Kurayami Monogatari

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Perfume – Mugen Mirai March 20, 2018

Filed under: Perfume — solarblade @ 6:20 pm

mugenmirai

Track Listing

  1. Mugen Mirai
  2. FUSION (Limited/Regular only)
  3. FLASH (Chihayafuru Edition only)
  4. Mugen Mirai -Original Instrumental-

1. Mugen Mirai

As the leading track, Mugen Mirai has an interesting twist to their sound that the trio (and Nakata) hasn’t really explored much.  I really do love the mix of their electropop style with some strings.  Though the chorus kind of brings this cool mix of some future bass to kind of make the chorus have punch.  It’s really unique for the trio and it’s definitely ranking up there as my favorite of the A-sides they’ve released since “COSMIC EXPLORER”.

2. FUSION

As the main B-side for the single, hearing this originally via its CM tie-in, I figured it was going to be a harder song, but I was definitely curious to see the idea expanded and here it is on the single.  Even if the song falls in line with stuff like “STORY” and “Party Maker” in which the trio is less involved and feels more like a Nakata track.  That said, it’s also got a cool futuristic beat to it and fits to Perfume, but I think I would’ve enjoyed more presence from them besides their whispery parts towards the end.

3. FLASH

Here we are again reviewing FLASH it seems (it’s here due to the tie-in to the previous movie in which “Mugen Mirai” is the theme to the sequel).  I still love it a lot even if it’s been out for quite a while.  At least of the “COSMIC EXPLORER” songs, this one feels like one that kind of represented the album at its best.  It’s a pretty cool song and it has that cool Perfume feel that I feel like this era of singles has been missing.

 

 

As the 3rd single for the era, Mugen Mirai is probably the best they’ve done since “TOKYO GIRL” and “If you wanna” were kind of meh to me.  Mugen Mirai is a breath of fresh air though and really brings some new substance to Perfume’s music that I appreciate.  Though I will say FUSION would’ve been better off as an album track because it feels more like a Nakata-centric piece with little blotches of Perfume and FLASH is decent enough incentive despite being on one edition of the single (and it replaces FUSION as the B-side).  Kind of wanting an album soon.

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Kobushi Factory – Kore Kara da!/Ashita Tenki ni Naare

Filed under: Kobushi Factory — solarblade @ 5:43 pm

korekarada

Track Listing

  1. Kore Kara da!
  2. Ashita Tenki ni Naare
  3. Kore Kara da! (Instrumental)
  4. Ashita Tenki ni Naare (Instrumental)

1. Kore Kara da!

As the leading A-side, Kore Kara da! was actually somewhat surprising at the arrangement and sound of the song gave me some previous feelings to older songs like something from 4-nin S/mileage with the guitarwork and synths flowing around.  Though it does also somewhat remind me of “Tabidachi no Haru ga Kita”.  I kind of like hearin the members give a somewhat stronger performance considering all 5 members can sing in the lower register.  I wasn’t expecting Reirei to have a beatboxing section or Sakurako to have a lot of lines, but it’s such an interesting song and while it might not be their strongest song, it’s decent enough for Kobushi!

2. Ashita Tenki ni Naare

The other A-side, Ashita Tenki ni Naare feels a bit more like something Buono! would have released due to the style of the guitars and synths.  I do like the drive within the quintet and each girl feels like they stick out a LOT here and the tune kind of gives me sort of similar vibes to like “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa” but also something like “TEKI”.  What threw me off is the bridge with the English from a dude…way too cheesy.

 

 

Doesn’t it feel like it’s been a while since we’ve seen Kobushi Factory last?  A lot has happened since then, mostly due to the group losing 3 of their members (luckily not their vocal side) and had left us with the 5 here.  I feel like the single is kind of decent, but also somewhat middle of the road since neither song brought the excitement I was hoping for after their previous single.  Though it is nice Wadasaku is getting a bigger push to be on equal terms with the rest of the group now.  Curious to see what’s next for them.

 

 

Koda Kumi – AND March 11, 2018

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 1:00 am

and

Track Listing

  1. PARTY
  2. SWEETEST TABOO
  3. GOT ME GOING’
  4. WHO
  5. OUTTA MY HEAD
  6. NEVER ENOUGH
  7. ALL RIGHT
  8. LIT
  9. BRAIN
  10. IT’S MY LIFE

1. PARTY

As the opening track and song used to promote the album, PARTY definitely starts the album off with an upbeat note that gives me Summer vibes in comparison to her various other summer bops.  Kuu comes in with a catchy hook that’s sung (or shouted) in English and she sounded good in pronunciation.  After the hook, the tune kind of grooves all over the map and has a trap/dubsteppish vibe which is kind of cool.  The tune while short is just catchy and a good way to kick the album off.

2. SWEETEST TABOO

I wonder if anyone else thought about “TABOO” when they saw this title (good lord was that song amazing!).  I do like the deep bass that fills out this song and Kuu just hits the floor and runs with it with that rap!  Though, I was a little surprised there’s some lighter blips and the song kind of becomes a bit more poppy and odd.  I don’t know after a while, the song kind of just fades out to me, it’s a little too busy and the mood just doesn’t quite work here.

3. GOT ME GOING’

Our next track up, GOT ME GOING’ takes things back to more of an urban sound which is a bit better already after the mess that was “SWEETEST TABOO”.  I always seem to like these songs where Kuu gets to show her vocal chops and attitude like it does here and she sounds so in her comfort zone.  I am a little disappointed it’s 2:40 in length, but this was a pretty nifty and sassy song for her.

4. WHO

Interesting to open up with samples for WHO and this one is a bit more edgy and cool for Kuu, but I wasn’t sure if I was OK with the auto-tune that’s slathered on her voice (it’s very apparent when it gets to the pre-chorus) and then switches modes when the beat drops where it feels almost like a 4minute song (“Crazy”? “Hate?”).  Either way, it’s a better song here, but there’s been better.

5. OUTTA MY HEAD

I was wondering if we were going to get ballads, but it seems like this might be the closest.  OUTTA MY HEAD is definitely a slower song, but it’s crazy dramatic and VERY bass synth heavy which is a surprise after the previous 4 songs.  I want to say I like this, but Kuu is maybe cranking the dramatic vocals a little past what she can handle and it’s coming off a little like when her sister, misono tries.  That chorus is a bit lame though…and prolly where her vocals get the most annoying…oh and the 20 second surprise outro, didn’t need to be here either…

6. NEVER ENOUGH

So yes, Kuu did release 3 singles before the release of “AND” (which I didn’t review because they were kind of oddball single, though technically a part of her discography…but it was just A-side and the instrumental so I passed).  NEVER ENOUGH was released as the 3rd of them, (though oddly “HUSH” is absent on the album).  Since I never listened to the singles, this is my first listen to them.  NEVER ENOUGH actually takes things even more slowly than “OUTTA MY HEAD” with a piano ballad.  It’s a nicely sung soulful ballad from Kuu and its been a while since a ballad of hers has latched on to me.  This was a nice break…good choice for an A-side.

7. ALL RIGHT

Things get back to speed with ALL RIGHT and this feels like more of those upbeat pop songs that she does on the regular like “WIND” and “Come Over”.  The tune is Summery and breezy which is always relaxing and Kuu sounds pretty good and fits the girly vibes here.  On the album, it’s a nice track, but it would EASILY get lost when compared to her other feelgood summer pop tunes.

8. LIT

Then we move to the first single that was released for the album, LIT.  For some reason, this track does remind me a bit of songs like “Cherry Girl” & “Love Me Back” with that kind of gritty twang that made those songs really unique and cool and it works for LIT, but it might not be as unique as them or as memorable to me.  I do like the addition of brass at least and Kuu once again vocally knocks it outta the park here so I’m a little more intrigued by this track.

9. BRAIN

A track titled, BRAIN, huh?  I guess it could be the odd song?  Well, after listening to the song, I wasn’t expecting the tune to be a bit more urban and hard hitting with the bass hits and scratchy synths.  It’s OK, but being the shortest song on the album (2:30), it doesn’t leave much of an impression and when it did start to click with me, it ended…

10. IT’S MY LIFE

Closing the album out, IT’S MY LIFE is another oddball and strange that it was chosen to end the album since it’s pretty aggressive with its heavy beats and trap high-hats.  I do like it though, it’s less busy than “SWEETEST TABOO” so that helps it stand out amongst the other tracks from the album.  Though still odd as the last track IMHO…I think “NEVER ENOUGH” would’ve been more appropriate IMO.

Tracks Recommended

  • GOT ME GOING’
  • PARTY
  • NEVER ENOUGH
  • IT’S MY LIFE

Song of Avoidance

  • OUTTA MY HEAD

Seems like Kuu is doing it again with the double album release, luckily unlike “W FACE”, we have time before the second half, “DNA” releases.  Though let’s focus on AND.  I will say that this album makes me feel like “WALK OF MY LIFE” but much shorter and the song overall had a much better turnout.  I mean it’s still kind of bland in areas, but Kuu is showing some sass in her songs which benefitted a number of songs, though she could’ve toned down the dramatics in OUTTA MY HEAD here.  OK album overall!

 

Super Junior – On and On March 10, 2018

Filed under: Super Junior — solarblade @ 10:44 pm

onandon

Track Listing

  1. On and On
  2. Black Suit (Japanese ver.)
  3. On and On -inst-
  4. Black Suit (Japanese ver.) -inst-

1. On and On

As the lone original track, On and On is an interesting song taking a mid-tempo dance track here.  I wasn’t expecting this after a two year hiatus, but hey this was nice for the group to come back to this.  Of course it seems that Donghae has become a bit of the lead here and I’m not surprised as his vocals are quite good (not as awesome as Yesung, but luckily he has a lot of spotlight too).  The song while not as punchy as “Blue World” was still feels cool and certain parts take from the current sound in Korea so I appreviate that.  Little weird that it ends with a pseudo-rap section between Heechul & Shindong, but overall it’s an OK A-side

2. Black Suit (Japanese ver.)

Of course it wouldn’t really be a SuJu single without one of their Korean songs being translated to Japanese and it’s of course the main promo from their return album, “PLAY”.  When this came out, I was so impressed by how cool and sexy the tune came off and hearing members get some equal time in the field.  Now the Japanese version does mostly feel right and whatnot except for the chorus (but lets be honest, the Korean cut just sounds better).  Either way, it’s a decent conversion

 

 

Has it really been close to two years since Super Junior released anything in Japan?  Yeah due to all of the military enlistments and a couple of controversies with some of the members, we finally see Super Junior active and it’s interesting to hear the group without Kyuhyun & Ryeowook (and in a smaller degree Kangin & Sungmin), but I think they’re doing fine after their Korean comeback and now Japanese single comeback.  On and On while not the strongest in their catalog, is a decent song and keeps the group being upbeat while Black Suit well…brought us a classier but upbeat side as well…it’ll be interesting to see where the group lands for their next release.

 

 

 

U-KISS – FLY March 4, 2018

Filed under: U-KISS — solarblade @ 5:07 am

flyukiss

Track Listing

  1. FLY
  2. Beginning
  3. Prologue

1. FLY

As the A-side, FLY starts off somber and slow with Hoon and Kiseop and of course both manage to pretty much stick out vocally for its beginning which is always nice especially for the latter.  The song sounds pretty light, but it does change when Soohyun leads into the chorus which reminds a lot of what K-pop is going through in recent times, but a solid track with some good vocals.  Actually it’s a surprise to hear a lot of Kiseop but its much needed but there’s a reason for that…

2. Beginning

As the first B-side, Beginning starts off differently from previous efforts with an arrangement that’s a little more rockin’ than usual with guitars and drums with some fun synths.  It’s also nice that Jun/Eli sound good in their parts, but the song gets even better with its chorus which keeps the grittiness of the arrangement but added a nice melody to back it up.  It’s a cool song and really does sound good for a B-side.

3. Prologue

A synonym?  Yeah, I thought it was odd that there were two songs that similarly meant the same thing.  Prologue though is different by tapping into a more cute and upbeat kind of song and while I thought the verses were great (especially that Kiseop love here), the chorus is just way too cheesy just like it was back in “Shining Stars” in their last album.  At least this one has a bit more going for it so I’m not totally disliking it.

 

 

As the lone single before their next album, “LINK” drops, I was curious to see where U-KISS would do after their main singer of two, Kevin, left the group.  With FLY, it’s decent overall.  I think FLY is trying to make strides in what’s popular in Korea (and to be honest the song does remind of Seventeen’s recent track “Thanks”, though FLY came first so….).  Beginning and Prologue were good songs despite being B-sides and it seems they’ll be on the album too.  I think with Hoon, Soohyun, and Kiseop being the vocalists and Jun/Eli as their rappers…it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of them after this (I’m sure all but Jun are getting close to having to do military enlistments and whatnot).  Still, makes me curious about this album coming up!

 

BoA – ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT

Filed under: BoA — solarblade @ 4:37 am

oneshottwoshot

Track Listing

  1. ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT
  2. EVERYBODY KNOWS
  3. NEGA DOLA
  4. YOUR SONG (feat. JunoFlo)
  5. RECOLLECTION
  6. ALWAYS, ALL WAYS (feat. Chancellor)
  7. CAMO

1. ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT

Opening BoA’s mini-album, ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT was used as the main promotional track (sort of?).  This song opens up really cool with synths and BoA singing the title before entering a nice, chill sound that feels really neat!  There’s something dark though about it especially the underlying arrangement and beats.  I especially LOVED the chorus which will stick to you.  It’s quirky and a cool way to kick things off for BoA.

2. EVERYBODY KNOWS

There’s something about the intro to our next track that sounds like a taunt almost (nah-nah na-nah-naaah).  I thought that was funny to come across, but here we are with the first of the new tracks and this one while not as beat-centric like “ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT” it does have some interesting things about it…my only qualm is that woodwind that’s found in the afterchorus.  Besides that it’s an OK song, but could’ve used more oomph in its arrangement, kind of felt empty.

3. NEGA DOLA

I guess you can consider this a promotional track (even though the PV was out earlier and the song was released digitally a little under a month before the album).  Of the 3 songs she released to promote this mini, I didn’t really care for NEGA DOLA.  I will say that the latin flair its got going is neat and the slight urban style it gives me makes the song feels fresh to me, but once it gets in its verses and choruses, the song kind of loses me.  It’s nice to hear BoA though kind of rap a little here so it adds some flash too.  It’s OK overall, but it’s kind of in the middle here.

4. YOUR SONG (feat. JunoFlo)

Next up, YOUR SONG starts up with JunoFlo and it’s already feeling different than other songs on this album by taking more of a hip-hop flow with the beat and trap beats.  While I think BoA sounds interesting here, she’s also delivering some nice lines in here which impresses me quite a LOT.  Though I’m not sure if I’m OK with JunoFlo here, but his delivery is cool too.  It’s a unique song on the album that’s for sure.

5. RECOLECTION

Next up, RECOLLECTION pulls us back into more of her danceable side to her music and with this one, it’s a bit lighter than the songs on this album which is nice to break moods a smidge.  If anything, RECOLLECTION reminds me of the songs that I just heard back on “Kiss My Lips” if not a little slower than those songs.  It’s a neat little song and one of the better ones on here.

6. ALWAYS, ALL WAYS (feat. Chancellor)

The other song to feature someone else, ALWAYS, ALL WAYS might not be trap beat-heavy like “YOUR SONG” is, but this one takes a bit more risks with a mix of synths and R&B and some odd swerving sounds throughout, but it reminds me a little of a TLC song.  Chancellor’s appearance gives the song a little more cool vibes with his singing and hearing the two being melodic is a nice thing to hear as well.  There are a couple times where the arrangement is a little messy, but I still dug this one a bit.

7. CAMO

I kind of was surprised to see that BoA went and included this to close the mini-album out simply because this song is the oldest song (released back in June of last year).  Though let’s be honest, this song is still a banger and one of the coolest songs she’s done since “HURRICANE VENUS”.  Something so slick and edgy but so totally her was just what we needed from K-pop soloists.  It’s just that good of a song!

 

 

Wait, this is her first mini-album?!? (You’d think “Only One” was since it had 7 songs + an instrumental, but whatever).  ONE SHOT, TWO SHOT is a pretty decent mini-album with no terrible songs on it.  I think the only one that didn’t do anything for me is actually “YOUR SONG” but otherwise it’s a strong offering and surprisingly a little better than her actual Japanese release (which released nearly at the same time).

 

BoA – Kiss My Lips

Filed under: BoA — solarblade @ 3:09 am

Kiss My Lips 25

Track Listing

  1. Kiss My Lips
  2. Who Are You (feat. Gaeko)
  3. Smash
  4. Shattered
  5. Fox
  6. Double Jack (feat. Eddy Kim)
  7. Home
  8. Clockwork
  9. Love and Hate
  10. Green Light
  11. Hello
  12. Blah

1. Kiss My Lips

Opening the album up, Kiss My Lips was of course used as the promo track for her Korean comeback and while it wasn’t quite as hard hitting as some of her older songs like “MOTO” and “HURRICANE VENUS” were, it does bring BoA back to her R&B roots and the groove of the track was decent too!  Definitely a nice and cool way to open the album up!

2. Who Are You (feat. Gaeko)

Moving to the album’s tracks, Who Are You follows suit by continuing this rather cool, R&B style.  At first I thought the synthwork felt awkward, but as the song continued forward, the track becomes a lot more nice and soothing to listen.  While Gaeko contributed nicely, but he sure did have more voice-time than BoA it felt like.  The chorus is my favorite part though, very bright and upbeat.  Overall, OK I guess.

3. Smash

At least things get funky with our next track Smash which literally is a funk song with slap bass and a cool beat and makes things a bit more danceable here.  It gives me a little bit of this feel from her American album, but it’s a lot more cleaner and BoA sounds like she’s having a lot of fun with this one and I ended up liking this a lot!

4. Shattered

Slowing down a little for the next track, Shattered takes a more deeper route with lower synths and beats for this cool track.  I’m definitely a big fan whenever BoA tackles these kind of songs and this is no different.  A very smooth and mysterious track to fill the album and then BoA turns the song and makes a total bop out of it.  Definitely the first song to really wow me on the album!

5. Fox

I guess to throw some variety onto the album, Fox comes next and I dug the intro of the song but then once BoA begins the verses, the tune kind of reminds me a bit of “Smash” with the funky bass and sound.  Though this one has a little bit more of a pop sound to it as the bass kind of falls in the back.  It’s nice and whatnot, but I think “Smash” did a bit better as the funky tune on the album.

6. Double Jack (feat. Eddy Kim)

The other collaboration on the album, this one features Eddy Kim in this acoustic guitar-led track and I’m quite surprised at the change of pace.  Though after the first half of the verse, the tune changes pace and we’re back to a slightly funky sound.  It’s a nice song and even when Eddy joins the song, his parts are just as suited as well…both of them work nicely in this song and it’s just a feelgood love song.

7. Home

Slowing things down for our next track, Home takes us down a path to more of a mid-tempo jam.  With the past tracks having a nice hook to them, Home’s lack of oomph kind of prevents me from getting too into it with its quiet arrangement and low bass synths.  It felt a bit flat for me despite BoA giving a nice vocal performance, but this is like some 90’s lowkey R&B track and I was kind of bored through it.

8. Clockwork

At least things pickup again for Clockwork which has a really interesting arrangement that features fluttery strings and a cool hook to it that opens to an interesting dance track for BoA.  I kind of dig the dramatics in the song and BoA’s English has been getting stronger and sticks out throughout.  It’s one of the album’s standouts and definitely made up for how bored “Home” turned out.

9. Love and Hate

Things calm down again for our next track which starts out similarly like “Double Jack” with acoustic guitar.  Though it seems it’s the focus of the song this time and Love and Hate is kind of an interesting track being light and simple with BoA singing between both Korean and English which is pretty impressive to hear her work on fusing the two together in songs.  As such as it is a simplistic track, it was a pleasant listen.

10. Green Light

At first, the intro to Green Light gave me vibes that it was going to be a ballad, but it’s quickly shut down with the funky guitar licks and beat changed it all over.  While I do like the addition of said strings, Green Light sounds like a lot of what this album gave us so far so it feels laidback and cool.  While it might not strike as much as other funk-driven songs on this album, it’s got a nice chorus and BoA sounds great of course.

11. Hello

See, Hello starts almost the same way that “Green Light” does but instead of going upbeat, it stays as this piano ballad that slowly grows throughout the song.  This one doesn’t really do too much for me in the long run sadly because it’s pretty straightforward, but I do like how they filter her voice out in the middle of the track, but besides that, it’s kind of meh.

12. Blah

I was kind of surprised that the final track of the album is a tune called Blah, but I assume it makes things interesting and less obvious than making “Hello” the last track.  Though the song here is kind of Western-sounding to my ears with the boom-clap beat here.  Kind of feels like a song to end with, but there’s something missing about this one though.  Something a bit stale perhaps is preventing me from sticking to this one.

Tracks Recommended

  • Shattered
  • Clockwork
  • Smash
  • Kiss My Lips
  • Green Light

Song of Avoidance

Hello

So, jumping back a bit for her Korean release a couple years ago, Kiss My Lips is OK for the most part…there’s a lot of nice tracks but not enough to surpass something like the best of “HURRICANE VENUS” but it’s DEFINITELY better than “Only One”.  Though there’s some stinkers here still, but it’s an OK release.