Kurayami Monogatari

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KARA – DAY & NIGHT August 23, 2014

Filed under: KARA — solarblade @ 3:01 am

daynight

Track Listing

  1. Live
  2. Mamma Mia
  3. So Good
  4. Melancholy (24/7)
  5. Ppalganbul
  6. Iyagi

1. Live

KARA opens their mini with an acappella opening for Live.  Then it gets a little more groovy and full of bossa nova which is a surprising twist on a style they don’t get to sing in much and they sound really pleasant (especially since it’s only 4 of them nowadays).  It’s a fun song to listen to and we got solo lines all over the place which is great (even more for Seongyeon fans).  It’s a lively track and a nice way to start this mini-album off.

2. Mamma Mia

Then we get into the promotional track that was also the first taste of new member, Young Ji.  I didn’t think KARA would take a page from INFINITE’s 80’s sound with Mamma Mia but I’m loving it because it’s just upbeat and has that pizzaz that their lead-in songs usually have.  Though we didn’t get many Young Ji lines in comparison to “Live”, but it’s still overall a pretty damn cool song and it’s getting a Japanese translation!!!

3. So Good

Welp, KARA has decided to hit that funky vibe again for the next track, but I already could tell that the group sounds more upbeat and peppy when compared to the songs from “Full Bloom”.  It’s bouncy and just has a lot of character to it which I love a lot!  Definitely a good track here!

4. Melancholy (24/7)

A drum count-in for Melancholy?  I was wondering if this was going to be a rock track, but it turns out to something like “In The Game”, but once again the group actually sounds alive and is adding personality into this track which is great to hear!  The tune is just fun to listen to and puts a smile on my face when it comes on that’s for sure!

5. Ppalganbul

Of course it wouldn’t be a KARA release without one of the tracks exhibiting their R&B flavors.  Ppalganbul tones things down a bit with its chilled beat and overall slow jam kind of style.  Oh yeah it also keeps the funky areas around as well.  It’s a pretty cool song for them and the group just sounds really pretty together.  I enjoyed it quite a bit…not as much as the other songs on this mini, but it’s up there.

6. Iyagi

The mini of course has to end with a ballad though I felt like it’s just “Ppalganbul” but without the funky beats.  I mean it’s a K-pop ballad, it meets the expectations but I feel like it’s nothing totally unique to KARA so it kind of just comes off as OK at best.

 

 

With how disappointed I was with KARA’s “Full Bloom”, I was a bit skeptical coming into DAY & NIGHT especially with the lineup changes and honestly, this mini definitely picked them back up even with new member Young Ji.  Really, only one song disappointed me and it was the ubiquitous ballad from the group so that’s saying a lot!  Overall they’ve popped back on my radar for the time being…let’s hope this energy carries over to their Japanese releases!

 

KARA – Full Bloom

Filed under: KARA — solarblade @ 2:20 am

fullbloom

Track Listing

  1. Dul Junge Hana (Runaway)
  2. Suknyeoga Mos Dwae (Damaged Lady)
  3. 1+1
  4. In The Game
  5. Follow Me
  6. Smoothie
  7. 2Night
  8. Dul Junge Hana (Runaway) (Inst.)
  9. Suknyeoga Mos Dwae (Damaged Lady) (Inst.)

1. Dul Junge Hana (Runaway)

Used as the 2nd lead-in song for the album, Runaway kicks things off on a lighter note and not as hard as some of the previous lead-in tracks from KARA.  I do like the softer arrangement with acoustic guitar and just works up to this mid-tempo track.  I really do love the opening lines from Ji Young and Nicole though…it was very relaxing and pleasant and really stays at the same feeling throughout.  I don’t know if it works as the opening track though…seems very…flatline to get into the album (especially with “STEP” kicking too many ass).

2. Suknyeoga Mos Dwae (Damaged Lady)

So the actual promotional track was Damaged Lady and I was hoping they would release a banger (especially with how fond I have been with the lead-in songs.  I will say that it did sound a bit edgy than “Runaway” with the electric guitar riffs mixed with their already established R&B style.  I mean saying that, it definitely doesn’t hold a candle to stuff like “STEP” and “Pandora”, but it definitely was a solid choice to promote.  Different direction for the group but I liked it.

3. 1+1

Moving onto the new songs, 1+1 seems to kind of cater to their past style which is kind of cool!  This track is kind of glossy pop, but it does have some surprises like SeongYeon’s solo part that had a pretty cool sound to it.  Otherwise, this song really didn’t click for me much.  It’s their cute song and I usually don’t enjoy them too much.

4. In The Game

It seems that K-pop recently has been interested in releasing funky/jazz tracks and that’s what KARA gave us with In The Game.  It’s not to say that it isn’t bad because I found it to be fun and full of good vocals.  It’s a good track overall and wasn’t disappointed with it..give it a listen!

5. Follow Me

Man the beat is pretty forward in our next track, Follow Me.  When I first heard it, it was like they took the previous track and “Damaged Lady” and fused the ideas together to get this track.  Nothing to bad to comment upon it, but it just sounds a little forgettable.

6. Smoothie

I was expecting this song to be the group’s overly cute song but it’s actually a chilled out R&B track that took some ideas from “Follow Me” and swung with it.  I will say that I pretty much enjoyed the soft and relaxing nature of the ladies singing here.  Definitely put me into a state of lull.  It’s probably my favorite off this album that’s for sure!

7. 2Night

As the last song of the album, 2Night closes things out with a pretty upbeat pop track.  After the more slower ditties, 2Night does manage to wake my ass up, but not entirely because there’s something oddly familiar about it that I feel like the group has done before.  Maybe this should’ve been the opening song and “Runaway” could’ve ended it.  I don’t know this track is nice but likewise with the others, it felt lacking.

 

 

Honestly, I kind of felt like KARA with Full Bloom is such a farce for a title especially for a full bloom that ended with Nicole and Ji Young leaving the group after this album.  I do love the vocals which is normal with KARA but I felt like they lacked the energy and/or interest with this release.  The leading songs didn’t feel unique to me and the rest of the album just kind of paled when compared to their previous releases in Korea.  I just wasn’t into this one.

 

Mai Kuraki – Muteki na Heart/STAND BY YOU

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 1:46 am

mutekinaheart

Track Listing

  1. Muteki na Heart
  2. STAND BY YOU
  3. STAND BY YOU ~Chinese Version~ (feat. A-fu Teng)
  4. Muteki na Heart ~Instrumental~
  5. STAND BY YOU ~Instrumental~

1. Muteki na Heart

I love how Muteki na Heart opens with the electro beat going…that really made me excited for the song!  Like I’ve said in recent times Mai-K’s voice has been starting to take on a different tone and I’m enjoying it!  The feel of the song is definitely in the realm of recent as well and all together made for a pretty strong dance even as far as to throw in a rapping section (which we haven’t seen for a while).  Honestly, its definitely one of her best A-sides in a while!

2. STAND BY YOU

Though the other A-side is kind of more of the pattern we’ve been getting from her last couple of singles.  STAND BY YOU is a pretty simple ballad here and I quite like it surprisingly enough.  I usually might be tire of this because Mai has plenty of these kind of tracks in her discography so it’s rather hard to differentiate them all from each other.  Being a piano/acoustic guitar affair, STAND BY YOU is nice overall…a bit expected but it’s alright.

3. STAND BY YOU ~Chinese Version~ (feat. A-fu Teng)

While I don’t know which edition it comes off of, we get a Chinese Version of the ballad that included another voice from the C-pop singler, A-fu Teng.  The music does sound slightly different (almost more lenient of acoustic guitar) but it could just be me.  The Chinese is pretty nice to listen to, especially from A-fu Teng, but that’s a given.  Overall, it’s a nice bonus and funny that this got the PV over the original.

 

 

Wow, I actually am starting to enjoy Mai’s music!  Muteki na Heart has to be one of my favorite A-sides she’s released in quite a while with the heavy beats and overall fun atmosphere.  STAND BY YOU is kind of the normal ballad experience that we’ve gotten so used to from Mai, but at least the Chinese version is new and different.  Overall not bad of a single!