Kurayami Monogatari

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NCT 127 – NCT #127 May 11, 2018

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 6:47 am

nct127

Track Listing

  1. Fire Truck
  2. Once Again (Summer Breeze)
  3. Wake Up
  4. Another World
  5. Paradise
  6. Mad City
  7. Switch (feat. SR15B)

1. Fire Truck

Being the promo track for NCT 127’s debut, Fire Truck had a lot to look up to after the surprising success from their brother group, NCT U.  To be fair it does lean towards more “The 7th Sense” with the trap-like hip-hop sound and repetitive bass line here.  Of course some of the members from NCT U are in this group (Taeyong, Mark, Jaehyun, and Taeil) while we have new members, Haechan, Winwin, and Yuta.  The song is a bit more for the rappers it feels like, but everyone has some time in the song.  The new members don’t quite get as much here, Haechan and Yuta kind of having some decent lines, but Winwin kind of got little here.  Still the song is pretty hype!

2. Once Again (Summer Breeze)

On the opposite of the coin, we get Once Again which unlike the crazy hype song that “Fire Truck” was, is more of a chilled out kind of groovy song.  It’s got a little urban pop and R&B thrown in it as well.  I was surprised that besides Mark & Taeyong, Haechan got a lot of lines in this one an while his voice is a little more higher than the rappers, he sounded decent with all the lines.  Decent song, odd coming after the previous track, but it is what it is.

3. Wake Up

Another short song on the album, Wake Up brings up back to the more danceable NCT 127 with this kind of tropical sounding tune that has some eccentric dubstep breakdowns throughout.  The tune itself is decent a little better than “Once Again” at least.  I do have to say that it does feel a little simple for them and the line distribution favors Haechan once again…is he really that popular?

4. Another World

Hey a song that doesn’t start with Taeyong finally!  Anyways, Another World seems to focus a lot on Jaehyun, Taeil, Taeyong, and Mark which seems to be like that NCT U members are getting pushed more because they’re well known.  Haechan, I think is more of the up and coming member while Yuta and Winwin kind of just there (despite both getting solo lines…well Yuta got the more noticeable one).  The song itself is more of a slow jam for me and it’s cool and has groove in it too.

5. Paradise

Could you believe that Paradise is even more slower than “Another World”?  This one felt quite chill and the snapping finger beat with the almost acoustic touch was a nice change of pace for the group.  It definitely showed the hierarchy of the group though, but hey Winwin got a lengthy solo at the least so I guess that’s a plus!  For a laidback song, Paradise is OK, nothing too out there.

6. Mad City

Then comes the lone song that doesn’t include all the members.  It’s between Jaehyun, Taeyong, and Mark this time, but the focus is mostly on the latter two’s rapping skills which is made even moreso because Jaehyun only has the opening lines and then he’s out for the rest of the track.  It’s interesting to see Taeyong & Mark just going back and forth in their raps and they provide such a different experience.  Unique song to the mini I’d say.

7. Switch (feat. SR15B)

If you were wondering, SR15B is more or less a demo track, not sure why they had to make it as if it was a different artist though.  Interestingly enough a non-127 member is singing the first lines (Doyoung) and he’s with Jaehyun, Taeyong, and Taeil.  The song is cute-ish, moreso than “Once Again”, but considering it did get a MV for this, I was pretty curious to what it was all about.  The tune is nice and bright and it’s a solid way to close out the mini (and a bit foreshadowing too).

 

 

Being as the 2nd NCT unit to be created, I was surprised that they were going to be the “main” Seoul unit for this NCT Project.  Considering most of the members were already from NCT U with the exception of the 3 new members and no Ten, Doyoung, and Kun.  Fire Truck seemed to be slightly misleading because besides the lead-in track the rest are pretty light songs that feature vocals (yeah even Taeyong sings and doesn’t full blast rap).  I could’ve used more presence from both Yuta and Winwin though (Haechan got a lot of it here)  Overall, it’s a nice debut I’d say!

 

NCT U – Without You May 10, 2018

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 5:45 am

withoutyou

Track Listing

  1. Without You
  2. Without You (Chinese Ver.)

1. Without You

You know, after “The 7th Sense”, I was expecting something similar in tone by being hip-hop, but I was happily surprised when in turn, we ended up with some pop/rock track with Without You.  I did recognize both Doyoung & Jaehyun here as they were involved in their debut, but a new member joined the ranks in Taeil and he suited the two together and they sound amazing together, especially with their chords they strike during the choruses.  It’s a really awesome song, not sure if I consider it more than their other leading track, but it’s definitely another knock out of the park.

2. Without You (Chinese Ver.)

Simply, it’s just the Chinese cut, but somehow this one has something interesting.  So I guess to promote this in China, they added an SM Rookie, Kun (who would later end up joining NCT) and he only has one singular solo in the song and to me he doesn’t quite live up to the trio already involved, but I suppose it’s just for promotion.

 

 

Only released a day ater “The 7th Sense”, Without You brought a totally different side to the group by giving us a pop/rock track instead of something hip-hop centric like the aforementioned track.  Like I said in the first single NCT U already got the rotation started by leaving out Taeyong, Mark, and Ten and added Taeil & Kun into the track.  Decent song overall and made me wonder what was next!

 

NCT U – The 7th Sense

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 5:29 am

7thsense

Track Listing

  1. The 7th Sense

1. The 7th Sense

What an interesting song to debut with!  Starting off mysterious and somehow keeping it throughout the song, The 7th Sense brings back a certain hip-hop vibe that SM used to be close to in the past but went away up until EXO came in.  Anyways, the group seemed to have 2 rappers (Taeyong, Mark) and 3 singers (Ten, Doyoung, Jaehyun).  Though it does feel like the rappers had a bit more oomph for the song as their flow and rapping sticks out the most to me (Taeyong’s raspy low vibes and Mark’s quick flow and youthful sound).  Really, the song is just cool!

 

 

Being the debut for NCT (as a whole) and NCT U specifically, I feel like The 7th Sense showcased a really cool and chill vibe here.  Considering the members were all SM ROOKIES that were finally promoted, they came in strong and left their mark.  Though the odd thing is is that NCT U is a rotational unit which means each release contains different members…

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido feat. Manaka Inaba – Hankouki!/Ice day Party May 9, 2018

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 2:41 am

hankouki

Track Listing

  1. Hankouki!
  2. Ice day Party
  3. Hankouki! (Instrumental)
  4. Ice day Party (Instrumental)

1. Hankouki!

The first A-side of the single, Hankouki!, is pretty much what I would think a KSS song would sound like just from the guitar chords alone.  I feel like this pretty much just a standard song for them though I do hear Manaka straight up get a solo here over the other girls.  I do like the guitar break in the bridge, but otherwise I would say this is kind of straightforward, not bad, but not terribly memorable?

2. Ice day Party

As for the other half of the single, Ice day Party is definitely a different route than the group’s previous effort, “Real☆Little☆Girl” by taking it more like an upbeat EDM track that’s bouncy and cute.  It’s definitely a song I would see the Kenshuusei sing and it kind of at times, remind me of “Seishun Beat wa 16”.  Still, the Hokkaido girls sound a lot better and vocally viable than they did at their first single.  Maybe, Manaka is another reason why they sound a bit more together too.

 

 

Wow, wasn’t expecting the Hokkaido girls to get another single in, but here we are with their 2nd offering!  Though I do have to say that both Hankouki! & Ice day Party were kind of basic of songs for the them, the girls sound better than in “Real☆Little☆Girl / Kanojo ni Naritai!!!”.  Though despite being released back in February (and this review was released in May), Ryo Kitagawa has left sadly and both songs were oddly omitted off the Kenshuusei’s sophomore effort (yet their first song is on it?).

 

Wow, almost 10 years…. May 5, 2018

Filed under: ~Announcements~ — solarblade @ 4:08 am

Yeah, even I’m surprised at how much time flew by these 10 years with this blog.  At the beginning, I had just graduated high school and thought this would be a good place for me to just gush about songs and artists and reviewing their discography and recent releases at that time.  During the early-to-mid 2010’s I had basically found new artists through friends, YouTube and other awesome forums and blogs and really found myself becoming enamored.  There was just a lot of J-pop in my life during that period.

However, the last couple years have dwindled a lot because I have a job now and J-pop isn’t too heavy on my radar currently (doesn’t help that a lot of artists that were big are now slowing down in releases and the fact I’m into K-pop nowadays.  Either way, it’s been a crazy ride and while I have no intention to shut this blog down at all, I do feel like I should apologize for not being able to keep up with all the groups that I have reviewed and sticking to artists that I kind of loving during this slow phase.  I love Hello! Project entirely, the big names in J-pop still resonate with and there’s a lot of electro I still love when it comes to J-pop, but other artists, I’ve just fallen off the radar for.

Anyways, back to my main topic….holy shit it’s been 10 YEARS!  I think I should do something special on the 18th right?  Well, I figure…10 years has been a long time and I should see what my thoughts have changed on the album I had reviewed the same time 10 years ago in the month of May, So I’m announcing that I will be “re-reviewing and taking a look back on:

  • Nami Tamaki’s 4 SONY albums; “greeting”, “Make Progress”, “Speciality”, and “Don’t Stay”
  • Ami Suzuki’s 3 avex albums; “AROUND THE WORLD” and “CONNETTA” & “Dolce” (I would do her SONY albums, but literally no thoughts have changed)
  • Perfume’s 1st two albums, “Perfume ~Complete Best~ & “GAME”

I may do more re-reviews in the future (If there’s any you would like to see, comment below and I will definitely take thought to it).

 

Anyways, thank you my readers past, present, and future…this is a passion of mine and it’s been a wonderful and awesome 10 year running and I hope to continue it to maybe 20? who knows!!!!