Kurayami Monogatari

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Morning Musume ’16 – Sexy Cat no Enzetsu/Mukidashi de Mukiatte/Sou Janai November 21, 2016

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 6:17 am

sexycat

Track Listing

  1. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu
  2. Mukidashi de Mukiatte
  3. Sou Janai
  4. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu (Instrumental)
  5. Mukidashi de Mukiatte (Instrumental)
  6. Sou Janai (Instrumental)

1. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu

Opening the single, we have Sexy Cat which stirred up some speculations at how “sexy” the song would actually come off and this song is more playful than anything else.  As usual, the saxophones really add some depth to the song and interestingly enough it works with Sakura, Fukuchan, and Duu (who are the leads of the song).  It’s a pretty cool song and just hearing the group is making all kinds of happy.  I will say the trio of leads are pretty impressive overall and the rest of the members pull their weight.

2. Mukidashi de Mukiatte

The 2nd A-side (the last revealed), Mukidashi is pretty much straight up EDM for them, but unlike past endeavors, I think the arrangers wanted to keep things a bit more simplistic and straightforward and honestly, it worked for them.  Each of the members have a solo line somewhere (except Haachel for some reason).  Even though I don’t have much to say about it, I really enjoyed the track the most of the single…a great dance track for the group to have!

3. Sou Janai

I guess you can say that the 3rd A-side is also classified as an EDM song, but the song is a little more focused on members here, specifically Maria who is the lead of the track means it’s also the first where a 12th Gen members actually has spotlight in a song!  Duu, Fukuchan, Ayumi, Odasaku, and Maachan also have lines throughout so it’s not all just her.  The song itself is growing on me and Maria sounds good (finally training is paying off).

As the last release as Momusu ’16, I feel this single did a whole lot better than their last single by giving us some exciting tracks and some spotlight on members who haven’t really been getting any.  I do think the space from Riho and Zukki has been covered for now and with the future really pointing towards a 13th Gen, I can oly wonder what’s in store for 2017

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ANGERME – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Mode” Original Soundtrack November 10, 2016

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:54 am

mode

Track Listing

  1. MODE
  2. Sakura no Uta
  3. Hanako no Uta
  4. Aiko no Uta
  5. Kayo no Uta
  6. Michiko no Uta
  7. Believe in Me
  8. Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku
  9. Fashion Magazine

1. MODE

Opening the play is the main theme of the play and it’s quite a nice change of pace, giving more of a happy-go-lucky arrangement.  I do like Ayacho & Kamiko having the opening lines then the rest of the group (and other members involved in the play) kind of going between lines and being back-up.  Decent track and a nice main theme!

2. Sakura no Uta

It seems majority of the release is solos starting with one from Kanana.  Unlike the breezy feels I got from the theme, Kana’s solo track has much of a more lighthearted, but silly arrangement, though it is weird mixing it with Kana’s more mature vocals which surprise me a lot here!  It is pretty short though barely going over a minute in length, but it’s quirky I suppose.

3. Hanako no Uta

Next up is Rikako’s solo song for the play and she gets a song that feels like a Venetian Waltz, but that’s actually pretty cool meaning that the OST has variety going on!  That said, while Rikako isn’t the best singer in ANGERME, her higher tone has a nice light flair that accentuates the song itself and she adds some cool things like rolling her notes here and there and going into a chest tone.  Interesting track, but one that worked for Rikako.

4. Aiko no Uta

It is strange we get two waltz tracks, but this one is a Rinapuu solo!  Coming after Rikako’s track, Aiko no Uta in comparison is a little more youthful sounding and it helps that Rina’s vocals are also light and bright.  It feels like she’s getting so much better in line delivery and her high note at the end was very nice (almost reminding me of her high note in “Umaku Ienai”).  I do think it doesn’t really set itself too far apart from the previous track, but I enjoyed it just for Rina.

5. Kayo no Uta

I was surprised that Momona even got a solo track here as she was just added to the group quite shortly before the stageplay happened.  Her song changes things up and gives a bit of a bossa nova vibe here.  While she’s probably the greenest of the group and has a bit of a long road to catching up, it’s an OK track for her and doesn’t ask too much from her.

6. Michiko no Uta

The last of the ___Uta songs, we finally end up with a solo from Moe.  Surprised that of them songs, this is the only ballad amongst them.  I have to say ever since she joined ANGERME, Kamiko is a strong singer and one of the most impressive voices at the start!  The tune might not be in the original side of things, but it definitely showcased Moe’s great vocals!

7. Believe in Me

Next is a track that featured Ayaka on her own!  I kind of liked that the song moved into something like that could be easily chantable in performances with the beat as punched up as it is.  I do still think Ayacho’s voice is shaky and somewhat struggles with longer notes, but I do like its upbeat lyrics and sound.

8. Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku

The other song that features everyone, Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku initially reminds me of “MODE” because of the similar upbeat sound, but it does stick out a little bit.  Though this definitely feels like a musical track because the arrangement almost sounds cheap to me with the sort-a 90’s-esque CASIO-pop feel.  There is a whole lot of Ayacho in this as well so that’s here nor there for me.  Overall, it’s ok but nothing too special.

9. Fashion Magazine

Then we have our final track (which, random fact, was the initial name for the stageplay before they settled into Mode).  The song is sung by Ayacho, Kanana, and Takechan!  I’m not sure what genre this would be under, but it has a bit more of a pop/rock/synth feel.  It is a pretty quirky song and the trio sound great together even if Ayaka has most lines (as usual).  OK song, but once again could’ve been more memorable?

 

 

As the preview release before the DVD+CD drops, ANGERME’s Mode stageplay OST does seem like a little more effort was put into it (at least more than I thought originally) and for the most part was a nice release.  Of course there are songs that I could live without, but there wasn’t as many complaints here as there were with “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa”.  I just hope the rerelease will include solo tracks for the remaining ANGERME members.

 

Namie Amuro – Dear Diary/Fighter November 1, 2016

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 4:23 am

deardiary

Track Listing

  1. Dear Diary
  2. Fighter
  3. Dear Diary -Instrumental-
  4. Fighter -Instrumental-

1. Dear Diary

It feels like its been a while sine we’ve gotten a straight-up ballad (“HERO” was close, but it was more upbeat the longer it went).  That said, Dear Diary is a surprisingly grand sounding ballad with a lot of strings and piano strung throughout its arrangement.  It is pretty much to the books as far as ballads go and it’s a little bit like something she’s done before, but it’s nice to see this kind of song return!

2. Fighter

I was happy to see that Namie is still sticking to her upbeat style of recent because Fighter is actually more of the exciting dance/EDM drive that she had back in “_genic”.  Though the song is entirely sung in English so there’s the little bit with the accent going on, but it doesn’t drive me away from this edgy dance track!

Seeing as both songs are tied to the Death Note movie that came out in Japan, I felt this was a suitable single but not quite on the level that “HERO” is on.  Both songs to me feel like they’re staples to Namie’s current sound and while we haven’t had a song like Dear Diary in a while, it still felt like more of the same we’ve been getting.  Overall, not bad, but not groundbreaking.