Kurayami Monogatari

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Namie Amuro – Mint May 26, 2016

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 6:46 am

Track Listing

  1. Mint
  2. Chit Chat
  3. Mint -Instrumental-
  4. Chit Chat -Instrumental-

1. Mint

Whenever I think of Mint, I have to say that what doesn’t come to mind is a rockin’ dance track to bring Namie back to speed.  I’m loving the guitar licks of the arrangement and the sexy glow she brings to songs and it just works together so smoothly.  It’s a strong track and all, but there’s something that reminds me of some songs from her last albun “_genic” which is not bad because I enjoyed that album, but damn!  This is a strong A-side for her and in a string of them, that’s always great to see!

2. Chit Chat

~did I tell you about yesterday?~ opens up the B-side of the single and Chit Chat carries on with the guitars acting in the song to a more dance-centric track.  Though the feeling of this song and “Mint” couldn’t be any further apart.  I get the sounds of summer in this track and I like that and Namie sounds alive and happy to be performing the song.  Overall, decent B-side and works coinciding with the leading track.

 

 

As the 2nd single after “_genic”, I feel that this single and “Red Carpet” have been pretty top notch stuff and shows she isn’t quite done yet with enjoying her career.  Mint is aggressive and hot to listen to and Chit Chat gives me a nice summer breeze kind of feel which is fitting for the season.  I have to say, she’s on a roll!

 

Kanon Wakeshima – Unbalance by Me/Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio

Filed under: Kanon Wakeshima — solarblade @ 6:28 am

unbalancebyme

Track Listing

  1. Unbalance by Me
  2. Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio
  3. Unbalance by Me -Instrumental-
  4. Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio -Instrumental-

1. Unbalance by Me

The first A-side caught me by surprise when I hear brass and strings together before Kanon starts to sing.  Unlike her recent anison songs, this tune feels bright and happier than normal and I liked the pep she has for the song.  The chorus though might not sound ultimately original or fresh, but she does sing strongly (her high notes are still struggling, but she didn’t break notes).    It comes off a little standard, but the trumpets add a little spice to her sound an I enjoyed that a lot!

2. Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio

The other leading track, Jiyuu Rakka to Pinocchio tones things down with a much lighter arrangement, including some guitars and strings this time.  Sadly, if I thought “Unbalance by Me” was a little generic, than this song might have beat it to the punch because I couldn’t remember a thing about it after a while.

 

 

I have to point out, this single isn’t a part of her main line of singles (she released this single within a book).  Not that it totally deviates from what she’s been releasing (kind of comes off as something familiar to when she came back after leaving SONY).  That said, the single didn’t really kindle any kind of flame as both songs just kind of ended up being background music most of the time.  Unbalance by Me is the better song though…just wonder why she released the two songs for the book and not just let it out as a full-on single..

 

LADYBABY – Renge Chance!

Filed under: LADYBABY — solarblade @ 6:09 am

rengechance

Track Listing

  1. Renge Chance!
  2. C’est si bon Kibun

1. Renge Chance!

That guitar intro is pretty badass to say the least!  When the song is about ramen and the spoons, you know this was going to be a strange experience.  Actually of the 3 A-sides they’ve released so far, this is definitely the strangest of them going from weird explanations of ramen and connecting it to demons and all that.  Add that Rei and Rie kick the idol side of things into high gear and even the music does come off a slight bit cuter even while Ladybeard does his crazy things.  I liked it, but “Nippon Manju” is a hard song to beat!

2. C’est si bon Kibun

The B-side though is pretty impressive by being a little more of what I was expecting as their growth expands.  It’s a little pop/punk mixed with Ladybeard and his death growls.  I do like the melodies of the song and Ladybeard is still a strong entity within the track too!  Hell, the PV is pretty neat too!  The chorus is pretty fantastic and really brings together in a wild, but cute too.  Great song!

 

 

It’s sad that LADYBABY announced shortly after the single’s release that they’d be going on a hiatus (really, after 3 singles?).  Though I have to say that Renge Chance! is a little bit of them stepping outside of the box by singling out a little more towards their idol side.  Plus it’s great to see Rei and Rie pushing up more as singers as I felt like they were a little bit second to Beard-chan!  Still, it’s a wonderful single and I hope they do release that album before fully going on hiatus!

 

U-KISS – Kissing to feel

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 5:26 am

kissingtofeel

Track Listing

  1. Kissing to feel
  2. Shining Stars
  3. HEART STRINGS ~Ienai Kotoba~ (LIVE version) (CD only)
  4. Kissing to feel (Instrumental)
  5. Shining Stars (Instrumental)

1. Kissing to feel

It feels like it’s been forever since U-KISS released a strong upbeat A-side and Kissing to feel is giving me all the feels.  I mean the song is typically so with Soohyun, Kevin, and Hoon at the leads, but I feel like the other 3 members do make their appearance in the track.  Actually I have to say this song is one of their bests in quite a long while, with it’s strong dance beat and powerful vocals.  Yeah, quite nice to see them return to form!

2. Shining Stars

Though, I suppose we needed to counteract the awesome song with an amazingly cheesy song.  It screams bad boyband of the 90s ballads with the contrived beats and twinkles and such.  Even Eli and Jun couldn’t exactly save the song with light rapping.  I mean it’s not really in the same kind of levels as their older ballads have been, where’s the stuff they were pulling back in Korea?  This was just not my cup of tea.

3. HEART STRINGS ~Ienai Kotoba~ (LIVE version)

Strange that the single’s exclusive track is for a song that hasn’t appeared in their discography yet, but here we are with HEART STRINGS and honestly, it slightly shakes off that bitter taste I had with “Shining Stars”.  Hearing the 6 live is always a treat as they bring it in their performances and they didn’t disappoint with this live.  The song (which is going to be on their upcoming album) is like their older tunes and has a lot of Hoon (actually it’s only Hoon).  Huh, well at least he’s a great singer for the group and shows it off here in this live take!

 

 

Being the 2nd and final single before their “One Shot One Kill” album drops, Kissing to feel is an interesting single to say the least.  It’s been a while since an A-side a WOW-ed me and Kissing to feel is such a cool and aggressive song that I’ve been missing from them for quite a while.  Though its B-side, Shining Stars is just bad and cheesy and just not right for the group, they’ve done so much better than this song.  As for the Hoon solo, nice song, but we all know Hoon is amazing, give Keseop or Jun something to work with.  I will say that I’m looking forward to the album!

 

Tsubaki Factory – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Thank you Very Berry” Original Soundtrack (FULL)

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 4:15 am

1bTGCS8954_FH1A_H1-4_prep.pdf

Track Listing

  1. Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda
  2. Wasuremono
  3. Itami wo Close
  4. Kaijuu no Ballad
  5. Itsumo Miru Yume
  6. Onaka Pekoemon
  7. Kyoshitsu ni wa Nani mo Nai wa
  8. Yumemiru Kodomo wa Itsuka Shiru 2
  9. Roku Nichi Bozu no Koi
  10. Oden no Uta 2
  11. Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido
  12. Thank You Very Berry

1. Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda

Opening the DVD+CD release, is a song that I reviewed last year.  I will say that of the three songs of the single, I was pleasantly enjoying the song.  I was actually surprised to see that Maasa had the first lines and then the rest of the Tsubaki Factory joined in.  It reminds of “Triangle Alpha” with its breezy atmosphere, but regardless, it’s a nice tune and great opening for the album.

2. Wasuremono

It’s a little disappointing that most of the new tracks are only about a minute in length so it was hard to think I would have many thoughts.  Wasuremono is a simple ballad with piano and strings with Kiki being the only one singing here.  Since Tsubaki hasn’t really had the spotlight of showing the new girls their vocals, I have to say that Kiki’s voice is bright and quite nice to hear.  Despite the length, it’s a nice little ballad and a good way for Kiki to show off her talents.  Also, Ayasa Onoda and Anna Ishii appear at the last bits (they’re Engeki Joshi-bu members under Maasa).

3. Itami wo Close

So we follow things up with another ballad, this time focused on Yumeno.  Well, I thought it was going to be a full ballad, but after the opening, the tune switches gears to something more upbeat and playful.  Considering that this transitions happens midway through the song (which is only a minute in length), both parts just seem odd smushed together.  Though it does show versatility with Kishimon and I liked that quite a bit!

4. Kaijuu no Ballad

I definitely remember this song from the single a lot because it had the loudest arrangement and came off more as an idol song and has such a fun and summery vibe to it which impressed me.  I really wasn’t sure at the time who was singing but apparantly after watching the play, it ends up being Kisora, Ami, and Risa together…surprising as the vocals are on the cuter side of things.  It was especially nice to see Niinu leading the song though.  Still one of the more memorable songs of the album, despite the length again.

5. Itsumo Miru Yume

Next up is another ballad, this time circulated around Riko.  Now I’m not used to Riko’s voice quite yet, but there’s a sense of innocence and light freshness that she brought to the piano/strings arrangement.  I do love how low she gets on her notes, but it’s a short song once again so it quickly passes by without much of an impression.

6. Onaka Pekoemon

I do feel like the album does pick up with the next track which takes the more funky route with sax lines and genki lyrical content.  It does seem like the trio of Kisora, Ami, and Risa return as the only singers involved and it’s a bizarre song for the trio as it’s portrayed as a silly song with catchy lyrics (and an odd dance to go with it).  It’s like “Urayameshi Gari ya no Dice” basically.

7. Kyoshitsu ni wa Nani mo Nai wa

Going from a funky song to a lightly march styled track is a little odd out of context, Kyoshitsu ni wa Nani mo Nai wa is in a different part of the the play where Kiki and Yumeno are back in focus.  Like “Wasuremono” the simple arrangement makes the push for both ladies to show off more of their vocal talents and I really liked it even with the sad undertone it has.

8. Yumemiru Kodomo wa Itsuka Shiru 2

Continuing on this sad train, the next track opens up with a nice mix of acoustic guitar and bongos to kind of switch the mood a little bit.  I was surprised that Maasa has lines throughout most of the song before Kishimon takes over the last half of this 1:11 track.  Maasa, I have to say impressed me with her vocals as her deeper tone suited the melancholic feel of the track.  Yumeno’s vocals though are brighter, but that’s only because she’s the younger member and all.  Nice little song.

9. Roku Nichi Bozu no Koi

An all Maasa track?  I have to say that I’ve been missing her a lot since she graduated from H!P, but her current position as Theater leader recently has impressed and she’s gotten better singing and emoting.  Hell, in the play she’s having fun videotaping the audience and herself as she performs.  While, I’m not sure how this song fits in and the arrangement could’ve used actual guitars, it’s a great song for her!

10. Oden no Uta 2

Weird to hear accordion for our next track which is a 2nd version because I heard this earlier in the play where Riko performed it.  Well she’s at it again in the album cut and having a kind of French cuteness to it, the 30 second length really doesn’t do anything for the tune and I kind of forget it.

11. Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido

Considering I know this is a cover, this track sung by Kisora, Ami, and Risa definitely has a lot of interesting parts going and the harmonizations here are quite impressive for the three that’s for sure.  It’s not a shock that Kisora is once again leading the crusade, but the other two aren’t slacking for sure.  I also love that it’s a bit over 2 minutes unike majority of the songs.  Very pretty track.

12. Thank You Very Berry

Finally, we hit the finale and of course it’s the theme of the stageplay.  Considering that this is a cover of what Berryz Kobo had (and they recently updated it before they disbanded), Thank You Very Berry is the longest track here.  I still do like Tsubaki’s version as it’s a little more youthful and such, I think I was more surprised that Anna Ishii was alongside this ride (she played a character that ex-Berryz member Saki Shimuzu, performed as in the original play).  It’s a twist, but she sounded nice too.  Overall, a nice solid track here!

Tracks Recommended

  • Kaijuu no Ballad
  • Thank You Very Berry
  • Roku Nichi Bozu no Koi
  • Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido
  • Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda

Song of Avoidance

  • Oden no Uta 2

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when I see H!P’s stageplays get re-released with the DVD of the play included, but it does mean more songs.  From this play, I kind of was surprised at how short the OST was (at least in comparison to most of the previous Engeki entries out there).  There wasn’t too many song hooking on to, but I do feel like Tsubaki was showing a little more color and vibancy to fans (who have been negative since their conception).  This does shine a light for Kiki, Kisora, Riko, and Yumeno’s vocals here, but Risamaru and Tanichan is doing just fine themselves here.  Overall, cute play and a cute OST to boot.

 

Let’s Talk Pokemon Gen 7! The first full trailers! May 14, 2016

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 5:54 am

Yup! With GameFreak finally getting their gears together and beginning their countdown to the November 18th release date, we finally get the first couple of new Pokemon (outside of Magearna and the Zygarde forms).  Let’s get a few facts out of the way though first!

  • The new region is called Alola (based off of Hawaii) and with that it seems islands and a tropical setting is the thing (weird, considering we had the Hoenn remakes previous having a tropical feel to it).
  • There might be character customization brought back to the series
  • In a previous announcement PokeBank and R/B/Y/G are going to be compatible with the game (how???).
  • They shown the professor, whose name is Hala and what I think is his assistant named Kukui…which is interesting that the assistant has an actual name.

Now let’s take a look at the new pokemon!

Rowlet, Little, Popplio

rowletlittenpopplio

Yep, MEET THE STARTERS!!  From fan reaction it feels like Rowlet and Litten are the popular ones from first looks!  I have to say that I actually enjoy all three a lot more than I did when I saw Kalos’ starters.

With Rowlet, it’s the 2nd dual-typed starter since Bulbasaur back when.  I also enjoy that fact for it and hoping it’s evolutions really take off from the owl side of things.  Also it’s the 3rd known Grass/Flying type (from Tropius & Sky Forme Shaymin).

Litten just looks cool especially being the Fire type here.  Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s a cat makes it impressive (and the sheer assumption is just won’t even be a Fire/Fighting type in its evolution is just in the hopes again).

Then we have Popplio and I still am not sure why it’s not as popular because it looks so cute and playful (of the 3, it just screams joyful).

-At the end of the day though, I’m more than likely to choose Litten (to kind of even out my pattern after I chose Froakie in X/Y (I should’ve chose Fennekin, but c’mon I wanted a Greninja that bad XD

Solgaleo, Lunaala

sunlegendarymoonlegendary

Here we have our legendary mascots, now before I continue the names aren’t official, but they were trademarked alongside the Japanese names for the starters, it’s just a matter of time though.  I have to admit, I was coming into this wanting Moon, but after seeing this lion, I might have a change of heart.  While the typing has not been revealed yet, I actually don’t have any ideas for typings…but Solgaleo might be part Fire.  As for Lunaala, Flying maybe?  Moon’s legendary is still slightly odd to me, but I can see myself wanting to train it.

Magearna

magearna

So not much more information was given about Magearna, but it’s typing was revealed to be a Steel/Fairy (not a surprise to many) but given it’s similarities to Diancie, Magearna having the types is just obvious.

???

unknownbirddogpoke

Finally, we have these last two who we have VERY little information on it.  The wireframe bird Pokemon might’ve been canned since the Pokemon Direct, but I doubt they’d show a thing like that, but hey hope it comes to fruition.  The Pokemon on the left though is for certain as it was shown in the Corocoro video about the game.  While many think it’s a dog or an Eevee related thing.  Personally, I just want to know what it is…but considering it was shown for half-a-second…there’s just a lot of speculation

CHECK BACK NEXT MONTH!!!

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – M(A)DE IN JAPAN May 12, 2016

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 5:48 am

madeinjapan

Track Listing

  1. tasky
  2. FLOWER
  3. Mad World
  4. Breakdown
  5. Survivor
  6. You are the only one
  7. TODAY
  8. Mr. Darling
  9. Summer Love
  10. Many Classic Moments (bonus track)

1. tasky

Ayu kicks off her album with another in the line of the “task” series of intros/interludes with tasky.  It starts off slowly but grows with some ascending notes that sounds almost traditionally Japanese in style but then switches it up to more of a dance beat with heavier synth usage.  The intro does end a bit abruptly, but it does a nice job introducing the album.

2. FLOWER

The shimasen follows through into the first vocal track with FLOWER.  I liked the mysterious nature of it before it adds guitars and bass to switch further into more of a powerful rock track.  I’m sure it’s just me, but Ayu’s vocals are sounding a bit more harsh than I remember as it sounds a lot more throaty than past songs of hers.  Really though, it’s a bit more familiar if you were into Ayu during her “Secret” era.  Not bad for a first track to be honest.

3. Mad World

Moving onto Mad World, it also starts slow and yet quickly shifts to more of a pop/rock style.  Unlike the previous track though, Ayu sounds back to normal as her notes are in a more comfortable setting.  The track is a bit of a slow burner for me, but I really enjoyed the chorus and the growing of the song in general.  I’m sure this will end up being of the favorites from the album that’s for sure!

4. Breakdown

Why does this song open almost the same way like “Mad World” did?  I was seriously hoping for a ballad and I kind of got it with Breakdown which has this very cold and lonesome sound to it, similar to her past track, “Marionette”.  Actually, it also slightly reminds me of “SCAR” due to some familiar melody movements.  I do think the ending section with the guitar solo came out of nowhere from such an emotional rock ballad and to end with Ayu singing ~kono mama~ as if she was trying to start a thought was different.  Still it’s a pretty cool track overall!

5. Survivor

I’m not sure why, but when I listen to our next track, it has this epic experimental sound and yet sounds a lot like “INSPIRE”.  I do love the oldish J-pop feel mix with the chanting and background tribal kind-of-feeling I get.  It’s god such a wild kind of setting that the previous tracks kind of lacked so far, so I’m happy to see a track like this make the cut.  Definitely one of the standouts of the album for certain!

6. You are the only one

Is that bagpipe I hear in the intro of the song?  Well of course it sounds a bit like it came from a computer and not the actual instrument.  After the relaxing intro, the song fortunately doesn’t become a rock track and remains a full-on ballad this time around.  Ayu’s vocals sound really pleasant against the ethereal arrangement.  Strings do enter the fray later on and the track sounds a lot more majestic and flowing.  This is a pretty decent ballad!

7. TODAY

Another ballad comes next with TODAY and this one feels a little bit more safer and familiar sounding when compared to the other tracks on the album.  I’m not sure why, but there’s a myriad of songs I can think of thatit reminds me of just in Ayu’s discography.  If there was one track that had to be the filler song, I think TODAY would fit into that category.

8. Mr. Darling

Did “Life” reappear?  Yeah, this song might be  more upbeat than the previous two tracks, but Mr. Darling did nothing for me sadly.  I do enjoy the acoustic guitar in part of the track and the chorus is loud and all I could really remember is ~soba ni ite~ which is sung multiple times throughout the chorus.  Just a slight bit generic for me.

9. Summer Love

Why is this the album closer?  It feels a little bit strange on the album too because it’s the only track to really being under EDM and the only track that would’ve suited being after “tasky” if anything.  I have to say though, it’s an energetic track and while I was thinking it would’ve been a lot like “Sunrise ~Love is All~”, Summer Love is more towards “Feel the love” or “Terminal” or any of her old remixes actually.  It’s just a fun summery dance track and a total surprise for this album!

10. Many Classic Moments

As a bonus, the album ends with a cover of a classic globe track (and also the album’s only old song as this was on the globe tribute album released last year).  I felt that it suited being after “Summer Love” due to the EDM upbringings here.  Although this was more eurobeat originally.  While Ayu did a good job, it didn’t have the depth or emotional drive that KEIKO had originally.  While the breakdown in the middle of the song is omitted (replaced by more of a musically fronted solo).  Still, it’s a decent cover and one of the more exciting tracks of the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Summer Love
  • Breakdown
  • Survivor
  • Many Classic Moments
  • Mad World

Song of Avoidance

  • TODAY

Wow, that was REALLY unexpected that Ayu would release an album (well, technically just for streaming, the album will release at the end of June) out of the blue.  M(A)DE IN JAPAN is a really interesting to say the least.  Not sure if I was prepared for it, but I don’t think it was as strong as “sixxxxxx” was or a lot of “A ONE” to be honest though there are some decent surprises.  Not sure if there’ll be more to this album by the time its physical release comes around, but I kind of hope so.

 

Morning Musume ’16 – Utakata Saturday Night!/The Vision/Tokyo to Iu Katasumi May 7, 2016

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 5:45 am

utakatasat

Track Listing

  1. Utakata Saturday Night!
  2. The Vision
  3. Tokyo to Iu Katasumi
  4. Utakata Saturday Night! (Kawanabe Hiroshi REMIX) (Vinyl edition only)
  5. Utakata Saturday Night! (Instrumental)
  6. The Vision (Instrumental)
  7. Tokyo to Iu Katasumi (Instrumental)

1. Utakata Saturday Night!

Starting the single off, Utakata Saturday Night! is definitely a nice change of pace away from their usual shtick.  Actually it feels like they’re following down the road that “Sukatto My Heart” started last year with more of the heavier disco-funk that made Golden Era Momusu so memorable!  That being said, this song trumps the aforementioned track by a HUGE margin!  It’s just exciting and lively for everyone involved!  Even better is that Zukki has a lot of solos in the song (as it should since it is technically her graduation song, despite not going for a solo track).  Though I admit that the bridge with Zukki sounds a LOT like Miyabi’s dialogue lines in “Asian Celebration”.  Great song for the group to have for sure and was a decent sendoff for Kanon!

2. The Vision

Next track up, The Vision seems to be the one focused on 12th Gen as they have solos here and there, although it seems to be mostly a Masaki and Sakura track which is not surprising as they’ve been penned as leads for a while.  Also once again, Ayumi, Mizuki, and Erina aren’t singing (as they’ve been relegated to dance tram status again like in “Oh my wish!”.  The track itself is lighter than the other A-sides and takes a lot of similarities from “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe” with the ethereal setting and prickly piano lines.  I do enjoy the song for what it is, but it could’ve been somewhat better I think.  One more thing, some of that intro sounds like Besaid Island from FFX…is it just me???

3. Tokyo to Iu Katasumi

Initially chosen as the primary A-side, but changed last minute, Tokyo to Iu Katasumi was also the first performed and for many, this was a song many weren’t just not as interested as it sounds like many of the tracks they’ve done since 10th Gen joined.  I do like the strong guitar riffs mixed with the stringwork and EDM stylings we’ve had.  There’s actually lines for everyone except for 12th Gen which is not surprising either, though I feel like once again Sakura and Masaki take charge just a smidge more.  While it might not bring much to the table compared to the previous two tracks, it’s got a lot of edge and I liked that about this one.

4. Utakata Saturday Night! (Kawanabe Hiroshi REMIX)

So on the special vinyl release, we get a remix for Zukki’s final track and comparing this to the original, I’d say the original is more faithful to the disco style, though I do love the string intro and the overall 70’s feel of the remix, but then it gets a bit repetitive with the ~utakata~ there.  Though after a while the remix just comes off more as stripped down and too safe for a remix, there’s just no oomph to it whereas the original has a lot of punch…it’s a weak remix

 

 

Being the first single under ’16, Utakata Saturday Night!/The Vision/Tokyo to Iu Katasumi is a pretty decent single if not a smidge under their last single.  The Vision & Tokyo to Iu Katasumi (and for the matter Utakata) didn’t really bring anything new to the table, they were done quite nicely and has many good parts about it except for the remix which was pretty tame.  I still don’t feel too much from the 12th Gen which is slightly worrying (hell Miki got pushed back this time).  Though the main focus (well at least for Utakata) was this is Zukki’s final single with the group and possibly before a new generation joins, which is kind of more worrying considering how 12th Gen is doing.  Still, it’s a pretty good single overall!

 

GACKT – LAST MOON May 1, 2016

Filed under: GACKT — solarblade @ 9:16 pm

lastmoon

Track Listing

  1. ARROW
  2. Hana mo Chiyu
  3. RETURNER ~Yami no Shuuen~
  4. RIDE OR DIE
  5. Akatsuki Tsukiyo ~DAY BREAKERS~
  6. ZAN
  7. Kugutsu ga Gotoku
  8. ONE MORE KISS
  9. Mai BABY!! -WooHa-
  10. Koi no FRIDAY!!!
  11. Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara
  12. P.S. I LOVE U
  13. Setsugekka -The end of silence-

1. ARROW

Opening the album is definitely the not surprising as ARROW was the last A-side he released prior to the release.  I was surprised that ARROW was chosen to open things up because it feels like a closer or somewhere in the middle.  Of course GACKT recently has been taking up more of the epic, grandiose rock tracks and as such is why I feel like this is a little strange of an opener.  I still do think it’s one of his better compositions since his last album for sure!  I love the battlefield-like theme for the tune and pretty much the rest of the song.  Still, a great A-side from him!

2. Hana mo Chiyu

As the lone digital single for the album, Hana mo Chiyu comes next and I’m starting to see theme as it seriously reminds me of stuff like “ZAN” and “RETURNER” with the shakuhachi being used behind the heavy rock arrangement.  What surprised was that the song sounds like an anime theme for some reason.  It’s a decent track and GACKT’s voice sounds so clear and cool and that high note at the end of the choruses was quite impressive.  It’s still a pretty good song though 😀

3. RETURNER ~Yami no Shuuen~

Why would you bring a song that’s almost a decade old to this album?!?  I mean if it wasn’t tied to some storyline (the whole MOON saga series), I would easily question a song like this making the cut.  I suppose with the time split, RETURNER does suit the theme of the album and once again the shakuhachi has the intro lead with the rest of the song bearing a mysterious sound (on top of the heavy rock arrangement).  I do like the simplicity of the song an it has such a nice traditional sound going for it.  Despite how old the song is, it definitely worked out for the best.

4. RIDE OR DIE

Surprised that some of the B-sides made the cut (though said some A-side were left off).  However, that wasn’t the case here.  Being the B-side from “P.S. I LOVE U”, RIDE OR DIE at least changes things up to more of a straightforward rock tune that reminds me of stuff like “BLACK STONE”.  I definitely found myself enjoying the song a lot originally and on the album, really sticks out for having less of a dramatic charge behind it, it’s GACKT rockin’ out and I’m fine with that.

5. Akatsuki Tsukiyo -DAY BREAKERS-

Toning things down, we have DAY BREAKERS and after the dramatic punches in the previous tracks, it’s nice that the song opens up as lightly as it does.  Though despite its slow beginnings, the track does open up for a more heavier style.  I really like his voice when he does these kind of slower tracks and he’s got a lot of emotion behind that voice which makes songs like this leave a strong impression on me.

6. ZAN

I suppose as traditional tracks go, ZAN is definitely one of the stronger-tinted ones.  It’s a lot heavier than I expected with heavy guitars and a darker motif than other tracks.  However, it’s something I’ve heard a number of times already on this album already, so it does slightly struggle making impressions despite being 7 years old and the first to really cement this style (though I could argue “RETURNER” was the first).

7. Kugutsu ga Gotoku

FINALLY, a new track for the album.  Being the promotional song for LAST MOON, the first thought I had was how the song kind of made me think of “ZAN” from the similar bells and shakuhachi and shimasen throughout.  Then I heard GACKT start to sing and I was brought back to “GHOST” with the electronics and smudging of auto-tune here.  I like this sound though and brings some of the mysterious sound that made the former song work years ago.  Though, it’s definitely a memorable song and the one that sticks out the most from the album for such a different sound.

8. ONE MORE KISS

Moving into the B-side from “WHITE LOVERS -Shiawase na Toki-“, I was expecting the leading track to make the cut, but I guess apparently if the song was on “THE BEST OF THE BEST” then it wouldn’t make the album cut.  It does trick me like “DAY BREAKERS” did by starting with a setting befitting for a ballad, but then it opens up as an upbeat rock track and whike I’m not bored by it, couldn’t we have gotten a ballad?  Either way, ONE MORE KISS was one of the better track in this era for sure as it’s got a good melody and GACKT sounds great.  Pretty wild song, but I enjoyed it a lot!

9. Mai BABY!! -WooHa-

PHEW, at least we get a small string of new songs now!  With a title as such, I wonder what kind of track this would be and it’s a wild song that’s for sure.  The added chanting of ~WOOHA~ is kind of quirky and fun, but then I hear GACKT under such extreme auto-tune is a little surprising for a rock song, but at the same time brings me back to stuff like “Koakuma Heaven”.  Strange, but nice to see a song like this.

10. Koi no FRIDAY!!!

It’s strange because I thought the odd song would be saved for this one, just by going from the title.  Koi no FRIDAY!!! is pretty upbeat and has a lot of fun written all over it.  GACKT’s vocals are a little different sounding here and reminds me of stuff he released in the past, even if he does take his vocals into some strange places.  I have to say that I do like the song for the most part minus the speed drumming sections, but it’s a fun and powerful track, but I don’t see where it fits in this MOON arc…I mean at all…

11. Kimi Dake ni Boku de Iru Kara

The 4th and final new track, GACKT opens this with him singing by himself in what I think is a cityscape setting in the background.  After a minute, the song actually begins and it sounds so new and fresh from GACKT which is surprisingly nice.  Though, it sounds like it was made from a different band.  I quite enjoyed this, but the ending with that strings passage was a bit random to say the least.

12. P.S. I LOVE U

At least we do finally get into our ballad track with P.S. I LOVE U though it wasn’t high up on my list when I heard it on the single because it did sound like many of the other songs he was releasing (which most was left off luckily).  I do like the simple piano/strings arrangement on top of the rockin’ chorus, but the song went on for way too long being 6 minutes in length.  I’m just surprised it wasn’t the final track…

13. Setsugekka -The end of silence-

I mean I suppose it makes sense that Setsugekka would be the one chosen to close the album as it also has a nice closing kind of feeling.  Unlike the previous track, it does wrap the whole traditional MOON saga arc in a nice bow and being over 6 and a half minutes long, it was definitely a track to end things off.  Exciting song and definitely reminded me of how good it was 7 years ago!

Tracks Recommended

  • Kugutsu ga Gotoku
  • RETURNER ~Yami no Shuuen~
  • ONE MORE KISS
  • Setsugekka -The end of silence-
  • Hana mo Chiyu

Song of Avoidance

  • P.S. I LOVE U

It feels like it took forever for GACKT to put out this album (his last was 2009’s “RE:BORN” album) and boy it didn’t need 12 singles (in which most of them were omitted here).  LAST MOON is what GACKT is calling the final album of his MOON series and I feel like all the songs that were released through singles really show that ind of epic, true Japanese tradition or Samurais and all that which is cool, but then you have the new songs and they throw that bar off just a bit.  Also, waiting 7-10 years for certain songs to make an album cut is bizarre to say the least.  Overall though, LAST MOON was actually pretty good and GACKT really has come along with his music these days so the epicness is on full blast!  Just don’t take forever on the next one, man!