Kurayami Monogatari

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AAA – WAY OF GLORY February 24, 2017

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 6:26 am

wayofglory

Track Listing

  1. WAY OF GLORY
  2. NEW
  3. S.O.L.
  4. Jewel
  5. OVER
  6. Interlude
  7. LEAP of FAITH
  8. Dangerous Gamble
  9. MAGIC
  10. Namida no nai Sekai
  11. Cocoa
  12. Yell
  13. Calling

1. WAY OF GLORY

Kicking the album off is the title track and boy it starts off in a pleasant and lifting kind of way with some strings and light various other instruments.  The song grows into a more upbeat track, but still containing the same motifs as the verses do which is nice and I’m liking the choruses a bit as its lively and just in a happy place for the group.  Like MANY of their other songs, Hidaka’s solo part is a bit out of place here since his rapping section sounds like a totally different piece of music.  I enjoyed it for the most part and sets up for the next track.

2. NEW

As the first single released for the album, NEW definitely picked my interest up a LOT after their disappointing last album, but it wasn’t without some disappointing factors.  Like “WAY OF GLORY” it’s upbeat and positive sounding and feels like a nice summer song.  What I hated most though was that most of the song is filtered so it sounds so much like it’s being played like how it would on a portable radio.  I wished they had omitted it and made an (album version) out of it, but sadly it never came.

3. S.O.L.

Moving to our next new song (that isn’t titled “NEW”), S.O.L., definitely is a throwback to some of their more carefree pop track from their first 3 albums and I appreciate the nostalgic vibes.  It has a vibe that really reminds me of “Friday Party!” and “Kirei na Sora” fused together.  It’s poppy and just has quite a fun vibe that made up for the mistake in “NEW”.  I also noticed a lot of Chiaki in the track as well!  Groovy track and one of the better ones the album had to offer.

4. Jewel

I’m surprised they included the B-sides on the album (even if there was only 3 singles and one didn’t even have a true B-side anyways).  Anywho, Jewel was the B-side from “Namida no nai Sekai” and was a duet track between Chiaki & Misako.  Unlike most of the album, Jewel is a bit more EDM-ish, but also a smidge like bubblegum pop.  Like I said back in the single review, I like the ladies singing in their lower range for the verses and then grow in the chorus.  I still have this pulling feeling that the song is missing something to make it great, but I did enjoy this!

5. OVER

Sung by Urata, Hidaka, and Shuta, OVER, I was kind of expecting a harder track between the trio, but OVER is poppy with some hip-hop elements.  I do think Hidaka works his magic in this song and he did a pretty good job at it and Shuta also has a LOT of presence here and it’s great to see how much he’s grown.  The tune itself feels messy in places, but the choruses and bridge have a solid melody and the beat is faster and up-front versus the rest of the track.  Not bad, but could’ve been better.

6. Interlude

I was wondering if this was going to be the same interlude that was somehow a thing back on the “NEW” single since that also came before our next track.  Luckily, despite having the same length, it is a different interlude here.  This interlude is very ethereal and flowing and had a beat to it before it drops to some quietness and then returning with a bigger glow.  Short track at a minute, but between the two, this kind of suits “LEAP of FAITH” better in the long run.

7. LEAP of FAITH

The B-side from “NEW” comes next and I was happy to be getting another dance track returning since the last good one was “PARTY IT UP” and that was a while ago.  It does begin quietly and slowly before it builds to its powerful chorus, but LEAP of FAITH showed that AAA wasn’t quite done with EDM tracks and I LOVED IT!  Add on that the track has a LOT of English here (a good portion at that!).  I also really liked that Shinji and Shuta took leads here.  Definitely a great track to have been included and funny enough my favorite on the album!

8. Dangerous Gamble

Maybe it’s me, but I wasn’t like the LQ sounding feel of Dangerous Gamble (a duet between Nissy and Shinji).  It has similar veins as “MAGIC” by including brass and a bit more of a classy Vegas-y vibe to it.  Throw in some weird surfer pop vibes and you get this track.  I’m not sure why, but this song doesn’t quite catch me as other songs on the album had.  Like “Jewel”, there’s just something missing…

9. MAGIC

Interesting that “Dangerous Gamble” came right before this track because the similarities are just so striking (though this features all 7 members).  As the last single released for the album, I haven’t had too much time with MAGIC, but it’s still my favorite of the A-sides released as it brought back that energy and fun side that AAA was somewhat lacking in their last album.  It’s a groovy and jazzy song and just was a nice addition to the album.

10. Namida no nai Sekai

Then we move back to the 2nd A-side of the album and it’s the ballad, Namida no nai Sekai.  Coming back to this, I was surprised to hear that the song was sung mostly by the guys of the group (with the ladies joining in the bridge).  The song itself had potential to be quite nice, but I feel like it was ruined a bit by the lack of the ladies and Hidaka’s odd rap.  Though being the only ballad of the album, I suppose it’s does its job.

11. Cocoa

Interestingly chosen as the promotional song for the album, Cocoa is another Chiaki/Misako duet.  Unlike “Jewel”, Cocoa has a bit more of a natural sounding arrangement, but still feels like something us Westerners would have heard in the 2000s.  That said, this song also felt like it could’ve been so much more, but I ended up feeling a bit bored by it mostly because of the duo not sounding like they weren’t really interested in singing it.  Kind of meh overall…

12. Yell

The other B-side from “Namida no nai Sekai” made the cut and it was a pretty OK choice, but I was kind of almost right in the way that it’s more towards the end of the album.  I do like how this album just feels like many of the songs have this upbeat, hopeful kind of feel going for it.  Yell reminds me of like a synthier sounding “WAY OF GLORY” actually and it’s interesting that they are at separate points in the album.  I like it though and it has grown a little since the single review.

13. Calling

Finally, we have the final track which is also the last new album track here.  I swear when I saw the title that the group already had a song called this, but I found out I mixed “CALL” and “SAILING” together…  Anyways, about Calling, the song is another track that’s just in the same vein like “WAY OF GLORY” and “Yell” in the kind of poppy upbeat arrangement and positive lyrics.  I’m a bit surprised 3 similar sounding songs ended up on the album together and it just made Calling very bland and uneventful for a closing track, making me wish “Yell” was the final track.  At least the chorus is decent, but otherwise…something I’ve heard already earlier.

Tracks Recommended

  • LEAP of FAITH
  • S.O.L.
  • MAGIC
  • NEW
  • Yell

Song of Avoidance

  • Dangerous Gamble

Knowing that anything was going to top their last album, (the 3rd disc from their best album which was yes, credited as an original album) WAY OF GLORY didn’t have to do too much to at least make me notice it.  The album felt like an AAA album and the group sounded more together and interesting this time around even if there were some mediocre songs.  Sadly, this is Chiaki Ito’s last album with the group before her graduation (and pregnancy).  Curious to see what 6-nin AAA are going to do…but this is the last from a GREAT iteration of AAA.

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