Kurayami Monogatari

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°C-ute – °Cmaj9 January 1, 2016

Filed under: C-ute — solarblade @ 4:37 pm

cmaj9

Track Listing

  1. °Cmaj9
  2. Iron Heart
  3. Otoko to Onna to Forever
  4. Jounetsu Ecstasy
  5. Digitalic→0 (LOVE)
  6. Urayanjau
  7. Yokaze no Message
  8. Tokai no Hitorigurashi
  9. Aitte Motto Zanshin
  10. Kokoro no Sakebi wo Uta ni Shitemita
  11. Love take it all
  12. The Power
  13. Kanashiki Heaven (Single Version)
  14. I miss you
  15. THE FUTURE
  16. The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~
  17. Tsugi no Kado wo Magare
  18. GamushaLIFE
  19. °Cmaj9 (reprise)
  20. Arigatou ~Mugen no Yell~ (tofubeats remix) (Regular only)

1. °Cmaj9

I love that the group opened the album with a unique introductory piece.  As an a cappella piece set under the slight doo-wop style, the title track focuses on the said chord from the album title too which is pretty damn cool for the group to pull off, though the fact that maybe they took the name a little too far with the only lyrics being ~we are °C-ute, C major #9~ is a bit trite (on top of the Engrish getting in the way too).

2. Iron Heart

As the leading promotional song for the album, Iron Heart is the only non-member focused new track which might disappoint some, but this song pretty much makes up for it!  Taking a page of previous songs that had the crowd in mind: (“JUMP”, “Seishun Song”, “Dare ni mo Naishou no Koishite Iru no”, “Seishun! Mugen Power”, and “Iza, Susume! Steady Go!”), this one might not cut the originality line, but it’s still a song to excite the crowd and fire them up.  Though it does sound like some Buono! too!  I quite enjoyed this song, though it could’ve had a better PV than a lazy live performance >.>

3. Otoko to Onna to Forever

The rest of the new songs takes a page from “8 Queen of J-POP” as in each member gets a song that focuses on a member (but not strictly being a solo track).  The first song focuses on Chisato and I love the intro to this song because it reminds me of some classy James Bond arrangement (big band, kind of sexy, yet mysterious).  I’m liking the verses more than the chorus, but that’s because there’s not a lot going on in it to make it pop besids Chisa’s sexy drop off in the chorus.  It’s nice, but definitely not better than “Abiru Hodo Ai wo Kudasai”.

4. Jounetsu Ecstasy

Next up is Nakky’s song and this song was familiar because it was in the competition earlier in the year deciding what would be the group’s 10th anniversary song (the winner was “GamushaLIFE” BTW).  Now this was the song that stuck to me back then and was so sad that it wasn’t chosen, but later came in the album!  Utilizing Marty Friedman (a familiar name in idols/anison world) as the guitarist, Jounetsu Ecstasy is actually pretty edgy and badass for an album song and I’m loving it a bit more than “Iron Heart”!

5. Digitalic→0 (LOVE)

Next up is Maimai’s song and funny enough it’s an electro song like her last track “Namida mo Denai Kanashiku mo Nai Nanni mo Shitakunai”…yeah, the long-ass title!  Throw in some heavy dub-step in the intro, I was definitely curious to see what would come from this and once again, I’m falling in love with Maimai being under filters (it’s working like it did for Sayu).  While I do think the chorus is a bit messy in presentation, I think it’s cool and stands out on the album😀.

6. Urayanjau

So Airi is up next and she described this song as a bit of a mix of R&B and K-pop and I see a lot more of the latter than the former and ironically slightly reminds me of a lighter Red Velvet, but the chorus takes things in a lighter vibe, but I’m really liking the various sections.  H!P hasn’t done anything like this quite yet, so I’m enjoying this step outside of the box!

7. Yokaze no Message

Finally, we have Maimi’s track and I figured one had to be the ballad of the 5, so it’s not coming off as a surprise to see this.  I will say that I wasn’t expecting this song to sound like an ending theme to an anime (especially that opening and how Maimi sings the chorus).  I do enjoy that it doesn’t adhere to the typical H!P formula when it comes to ballads and the quintet sound pleasant and they don’t overdo things.  Pretty cool!

8. Tokai no Hitorigurashi

I will say that I’m mildly disappointed that here on out, the album is essentially a best album because the rest of the album (with the exception of the outro and remix) are chronologically placed A-sides that the group released after “8 Queen of J-POP”.  I suppose I have to dive into it though.  I like the upbeat nature of the song and the funky guitar licks is pretty neat too😀.  I still love the chorus for some reason, it’s just so bouncy and lively and the members had some good traction, definitely grew heavily on me with time passing!

9. Aitte Motto Zanshin

Though the other A-side was what caught my attention because it was more of the cooler style that °C-ute were striving for at the time.  It’s a little more grittier with the synths and high-hat usage mixed in with guitar riffs.  If there was anything that bothered me about this track was that the chorus felt like a totally different song and didn’t really work with the more aggressive and angsty verses.  I still do enjoy it though, but “Tokai no Hitorigurashi” has usurped its place!

10. Kokoro no Sakebi wo Uta ni Shitemita

I pretty much bombed the single when it came out and it was because the next two tracks sounded almsot like repeats of the previous two tracks.  I mean this song sounds a bit like “Tokai no Hitorigurashi”, but I’ve actually warmed up to this one a lot because while it takes up a lot of the cutesy upbeat sound, I think vocally it was more interesting (mesmerized by Chisato’s performance here).  Still, slightly underwhelming being the A-side after the aforementioned song.

11. Love take it all

After the energizing year that was 2013, °C-ute was a force to be had when it came to dance tracks.  While I said it was a generic “Aitte Motto Zanshin”, I do think it did turn out a bit better than when I heard it back in early 2014.  Once again, the star of the song was between Airi and Chisato and I quite enjoyed hearing both singing so strongly.  I don’t think the song stuck out to me until Kaede Kaga (Kenshuusei) performed this earlier this year…she just held the song as her own.  BTW, still think the title is bad English at its worst!

12. The Power

I wasn’t sure what they could have pulled off for a song called The Power, but it wasn’t something electronic mixed with bhangra elements.  I thought it was pretty nifty and there was just a lot of cool parts (like Mai & Nakky’s filtered parts) and the verses themselves, even the chorus sounded cool and mystical in its own rights.  It another song that really sticks out on this album because it just sounds unique!

13. Kanashiki Heaven (Single Version)

This single was just so split because I didn’t feel like it was necessary to give us another version of Kanashiki Heaven that only changed in arrangement (slightly) and added Nakky, Maimi, and Maimai as background singers, which I must say is very minimal.  It’s still 90% Airi and Chisa, but I suppose it’s different enough to warrant a new version.  I do like the new opening and the arrangement otherwise is cleaner, but like I said, not something that needed to happen.

14. I miss you

Shaking off the strangeness of the last single, °C-ute came back strong for the last single they released in 2014, starting with I miss you and it was another song that was different from previous releases..  Taking a melody and splitting it into three parts sounds like it’d make the song sound like a hot mess, and in some cases it did, but I quite enjoyed hearing the split parts (and Maimi taking lead).  It might be a bit short, but the magic of the song was in how complex things were and it was a quick favorite of mine!

15. THE FUTURE

I was kind of thinking this song was going to tie-in with “The Power” because of how themed the titles were to one another.  However, THE FUTURE wasn’t the case and brought back the dance-friendly °C-ute to the front.  I loved how much punch there was to this song and yet familiar it was to previous songs the group has released.  I was a bit perplexed at the meshing of words in the song (i.e. the chorus).  Still, like “I miss you”, this was another winner and made the single just SOOOO GOOD!

16. The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~

Then we come into the last full single represented starting with The Middle Management, and like “THE FUTURE”, it’s got a cool, driving beat and I really like the vocal effects happening (once again to Mai and Nakky).  It might not have as much firepower as the previous song, but there’s classy about it.  I find it to be something familiar but giving us that more mature °C-ute too!

17. Tsugi no Kado wo Magare

Well, I do find it humorous that the only track moved in chronological choice is between these next two tracks (I can only assume it’s because “GamushaLIFE” makes for a better closing).  The only cover song on the album (technically speaking), Tsugi no Kado wo Magare for fans reminded them of an anime opening and I can’t blame them because it seriously does (hmmm…this song and “Yokaze no Message” could work in tandem heh).  Overall, it’s a bit more dramatic of a song (not as much as “Kanashiki Heaven” and “I miss you”) but it’s a cool song!

18. GamushaLIFE

Yup, no surprise that this song would be the last full song on the album.  Known to many as the group’s 10th anniversary song, it really is an upbeat song that shows the group’s longevity and sisterly love.  If I had the choice, I would have kept this song away from “Tokai no Hitorigurashi” and “Kokoro no Sakebi wo Uta ni Shitemita” because it would just flow too much into one another.  I do remember the pseudo-rap in the bridge the most about this song, but otherwise it’s another cutesy happy song.

19. °Cmaj9 (reprise)

Interesing that we get an outro to the album too!  Taking from the opening and spinning it upside down, the reprise descends the notes and the a cappella itself is actually slower too!  I thought it was just a clever way to end the album the same way it opened up and then they end it with a ~thank you~.  Pleasant!

20. Arigatou ~Mugen no Yell~ (tofubeats remix)

I find it weird that the single released before the album isn’t represented here, but we do get a remix of at least one of them to close the Regular editions of the album.  I was worried that remixing a ballad would make things awkward, but I kind of dug what tofubeats did with the song by adding a nice laidback beat and a feel of R&B to suit the melody a smidge better.  It may not sound dramatic and grandiose as the original,  but this was a pretty decent remix otherwise!

Tracks Recommended

  • I miss you
  • The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~
  • Tokai no Hitorigurashi
  • Jounetsu Ecstasy
  • THE FUTURE

Song of Avoidance

  • Kanashiki Heaven (Single Version)

*will review the remix once it leaks* After two years, we finally get °C-ute’s 9th album and for the most part it actually turned out pretty decent.  None of the songs were really bad persay, but looking at the tracklist alone, it might have well been a best album with 6 new tracks and a remix and an intro/outro (looked more like ANGERME’s best that they released in November.  °Cmaj9 does catch us up and the new songs are pretty decent, but why set the rest of the tracklist with A-sides by chronological release?  Just baffles me…

 

 

One Response to “°C-ute – °Cmaj9”

  1. jinhwa Says:

    Thank you for your review. I do enjoy listening to this album.


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