Kurayami Monogatari

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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.

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Morning Musume – First Time

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 5:18 am

firsttime

Track Listing

  1. Good Morning
  2. Summer Night Town
  3. Dou ni ka Shite Doyoubi
  4. Morning Coffee
  5. Yume no Naka
  6. Ai no Tane
  7. Wagamama
  8. Mirai no Tobira
  9. Usotsuki Anta
  10. Samishii Hi

1. Good Morning

Opening up the album is Good Morning which like the title says, has a nice intro and morning feel to it that’s bright and cute and together.  While I think the girls harmonizing is a bit strange here and there, I do love the solo lines that Nacchi, Kei-chan, and Sayaka give out, which is surprising for the latter two as this would be their first time giving solos!  Beyond that, the song is quite decent and opens the album in a nice way.

2. Summer Night Town

Then we come to the 2nd single released by the group (which was also the debut for Kei, Sayaka, and Mari although they might as well have been invisible due to them only having background lines (and the ~for you~ & ~i want you~ lines in the pre-chorus).  I still do love the song because it turned the group’s more light-hearted pop sound of their first song to something a bit more edgier and cooler (plus the R&B-ish groove was something that caught my attention).  The rest of the group is decent sounding though and I’m more impressed when I hear Asuka and Aya as the former has such solid vocals for someone so young and Aya just sounds so mature but cool.  Together, the quintet is still kind of shaky, but I’m OK with that I think…

3. Dou ni ka Shite Doyoubi

I don’t know why but I LOVE the introduction of the next track, but once the group starts to sing, the song kind of takes on this sort-of 70’s-esque kind of arrangement with horns and strings (probably from keyboards though).  Sadly the song just becomes very mundane and doesn’t fully open up to something better, but the harmonizations are a little better here.  The chorus is probably the weakest part of the song though sadly.  Not bad, but not really memorable.

4. Morning Coffee

Then we get into the group’s major debut, Morning Coffee and well it’s a legendary song for the group let’s be honest.  Listening to it nowadays, yeah it definitely DOES NOT sound like current Momusu which is probably my fondness for this song grows.  The organic instrumentation and the innocent sound of the song just puts a smile on my face and makes me love the original quintet doing this song over anyone else (also 2nd generation didn’t get added to this, so this should answer that question).

5. Yume no Naka

As a song mostly known from Kaori’s final performance in the group when she graduated, Yume no Naka is a nice change of pace as we slow down to this kind of jazzy/easy listening vibe.  I’m also loving the chorus particularly for the sort-of call and response style we get and it suits the song very nicely!  It’s a really nostalgic kind of track and  you have to be in the right mind for it, but of the new songs this is probably my favorite.

6. Ai no Tane

Then we get this track which was their lone indies release (later found on “Morning Coffee” as a B-side).  While I took to the latter song as the kind of upbeat and innocent song, Ai no Tane does find itself like “Yume no Naka”, hitting some nostalgic strings.  It still does surprise me to see Nacchi’s voice the way it was here and Kaorin’s voice as well as they didn’t turn out that way once later singles were released.  It’s a pretty nice song, but maybe not as good as others.

7. Wagamama

Since the album here on is new tracks, I was curious to see what we’d get.  Starting with Wagamama, this one had an interesting pop/rock kind of tone here which surprised me.  Even more is that Asuka, Yuko, Mari, Kaori, and Natsumi for the most part do not have a lot to do in this track and the remaining 3: Aya, Kei, and Sayaka are the only ones to have solo lines and there’s a lot of them.  It’s pretty decent of them because like I said before, we still haven’t fully heard what the 2nd Generation was capable of so this song helped a lot in that regard.  Beyond that, the song is just OK for me…the mid-tempo pop/rock is a but sullen and strange on the album, but it’s not unwelcomed at least.

8. Mirai no Tobira

Then we get Mirai no Tobira which tried to hop on the R&B wagon of things and sadly, it was a bad song to be done.  A lot of the tune is them kind of trying to speak-rap through things and poor Asuka and Natsumi get these oddly paced lines that kind of threw the song off track at times.  Beyond that, the harmonizations are not done nicely and the chorus just doesn’t fit the song (ups the tempo quite quickly out of nowhere).  I do like the chorus though, it’s the best part!  Though I can’t with the ending ad-libbing…why???  Still, the worst of the album for sure.

9. Usotsuki Anta

I haven’t mentioned this, but many songs on this album were actually kind of were worked on before 2nd Generation joined in so unfortunately the trio were simply background ahhh-ers.  The quintet though do have lines all over and it’s really nice to hear them here.  Going back to that kind of light-hearted pop, this song has some pretty nice melodies going with the quintet (and their duet lines) and the arrangement isn’t too much in the way.  Kind of standard, but it’s nice on this album.

10. Samishii Hi

Then we finally get to the ending which sounds like a gospel ballad xD.  I really like the solo lines and some of the duet lines, but when they all sing together, it’s a bit harsh especially how simple and empty the arrangement is (just piano that is).  Doesn’t make for a good closer in my opinion and kind of just fades out.

Tracks Recommended

  • Summer Night Town
  • Morning Coffee
  • Yume no Naka
  • Usotsuki Anta

Song of Avoidance

  • Mirai no Tobira

As the first album released by H!P’s flagship group, First Time was merely just an OK album.  Despite that it’s definitely not in the realm of what Morning Musume sounds like anymore, it has this VERY 90s sounding thing going and that might turn newer fans off mostly.  Otherwise, it’s got some nice surprises, the A-sides definitely had the most effort and while the 2nd Generation didn’t do too much on the album, it’ll be nice watching them come to into their own as we continue on!

 

Crystal Kay – REVOLUTION feat. Namie Amuro

Filed under: Crystal Kay — solarblade @ 4:11 am

revolution

Track Listing

  1. REVOLUTION feat. Namie Amuro
  2. Shooting Star
  3. hard to say (MSG version)
  4. REVOLUTION (PKCZ Remix feat. SWAY)
  5. REVOLUTION (Instrumental)

1. REVOLUTION feat. Namie Amuro

Oh damn!  We have our two queens finally collaborating for a song!  I was surprised to learn this was credited as a Kuri A-side, but that makes this a lot more cooler.  The track starts quite strongly with piano and some dance beats and Kuri singing her verse before Namie joins in the pre-chorus and then joining together for the chorus.  I’m really loving the fusion of the vocals and they both have almost similar sounding vocals which is pretty epic too.  The tune itself is quite positive sounding and with the lyrical content sharing the feels as well.  Decent track overall and really good for Crystal

2. Shooting Star

So the rest of the single is only Kuri which is fine by me starting with Shooting Star!  I wasn’t expecting the B-side to strike harder than “REVOLUTION” did, but I’m quite interested in this one because Crystal sounds electric and cool alongside the club beats and strong kick.  I almost had a feeling it was something from “FLASH”, but this is a song of its own power and I’m loving tons!  I’m also loving the English from Kuri too, adds a lot more attitude in an already awesome track!

3. hard to say (MSG version)

I was surprised she’d bring back remixes into the fray, more or less of her 8th single, hard to say.  That was over 10 years ago!  Honestly, I’ve never heard the original so this is just a raw take on this remix.  I do like the cooler electronic vibe with the lighter sound of EDM.  Kuri also sounded very smooth alongside the instrumental and while the tune doesn’t gain or lose interest for me, it’s a solid track and one of the nicer songs.

4. REVOLUTION (PKCZ Remix feat. SWAY)

So the single ends with a remix for REVOLUTION which takes the song into a heavier and grittier EDM arrangement and I do think it is a little bit random especially since the song itself was cut up in seperate parts so things like verses aren’t there, but the chorus is still there.  Add that the new section with SWAY is pretty messy too and includes the messy new arrangement too.  Sorry, just not into this one.

As Kuri releases her 2nd and oddly enough final single before her next album, REVOLUTION was a pretty cool single overall.  The collaborative effort between Crystal and Namie has been a thing many fans wanted to see come to fruition and in 2015, it has finally happened!  The song is pretty cool and the message was just as uplifting and sweet.  Shooting Star though was pretty amazing for a B-side though and I hope it makes the album!  The remix for hard to say was pretty cool but the remix for REVOLUTION was pretty unforgiving…Interesting single!