Kurayami Monogatari

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Aira Mitsuki – LIGHTSAVER September 17, 2015

Filed under: Aira Mitsuki — solarblade @ 6:21 am

lightsaver

Track Listing

  1. LIGHTSAVER
  2. I’LL AGAIN..
  3. F.F.C.
  4. LIGHTSAVER (Instrumental)
  5. I’LL AGAIN.. (Instrumental)

1. LIGHTSAVER

Wow, what a great throwback!  It feels just like Aira has never really left because LIGHTSAVER really fits in her discography (more predominantly towards songs she released during “C.O.P.Y.” and “PLASTIC” because it has that kind of gritty techno that she was known before in that time period and oddly enough she isn’t working with Terukado on this, but a group named NUXX who also debuted this year.  I think they did a really awesome job capturing Aira’s essence and this song is a pretty cool example of it!  Definitely a strong A-side for sure!

2. I’LL AGAIN..

The B-side though is quite more of the same, but it has a really cool sound to it as well.  I’ve started to notice that I’ve missed Aira’s lisp in songs and it’s just refreshing to have it back with a more raw techno sound. It’s definitely a more club-centric song with a lot of synths flowing in and out through Aira’s vocals and I’m really feeling it a lot!  What a pretty cool song and I honestly enjoyed this a bit more than “LIGHTSAVER”.

3. F.F.C.

Curiously the only song without an instrumental, F.C.C. fits with the other two tracks with the techno/trance vibes and Aira’s vocals are a bit more filtered but that’s good.  Some of the chords of the song kind of remind me of a mix of “Colorful Tokyo Sounds NO.9” and “Sayonara TECHNOPOLiS” with the gritty synths and the previously mentioned chords.  It’s still pretty cool and makes me tap my feet to the beat.  I don’t think it has much excitement going on compared to “LIGHTSAVER” and “I’LL AGAIN..”.

It’s only been 2 years since Aira released her album before going on hiatus and I feel like Aira REALLY came back stronger than ever by releasing LIGHTSAVER (despite it being a digital single of course, later released physically in late October).  All the songs felt like trips back to the days when I first started this blog and reviewed her first singles and album and I loved that about the three songs.  NUXX did a fantastic job capturing that raw and less finessed sound that Aira stuck out from during the haydays of J-tek.  Seems like she wants to bring it back and I’m fully behind this single *RECOMMENDED*

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U-KISS – Stay Gold

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 5:45 am

staygold

Track Listing

  1. Stay Gold
  2. Rock Me
  3. Action (Live version) (Regular only)
  4. Stay Gold (Instrumental)
  5. Rock Me (Instrumental)

1. Stay Gold

Not sure what I was getting into with Stay Gold, but why do I get reminded of Stephanie’s “Winter Gold”?  Yah, the song has this very happy-go-lucky sound (almost wintry feel ironically).  It’s kind of cheesy though and while the vocals are decent as always, I think the kind of shiny, brightness this song has kind of turned me away, plus we’ve just had a song that was a bit similar, “Action”.  Not that great sadly.

2. Rock Me

At least the B-side makes up for a rather disappointing A-side.  I’m loving the angrier sound this has and lets Jun and Eli have a stronger punch in the group.  Plus we brought back the cool vocals from the remaining 4 members which is always something draws me back to the group.  Very cool song overall and REALLY sad it wasn’t the main track of the single!

3. Action (Live version)

Kind of sucks that Action also appears here but a live version found on regular onlys (typical).  Of course not much can be said about the group’s performance that I haven’t said before on previous live performances of their songs but I do still enjoy this song a lot and a live setting really suited everyone here!

As they begin a new era in Japan, U-KISS aren’t really slowing down on their releases and sadly Stay Gold is probably my least favorite of recent times.  The song feels rather uncharacteristic for the group (though it seems they’ve been going through an odd transitional period between Japan and Korea with recent releases.  Rock Me though is pretty badass and sticks out a lot more than I expected.  Also, Action is good live too!  Overall, it’s an OK single, but I kind of expect more on the next one.

 

VIXX – Can’t say

Filed under: VIXX — solarblade @ 5:26 am

cantsay

Track Listing

  1. Can’t say
  2. Mukae ni Ikou
  3. Can’t say (Instrumental)
  4. Mukae ni Ikou (Instrumental)

1. Can’t say

I wasn’t expecting VIXX to release a lighter pop song (as they’re kind of well-known for their more angsty and edgier concepts in Korea) though I guess you can say “Love Equation” was too since that was their last release as the 6 members.  Can’t say is pretty poppy almost a little 90’s nostalgia behind it with the drum beats and style.  All 6 members do get a good enough set of lines spread between them and I really like hearing Leo and Hyuk’s vocals a lot.  Ravi is here and there with his parts as he has a rather unique voice…overall decent as their first original Japanese track.

2. Mukae ni Ikou

I was kind of expecting a ballad to come out from a title like this, but Mukae ni Ikou is kind of a funkier song for the group!  Though due to that, the Japanese does get slightly muddled due to the accents the guys have.  Though I do think this song is a bit better than “Can’t say” as the group sounds like they’re having a little more fun and the energy is raised by quite a bit too.  I suppose it’s got the better turnout.

VIXX’s 2nd single and I’m happy both songs are of original arrangements this time (not to call out “Error” because it’s such a good song regardless).  Can’t say was an interesting song for them as they kind of rarely do these lighter pop songs.  Though I would say Mukae ni Ikou is a little more towards their style but they haven’t done anything funky since their early days so it’s nice to see a song like this in their collection.  Overall a decent single, but I hope their next one brings out their firepower.

 

Larval Stage Planning – Stargazer

Filed under: Larval Stage Planning — solarblade @ 4:50 am

stargazer

Track Listing

  1. Stargazer
  2. North method
  3. Stargazer (off vocal)
  4. North method (off vocal)

1. Stargazer

I shouldn’t be surprised that Stargazer would be an anison track from LSP, but I wasn’t expecting the song to be kind of this lighthearted cutesy track.  I do love the piano melody taking the leading sound over the kind of anison/dance arrangement here.  Though beyond that, the song kind of falls flat for me…just a little too basic for my tastes and Airi’s vocals aren’t exactly in best form (she took a cuter tone).

2. North method

Which is rather unfortunate for the B-side because it sounds just like the leading track but with a slightly heavier beat and better vocals from Airi.  North method to me does make sense because the leading track is tied to anime titled Sora no Method.  I might consider this more, but it’s not much of an upgrade above “Stargazer”.

So after the album was released, Nami & Rin had both left the group (and I’ve) and essentially left Airi to take the reins over Larval Stage Planning (why the company didn’t just shut the name down and gave Airi a solo career is curious).  The first single Stargazer is definitely bland and kind of cumbersome to me…just the generic anison trip that I’m used to hearing from other artists…I wonder if this could be a transition single for new members to join?