream” and “Believe”.  Just kind of basic.

6. Standing Still ~Japanese version~

So we get the B-side from “Break up” which is a self-cover of their main track from their Korean album, “COLLAGE”.  Like I said on the single review, it’s quite awkward hearing this without Dongho and AJ and the arrangement is a smidge different.  I actually don’t mind the lyrics and the guys sung them well, but damn I was expecting the other two members doing their parts hahah.  Keep the original Korean version over this honestly.

7. nightmare

Going into a string of new songs, we come into nightmare first and I thought it was going to be a badass song like “Break up” or “ALONE” but it’s more of a brighter dance track 0.o  Most of the song is sung by Kevin which isn’t so bad and the group throws their thing in there, but I feel like the song is lacking that punch.  That piano was a nice touch though, it came in at the right parts for me.  I would say this would’ve made a nice A-side honestly.

8. CRAZY 4 U

Another song where I thought it was gonna be a hard hitter, CRAZY 4 U begins with Soohyun singing with a repetitive piano line.  Turns into a mid-tempo affair and I was kind of here nor there with it.  I will say the vocals are really pretty to hear (especially Hoon).  Otherwise, the song is a little too vanilla for me.

9. Baby, Touch Me

Man, it’s like the group finally pulled out of the slower songs with Baby, Touch Me which has a strong EDM sound and I’m just loving the sound mixed with Kevin’s vocals and I was sold easily here.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a solo for him because minus Eli’s rap, I don’t remember hearing any of the other 3 members.  Either way, this is probably the album’s gem…it’s just that damn good!

10. Shape of your heart

Then we move to the other second A-side opposite to “Fall in Love” and I’ve also found myself loving this as well.  There’s just something about these singles that really embedded itself on me lol.  It does remind me of our previous track with the similar edge yet clean sound to it.  I was sad that it never got a PV, but this was the better song IMO.  Though times have changed and I can’t decide XD.  It’s like they’re maturing their sound and I’m actually enjoying that a lot!

11. SOMEDAY ~Japanese version~

So we get another language converted self-cover, this time SOMEDAY (which was from the group’s 2nd Korean album, “Neverland”).  Once again dealing with some resung parts due to lack of members lol.  Funny, I have this release but I totally forgot this song.  The more smoky vocals REALLY stand out in this track and the simple beat kind of gave the track some punch.  The chorus does kind of makes things a lil muddled, but this is still a really good track and the transition to Japanese worked well for this one.  Sweet!!!

12. NEVER END ~Ending~

The outro is a pretty ominous sounding one huh?  Funny how that works.  Eli starts with some spoken dialogue with Kevin/Hoon/Soohyun/Keseop singing a couple lines afterwards.  Then Eli speaks more (in English BTW).  For an outro piece, in lines of the album, it doesn’t fit well…a little over the top so to speak.  Still it was kind of nice to end things off like that.

13. Ballade Medley ~The Grand Takt Kiss~

On first press editions of the CD only, we get a medley of the group’s ballads!  Of course this is all their Japanese sung ballads so you’ll see “0330” and “Believe” part of this medley.  I wanna say there’s 6 songs played in this almost 14 minute track and sadly I really couldn’t tell you what songs are which since I’m not exactly too into their ballads XD.  Also it’s a little too long-winded for me, but I’m sure fans that do love it will surely enjoy it (despite, it’s the full song so it’s better to just listen to them seperately).

Tracks Recommended

  • Baby, Touch Me
  • Fall in Love
  • SOMEDAY ~Japanese version~
  • Shape of your heart
  • nightmare

Song of Avoidance

  • CRAZY 4 U

Coming into the group’s 3rd album, I was pretty worried because this album came out just 8 months after their last one, “Inside øf Me” and with the loss of Dongho and haitus of AJ, I was worried that the group was going to chill out before doing anything more than the two singles that came before this (and their Korean releases as well).  Memories seemed like a more mature affair and for the most part I kind of liked it a lot…maybe not as much as their last album, but I wouldn’t say this was a failure either.  With a new member joining U-KISS, Joon…I’m excited what he’ll bring as he’s meant to replace Dongho…WOO!