Kurayami Monogatari

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Crystal Kay – Kimi ga Ita Kara June 4, 2015

Filed under: Crystal Kay — solarblade @ 9:55 pm

kimigaitakara

Track Listing

  1. Kimi ga Ita Kara
  2. THE LIGHT
  3. My Heart Beat
  4. Monologue
  5. Kimi ga Ita Kara (Instrumental)
  6. THE LIGHT (English Version)

1. Kimi ga Ita Kara

Opening the single up is Kimi ga Ita Kara and I was not surprised at all when it turned out to be a ballad.  Being her first ballad A-side since transferring over to UNIVERSAL, this song is pretty to listen to and Kuri’s vocals are still very pleasant to listen to.  I do get a feeling that it would’ve suited an anime (kind of like “Motherland” did).  It’s not a bad song and worth the near 3 year wait.

2. THE LIGHT

Released as a digital single in April, THE LIGHT was used to promote a cell phone and I hate to say, the song is a bit messy.  I think it might be the beat, but if we took that out, I REALLY enjoy the ethereal glow of the song and Kuri’s vocals is pretty damn heavenly too which really sounds nice.  I know after a while, the beats will make more sense because it’s not a terrible song and suits against something like “Forever” was.

3. My Heart Beat

Another digital single prior to this release (though this came out in 2013), My Heart Beat does feel like a leftover song left off from “VIVID” and it’s a shame because this is a pretty cool song too!  It matches with the dance-pop style Kuri adopted during that era and I also get a fun party vibe here too!  Definitely the favorite from the single for sure, I don’t know why but this song is just a night after a clubbing experience!

4. Monologue

I suppose it makes Monologue the only legitimate new song on the single (“Kimi ga Ita Kara” was released a couple weeks before the physical release).  I was expecting a short passage just by going for the title, but Monologue is a lighter R&B track with a nice punching beat on top of a lighter 90’s R&B style too.  It’s a solid track as well and Kuri just sounds great here.  Damnit!

5. THE LIGHT (English Version)

The single ends with an English take on THE LIGHT and I feel like the song was made originally in English and was later translated to Japanese before the single release.  I never thought Kuri couldn’t handle it because she owns it both ways and that’s that…the arrangement is still pretty much the same, but I feel like I connected to this take more.

Jesus, 3 more days and it would’ve been a complete 3 years since we’ve had a Crystal Kay single.  She definitely didn’t lose her touch in the hiatus and this single is a pretty good collection overall.  Despite 3/4 aren’t exactly new songs, all of them seemingly worked together and continued to have to bright and wide sound that “VIVID” had which I totally adore!  I hope she doesn’t keep us waiting for her next release though.

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KARA – Summer☆gic/Sunshine Miracle/SUNNY DAYS

Filed under: KARA — solarblade @ 9:07 pm

summergic

Track Listing

  1. Summer☆gic
  2. Sunshine Miracle
  3. SUNNY DAYS
  4. Summer☆gic (Instrumental)
  5. Sunshine Miracle (Instrumental)
  6. SUNNY DAYS (Instrumental)

1. Summer☆gic

Being the lead song (and the only one to get a PV), Summer☆gic brings us back to the cutesy style of KARA which is something I’m not terribly fond of.  It’s pretty lighthearted and while I do love the bounce of the arrangement and flow of the chorus, it’s a bit forgetful and somewhat lacking in some areas.  Compared to their other summer-themed A-sides, I feel like this one just missed the mark.

2. Sunshine Miracle

The next track focuses a bit more with the pop/rock beachside kind of track but still remaining as a cute song overall.  I actually kind of enjoyed this one slightly more than “Summer☆gic” even if the song utilizes a lot of the same stuff throughout.  That might not be enough to impress other people I don’t think.

3. SUNNY DAYS

Somehow, I feel like the opening of SUNNY DAYS was going to lead into a powerful track (like “GO GO Summer!”), but I was rather fooled as the song just kept on with the slower tempo.  This one does separate itself from the other two because of it’s slower groove and slight R&B dabs in the arrangement.  Add on the silky smooth vocals from the quartet and this is probably my favorite of the three.  I mean it still won’t beat out older songs, but it’s a pleasant tune overall.

As the 2nd and final single before the group’s 5th album is released, this summer single for the most part just kind of went by with not too much of an impression.  I think they got into this idea that they HAVE to do a summer-themed single every year and with each one they do, it gets more and more forgettable.  The only exception is SUNNY DAYS as it’s a nicer slow song that really shows off the group’s soothing vocals.  Still, Summer☆gic and Sunshine Miracle were just meh!

 

AAA – Ashita no Hikari

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 8:53 pm

ashitanohikari

Track Listing

  1. Ashita no Hikari
  2. Ashita no Hikari (Instrumental)

1. Ashita no Hikari

Being tied into the anime, World Trigger, Ashita no Hikari would definitely sound like an anison song that’s for sure.  It’s a pretty nice mid-tempo song and it hits the chords graciously on top of having really nice vocals from the group.  There’s really nothing totally bad about the song but after having “GAME OVER?” release before it, I feel like it is slightly disappointing in a way.

As the 5th in the series, Ashita no Hikari isn’t as bad as I thought it would be knowing that it was tied to an anime.  Usually they handle those right.  Ashita no Hikari is pretty bright and the group sounds great together, but amongst the other singles they’ve released so far…this kind of lies in the middle.

 

Playstation Home June 3, 2015

Filed under: ~Video Game Reviews~ — solarblade @ 6:12 pm

pshome

Overview

PS Home is a social network created by SONY in 2008 and lasted up until its closure in 2015.  The idea was to give players a way to interact with other gamers in a sort-of Sims-way, but adds a lot of customization like the Animal Crossing series as well.  Of course, many developers also dipped their toes into this really interesting mash-up.  There were also MANY different spaces (kind of like chat-rooms back in the day) that was themed different with each one.  Also, Europe and Asia had their own versions albeit they had different spaces than each other.

Gameplay

Gameplay is rather easy, once you start it up, Home introduces you to an avatar (a character that you can edit) and gives you your first private space (Harbour Studio) in that, the game gives a quick tutorial over how the game works with walking around, messing in your inventory and wardrobe (though you’ll be pretty bare bones at first).  Then it sends you to the Hub (yeah, it used to be Central Plaza, but I joined in 2012 so I was a bit late to the party) and you’ll finally get your first experience with what Home is all about, socializing.  Really from this point on, you get to choose what to do (from making new friends, to buying stuff, to even traveling to other spaces to start off.  Really, Home is what you make of it and the choices are infinite.  Along the way you’ll get items to customize your avatar with and Locomotions (which makes your character faster or gives you more dances)…so much!

As time grew on, Home kept being updated with new things to do or more things to buy (I wouldn’t try to get all of them because it grew to high amounts).  Plus there was glitching and ending up with free stuff.

Once clubs became a thing, a new idea, fams started to happen…they really were cliques within the game and most of the time the people were trying too hard and being “the best” there ever was, but for people it was easy to make friends with (though just as easy to lose them too).

Add in minigames through most of the spaces and you’ve got a LOT to do.

Graphics / Sound

  • Graphics – While I wouldn’t pair it next to gorgeous games like Uncharted and Final Fantasy XIII, Home felt more like it had PS2 graphics which isn’t so bad and the various spaces really take control of the colors which meant it wasn’t boring to look at considering how much of it there was.  Some companies (like Granzella) took advantage and made REALLY pretty spaces whereas something like the Hudson Gate was vivid and brightly colored to the dark and dingy SIREN space.  The items and private spaces also had a lot of cool detail especially the clothing (there was just so many though!).  The avatar themselves look pretty basic, unless you take the time to edit and mess around with it.
  • Sound – When it came to sound, it bounced back and forth.  The Hub features songs, but they’re of indie artists and fused a lot of pop, hip-hop, rock, and electro (but sounding almost bland after a while).  Some of the other spaces do have licensed music (Konami Penthouse & SIREN for example had songs from their games).  I think what disappointed was the lack of choice of having your own music (in your private space) I feel like that was a huge loss and would’ve made sense to include (especially you can buy a free radio, but stuck with a selection of songs from LOOT).

DLC

Of course there was weekly updates and with that came technically DLC with additions of WAY MORE items and clothing on top of adding in new spaces and private spaces as well (even clubs).  To be honest, I never spent too much on the stuff (and when the final months were happening, they were releasing a BUNCH of free stuff).

Overall: 9/10

While I’m pretty sad to see SONY close Home down (due to the company focusing their ideas with the PS4), Home was a pretty amazing experience (well for the 3 1/2 years I was active).  There was so much to do and I don’t think I ever completed everything there was to do, but that’s because Home was a social experiment.  I mean yeah, there were people who’d troll or lie or even steal on there, but the friends you did make and see so much on Home last forever so that I commend SONY for pulling this off.

There would’ve been so much more I would’ve talked about, but that would just make this a hard read xD.  Let’s just say I had fun while it was active.