Kurayami Monogatari

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Country Girls – Good Boy Bad Girl/Peanut Butter Jelly Love January 31, 2017

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:53 am

goodboybadgirl

Track Listing

  1. Good Boy Bad Girl
  2. Peanut Butter Jelly Love
  3. Good Boy Bad Girl (Instrumental)
  4. Peanut Butter Jelly Love (Instrumental)

1. Good Boy Bad Girl

As the leading A-side, Good Boy Bad Girl seemed to really have left the rockabilly vibes of the last couple singles behind and gave us a straight up pop/rock song to deal with!  Seeing the group moving back into something a little more straightforward musically, I was enjoying the simplicity more!  As it seems a lot of the song is in duet lines but all the girls have solos (the best belonging to Funakki, once again).  Easy song for them and while it doesn’t rise above past A-sides that I loved, it’s a decent track.

2. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Opening with a cute intro from Momoko, PBJL takes us back to some of their cuter songs (especially giving me a bit of a “Koi Dorobo” & “Namida no Request” vibe).  I found there was some guitar elements here as well, but the tune is just overall cute all over the place.  I found myself tapping my toes along the arrangement and the whole group just sound bright and lively!

 

 

With this being Momoko’s final single with the group, I have to say that she didn’t quite have much spotlight, even though she was just a overseer to the group and trained the members.  Like I said, the rockabilly vibes of the last two singles are absent which is a nice break from it and both songs are OK, if not a little above average for them.  With an audition being leaked (not officially announced yet), I can only wonder what’ll be next on the horizon (hopefully an album showcasing Momoko’s time with the group (if not a little of Uta & Manaka too)).

 

GENERATION 7: Alola x2! January 20, 2017

Filed under: ~Teh Pokemon: 7th Gen~ — solarblade @ 8:07 am

Welp here goes nothing!  Time for Part 2 of going through the new Pokemon!

026: Mareanie, 027: Toxapex

mareanietoxapex

Kicking things off, we have the Poison/Water type Pokemon Mareanie & its evolution Toxapex.  Now when we got that TCG preview/leak of it, I kind of figured it was going to be those typings because it was underwater and the barbs were kind of a giveaway.  I do like Mareanie’s design, but find Toxapex a little strange especially walking with the flaps and such.  It does have a signature move in Baneful Bunker (cool name BTW) that shields itself but poisons the opponent if they use a physical move.  Also, finding one of these is HARD because you can only find them in SOS battles with Corsola and even then that’s hard to pull off.  Not sure if that was a smart way to do things, but meh.

028: Mudbray, 029: Mudsdale

mudbraymudsdale-jpg

As the pure Ground type Pokemon, the Mudsdale line isn’t too much to gawk at honestly.  I will say that they do have great power, but lack heavily in the speed department.  Also, a donkey evolving into a Clydesdale is a little strange (not as much as some others, obviously).  I’m OK with it and the fact it’s a Pokeride is pretty nice too.

030: Dewpider, 031: Araquanid

dewpideraraquanid

Oh dear, as one of a few Pokemon we didn’t get a video reveal for, I wasn’t expecting a water spider to be a part of this shindig.  As a Water/Bug (which it shares with Surskit, and the Golisopod line, funny enough) I never really found myself wanting a Dewpider just because it looked a little too goofy or my tastes, but I saw the crazy design of Araquanid and I had to have one.  It’s just so alien-like and sleek!  Really one of the coolest designs of Gen 7!

032: Fomantis, 033: Lurantis

formantislurantis

Another curious situation, the Lurantis line is actually not Bug/Grass as everyone expected (especially since it is based off an Orchid Mantis.  Nah, it’s just a pure Grass type and normally that doesn’t help its situation due to MANY better Pokemon than it, but  what does help that my Online name is Solarblade which is its signature move (a physical-based Solar Beam).  That in itself made it stick onto me and I’m going to train this baby quite nicely!

034: Morelull, 035: Shiinotic

morelullshiinotic

Talking about Grass types, we have our next Pokemon who are actually Grass/Fairy (shared with Whimsicott), the Shiinotic line!  When I first saw Morelull, I thought it was cute and the whole bioluminescene shtick was a neat idea and how the mushrooms light up are just cute…then it evolves into something scary xD.  It’s like what if Amoonguss was a Fairy type xD.  There’s just something about Shiinotic’s face that bothers me…a little Espurr here?

036: Salandit, 037: Salazzle

salandit.jpg.pngsalazzle

Finally something a little different than the normal (raise it to a certain level) we have the Salazzle line!  Starting off, it is the first line to have a unique dual type of Poison/Fire on top of their signature ability, Corrosion (which poisons types that are normally immune to it like Steel types).  Add on that ONLY female Salandits evolve into Salazzle and you’ve got a Pokemon that sticks out in the generation!

038: Stufful, 039: Bewear

stuffullbewear-jpg

Probably the one that brought humor to this generation, the Bewear line is surely a strange one at that too.  Stufful is adorable though and finding one is just appealing especially with its Normal/Fighting typing (shared with Meloetta’s Piroette forme) before evolving into a Bewear.  That’s when we find out that it also wants to gives hugs but due to its sheer power, it’ll destroy people and anything in its path!  Goofy backstory aside, Bewear sure is slow, but packs a wild punch!

040: Bounsweet, 041: Steenee, 042: Tsareena

bounsweet-jpgsteenee-jpgtsareena-jpg

Ohhh, another line that has two evolutions to it!  The Grass-type Tsareena line is a pretty quick one if I remember correctly.  As Bounsweet, I thought the whole mangosteen look was cute and knowing its preyed upon a lot is sad.  Luckily in-game, you find Bounsweet and doesn’t take very long before it evolves to Steenee.  Teaching it Stomp and leveling it will then make it evolve further into Tsareena and gain its signature move Trop Kick!  It’s definitely for the waifu lovers out there ironically and I didn’t find much to use with this one.

043: Comfey

comfey-jpg

Another Pokemon that feels like its typing is missing something, Comfey is our pure Fairy-type here and I initially thought in its reveal that it would have evolved, but nope, it’s a standalone here.  Sadly it doesn’t seem to fare well in the meta and is just kind of there to be like the Hawaiian lei Pokemon.  It’s cute though and the lei idea is cool (though its shiny is pretty disappointing).

044: Oranguru

oranguru

To some Version exclusives, Orangurus can be found only in Moon (makes sense with the purple coloring and all).  Being a Normal/Psychic type (sharing with Meloetta & Girafarig), I had one for quite a while, but then Lunala came in and this one fell to the wayside.  Sadly, I had my own issues with it being so slow and not having the strongest moves in its arsenal.

045: Passimian

passimian

Its Sun counterpart, a pure Fighting type, Passimian caught my attention a little more due to its design and the fact it’s the more offensive Pokemon between the two.  Plus it looks like a rugby player doesn’t it?  Sadly, I didn’t really get to obtain one of these until post-game when I wanted to finish the Living Dex (one of every single Pokemon).  I have to see how well it does for me before I can decide conclusively if it’s a good Pokemon to have.

046: Wimpod, 047: Golisopod

wimpod-jpggolisopod

When I first saw Wimpod in its reveal, it remided me a LOT of Abra, but its ability Wimp Out lets it escape battle once its HP is under half.  That made me worried and the fact that it’s found in 3 spots specifically (on top of having to chase it via Tauros) makes me aggrivating a little bit on top of it being weak.  However, Golisopod comes in and it just tears things up.  While I still disagree with Golisopod’s ability, Emergency Exit (Wimp Out basically), its signature move, First Impression is really great!  Also, what a badass design!

048: Sandygast, 049: Palossand

sandygastpalossand

One of the weirder designs of the Generation, I never thought that a haunted sandcastle would be a thing but now there is with the Palossand line.  First off, I really enjoy the Ghost/Ground typing (Golurk line has this too) and the backstory and designs themselves are pretty neat and strange.  I didn’t get to use this because the line is also particularly slow as sludge so it didn’t get a place on the team.

050: Pyukumuku

pyukumuku

The last of the post, Pyukumuku was always a strange one to me.  It’s cool we get our sea cucumber Pokemon and all and its pure Water typing is slightly boring on the flipside of things.  Though I think the fact that its more of tricks and tanking and its lack of offensive moves might turn some people off on top of that its only true way of physically hitting is in its ability Innards Out where it does damage after it faints.  Kind of a bummer situation if you ask me…

NEXT TIME: THE REMAINDER

 

U-KISS – One Shot One Kill

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 6:19 am

oneshotonekill

Track Listing

  1. Opening ~in-mono~
  2. CRY BABY
  3. One Shot One Kill
  4. Rock Me
  5. Super Special Lady
  6. Kissing to feel
  7. Interlude ~plug in-plug out~
  8. DON’T BREAK US DOWN
  9. HEART STRINGS ~Ienai Kotoba~
  10. Kimi Dake wo (ALBUM version)
  11. Shining Stars
  12. Illusion
  13. Stay Gold
  14. Ending ~in stereo~

1. Opening ~in-mono~

What a dark and mysterious way to open up an album with repeated descending harp chords and then a march rhythm jumps in with who I think is Jun that takes up the introduction before Eli joins alongside some dance beats and a heavier sound.  After them, Kevin joins in with the melodic part of the track and it just feels like it rising to some climax, but really it kind of just ends.  A 2 minute track, but I KNOW it could’ve been its own full song.

2. CRY BABY

At least the feeling continues into our first new track on the album.  While it doesn’t have a dark atmosphere as the intro, the song itself has a cool dance style that is something U-KISS always seems to excel at and I appreciate the track being as straight to the point as it is.  I really like hearing the main singers (Kevin, Soohyun, and Hoon) just mixing things up and sounding as good as they normally do.  Even Keseop finds himself with some decent lines too!  Even the bridge features some aggressive rapping from both Jun and Eli and that turned out pretty well.  Great way to kick things off!

3. One Shot One Kill

Chosen to promote the album with a PV and such, the title track of the album changes things up a bit being changing from being a full-on K-pop inspired track into something a little funkier and cooler for the group.  I really LOVE the verses where the bass takes center stage behind Kevin & Soohyun and the song just has a fun and sleek vibe that really pulled me in!  Definitely a great choice to promote this album!

4. Rock Me

As the B-side from “Stay Gold”, I was happy to at least the B-side make it (especially seeing “Shining Stars” making it too but we’ll get to that later.  Rock Me is a bit more aggressive in nature due to its more rock-centric arrangement and just punchy beats.  I do like some of the parts like the pre-chorus where the sound lightens up and then once again Eli & Jun seem to REALLY click with one another when they rap one after the other.  It’s just a very powerful song for the group and sticks out amongst the best of the album.

5. Super Special Lady

I was expecting this song to be a ballad due to the kind of cheesiness one brings with such a title.  However, it’s a bit like the last couple tracks, having a dance beat and fun atmosphere akin to “One Shot One Kill”.  I do have to say though, while I did love the vocals here a bit more, the song itself doesn’t really stick to me.  Not bad for a track, but it could’ve been better IMO.

6. Kissing to feel

As the 2nd single released prior to the album’s release, Kissing to feel was THE song that I was missing from the group and I’m happy they prioritized this as a leading track because it’s just edgy and badass almost feeling like the group hitting their stride like they did in “Tick Tack” and “ALONE”.  There’s just something powerful about that chorus that pulled me in so quickly.  Great song overall!

7. Interlude ~plug in-plug out~

A 2 minute interlude comes next and it begins like the intro with the foreboding strings and synth mixture, but it grows into something a little more funkier that sounds like it could’ve been placed before “Stay Gold” if anything.  The jazzy mix and Kevin’s dialogue is interesting, but this does go on or a little too long going into a fade out of the instrumentation towards the end (a long one at that).

8. DON’T BREAK US DOWN

Ah, so while the interlude didn’t really help move onto our next track, I like that DON’T BREAK US DOWN brings the group back to its R&B roots.  Actually, I was surprised I’m hearing a LOT of Kevin in this song (actually I think this is a solo…oh wait Jun is rapping in one section).  I think this song is unique especially for its arrangement and styling and I kind of dug it for the most part!

9. HEART STRINGS ~Ienai Kotoba~

Despite that we had a preview (or well a live version of it) back on the “Kissing to feel” single, we have our studio cut of this ballad!  As this is pretty much your vanilla K-pop-esque ballad here, I was happy to see Hoon up in the front and taking the lines here.  Actually I think it’s a solo for him which we’ve seen before.  I do like the guitar solo during the bridge, but beyond that it’s pretty plain.

10. Kimi Dake wo (ALBUM version)

What I didn’t know was that originally this was Soohyun’s debut A-side that was brought in for this album, apparantly filling it up with some new things.  The opening has a very serene and slightly Disney-like feel.  Actually compared to the original single cut, this was definitely changed for the better as Soohyun’s voice is just pretty to hear in such a setting.  Funny enough, it made “HEART STRINGS” sound like generic trash in comparison.  Definitely the preferred ballad of the album.

11. Shining Stars

Ugh, why did they have to bring this B-side to the album?  I mean it was most of the reason the whole of the “Kissing to feel” single was just in the middle.  Now we have to hear it after “Kimi Dake wo” with is sheer grandness.  Just like I said above, that song is also making this track feel generic and one-dimensional.  It’s like a leftover from “A Shared Dream” and those slower songs also felt a lot bland.  Maybe not the worst song in their discography but definitely one of the most forgettable.

12. Illusion

The last of the new tracks, Illusion continues with the slow jam R&B tracks, but unlike “Shining Stars”, it actually feels more like it follows “DON’T BREAK US DOWN” but without the acoustic or super laidback vibe.  I will say of the new songs, this one kind of felt weak and passes over me.  Didn’t help that Jun’s rap section felt so lifeless too.  Yeah, kind of blah too.

13. Stay Gold

I find it strange they decided to wake up listeners with Stay Gold at the end of the album.  After listening to it more, I’m kind of surprised at how poppy and boyband it comes off.  Luckily since I had time with this and “Action” drifted off and I was able to focus on this only and I still find it slightly uncharacteristic for the group AND its place on the album.

14. Ending ~in-stereo~

So the outro to the album is 3 minutes?  A good length to a full track?  I think its Eli that starts with a monologue (with good pronunciation, might I add) and then he starts to lightly rap to an rolling beat before Kevin sings some lines too a much brighter arrangement.  It could have been a full track and I would’ve been OK with this length…actually it might as well just be a track and not an outro.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kissing to feel
  • CRY BABY
  • Kimi Dake wo (ALBUM version)
  • One Shot One Kill
  • Rock Me

Song of Avoidance

  • Shining Stars

With the group’s hectic schedule of recent (releasing an album a year, only days apart from one another ie: “Memories”, “Action” and now this), I was worried that their rushing for this album would end up poorly and in some ways it sort of did.  The first half, Kimi Dake wo, and DON’T BREAK US DOWN were great songs and showed that spark that got me into U-KISS when they debuted.  The rest of the album though kind of felt flat and I’ve never really thought of the group as good balladeers (especially with who produces them most of the time) and the ballads, minus Soohyun’s were generic as hell and Stay Gold had nowhere to fit BUT the end…Either way, now that we officially know that AJ is gone from the group, I think the 6-nin group is pretty good and gel well with one another.

 

Nana Mizuki – NEOGENE CREATION January 19, 2017

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 7:03 am

neogenecreation

Track Listing

  1. Meguri Au Subete ni
  2. STAND UP!
  3. Please Download
  4. ALONE ARROWS
  5. TWIST&TIGER
  6. Rock Ride Riot
  7. Hatsukoi
  8. JEWEL
  9. UNLIMITED BEAT
  10. WAKE UP THE SOULS
  11. STARTING NOW!
  12. GLORIA
  13. RODEO COWGIRL
  14. Kimi yo Sakebe
  15. Zettaiteki Kofukuron

1. Meguri Au Subete ni

Opening the album, Nana usually opens with a very powerful song to kick things off and well I’m surprised that Meguri Au Subete ni isn’t the typical fast-paced epic song like “Avalon to Oukan” and “Glorious Break”.  Actually I’m more surprised she kick off NEOGENE CREATION with a ballad.  Well, a mid-tempo rock ballad.  I do like some elements of the track especially with the strings and guitarwork throughout.  Still, this is more of a song I’d expect in the middle of the album or at the end.

2. STAND UP!

I guess this is going to be a weird album because next up is STAND UP! with a celtic introduction which was something I wasn’t expecting.  I love that Nana sounds like she was having more fun with the song overall.  The tune itself feels slightly cluttered due to the smushing of lyrics in the verses, however, the chorus is a lot more straightforward.  I think the reason this song stuck on me is from the Celtic lines (and maybe the guitar solos too).  Interesting 2nd track.

3. Please Download

~Please download my secret message~…is really what kicks off our next track.  I’m already noticing the wild shifts through genres and we’re only on our 3rd track!  I was happy to hear Nana tackling electropop once again.  Despite not being as quick as I would hope it would’ve been, the computerized vocals and feeling of the track is interesting and gives us a small break from Nana’s strong and character-driven voice.  It’s a unique song on the album and as such, memorable to me!

4. ALONE ARROWS

I was expecting something like an anison track to come up soon on the album and ALONE ARROWS fits the bill to a T.  It has the chords of an opening theme on top of the moving strings and pop/rock sensibilities.  While I have to say these kind of songs from Nana are quite common and they all kind of meld together to a similar feel, I hate to say that ALONE ARROWS just didn’t stand out.

5. TWIST&TIGER

Then we hit TWIST&TIGER and I feel like it’s the retro-esque song of the album as it has a slightly jazzy feel due to the horns and funky riffs, but it also carries a lot of Nana’s powerful vocals.  I will say the chorus is a bit crazy and the drumming is a bit much, but the tune sounds familiar to another song of hers.  Interesting song though.

6. Rock Ride Riot

Despite not having more than one single on the album, I was hoping for that one edgy anison song that also has some dance elements somewhere.  Rock Ride Riot manages to fill in that void with having somewhat something that feels close to “Vitalization”.  I really love Nana’s performance in the track and the whole ~I know, I know, I know~ section is just really cool to hear.  My favorite song from the album right here!

7. Hatsukoi

After that piece of excitement, Hatsukoi strongs off quite powerfully with a rockin’ arrangement before slowing down to begin Nana’s run in the verses.  I do like some of the arrangement to be quite honest and it has a little Japanese flavor in it that really pulls me in and the guitar solo is pretty epic too.  However, the remainder of the song just doesn’t really speak to me.  It’s not a bad song though.

8. JEWEL

Our actual first ballad of the album, JEWEL gives us a break from the energetic songs with something a little more natural in arrangement.  While Nana has MANY ballads that topple over this track with ease, I feel like it was to be album fluff to break monotony from happening.  Just wasn’t something I was going to come back to after the review.

9. UNLIMITED BEAT

As one of the earliest album songs shown off, UNLIMITED BEAT seemed like it would’ve just been anison typical, but I feel like THIS was the song that should have opened the album because it’s heavy and really kicks the door down (especially after “JEWEL”).  The song is just so badass and Nana’s soaring vocals just paints the song in amazing colors!  Plus, it’s quite metal-like and I enjoyed the aspect of it.  Great song!

10. WAKE UP THE SOULS

Having our next track follow-up “UNLIMITED BEAT” is quite the task, but unlike the seriousness of that track, WAKE UP THE SOULS loosens up the atmosphere by being more lively and upbeat, but not losing the energy.  Nana once again really shines in the song and I like the control she has overall in the song.  Really a cool, cool track for the album!

11. STARTING NOW!

I find it strange that not only one single represented this album, there’s no B-side chosen to be included (sorry fans of “Antiphona” and “Koisou Hanabi”).  Anyway, STARTING NOW! when I first reviewed was exciting for me because it wasn’t the anison droll that she was putting out throughout some of the “SMASHING ANTHEMS” era.  I like the upbeat pop/rock atmosphere that kind of reminds me of “WAKE UP THE SOULS” which is pretty interesting they’re back to back.  Definitely one of Nana’s better A-sides of recent memory and fits this album nicely.

12. GLORIA

Seems like another anison track is on its way and it’s more synth based than previous tracks.  Despite that it sounds a bit to-the-books when it comes to Nana’s more synth-centric tracks, I do like Nana’s vocals cascading over the arrangement.  Maybe it’s me but it feels like a song that could’ve easily come from “GREAT ACTIVITY” if anything before that!  Sounds nostalgic to me and is a decent track overall!

13. RODEO COWGIRL

Of the titles on the album, RODEO COWGIRL had my brows raised the most.  Sadly, it fits with both “WAKE UP THE SOULS” and “STARTING NOW!” with the upbeat pop/rock arrangement.  I have to say of those 3 though, this is the weakest of them as it just doesn’t feel like it tries to stand out to me.  Does remind me of a couple songs too from “IMPACT EXCITER” but more in a bland way to me…another filler track for me.

14. Kimi yo Sakebe

As the penultimate track of the album, Kimi yo Sakebe would’ve made for another awesome opening to the album especially with an intro like that!  I think Nana and more serious rock tracks seem to finally suit her moreso than before.  I will say the chorus bums me a little bit, but overall the track is good and fills the album nicely.

15. Zettaiteki Kofukuron

Ending the album and also chosen to promote the album, I was surprised Zettaiteki Kofukuron was chosen as it’s a ballad, even moreso than “JEWEL” was.  I do think she could have chosen a better song because while it’s a decent song, I don’t think it was a strong suit to choose a ballad to promote the album IMO.  I love the stringwork and Nana’s low tones are great, but once it turns into a rock ballad, I’m just a little over it.

Track Listing

  • Rock Ride Riot
  • UNLIMITED BEAT
  • WAKE UP THE SOULS
  • STARTING NOW!
  • Please Download

Song of Avoidance

  • JEWEL

I wasn’t expecting Nana to have released a new album shortly after her last one, “SMASHING ANTHEMS” and only after one single.  NEOGENE CREATION (title is awesome BTW) seems like a bit more straightforward and stronger of an album even if there was a bit less promotion going on.  I do think some songs run on the generic side, but on the whole, Nana managed to pull some great songs here.  I wonder what she’ll release next, but I’m excited!

 

Yasutaka Nakata / Kyarypamyupamyu – Crazy Crazy/Harajuku Iyahoi

Filed under: Kyarypamyupamyu — solarblade @ 5:53 am

crazycrazy

Track Listing

  1. Ctazy Crazy (feat. Charli XCX & Kyarypamyupamyu)
  2. Crazy Crazy -remix-
  3. Harajuku Iyahoi
  4. Harajuku Iyahoi -extended mix-

1. Crazy Crazy (feat. Charli XCX & Kyarypamyupamyu)

How strange this single is split right?  Anyway, we begin things with Nakata’s track which was a collaboration with Charli XCX (pretty big name in the West) and Kyary.  Now for me, I actually hear Charli a LOT more than Kyary but it helps as the song is sung entirely in English.  Nakata’s arrangement is a lot brighter than I expected and I enjoyed that the most about this track.  To be quite honest, I actually don’t hear Kyary in the song so her backup is pretty much a missed opportunity here.

2. Crazy Crazy -remix-

I wasn’t expecting a remix to come out of this collab either, so I’m pretty Nakata had a hand with this one too.  Despite hoping for something totally different, I actually felt like Nakata went full lazy on this, changing little except for small splotches of extra synth and repetition with Charli towards the end of the track.  Not sure, but when I see remix, please do not remix it yourself without putting some kind of stronger effort into separating the songs apart…

3. Harajuku Iyahoi

Then we move to Kyary’s track which was originally meant to be a full-on Kyary single before being changed to this split single.  Anyways, it’s been quite a while since we’ve had toy piano being used in an A-side and Harajuku Iyahoi was different.  I do appreciate that the song sounds a bit more EDM than her previous A-sides of recent times and the mood is also somewhat less genki than before.  It’s definitely kind of in the middle but much better than “Sai & Kou” that’s for sure.

4. Harajuku Iyahoi -extended mix-

Surprised to see the extended mix end up on the same single (something that hasn’t happeed since “Kirakira Killer”).  Adding almost 2 minutes to the track, Harajuku Iyahoi sounds a little more club-centric with the punching synths and toy piano.  Not much else that really comes to me, but the song continues to sound nice overall.

As I’ve said, a split single between artist and producer is a bit strange but hey it finally happened right?  I don’t think this single is bad persay, but I don’t think this should’ve happened…together I mean.  I do like the Charli song and Nakata working with a Western artist should happen more often as his electronic arrangements are great!  Charli did a pretty good job, but Kyary might has well not have been a part of it as she was pretty much invisible to the song.  As for Kyary’s side, Harajuku Iyahoi is one of her more catchier A-sides and the extended mix was just as decent.  Overall, they should have been seperate releases.

 

Utada Hikaru – Hikari (Ray Of Hope MIX) January 12, 2017

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 6:47 am

simpleandclean

Track Listing

  1. Hikari (Ray Of Hope MIX)
  2. Simple and Clean (Ray Of Hope MIX)
  3. Hikari (P’s CLUB MIX)
  4. Simple and Clean (P’s CLUB MIX)

1. Hikari (Ray Of Hope MIX)

Seeing a new remix for Hikki’s Hikari single (which is due to a new Kingdom Hearts compilation) was an interesting move for Hikki and I was wishing it was a new song (or maybe a remix for “Passion” would’ve been better).  Anyway, the new remix is pretty different from the original going for this very unique arrangement that sounds like a mix of ethereal vibes and underwater/tropical undertones.  While I do prefer the “Simple and Clean” version, it’s a cool arrangement and something that’ll stick out in Hikki’s repertoire.

2. Simple and Clean (Ray Of Hope MIX)

Since the two songs are actually different from one another, I wasn’t surprise that the remix would be a smidge different from another.  Having an English version of the song really helps Westerners get used to the track by understanding the lyrics more.  I do enjoy the verses a lot as the deeper synth tones give a much darker feel.  Though the chorus is a little out of place, but I mean there’s not too much you could do.

3. Hikari (P’s CLUB MIX)

It feels like they slowed the remix down a lot and replaced some of the more synthy stuff with beats and a different set of synths.  I do like that the beginning of the song had some lyrics from another Hikki song, “traveling” thrown into it (it’s also in the Ray Of Hope MIX as well).  As a remix itself, I’m a bit in the middle of the road because it just sounds a bit too slow for my liking.

4. Simple and Clean (P’s CLUB MIX)

Same thing can be said about Simple and Clean’s version of the remix.  I will say that the remix itself works better with the vocal melody of this track more than “Hikari’s” just for the cadence to the beat and her lyrical flow.  Overall, this is the preferred version of the two, but I still like the first two tracks more.

I was a bit surprised that Hikki would release this as a single (although digitally at the moment).  As the Ray Of Hope MIX was used as promo for Kingdom Hearts 2.8, dabbling back into Hikari and Simple and Clean seems like beating a dead horse at this point, but I enjoyed the effort that remixing the songs would give a fresh twist to these old songs.  I will say, the tropical EDM feels of the Ray Of Hope MIX is cool and puts a totally different spin on things, the P’s CLUB MIX didn’t really do much (well maybe it did for S&C).  Overall it’s OK, but I hope by the time KH3 releases, we’ll have a new song to love!