Kurayami Monogatari

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KOTOKO – ZoNE-iT September 30, 2015

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 5:41 am

zoneit

Track Listing

  1. ZoNE-iT
  2. call
  3. ZoNE-iT (instrumental)
  4. call (instrumental)

1. ZoNE-iT

You know, KOTOKO tricked me with that opening intro being all nice and pretty before doing a 180 and throwing a rock song in my face hahaha!  The song itself is pretty damn catchy and KOTOKO is up to her usual vocal trips that I’m just used to it now and she brings power to an already edgy song.  Probably my favorite A-side since “Light My Fire”.

2. call

The B-side on the other hand does take itself a bit lighter (maybe more like a mid-tempo rock song).  KOTOKO also took things a bit slower as well by using a more lighter and wispy tone for the verses and coming out in the pre-chorus and chorus which is really nice to hear!  It’s nice to see KOTOKO sing songs like these as it shows a more grand view of her voice and emotions and it really makes the song pop out (she should do more of these in the future!).

Another single I’ve missed out, this late 2014 single is actually pretty good for KOTOKO.  Neither song did anything to hurt her sound and I feel like rock is very good on her (though I don’t want her to totally avoid electro).  ZoNE-iT really makes me hope she releases more sometime soon!

 

AKB48 – Kibouteki Refrain September 28, 2015

Filed under: AKB48 — solarblade @ 2:47 pm

kiboutekirefrain

Track Listing

  1. Kibouteki Refrain
  2. Ima, Happy (Baragumi) (Type-A  & Theater edition only)
  3. Juujun na Slave (Team A) (Type-A only)
  4. Ambulance (Yurigumi) (Type-B only)
  5. Hajimete no Drive (Team K) (Type-B only)
  6. Utaitai (Cattleya-gumi) (Type-C only)
  7. Loneliness Club (Team B) (Type-C only)
  8. Seifuku no Hane (Team 8) (Type-D only)
  9. Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss (Team 4) (Type-D only)
  10. Kaze no Rasen (Kojizaka48) (Type-D only)
  11. Reborn (Team Surprise) (Theater edition only)
  12. Kibouteki Refrain off vocal ver.
  13. Ima, Happy off vocal ver.
  14. Juujun na Slave off vocal ver.
  15. Ambulance off vocal ver.
  16. Hajimete no Drive off vocal ver.
  17. Utaitai off vocal ver.
  18. Loneliness Club off vocal ver.
  19. Seifuku no Hane off vocal ver.
  20. Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss off vocal ver.
  21. Kaze no Rasen off vocal ver.
  22. Reborn off vocal ver.

1. Kibouteki Refrain

Another upbeat A-side huh AKB?  At least the energy from Kibouteki Refrain is nice enough and the girls sound melodically stronger when singer together.  I do feel this anison-esque arrangement to be popping for me and the chorus is actually decent here with the call/response style.  Though I could say it slightly reminds me of “Heavy Rotation” although not as exciting.  Still, with the other A-sides of this era, this is actually pretty good otherwise.

2. Ima, Happy

Seems like the B-sides this time brings out the -gumi groups and Teams, splitting them between the multiple editions.  First is the Baragumis and Ima, Happy is pretty cutesy as they go, but due to the rather meh vocals, the song does feel like they rather phoned this one in (although there’s some cool parts like the second verse) and the synths is rather game-y which is neat too!  Might not be memorable, but I think it’s just OK.

3. Juujun na Slave

Team A is up next with Juujun na Slave and I was rather surprised by the cool vibe here which is something I’ve missed from the group.  Despite the ladies are under auto-tune, the dance arrangement and lower vocal ranges here are REALLY nice and refreshing!  I’m loving the song funny enough and reminds me of the cooler songs in their collection (AKB not so much Team A XD).

4. Ambulance

Yurigumi’s song kicks off with this weird random English hook line and the song becomes this funky-sounding tune which in a way sounds different but also feels muddled and kind of gross (especially since the chorus lacks punch overall).  Meh song overall.

5. Hajimete no Drive

Team K is next and I wasn’t expecting much as there’s not a lot of songs from the Team I enjoy.  Hajimete no Drive might be the slight exception due to it actually being a mid-tempo track.  Though I could do without the strange pipe organ making things awkward and older than it needs to be.  I do love that there’s a lot of solo lines (but I couldn’t tell ya who’s who hahah).  Nice song though.

6. Utaitai

If I can recall, Cattleya-gumi is a newer -gumi group (which only complicates my figuring out these sub-groups).  Of the three, Cattleya’s sounds like it has the most effort put into it due to it’s a ballad and opens up with a pretty orchestral sound.  It’s a nice sounding song and the chorale feel of it adds up (although there is one girl who sounds a bit like a duck in certain harmonies).  Other than that mishap, it’s a nice track.

7. Loneliness Club

Then we enter Team B’s song and it almost sounds like a fusion between “Utaitai” and acoustic guitars which is pretty unfortunate considering they’re on the same edition of the single.  The strings are nice though and seeing them kind of flow in between wavy synths add something interesting, but this song’s melody could be compared to other AKB ballads in the worst way.

8. Seifuku no Hane

Then we come to Team 8’s song and of course it sounds like any other previous B-side from AKB singles with the guitars, synths, beats, and cutesy vocals.  These kind of songs really kill my interest in the group because the girls don’t put any emotions into their song so the tune just falls flat and makes me think less of the producers each time…yeah…boring and trite as shit.

9. Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss

At least Team 4’s contribution is a little more exciting taking the latin route and I kind of love it because it adds spice and interest.  Team 4 vocally is actually decent and there’s a nice light sexy tone to it that caught my attention.  It does kind of remind me of Morning Musume’s “Iroppoi Jirettai” just not as heavy on the latin flair.  So it’s OK.

10. Kaze no Rasen

Though Type-D does come with a 3rd B-side with Kaze no Rasen by Kojizaka48 (thank you for the name Haruna Kojima).  Sadly, the song like “Seifuku no Hane” doesn’t really stand out on the single and the vocals are just subpar at best.  It sounds really familiar though like there was an A-side that EXACTLY sounds like this, but I can’t put a finger on it.

11. Reborn

So finally on Theater editions, we get a track in Reborn from Team Surprise (a surprise they haven’t disbanded yet).  I do think its heavy anison sound is good, but once agan those chords just scream laziness.  Meh song, unfortunately I know it’ll be on the album which disappoints me further.

 

 

Closing the era out, Kibouteki Refrain as a whole is probably their best release, I think.  Kibouteki Refrain is actually a good A-side and doesn’t stick to the usual formula they’ve been following in forever.  Of the B-sides though, the only ones to listen to are Juujun na Slave, Utaitai, and Me wo Aketa Mama no First Kiss.  The others are just bland entries with nothing totally memorable about them…This album is shaping up to be really forgettable though.

 

Mami Kawada – PARABLEPSIA September 23, 2015

Filed under: Mami Kawada — solarblade @ 5:03 am

parablepsia

Track Listing

  1. parablepsia
  2. Borderland
  3. I…civilization
  4. Enchantress
  5. Eager Eyes
  6. PIST
  7. fly blind
  8. here.
  9. HOWL
  10. It’s no big deal
  11. Replica_nt
  12. Break a spell
  13. Dendritic Quartz

1. parablepsia

Interesting that Mami opens up the album with the title track.  What a title though haha!  I was confused in which direction the song was heading because it was going towards electro and rock, but it kind of fuses together in a cool way (well, she’s been at this kind of style so it’s definitely right at home.  I’m loving Mami’s vocals here and she gives a stellar performance with a song that sounds like a continuation of songs from “SQUARE THE CIRCLE”.

2. Borderland

Talking about her last album we get Borderland which was a single released before that album was released.  I was sad it didn’t make the cut but here it is on this one (yet “FIXED STAR” and “Gardens” are inexplicably missing from this album).  Borderland though works on this one with it’s static-y electrorock sound.  Instead, Mami’s vocals are much lighter and under some filters and the energy is a little more quick-paced too.  I’m still a pretty big fan of this one and was very happy to see it here!

3. I…civilization

Since most of the album from here on is brand new songs, I was curious to see what Mami and her producers came up with.  Starting with I…civilization is pretty cool and dark (almost to the same heavy arrangements from MELL and KOTOKO).  This one took more to the synth-side of things and Mami’s lines sometimes sound a lot more MELL-like than it should, but I love it!  It’s a cool song and all, but I think the previous tracks stuck out much better!

4. Enchantress

Somehow I thought the feeling of “I…civilization” would’ve been through this song, but Enchantress takes up a more electro side by lacking the guitars and giving us this weird dance track, but it sounds so cool and yet mysterious especially with some of Mami’s lines in this one.  It’s definitely a cool song for the album and an early favorite!

5. Eager Eyes

Seems like the album is just digging deeper into electro I’ve and I’m loving this trek down that lane.  Eager Eyes is dirty and aggressive and Mami’s filtered vocals add this really cool effect that reminds me of stuff from MELL like “Red fraction” and “no vain” but it’s still pretty has its own identity that just sticks on me and love more and more!

6. PIST

For a song title as such, it’s not a shocker that it’s another aggressive track on the album.  Though unlike the cool trance vibes of the previous track, PIST is a little more heavy on the guitarwork here, but it still has some electro in it giving it this factory-kind of sound which is basically the best I can compare to.  There’s even parts where the arrangement lightens up and Mami’s filtered vocals sound a lot more soothing and cool.

7. fly blind

Next up, is fly blind and it’s strictly on the rockin’ side of Mami’s arrangements (almost on the level of some stuff from “SEED” and “SAVIA”.  It’s a pretty in your face kind of song and really comes punching in and out and I’m loving some of it.  The chorus includes some synths and piano which does throw some of the edginess out the window, but I think there’s something about the verses that really gelled together.

8. here.

Though the beginning of here. closes the door and we’re back to stuff that sort of sounds like “Borderland”.  here. has a cool intro with gritty guitars and synths.  I think this track does well with Mami’s take on MELL’s voice and it sounds really devilish, but then the chorus opens to a much lighter feel which like “fly blind” throws me off, but the chorus is decent too…it’s just that it sounds a bit like “Red fraction”…

9. HOWL

Man this album has just been so very aggressive so far and it’s a surprise to me especially since I’ve listened to all her albums.  I’m a little weirded out with the long introduction and the weird vocals choices Mami makes during the song.  I wouldn’t say this is a favorite of mine due to the changes this song goes through, but the effort is through the roof.

10. It’s no big deal

Of an album that has been mostly dark and aggressive and just angsty, It’s no big deal is the odd ball on this album having a more poppy vibe and the amount of noticeable Engrish is cool too.  Though I think by itself, the song is great and shows off a nicer side to Mami, this song probably should’ve been on “SQUARE THE CIRCLE” LOL.

11. Replica_nt

Oh hey a trance song comes next!  The beat is definitely the heaviest on the album here and I love those kind of tracks!  It even keeps at it through the entire track alongside a lower toned Mami which is always nice to hear too!  I love the thick amount of synths bouncing along the deep bass synth giving a really full sounding track.  Definitely a cool song overall!

12. Break a spell

I was shocked that Break a spell was the literal only A-side to make the cut (“Borderland” being released in the last album’s era and the lack of the other 2 A-sides released prior to this album.  Break a spell does take a bit from “Borderland” with the airy vocals, but getting strong for the chorus.  Though coming back to this, the song isn’t as strong as I remembered last year.  The slower tempo (in comparison to many of the songs on this album) is strange, though the intro is still the coolest thing in the track.

13. Dendritic Quartz

Closing the album out is Dendritic Quartz and by title alone, I was looking forward to listening to this one.  Though I was surprised that like “It’s no big deal”, it’s a happier song from Mami though its placement is nice since it doesn’t totally break the album.  I mean it does keep the dance beats and strong vocals, but it kind of zones me out after a while.

Tracks Recommended

  • Replica_nt
  • Enchantress
  • Borderland
  • parablepsia
  • PIST

Song of Avoidance

  • Dendritic Quartz

As I finish Mami’s 5th album all I can say is, wow this was one consistent album going between the things she’s known for and not taking strange risks.  A lot of these songs are quite decent (and even Dendritic Quartz has good things going on too!).  While I was worried with the time she took for this album (and “Gardens” being such a generic mess), I was worried PARABLEPSIA was going to be a misstep, but honestly, it’s probably her best album yet! *RECOMMENDED*

 

TEMPURA KIDZ – LOLLiPOP

Filed under: TEMPURA KIDZ — solarblade @ 3:45 am

lollipop

Track Listing

  1. LOLLiPOP
  2. Miira Killer

1. LOLLiPOP

If you want to talk about a catchy song, LOLLiPOP kind of ranks up their for TEMPURA KIDZ.  I’m loving that the vocals of the group aren’t as filtered like their previous singles had them so it feels more natural (well as it can get because the song itself is pretty dance-heavy as their stuff has been otherwise.  I’m a little surprised that there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the song especially with the chorus is repeating the title over and over again.  Still with that being its biggest fault, it’s still catchy and while it’s not as good as “ONE STEP”, this is definitely better than their last single.

2. Miira Killer

Now I’ve heard this song back when it was released but didn’t review it due to it being a digital single and looked more like it was a Charisma.com song (which by the way, this song is a collaboration between the two units).  Listening to it again, I was enjoying the kind of weird 80’s New Wave glow it had plus it sounded a little punkish in some areas.  At first it was hard to figure where TEMPURA KIDZ fit in the pieces because I heard a lot more of Charisma.com here.  Though they are there in the choruses and some lines so it’s a good collaboation in the end!

As the 3rd and last single before their first album, “Tenkomori” releases, LOLLiPOP is a pretty good single for the group!  The main song is really catchy and can easily become an earworm after giving some time and Miira Killer (while old) is a nice coupling song as well giving us a different feel with a collaboration.  Definitely curious to see how this album will turn out!

 

la la larks – Hallelujah

Filed under: la la larks — solarblade @ 1:30 am

hallelujah

Track Listing

  1. Hallelujah
  2. Q And A
  3. Shikisai
  4. Hallelujah (Instrumental)
  5. Q And A (Instrumental)
  6. Shikisai (Instrumental)

1. Hallelujah

That cool electronic opening of Hallelujah made me say that exactly!  The tune is a really interesting one having a different kind of non-sfp sound, but the experimentation continued with the chorus by including brass instruments alongside the band which gave this song an AMAZING and robust sound!  I’m really loving the atmosphere of the song and Yumi just sounds heavenly alongside this very wild and exciting track…there’s even a cool guitar solo!  Yeah, this is definitely a song to keep on my iPhone for sure!

2. Q And A

After being blessed with such an A-side, Q And A comes next and this sounds like something the band would have released.  Very familiar chords and arrangements as the song rolls on by and while that’s not a good thing I still can’t get the feeling that somehow school food punishment never really disappeared.  I think I’m pretty content with this a a B-side because if it was the leading song, I probably wouldn’t be as invested in the single otherwise.

3. Shikisai

It seems that fellow artist Maaya Sakamoto contributed to this song (payment back for having some people from sfp doing her A-side, “Buddy” maybe?).  I’m loving the chaotic chords being presented by the piano/keyboard giving this unsettling feel to the track.  As it continues, more of the familiar sounds of the band return, but the arrangement ends up being this wild and dramatic piece and it’s LOVELY, and the drummer is really kicking ass in this song xD.  Definitely a cool B-side and easily could’ve been a leading song!

I’ve been waiting for a new la la larks single for a while and I’m so happy their 2nd single turned out really well, even better than their debut (well “debut”).  Hallelujah blew me away when I first heard it and the different ideas clashing against each other made such a beautiful end product and easily is their best song yet, it even tops a LOT of their sfp stuff!  Same can be said for Shikisai with it’s own take on it’s wild mixture of sounds and chords…it was very cool and artsy for them.  While Q And A is good, it’s a safe song for them and really is the sound a lot of fans are used to from the band…Overall this was just an awesome single *RECOMMENDED*

 

Cupitron – Robot Boy Robot Girl September 22, 2015

Filed under: Cupitron — solarblade @ 7:01 am

robotboy

Track Listing

  1. Robot Boy Robot Girl
  2. We Are Cupitron (Regular A only)
  3. π (Regular B only)
  4. Uchuu de Milk Cocoa (Limited only)
  5. Robot Boy Robot Girl TECHNO JUMBO Remix (Regular A only)
  6. Summer Kaijuu Akufen Remix (Regular B only)
  7. Robot Boy Robot Girl (Instrumental)
  8. We Are Cupitron (Instrumental)
  9. π (Instrumnetal)
  10. Uchuu de Milk Cocoa (Instrumental)

1. Robot Boy Robot Girl

Beginning their 3rd single, Robot Boy Robot Girl starts almost in a grand way with such a strong emphasis on bass drum, but as soon as the opening lyrics go by, the electropop sound starts to filter out through my headphones.  I feel like with each A-side, their producer also gets a bit more risky with the arrangement and I’m enjoying this one quite a bit!  It’s an adventurous piece of work and definitely their best yet!

2. We Are Cupitron

Strange it took them to their 3rd single to get a kind of theme song for the group.  I’m surprised that while it is slower than “Robot Boy Robot Girl”, the EDM here is a bit more gritty and heavy.  Though I can’t say that the vocal melody is very memorable as they kind of stay the same a good portion of the time and the chorus kind of bugs me…not their best work sadly.

3. π

Simply known as “Pi”, this song picks up after the disappointing previous track.  It reminds me of their more space-esque songs from previous single (especially from “Unicorn Parade”) and this one is futuristic but in a good way.  The vocoder and filtering is quite fitting and the chorus is strangely catchy (despite it just them repeating ~pi~ over and over again).  Still this is a really neat song from them!

4. Uchuu de Milk Cocoa

On the limited editions we get Uchuu de Milk Cocoa and it’s well similar to the previous songs (sans “We Are Cupitron”) with its cool EDM-sound.  I’m liking the progressive feel of the song and it’s got some interesting dubstep-y parts to make the tune pop out more.  It is the most straightforward song off the single and I think that’s why it might just be my favorite from the single!

5. Robot Boy Robot Girl TECHNO JUMBO Remix

So we get two remixes on this single strangely enough and the first is of the A-side.  Taking out the Perfume-esque twinkles, the tune turns into more like “Uchuu de Milk Cocoa” with the kind of 80’s-like feel to it with a lot of pounding bass through the song (mostly the chorus).  It’s different, I’ll give it that…but the original is still better.

6. Summer Kaijuu Akufen Remix

Finally we have a remix for their debut song, Summer Kaijuu!  I wasn’t expecting it to be the long song it was at 7 minutes, but considering it’s a remix I’m fine with that.  It starts off slow, but it has some disco elements thrown in which is pretty cool and matches with the ethereal keyboard playing.  Sadly once the group comes in to sing their lines, they’re overly filtered and computerized to the point where I can barely make out what they’re saying.  Sadly the bongo melody and light beats don’t really change it up and the horns and random quips are few and between.  It’s ok for background music, but it didn’t do Summer Kaijuu any justice.

 

 

Cupitron’s 3rd single and honestly it’s their best yet.  Disregarding the remixes, which were mostly disappointing, the 4 main songs are mainly really good tracks for them.  Robot Boy Robot Girl is very familiar, but really nice overall.  π and Uchuu de Milk Cocoa while similar in styles really captured the trio’s essence and definitely worked its way up their alongside the tunes I enjoyed from “Battery”.  Sadly, We Are Cupitron was pretty unfortunate leading to a rather monotone-sounding tune that got covered up by the other main songs.  Is there an album soon???

 

Aya Hirano – Promise

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 6:21 am

promise

Track Listing

  1. Promise
  2. Takaramono
  3. Up To Date
  4. Promise -instrumental-
  5. Takaramono -instrumental-

1. Promise

So like the cover and title put in my mind, Promise is a ballad from Aya and we’ve haven’t had one in a long time.  Though I can’t help but feel as if this song is just overly white and generic all over the place.  It’s not Aya’s fault though as she has very pretty vocals for tackling a ballad, but the arrangement is rather trite and lacks any strong footing for me.  Rather unfortunate though this couldn’t have had a more dynamic arrangement.

2. Takaramono

At least things get a little more interesting with Takaramono, add a nice soft dance beat alongside piano and you essentially get this song.  I mean it’s nothing special either though.  Sadly like “Promise”, the song doesn’t really grow much and stays at the same pace (though Aya gets some backup vocals).  Still, the song is kind of playing it rather too safe.

3. Up To Date

Then to somehow wake me up from the slumber I was beginning to have, Up To Date changes things up and ends up sounding something nice and familiar to stuff from her albums.  I’m enjoying the pop/punk sound here and Aya’s vocals sound really solid and stronger than in the previous tracks too!  Suffice to say this is my favorite of the single.

I know I’m rather late for the single, but good lord this is a weak single.  Something about Promise and Takaramono just didn’t work and felt so lazy and generic that it really didn’t work together.  It wasn’t until Up To Date came where there was some light at the end of the tunnel, but even then this could’ve been album fodder for her albums previous.  Considering that she released this in 2013 and releasing her 3rd album “vivid” in 2014…I really wonder if her scandals had basically destroyed her career…

 

Zwei – Heading For Tomorrow

Filed under: Zwei — solarblade @ 5:37 am

headingfortomorrow

Track Listing

  1. Heading For Tomorrow
  2. infinite wish
  3. Heading For Tomorrow (off Vocal)
  4. infinite wish (off Vocal)

1. Heading For Tomorrow

For such a title, I was definitely not surprised it was another anison song from the duo.  Though I do love the light intro with the low-lying synths and piano before Megu and the more aggressive rock kick in which is pretty cool.  Actually as the song continues on, I was more surprised at how slow-moving the tune really was.  I kind of dug this mid-tempo track and it didn’t really sound too anison once the guitars and bass kicked in so it’s a nice change of pace of stuff from their last album.

2. infinite wish

As for the B-side, I was confused by Ayumu’s opening dialogue…that Engrish is pretty bizarre hahaha.  infinite wish quite something else, but has a lot of similarities to “Heading For Tomorrow”, but this one hit stronger and the changes between the light verses and powerful chorus is strong!  I enjoy Ayumu here as her vocals have more color and emotion behind too!  Great B-side overall!

Starting a new era, Heading For Tomorrow is actually a pretty decent single and much better than what they gave us during the “Re:Set” days.  Both tracks are hard-hitting and didn’t feel like anison songs which is a godsend!  Though I prefer infinite wish over the leading song due to it’s much broader sound and strong vocals.  Can’t wait to see what the rest of the “NEO MASQUE” era has to offer.

 

°C-ute – Cutie Queen VOL. 1 September 21, 2015

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 5:21 am

cutiequeen

Track Listing

  1. Massara Blue Jeans
  2. Wakkyanai (Z)
  3. Soku Dakishimete
  4. Ookina Ai de Motenashite
  5. Time Capsule
  6. EVERYDAY YEAH! Kataomoi
  7. As ONE
  8. YES! Shiawase
  9. ENDLESS LOVE ~I Love You More~

1. Massara Blue Jeans

Like Berryz, it’s no surprise that the album would begin with their debut single.  Great because Kanna has the opening line of the track hahah!  I still do think this is definitely one of the best debuts within Hello! Project from the slap bass and the speedy yet exciting arrangement.  Even though Maimi leads a good portion of the song there’s solos for just about everyone except Maimai, Nakky, and Chisato.  It’s a pretty exciting song though and one of the coolest ways to open an album up!

2. Wakkyanai (Z)

Strange to see that they’d make the next track be the 4th A-side (notably known as the PV-less single).  While the previous three A-sides had a lot going for them and they managed to really stick to me, Wakkyanai (Z) was the one that took the longest time.  For a song that’s mostly led by Megumi and Airi (with a solo line for Kanna and Chisato), this song is kind of just cute but not as heavily like “Ookina Ai de Motenashite”.  While it is my least favorite of the A-sides, it’s a decent track and really shows off Airi’s skills a lot (I’d say the same for Megumi, but…)

3. Soku Dakishimete

Going back, we hit the group’s 2nd single Soku Dakishimete and I still wasn’t sure what Tsunku was leading this group towards.  The song tries to be a cool song (and the PV even moreso), but the song itself sounds a whole lot cuter than I remembered.  With Maimi, Airi, and Megumi having all the solo lines, it was a rather concerning song and it showed who was really going to be promoted in the group.  I still do enjoy the song and really showcased Megumi a lot more which is really nice for fans who wanted to know who she was.

4. Ookina Ai de Motenashite

3rd single is next up and it’s definitely the cutest of the 4 (no pun intended xD).  As the uber sugary cute song it is, I was kind surprised at how vocally daft it was once you kick things off.  The rather higher pitched vocals from Airi, Maimi, and Megumi didn’t exactly sound right, but with the sparkly sounds and girly arrangement, I suppose I could give it a pass.  I do love that chorus though and it’s just a catchy song overal even if the vocals are a little more squeaky.

5. Time Capsule

As the rest of the album is new tracks, it’s nice to see some new material pop up.  Time Capsule is up first and after the bouncy and fun nature of the singles, this song does slightly tone things down if only a little bit.  Of course our usual suspects have lead parts including Erika which is pretty awesome to see her lead alongside.  The track itself doesn’t exactly do much for me as the arrangement kind of stays flat as well as the vocals unfortunately.  Though Megumi did try to add some accents which is a nice try but still didn’t help the song much.

6. EVERYDAY YEAH! Kataomoi

Something about this song had a weird nostalgic sound before the group comes in and well squeaks things up.  Well, sort-of since Maimai has a lot of the hook lines in the song and her voice was just ear-piercingly hard on my ears.  The rest of the song is pretty catchy though and it’s also the first song where every member has a solo line (surprising IMO).  I do think this track is pretty much reserved for live performances because of the whole call and response chorus.  This song is pretty good though and one of the better album songs out there.

7. As ONE

Though it could be questioned that maybe the next song, As ONE could be even better because it’s got a nice dance sound to it.  There’s not a lot of solo lines to be had here (one solo line each for Maimai, Maimi, Erika, and Megumi) though a lot of the song has a strong amount of English too which surprised me a whole lot, a little more frequent than in “Massara Blue Jeans”.  It’s a pretty solid song though and might be my favorite of the new songs hahaha!

8. YES! Shiawase

The final two tracks are actually cover songs though it’s odd on H!P history because this is a T&C Bomber song and the next one is a Taiyou to Ciscomoon cover (the two are the same group, just rebranded).  That being said, I was highly expecting to not enjoy it because the original songs were sung by mature singers so having kids tackling them was a cause for worry. Sadly, it came to be since the younger voices didn’t exactly fit the arrangement very well and I wasn’t a big fan of the original regardless of the difference of vocals either…

9. ENDLESS LOVE ~I Love You More~

So the other cover though I thought was handled a little better.  Adding that kind of urban-pop sound to the group was a pretty interesting twist and I enjoyed °C-ute’s version maybe not as much as Taiyou to Ciscomoon’s but this is much better than how “YES! Shiawase” turned out.  Despite the leads are just Maimi, Airi, Megumi, and Erika again it’s still a cool song overall and interesting decision to be the closer.

Tracks Recommended

  • Massara Blue Jeans
  • As ONE
  • Soku Dakishimete
  • EVERYDAY YEAH! Kataomoi
  • Ookina Ai de Motenashite

Song of Avoidance

  • YES! Shiawase

Unlike Berryz’ debut, I thought °C-ute’s debut album was better by a nice margin!  Cutie Queen VOL. 1 did a nice job showing off a much more cooler group in comparison and despite that we already know who were going to be the obvious leads here (Airi & Maimi) this still was a good album with a lot of memorable songs.  Though it is fair to remind you all that this was the only album that Megumi took part in because after this release she’d suddenly announce her graduation…sad because I think Tsunku was making her out to be a main singer alongside Airi and Maimi too…Oh well at least they have Erika to maybe pick up the slack? Maybe???

 

Berryz Koubou – 1st Chou Berryz September 20, 2015

Filed under: Berryz Koubou — solarblade @ 7:06 am

1stchouberryz

Track Listing

  1. Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai
  2. Piriri to Yukou!
  3. Nicchoku ~Geinoujin no Kaiwa~
  4. Fighting Pose wa Date ja nai!
  5. Koi wa Hipparidako
  6. Semi
  7. Anshinkan
  8. Kozukai UP Daisakusen
  9. TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY
  10. Bye Bye Mata ne
  11. Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai (FUNKY Remix)
  12. Hello! no Theme (Berryz Koubou Version)

1. Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai

I’m still surprised a young group like Berryz would debut with a cool song like this!  The album opens up with this song and oddly enough takes a more pop/hip-hop kind of arrangement and works around that.  I’m liking that a lot of this song has a strong beat, but I’m not enjoying how much Tsunku is in this song (couple times, he seems to cover up the girls way too much).  Beyond that, I’m loving how much Maasa led in this song over Risako and Miyabi (figures because there was no lead vocalists when they debuted).  Still, it’s a cool way to kick things off!

2. Piriri to Yukou!

Which follows into their 3rd single (and the one before the album was released).  It is a bit of a stark contrast that the energy of the group went from this cool style of the previous track to some kind of hokey and fun song.  I do love that all 8 members do get a solo line (2 no less!) and I just enjoy listening to this song as it’s just goofy and catchy as hell plus the shimasen parts is so random xD  Awesome song!

3. Nicchoku ~Geinoujin no Kaiwa~

So I guess to kind of split the A-sides a little, we get our first new track in Nicchoku.  I’m not sure how to describe it beyond it’s a funky kind of dance track for the group.  We do see all members get solo lines again and while this isn’t a case where I thought it was nice to hear them, Nicchoku kind of presents at how weak they were as singers when they were in debut because none of them sound that good here especially Risako and Chinami (both had some odd pitches).

4. Fighting Pose wa Date ja nai!

Then we move into their 2nd single and while I do deem it as the weakest A-side from the album, it actually sounds decent on the album and cleans the palette after “Nicchoku’s” weird mess.  I do enjoy the summer beach vibes going on in this song and the girls show off a cuter side to them after their cool debut.  It’s definitely a song that’s grown on me with each listen though so that’s always a good thing!

5. Koi wa Hipparidako

As the rest of the album straightens out to be new tracks, we hit Koi wa Hipparidako and it’s another cutesy song for the group, but for some reason in the time period of the group, this song sounds ultimately generic to me and some of the chords oddly remind me of “ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL” in the weirdest way.  Once again, it’s nice to see Captain, Maasa, Chinami, and Maiha get the first lines of the song, but it does slowly in a way show the hierarchy when the remaining for gets a lot more lines.  Forgetful track, but it seems to be a popular one for the group.

6. Semi

Same can be said for Semi too!  I’m loving that the album has so far not had a strong desire to feature Miyabi, Risako, Yurina, and Momoko at the front.  Right from the start, I was loving the acoustic sound of the track, but then kind of frowning at the layering of the girls’ vocals (sounded really odd to me).  It’s a nice autumn-like song though and the arrangement is pretty pleasant, but I kind of wish this was resung because there’s a lot of straining and yelling in this one and it really doesn’t call for that, ruins the feelings I had lol.

7. Anshinkan

Yup, another concert favorite, Anshinkan has a pop/rock kind of sound to it that would’ve sounded nice back in the 80s or something hahaha!  Not sure what else to say about this one because it kind of flew over my head, but there’s some interesting parts.  In a way, I can’t really say it’s generic because there wasn’t anything to fully compare to it maybe early Momusu, but meh.

8. Kozukai UP Daisakusen

So, this is a song that doesn’t get mentioned much and I can see why.  This song is definitely the weak link to the album for many reasons.  The tune itself is set as a slow reggae tune which wouldn’t normally bother me, but as this is a first album, this might have been a wrong turn.  Second the girls are once again under filters and some slight echo effects and it’s rather frightening to listen to.

9. TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY

I actually was wondering what this one would sound like and I was slightly worried it would’ve been an overly sugary song, but this is kind of sounding a little more serious than other track, but I do like the dance beat and handclaps that flesh out the song.  I think of all the new songs from the album, this one stuck out the best for me…catchy and the girls sound decent without the use of filters!

10. Bye Bye Mata ne

Ending the main songs out, I wasn’t surprised one bit that Bye Bye Mata ne would be a ballad (known more as the song that Maiha graduated with).  It does sound really sad, even though the arrangement sounds a bit more positive otherwise.  It’s a nice track up until the chorus where the girls are a little screechy and a slight bit shouty.  Decent ending though.

11. Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai (FUNKY Remix)

Funny how the remix for their debut begins with traffic and then a funky, saxophone-laced arrangement before adding some other funk-based sounds and rhythms.  Honestly, if it wasn’t the melody from the lyrics I wouldn’t have made the connection due to the messy arrangement.  It’s a really bizarre remix and hearing Berryz singing the song just adds to the strange factor…*shakes head*

12. Hello! no Theme (Berryz Koubou Version)

Ending the album, we get a version of this Hello! Project theme.  Originally sung by the trio groups of Akagumi, Kiiro, and Aoiro, Hello! no Theme has never been a favorite of mine and while it is the shorted from this album, Berryz regardless of how they did, this song sucks xD.  I’m not a fan of the repetition mostly and since they do it SOOO much in this song, I grew tired of it.  This one does sound more appropriate for the young Berryz, but still not into it at all.

Tracks Recommended

  • TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY
  • Piriri to Yukou!
  • Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai
  • Fighting Pose wa Date ja nai!

Song of Avoidance

  • Kozukai UP Daisakusen

I thought I was going to be impressed by Berryz’ debut album, but 1st Chou Berryz kind of flopped for me.  I mean beyond the fact that we were dealing with members who hadn’t started puberty yet, their vocals were still pretty dodgy and none of the new songs (sans TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY) really impressed me any.  I know in time they’ll get better but damn XD.