Kurayami Monogatari

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Tsubaki Factory – Shuukatsu Sensation/Waratte/Hana Moyou July 19, 2017

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 4:35 am

shuukatsusensation

Track Listing

  1. Shuukatsu Sensation
  2. Waratte
  3. Hana Moyou
  4. Shuukatsu Sensation (Instrumental)
  5. Waratte (Instrumental)
  6. Hana Moyou (Instrumental)

1. Shuukatsu Sensation

I was curious to see what a title like Shuukatsu Sensation would bring us for Tsubaki and I was immediately caught to the song’s main hook of ~yoroshiku onegai itashimasu~ and just the whole groove of it all.  It’s got a lot of funk thanks to both Takui & DANCE MAN and the whole thing just stood out to me.  I really love the chorus too and working in tangent with the hook, it’s just an entertaining track.  Surprised that only Yumeno & Mizuho got the only solos, but I’m quite content with it.  Overall, this is a fantastic song and is right up there with “Hatsukoi Sunrise” in favorites from the group.

2. Waratte

The 2nd A-side to be revealed, Waratte chooses the path towards being a funky 80’s-esque kind of track.  I do feel like Waratte in comparison to “Shuukatsu Sensation” is a lot more brighter and poppy to fit the group’s more cute side.  It also helps that all the members get a solo somewhere in the song.  It’s a pretty decent song and I like its upbeat tempo and funky sound as well!

3. Hana Moyou

Not strange that Hana Moyou would be the last to be revealed, but it had been under wraps until a couple weeks before the single’s release.  Of the three songs, I’m somewhat conflicted with this the most.  I do love that of the three tracks, this one goes straight up EDM with the sawtooth synths almost giving it a Momusu feel of recent times and the guitars helped that feeling for sure.  Though my only bother is the chorus because mainly of the first half of it, being spoken dialogue to a moment of segment finishing that feels a little jagged and absurd.  Otherwise, I really do enjoy this one and I’m loving that all the girls are getting lines throughout!

 

 

I didn’t know if they could 1-up their debut single, but hell Tsubaki Factory managed to do it pretty swiftly with their second major offering!  I definitely felt they found a sweet spot in what they wanted music-wise and it worked.  Shuukatsu Senastion & Waratte are just great H!P songs and it suits them quite well.  Hana Moyou while good does have that kink I mentioned but I don’t think it was enough to deter my enjoyment of it otherwise.  With Kiki currently on hiatus (due back hernia), I am wondering what’s next for the group because they’ve been getting steadily better and better with each new release!

 

SAWA – Ijippari Mermaid July 14, 2017

Filed under: SAWA — solarblade @ 5:30 am

ijipparimermaid

Track Listing

  1. Ijippari Mermaid
  2. Koishite Hoshikute
  3. SetMeFree feat. Arisa Noto
  4. Colorful World
  5. Oboroge Dancing Interlude -KOTO Toui Kakekko-
  6. Oboroge Dancing
  7. Wanna Be a Wana feat. MIRI from Lime Berry
  8. CandyGirl Interlude -YANAKIKU Uchi Kubi no Ran-
  9. CandyGirl

1. Ijippari Mermaid

As the leading track of the mini-album, Ijippari Mermaid instantly gave me some new wave 80’s vibes with the upbeat synth melody and bass lines.  Just from that intro, the song really had me interested and I love this style for SAWA even if her vocals are still kind of here and there on pitch.  Still, the song is a good way to open this mini.

2. Koishite Hoshikute

It seems that this mini will continue with this 80’s theme, but this one feels a bit early 90’s pop too which is kind of unusual.  In some ways, I like the bubblegum pop I feel like this is trying to give, but some of the song feels jerky and SAWA once again doesn’t sound all that great (especially when shes trying to be melodic with backups).  It’s just not my thing.

3. SetMeFree feat. Arisa Noto

Oh wow, SAWA doing a duet with Nocchi? (she was a former Hello! Project member, namely Ongaku Gatas).  Listening from the track, the tune definitely feels chaotic and loud and almost a bit like a Kyarypamyupamyu song with the frantic arrangement and absurdly cute feeling I get.  It’s definitely different and reminds me of some songs SAWA did back in her indies days.  Still, the song is BUSY!!

4. Colorful World

As the 4th track, I’m starting to feel slightly exhausted from the mini-album.  Colorful World does fit in a similar style like “SetMeFree” with its overly produced synth track and SAWA’s nasally vocals.  Though this one actually left a bit of a mark on me with weird time signatures abound and SAWA manipulating those moments.  Once again, it’s a little busy sometimes, but I can see myself getting into this further

5. Oboroge Dancing Interlude -KOTO Toui Kakekko-

As one of two interludes on the mini, I was curious because her last ones in “Odore Balcony” were kind of inconsequential in the long run.  Sadly it seems like that’s the case here once again.  The music is pretty good, fitting the mini’s overall theme.  Though the vocals between SAWA & KOTO are just the two talking to each other, so it really flies over my head.

6. Oboroge Dancing

Why does the beginning of Oboroge Dancing remind me of a casino level in a Sonic game?  Eh, anyways, Oboroge Dancing straight up goes for a EDM arrangement here and it’s quick-paced and has a nice layer of bass to keep me tapping my feet.  It’s definitely the favorite off the mini as it has a nice balance between the music and SAWA’s vocals which while are pretty monotone, but she’s not hitting absurd notes.

7. Wanna Be a Wana feat. MIRI from Lime Berry

Another song that kind of tries to push SAWA’s experimentation out there.  Unlike the other EDM/80s songs, this one is a bit more stranger and has SAWA & MIRI rapping throughout.  I don’t know, this one is just a bit tragic and really doesn’t do much but make me cringe through its entirety.

8. CandyGirl Interlude -YANAKIKU Uchi Kubi no Ran-

This interlude is even shorter than the other interlude being at 30 seconds.  The arrangement sounds like it’s going for more of a Western vibe as I feel like I’ve heard this kind of sound in American Pop here recently.  Still a bit short and doesn’t leave much of an impression.

9. CandyGirl

As the final track, CandyGirl is continues the motif that had begun in the interlude.  I swear the opening section sounds like BTS’ “Save ME” for some strange reason.  Though like her other “cute” songs, it’s a bit unbearable due to SAWA’s nasally, squeaky voice.

 

 

SAWA is a strange one to me these days, while I do approve of her being active (and still being into dance music), her vocals still haven’t been really getting better and that’s not such a good thing here.  Ijippari Mermaid does have some good moments, but I don’t think it comes close to what “Odore Balcony” did, which is not much to be fair…can we get another “RingaRinga”

 

UVERworld – DECIDED

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 4:30 am

decided

Track Listing

  1. DECIDED
  2. RANGE
  3. DIS is TEKI

1. DECIDED

UVER returns again with an interesting A-side in DECIDED.  Unlike previous singles, this one feels like a song that will be amazing to hear live from the hard performance and the synth riffs that give the tune more depth.  Add on TAKUYA’s signature voice and the track is just loud, in your face and powerful!  It’s one of their more regular tracks where it’s just the band letting loose and something that isn’t totally experimental.  It’s a pretty awesome track overall!

2. RANGE

As for the B-side, it begins as a much lighter affair with TAKUYA’s vocals behind some piano & synths.  As the song moves forward, the track shifts over into this mix of synths and a march style which is definitely putting this song in the more experimental category.  I don’t know, I thought it was going to hit a little bit harder.  It does get there once it goes into the pre-chorus and it’s still good regardless, but I think “DECIDED” knocked it out of the park.

3. DIS is TEKI

The other B-side of the single though caught my attention the most due to the fact that it’s over 7 minutes long.  Granted, most of this track is kind of like studio rambling.  The first little bit of song is kind of poppy and weird (and not sung by TAKUYA primarily).  The next bit of song is a pretty edgy song and VERY cool from UVERworld, but considering I’m not sure what song this is, baffles me.  The 3rd track and final out of this one is pretty standard UVER as well and does a good job too…though I’m wondering if this is more of a preview of what’s to come on “TYCOON”…

 

 

As the 5th and final single before the band releases their next album, “TYCOON”, DECIDED was even more awesomeness from UVERworld.  The leading track continues this line of awesome A-sides the band has been putting out for quite a while and they don’t seem to even feel like slowing down.  RANGE on the other hand was a bit disappointing on the other hand, maybe a little too out there for me, but I think it could grow on me.  DIS is TEKI is just randomness and while I’m sure there’s a reason it exists, it feels more like a medley to me.

 

AAA – No Way Back July 7, 2017

Filed under: AAA — solarblade @ 2:59 pm

cd+dvd unlock

Track Listing

  1. No Way Back
  2. Beat Together
  3. No Way Back (Instrumental)
  4. Beat Together (Instrumental)

1. No Way Back

I kind of enjoy the funky vibes I get from hearing the track right from the start with the guitar licks and pulsating beat.  It’s great that AAA is back to upbeat tracks as I’ve been missing it greatly in recent times.  There’s just something refreshing about it.  The group is more or less at the same energetic vibe, but I did struggle to find Misako in the song (odd, since we just lost Chiaki and whatnot).  She’s in there but her biggest part is in the bridge.  Overall, this was a song they’ve needed for a while and I appreciated it!

2. Beat Together

The B-side sounds like something from their “HEARTFUL” album with a overarching dance beat and quiet verses.  There’s also something that reminds me of Ayumi Hamasaki’s summer songs because of the chanting and overall chords used for the song.  Still, the song is kind of OK, but I think it could’ve used a tempo boost because it does feel a bit too slow for me.

 

 

As the first single for a new era and first without Chiaki Ito, No Way Back is one of their better singles in the last couple of years.  Both songs are definitely screaming summer and fun and keeps things upbeat the entire time.  I think I was more impressed by the leading track rather than its B-side.  So far so good, keep it up AAA!

 

Momoko Tsugunaga – Tsugunaga Momoko Idol 15 Shuunen Kinen Album ♡Arigatou Otomomochi♡ (Disc 2) July 5, 2017

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:09 am

arigatouotomomochi

Track Listing

  1. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)
  2. Ashita Kara wa Omokage
  3. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto
  4. Mousou Rehearsal
  5. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!
  6. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei
  7. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta
  8. Kimama na Kataomoi

1. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)

Opening the 2nd disc up is what is considered to be Momochi’s graduating track from Country Girls (and Sharam Q’s drummer, Makoto) to her (and digital single, to promote the album).  I wasn’t expecting the track to be 7 and a half minutes long, but after listening to it, it’s more of the remaining Country Girls members giving their speech to Momoko in speech form and then singing a chorus altogether.  The song itself (when they sing together) is kind of basic and a little on the nose for me, but it’s appropriate for the occasion.  I will say, I do like when the music strips and it’s the 5 (plus Makoto) singing the chorus.  Otherwise, it’s kind of a one-use kind of track, so I’ll probably never see this being performed again.

2. Ashita Kara wa Omokage

As there is only actually four new songs on this disc (the other half were unreleased CG songs), I was happy to see new material presented (albeit, I wish it was on a Country Girls album and not so much a Momochi centered release).  Sung by the remaining members of Country Girls (aka without Momoko), Ashita Kara wa Omokage is the first song that really sounds like old Country Musume songs, but then come to fact that it like “Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou”, it has a LOT of spoken dialogue and the girls come together for the chorus.  Honestly, I’m once again not really into the song due to the immense amount of spoken dialogue so it’s not much of a song to me.

3. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto

So the middle four songs in this disc are unreleased songs the group have been performing since right around before Uta Shimomura had left the group, but the songs seem to have been updated to fit with the current group of girls.  Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto though has been released physically back in the H!P compilation “Petit Best 17”, but at that time it had Manaka Inaba and no Funakki or Yanamin.  This version does seem slightly updated and I hear the newer members, but there are some spots where I hear Manakan or maybe it’s someone else like Funakki?  Either way, I feel like the new musical changes made the song a bit more nicer…it’s pretty interesting.  It’s also kind of growing on me too.

4. Mousou Rehearsal

The other 3 tracks though have not seen a physical release of any sort and all I had were live performances to really get a listen to.  Another song that was performed before Uta’s departure, Mousou Rehearsal is a fun upbeat track that really suits the group like “Koi Dorobo” would and features a little moment, throwing a little nod to “Wakatteiru no ni Goman ne”.  Though it is sad that the song was resung to add the new members and take Manakan, but I swear Funakki sounds like her in the song which throws me off and impresses me at the same time.

5. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!

I’m kind of surprised they kept this song under wraps because I really found myself loving this song just after one listen.  It’s fun and has a mix of their throwback sound and their pop beginnings mixed into this fun and goofy track.  It helps that the dialogue section is just lulzy too.  I also love that this is with the current girls so no updating was needed.  It’s a song that really should’ve been released as an A-side to be quite honest and is one of my top favorites in Country Girls.

6. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei

The last of the unreleased songs, VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei had some balls to come after the fun and exciting “Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!” and unfortunately it’s another bummer.  This track is a bit like “Ashita Kara wa Omokage” being a bit more country sounding with shuffling percussions and certain chords that pertain to the genre.  It does have a certain Country Musume vibe like “Kakumeichikku KISS” did.  It’s not a terrible song, but it’s not a song that I’ll remember much.

7. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta

As the only new track that hasn’t been performed live (and might not ever after the news about the group), Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta is another cover from the band, The Checkers (Country Girls covered another of their songs, “Namida no Request” last year).  Unlike the saxophone craze of the first cover, this one is a bit more rockin’ and I really liked Funakki and Ozeko with their solo lines throughout!  It’s a good cover overall, but “Namida no Request” was the better one.

8. Kimama na Kataomoi

The final track, Kimama na Kataomoi kicks off reminding me that it’s not a Wintry track, even though its arrangement is arguing otherwise.  I like the mood and hearing Momochi leading here is not surprising in the least, considering when it was first performed live it was nearing her graduation.  It’s super cute and I like that there’s some ad-libbing going on and the melody is just pretty to listen to.

 

 

Considering this is Momoko’s best album, I felt like I really needed to get Country Girls’ portion of the release reviewed because it might be the last for a long while.  I have to say though, the 8 songs sound like they were good enough for an album primarily (maybe except Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou & Ashita Kara wa Omokage).  I can’t believe we waited like 2 years for some of these songs though and with no actual CG album to place them into (even though they have more than enough A-sides as it is).  It’s good they added new material though becauuuse….

The group more or less is going into hiatus and not like the sugar-coated Berryz take on it either.  From the announcement that was made, once Momochi graduates, Yamakki & Ozeko are going to focus on school studies and will be missing (except for holidays & breaks) while Chiichan, Funakki, and Yanamin join other groups (Momusu, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice respectively).  My feelings are kind of neutral, stemming from sad (seeing CG basically being only active when girls are on vacation) to excited (the girls in new groups).  So we’ll see what happens then…

As for this release and why I’m not reviewing Discs 1 & 3, Disc 1 is Momoko self-covers and while I’m respectful for her time in H!P, she was one of my least favorite vocalists and her doing solo takes on songs (the arrangements weren’t changed) is not exactly in my interests, though there are some interesting moments like in “Ganbacchae!” where shes singing and her younger self is doing the kiddy chants and her new & solo song “Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi” is a nice send-off song.  As for Disc 3, it’s basically fan-picked tracks (the originals) and all of the songs that were covered in Disc 1 is on Disc 3 so I don’t want to double my thoughts about them.