Kurayami Monogatari

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Juice=Juice – Jidanda Dance/Feel! Kanjiru yo April 19, 2017

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 2:35 pm

jidandadance

Track Listing

  1. Jidanda Dance
  2. Feel! Kanjiru yo
  3. Jidanda Dance (Instrumental)
  4. Feel! Kanjiru yo (Instrumental)

1. Jidanda Dance

It’s been a while since Juice=Juice has really done a goofy song so when I begun listening to Jidanda Dance, I was happily surprised at how funky and funny the song came off (especially the hooks it was passiong off).  I was also impressed with how much more Yuka and Akari have been pushed as vocalists.  Throw in a random section for Ondo-styled music and it’s a bit bizarre but it definitely stuck out to me a LOT!  Great A-side for the group!

2. Feel! Kanjiru yo

Though I can’t quite say the same for the other A-side for the single.  Unlike the bizarre upbeat and fun style of the previous track, Feel! Kanjiru yo is the opposite, a slow-paced ballad with a lot of synth horns *sigh*.  I don’t know, this just feels plain and slightly generic but considering that Juice=Juice hasn’t done a ballad since “Tsuzuiteiku STORY” and that was just a blah (even when there’s a sitar thrown in the arrangement).

Juice=Juice return with a new single and I’m half & half with it.  I really did enjoy Jidanda Dance a whole lot and seeing Juice=Juice with their hair down and having immense fun (like they did in “KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!”) is always a treat to hear from the quintet.  Plus the music was off the wall and just left a smile on me.  Feel! Kanjiru yo though is just bland all over and really doesn’t do any favors for them as a ballad (couldn’t we have gotten “Giniro no Telepathy” instead?…or any of the other 4 unreleased songs they have…

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Kyarypamyupamyu – Ii Suta

Filed under: Kyarypamyupamyu — solarblade @ 5:48 am

iisuta

Track Listing

  1. Ii Suta
  2. Todoke Punch
  3. Sai & Kou -extended mix-
  4. Ii Suta -instrumental-
  5. Todoke Punch -instrumental-

1. Ii Suta

Are we really doing an Irish jig intro for a song that’s roughly about Easter?  Yeah I feel like the title is supposed to be “Easter”…Anyways, it’s nice to see Kyary back to just her on the single and Ii Suta is a strong song but she’s always been about weird shenanigans.  I’m not sure if I’m down for the Irish jig to a March kind of style, but it’s definitely unique in her discography so I’m happy she’s back to that at the least.  Odd A-side, but something people can remember.

2. Todoke Punch

Ahh I’m happy for the return of a B-side here.  Actually, I really dug Todoke Punch for some reason.  It has the Kyary cuteness, but the arrangement is a lot heavier and reminds me something from her first album…it’s just a heavy synth sound mixed with Nakata’s 80’s-esque drive that really pulled me in.  It’s probably my favorite song she’s done since “Mondai Girl” and that was a while ago!

3. Sai & Kou -extended mix-

Of course we also return with more extended remixes, this time one for Sai & Kou which was two singles ago (plus “Harajuku Iyahoi” already got one xD).  I mean it’s a minute longer which is nice.  Sai & Kou is a song that I’m here nor there with, but the extended mix kind of helped it last longer in my conscience.

Kyary doesn’t seem to miss any holidays it feels like and now we have our Easter single.  Ii Suta is an oddball song fusing two unlikely genres and adding a dollop of cuteness to make a song.  For me, it’s a bit too out there for me, but I enjoy the creativity from Nakata.  For those looking for something normal, Todoke Punch may work better and I enjoyed it tons more!  The Sai & Kou extension was cool, but like most of the others…just kind of there for people who wanna completely listen to her discography.

 

Mai Kuraki – Togetsukyou ~Kimi Omofu~

Filed under: Mai Kuraki — solarblade @ 5:16 am

togetsukyou

Track Listing

  1. Togetsukyou ~Kimi Omofu~
  2. Togetsukyou ~Kimi Omofu~ (Instrumental)
  3. Time after time ~Hana Mau Machi de~ TIME TRAVEL PARADOX REMIX (Regular only)

1. Togetsukyou ~Kimi Omofu~

I was wondering what Mai would bring with another song tied to the Meitantei Conan series (as she ALWAYS has a tie-in with the series it feels like).  Anyway, Togetsukyou starts off interestingly enough with some oriental sounds and a light air about it.  After Mai starts to sing, the song feels like something I would normally expect from her with the chill R&B vibe and light vocals.  Seems like the typical thing to get from Mai-K, but it’s a pleasant song to zone out to.

2. Time after time ~Hana Mau Machi de~ TIME TRAVEL PARADOX REMIX

Didn’t expect for Mai to bring back an oldie to this single, but here we are with a remix of her 15th single.  Time after time being remixed is a good upgrade because it does feel dated listening to it nowadays and giving it a new spin is ideal.  It does feel like it took a little of the arrangement of “Togetsukyou” to itself.  Though it disappoints me that we don’t hear Mai-K until way past the half mark…It’s nice, but it could’ve been handled a lil better…

Even though Mai’s last actual single was 2014’s “Muteki na Heart/STAND BY YOU”, I still wasn’t expecting Mai to release a single SO SHORTLY after her last album “Smile” (back in February).  Togetsukyou is a good song for an A-side, still keeping up with good leading songs.  Though I think I would’ve preferred something more than a janky remix of Time after time to appear.  Still, I hope this is a beginning of her releasing more singles.

 

Kalafina – into the world/Märchen

Filed under: Kalafina — solarblade @ 4:52 am

intotheworld

Track Listing

  1. into the world
  2. Märchen
  3. Haru wo Matsu
  4. into the world ~instrumental~
  5. Märchen ~instrumental~
  6. Märchen ~Anime Size~

1. into the world

As the leading track, into the world follows in the same veins as previous open-air songs like “Eden” and “ring your bell” with the kind of positive, flightly arrangement that we’ve been getting more and more of from Kalafina these days.  I mean I’m not dogging it for not being unique, but they have been pulling this card a LOT in recent times and I kind of want them to move on from it…it’s just starting to feel generic for Kalafina…

2. Märchen

Maybe that’s why there’s a second A-sides here because right from the start, Märchen kicks in for something new and something to push the group out again.  Hearing HIKARU lead is also a good sign because more times than not she gets the cool songs for the group.  I’m not sure where the song lands genre-wise, but it’s a decent mix of anison, rock, and folk blended into a cool and forceful track.  Definitely the more impressive track here!

3. Haru wo Matsu

Surprised the single included a B-side, but like majority of their B-sides have been, it’s a piano-led ballad.  As they’re kind of a dime in a dozen, Haru wo Matsu doesn’t really strike my fancy much, but the mood of the song is a little more uplifting than previous efforts which is pleasant, but for the people not into ballads, then this one won’t do you any good.

 

 

It feels like it’s been forever since “blaze” released, but the fact this single was announced quite a while before its actual release was shocking to me.  This single is odd, but still not up there amongst their bests.  I feel like I’m tired of the hopeful, bright sky-like songs from Kajiura and into the world was just generic to me.  I think most of my enjoyment is from Märchen with a more cooler drive and the members giving a stronger vocal performance.  As for Haru wo Matsu…it’s a ballad, you’ll either like it or not in this case…I just hope it doesn’t take forever for their next single.

 

 

GACKT – Tsumi no Keishou ~ORIGINAL SIN~

Filed under: GACKT — solarblade @ 4:30 am

tsuminokeishou

Track Listing

  1. Tsumi no Keishou ~ORIGINAL SIN~
  2. Tsumi no Keishou ~ORIGINAL SIN~ (Orchestra Ver.)
  3. Tsumi no Keishou ~ORIGINAL SIN~ -Instrumental-

1. Tsumi no Keishou ~ORIGINAL SIN~

As a theme to an anime, I was definitely excited to hear GACKT back in the game to deliver and boy did he ever with Tsumi no Keishou!  It’s been a long time since the song itself felt like a powerful song for GACKT and definitely pulls me back to the “RE:BORN” era with a powerful arrangement with heavy rock and a nice strings ensemble to add more dramatics.  GACKT himself gave an amazing vocal performance and he’s really putting a lot into this!  Wonderful song overall and I hope he keeps this up for future releases!

2. Tsumi no Keishou ~ORIGINAL SIN~ (Orchestra Ver.)

Of course like in many of his more recent singles, he’s been adding orchestra takes of the leading track which are more or less spiced up instrumental of the song.  It would’ve been great to have heard GACKT in this setting, but it’s understandable why this is a thing.

GACKT kicks off a new era with a bang with ORIGINAL SIN.  I’ve been missing this type of badass, epic song (though his last two singles were quite there, the two before “Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara” actually).  Either way, this song is just epic in every way!  One of his better songs in recent times.  Wished he’d release B-sides again, but having two instrumentals of the leading track, is a bit ehhh.

 

TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE – predawn/Don’t give it up

Filed under: TOKYO GIRLS' STYLE — solarblade @ 4:15 am

predawn

Track Listing

  1. predawn
  2. Don’t give it up
  3. predawn -Extended Mix- (CD only)
  4. predawn (Instrumental)
  5. Don’t give it up (Instrumental)

1. predawn

I was curious to see where the quartet would release next as an A-side.  predawn is definitely a step in a new direction away from the funky sounds of majority of the A-sides.  I really like this kind of cool, ethereal sound and then turned into a moombahton track in the chorus, but it’s very slight, but the essence is there for sure.  I definitely found this MAD refreshing and I do get a feeling of the morning here.

2. Don’t give it up

As for the other A-side, Don’t give it up follows with a bit of a pop/rockish kind of sound to it.  I have to say now, the group vocally sounds good and the level of talent feels like it’s getting better with each single.  As for the rest of the song, it’s a bit to the books for a song for the group like “Chiisana Kiseki” was.  It’s not bad, but not what I exactly came for.

3. predawn -Extended Mix-

30 seconds extra huh?  Well, I do have to say I quite prefer the intro to this here, the rest of the song is the same and a couple extra parts so it’s not a major extension, but it’s there for people who bought the CD only so I suppose you get the song in a better way maybe???

 

 

3rd single in with the quartet and I feel like TGS’ is starting to find a new identity away from the idol songs of yore.  I feel like predawn is an awesome example of this and the whole light club feel is just something that works with the group.  However, Don’t give it up felt like straight idol pop/rock and it just doesn’t connect to me in anyway.  The extension is here or there, makes no difference in the long run…still overall a good single from them!

 

Koda Kumi – W FACE ~outside~

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 3:42 am

wfaceoutside

Track Listing

  1. W FACE
  2. Ultraviolet
  3. insane
  4. Damn real
  5. Heartless
  6. Bassline
  7. Shhh!
  8. Bangerang
  9. Wicked Girls
  10. Cupcake feat. AKLO

1. W FACE

~Yes bitch, yes bitch, yes bitch, SLAY!~…Really now?  Hey, I could commend Kuu for opening this album on a kick.  I was thinking the song was going to be harder just from the intro, but W FACE is a little more mellow than I expected, but it does have its moments like the deep bass runs and trap rolls in the hook.  The verses though are smooth and cool.  It’s not a song that’s going to really hit the spot like older intros, but I appreciated the change overall!  Cool track!

2. Ultraviolet

After the cool first track, we enter Ultraviolet and one of the four songs chosen to promote the album from this disc solely.  Continuing from Kuu’s normal edgy and sassy songs, Ultraviolet feels like a K-pop song for some reason, but I kind of enjoy the music and the attitude is once again at the forefront (including some humorous machine gun impressions).  Interesting song overall!

3. insane

For a song titled as such, I was ready for something wild, but insane is a bit slower than “Ultraviolet” was.  A lot of Kuu’s urban pop tendencies make their appearance and I was quite interested in every turn the song took.  There are some points where Kuu seems to try a little to hard vocally (like the straining and nasal high tones, she pulls).  Still, the song is powerful and in your face mixed in with some desperation.  This is a song that will definitely grow on me in the long run even with its discrepancies and the PV helped too!.

4. Damn real

Ahhhh, I like that low bass that opens up our next track.  I even appreciated the low energy vibe of this song as it gives off this chill, yet uneasy setting with that track.  Though I was hoping the song would keep this sound for the whole way through, but the chorus (beat drops) happens and it’s like a very odd trappish mess.  Plus the repetition of ~do, do, do~ just gives me a headache from an otherwise cool ass track.

5. Heartless

Like with “inside” I wasn’t expecting ballads on this album, but there’s one here and Heartless is that track.  Funny enough, it has a REALLY simple arrangement of just piano and Kuu’s emotion-drenched vocals which funny enough worked better than it did on 90% of the other album which says a lot here.  There’s one point where I felt that Kuu’s emotions got the better of her and she cried a little bit.  This is probably her best ballad in quite a while IMHO.

6. Bassline

So drifting away from that emotional bomb, we move back into more upbeat tracks starting with Bassline.  Right from the start, the song feels a bit like a mix of “Ultraviolet” and “Damn real” with the mellower groove, but some interesting throws of sax in there.  There’s just something that’s so cool and clubbish (but muted).  Funky track overall and a good choice to get a PV

7. Shhh!

As the only A-side to really represent the album, Shhh! was a nice refreshing jump back to upbeat Kuu and on the album, it really pops out of nowhere thanks to its boom-clap arrangement and her epic first line!  I feel like of all the songs on this album, this track feels like something she would’ve popped out around the “Kingdom” era and I love the kind of throwback feel it has.  I enjoyed this song a lot and has grown a lot more since the single’s release!!

8. Bangerang

It feels like Kuu is loving saxes on this album, but I’m not complaining because it’s an awesome instrument to include in songs.  Bangerang I thought was going to be upbeat but after the introduction, the song drops and because a slower, sexier track that has a bit more punch.  I do think it could’ve been a smidge faster, but the crawling arrangement and lead-up to the chorus is nice (if not a bit mechanical).  Nice track overall though!

9. Wicked Girls

The 4th and final track to get a PV, Wicked Girls caught me attention early with the groovy arrangement, but after going through the album, I feel like this song could’ve had some worked done with it, but the chorus really is sassy and Kuu just always knows how to give it the right amount of punch.  Though I do find it funny once again that Kuu’s Engrish has slightly gotten better, but not enough because it feels like she’s saying ~weakened girls~ or ~weekend girls~.  Still a fun club song to really lose yourself to.

10. Cupcake feat. AKLO

Kind of funny that it begins with a cat meowing, but the final track, Cupcake feels very trappy and more urban than other songs on the album.  Not sure how to feel about this one, but she can pull off this darker vibe of this song.  AKLO doesn’t sound half bad in his rap either, so I feel happy that I can enjoy this more.  Although, its funny as hell as this song is called Cupcake and just feels anything but sugary xD.  Though I’m more surprised it’s a little over 2 minutes…Short huh?

Tracks Recommended

  • Heartless
  • Shhh!
  • W FACE
  • insane
  • Wicked Girls

Song of Avoidance

  • Damn real

Not surprised that I was more impressed by outside!  I mean already from the fact that it was going to be mostly upbeat and cool songs from Kuu helped me into this one.  I mean all of the tracks were good (Damn real, was only on the bottom because its chorus was terrible…).  Honestly, this is a pretty cool album overall and Kuu has finally found something to latch on to. *RECOMMENDED*

As a dual release, was it necessary?  I mean altogether 20 tracks is nothing unheard of in Kuu land so I was surprised she’d pull a Beyoncé “I Am…Sasha Fierce” situation.  Like both albums though, this concept fell flat when half the album was amazing and the other was just a snoozefest.  I would actually recommend W FACE ~inside~ just for the more stronger output.