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Up Up Girls – Joujou do Konjou/Be a Girl June 25, 2018

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 3:47 am

joujoudokonjou

Track Listing

  1. Joujou do Konjou
  2. Be a Girl
  3. Startline (Regular A only)
  4. Ichiban Girls! 2017 (Regular B only)
  5. Be a Girl (Dr. Usui remix) (Regular C only)
  6. Joujou do Konjou (Instrumental)
  7. Be a Girl (Instrumetnal)

1. Joujou do Konjou

As the leading A-side, Joujou do Konjou starts off cool and with Japanese instruments alongside Maana!  Though the song definitely gives me a mix of ska and the traditional Japanese instruments which is pretty awesomes!  I definitely get the feeling of fun and excitement with this one and hearing Morisaki and Sekki’s rap is quite something too!  Otherwise, it’s pretty straightforward for an idol song but I dug it.  Hell, Azusa’s slow line in the 2nd verse was so impressive and Manami is coming up as a singer too!  Yeah, decent track!

2. Be a Girl

The other A-side featured, Be a Girl sounds more like the stuff the group have been releasing in recent times bringing more of a electropop style to the single and like “Joujou do Konjou” feels straightforward of a song like “Kimi to Iu Kasetsu” before it, but it sounds clean and the beats are catchy.  Nice song overall and one that will stick out for me.

3. Startline

So each of the 3 editions have their own B-side and starting with this one, the song actually isn’t even new really.  This track actually was originally a solo track for Ayano Sato before she graduated so the song itself was just purely given to the group for the single.  A song that I really wasn’t too into originally just slightly gets better with the variation of the line distribution.  It’s OK, but nothing too spectacular.

4. Ichiban Girls! 2017

Regular B also got a song that got updated and it’s a self-cover of one of their A-sides off their 7th single.  Like “Startline” though, the song wasn’t updated arrangement-wise just the fact the line distribution was changed around because Sengoku & Sato are gone.  The tune itself is still loud with a HEAVY amount of percussion and the tune is more for the live performances (because it’s a great crowd pleaser).

5. Be a Girl (Dr. Usui remix)

Why does the melody of the remix at the beginning sound exactly like Lee Brotherton’s “Dreams of an Absolution”?  Anyways, the last track on the single is a remix for Be a Girl and it takes the song into more of an electronic track and has a bit more oomph about it compared to the original’s arrangement which means I kind of dug it more.  It doesn’t do anything too out of the ordinary.  Decent remix!

 

 

So Up Up Girls are only releasing one single prior to their 5th album huh?  I guess so, but I have to say the single is mostly OK, nothing too grandworthy to fully stand out amongst their big catalogue of songs.  Joujou do Konjou feels standard, but in a good way while Be a Girl is a safer track when compared to their other electro tracks.  The B-sides are eh…just some updated songs and a remix so it’s nothing big here.  Will say that I’m happy that this album will have mostly new songs on it though!

 

NCT 127 – Chain

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 2:39 am

chain

Track Listing

  1. Dreaming
  2. Chain
  3. Limitless
  4. Come Back
  5. 100

1. Dreaming

Ah, opening the mini-album, we have Dreaming which kicks off with an interesting sound that isn’t quite like their previous releases so the popping and cool sound just feels nice for NCT 127.  I do like everyone has solos here and it the tune just grooves on for the rest of the track.  Actually, the bridge is kind of nice too, a little aggressive, but kept in the same feel.  Of course Taeyong and Mark has the rapping chorus (odd choice) but overall a soft but nice track to kick things off.

2. Chain

Used as the promotional song for the mini, Chain definitely feels like a natural progression of what the group was sounding like (ignoring “TOUCH” for a second).  Chain definitely stands out due to the mechanical sounds that make up the arrangement.  I’m loving how much I’m hearing Yuta in the song and even Johnny too!  Of course the usual suspects take their usual spots, but I will say I’m impressed with the speedy rap from Taeyong.  It’s crazy catchy, but the lack of a strong melody might have fans struggling a little bit who were there for other songs.  Though, I do enjoy it a lot…one of the cooler songs NCT 127 has done I’d say!

3. Limitless

What’s a two year old song doing here?  Granted, the Japanese version of Limitless has gone WAY too long without a release so I guess its appropriate that it found its way here.  I mean what’s there to say?  It’s an amazing song and the Japanese version doesn’t lower it very much at all when it comes to changing lyrics around so I’d say its a good version of the song.  Though they’d might change some distribution around to fit Yuta more, but I’m OK with this…awesome song still!

4. Come Back

Next track up, Come Back seems to bring us back to more of a smoother style and I’m kind of enjoying the Summery vibes I get from the track.  I’m noticing a LOT of Taeil in the song and I’m not bothered because he is one of the best vocalists in the group.  Also yay for more Yuta again!  Yeah this song is pretty solid except for maybe Taeyong & Mark’s rap section which suddenly slow the song down…and it’s not even that long?  Either way, the tune is cool!

5. 100

Ending the mini off, 100 is kind of a sexy song for the group and once again a whole lot of Taeil, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Yuta, Taeyong, and Mark.  The tune feels very ethereal for the group and the lower glow is just nice to hear.  It’s an interesting song so to speak so I’d say it passes!

 

 

Here we are up to date on the NCT world with NCT 127’s Japanese debut mini-album!  What I can say is that Chain left me wanting more from this release than it should.  The lead-in track was fantastic and showcased what the group was known for (and to a lesser degree Limitless despite being an older track), but Dreaming, Come Back, and 100 were nice album tracks that continued to show more progress in the group (REALLY happy that Yuta got pushed on this release).  Now if only we can get a push for Johnny and Winwin and I think this group would be onto some big things!  Great mini, hope for more in the future!

 

NCT 2018 – NCT 2018 EMPATHY

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 1:50 am

empathy

Track Listing

  1. INTRO: Neo Got My Back
  2. BOSS
  3. Baby Don’t Stop
  4. GO
  5. TOUCH
  6. YESTODAY
  7. Black on Black
  8. Timeless…
  9. The 7th Sense
  10. WITHOUT YOU
  11. WITHOUT YOU (Chinese Ver.)
  12. Dream In A Dream
  13. OUTRO: VISION
  14. YESTODAY (Extended Ver.) (bonus track)

1. INTRO: Neo Got My Back

Opening up the album, Neo Got My Back isn’t totally a brand new song to listeners (was used as the BGM for the Yearbook video for NCT to show off all the members that make up NCT).  It’s got an interesting beat and style to it that makes everything so mysterious, but majority of the song is repeating ~neo got my back, culture techs, tech-tech on my mind~ so it leaves little impression, but it’s still a cool intro.

2. BOSS

Because of the large emphasis the group was pushing this album, the next 6 tracks were all technically used to promote the album (all of them even having MVs to coincide alongside…though I guess all of the songs could primarily be considered promos to the album, huh?).  It’s been nearly 2 years since we’ve seen NCT U being active (then again most of the members in NCT U have been active through 127 & DREAM so it’s kind of a moot point isn’t it)?  Of course with the group being rotational, the members have switched dropping Ten, Kun, and Taeil for Winwin, and newcomers Jungwoo & Lucas.  We ended up with a song that kind of feels like a NCT 127 track but with some interesting vocals!  Hell, I was surprised with how strong of a vocalist Jungwoo is (almost compared to Doyoung here) and Lucas’ swagger and tight flow in his rapping skills (though he is going up against Mark and Taeyong here).  Still, this song is great and has a lot oomph and punch.  Welcome back, sorta? NCT U?

3. Baby Don’t Stop

Another NCT U song but instead it’s more of a duet between Taeyong & Ten this time?  A lot of fans were clamoring after his disappearance after “Dream In A Dream” so it’s with no surprise they would bring him back in a big way.  Considering I never really listened to his solo track, I was surprised they made Ten a vocalist despite the last time hearing him, he was more of a rapper alongside Mark & Taeyong.  The song itself does remind me a lot of “BOSS” with the similar hip-hop sound and synth usage.  What I do love though is the whispering and kind of sexy glow to the track.  It’s snappy and cool and definitely worked as a song between two of NCT’s strong members.

4. GO

After listening to all of NCT DREAM’s discography so far, I wasn’t expecting a jarring change like this despite wanting the group to kind of mature themselves slightly after the rather cheesy “We Young”.  Boy did they come in strong for this one which has a slightly futuristic urban sound to it and definitely continues the synth storm that the previous two tracks have been providing.  Also, hey Jaemin is back and he has a rap duo line alongside Jeno and it’s just great to see him back (funny that this is his 2nd track in NCT DREAM, not counting the Chinese version of “Chewing Gum”).  As much of a 180 this song is, I kind of loved this track for its sound and aggressive teenage angsty feel.

5. TOUCH

On the other hand, I also wasn’t expecting NCT 127 to give us a poppier song in comparison to any of their previous lead tracks, but unlike NCT DREAM, NCT 127 has done cuter songs in their mini-albums so the switch isn’t as jarring like the former.  It’s nice to hear Taeyong actually sing though, he’s got a silky tone to his voice!  Alongside many of the normal singers (Jaehyun, Taeil, Doyoung, Haechan, and even Yuta), this song was just refreshing and nice break from the heavier sounds of “BOSS”, “Baby Don’t Stop”, and “GO”.  Just a bright and lively track from 127!

6. YESTODAY

Back to NCT U songs again, this time we have Taeyong, Mark, Doyoung, and Lucas and unsurprisingly it’s a 90’s hip-hop track with YESTODAY.  As this and “Black on Black” was the promotion post-album release, I’m not surprised since these two tracks aren’t quite my favorites here.  YESTODAY is chill and groovy, but it does focus on the 3 rappers (while Doyoung sings the tune’s chorus).  To be honest, I already know what Taeyong and Mark are capable of so their parts while good, fly by me…I was more interested in hearing Lucas this time!  Though Doyoung sings the chorus with a lot of soul and I dug that the most of this track.  Lucas’ part is really cool and better that’s in English, but it’s so short sadly in comparison to the other two rappers.  I don’t know, it just wasn’t my kind of song I guess.

7. Black on Black

As the only track on the album to include every member in it, I was sorely disappointed with the lack of members in this one.  While it would’ve been hard to fit all 18 members with solo lines, it really was only Taeyong, Mark, and Lucas that had any sort of lines here which is poor considering those 3 JUST had a track to themselves in “YESTODAY”.  The song itself has a strong and aggressive feel to it and it show because it was meant to show off the group’s strong choreo.  Without the MV, the song just falls flat for me.  Like I don’t know, but if you’re going to promote this as the everyone is here track, please put all those members to use in the song first!

8. Timeless…

Now the next 5 tracks are all previously released songs, some even going back to 2016 (which is REALLY strange in Korean releases if you ask me to being pulling old songs, but NCT U haven’t had a mini (or full album release, which I feel like is mostly what EMPATHY is I feel like).  Timeless… is the most recent of the older releases (last year) but it wasn’t special because it was released as a SM STATION song.  Sung by Jaehyun, Doyoung, and Taeil, it’s the album’s lone ballad and boy does it do a good job showing the trio’s awesome vocals.  Simple piano/strings arrangement though so it is a jarring stop after “Black on Black”, but it’s an alright track mostly to show off the 3 NCT vocalists really.

9. The 7th Sense

I still am not sure how to feel why they decided to NOW of all times to put this and the other tracks on here, it just seemed a smidge lazy on SM’s part.  Now despite being about 2 years old, The 7th Sense is still a great song to debut under with the lowbrow trap sound mixed in with the 5 that made up this track (Taeyong, Jaehyun, Doyoung, Ten, and Mark).  It just felt smooth and silky and oozed coolness.  Yeah, after the previous tracks, it’s just nice to return to where it all began!

10. WITHOUT YOU

Same can be said about WITHOUT YOU (Jaehyun, Doyoung, and Taeil).  Though this song still somehow manages to stick out on the album by being more of a pop/rock kind of tune versus most of the other tracks on EMPATHY.  Like “Timeless…” these 3 just vocally knock this song out of the park and sound amazing especially when they get into their melodies together…it just sounds cool!  Still one of the more surprising songs since fans weren’t sure what the deal was with NCT U at the time.

11. WITHOUT YOU (Chinese Version)

Most casual fans probably question why this was included, but I believe it’s just simply to show that Kun was in at least one other song on the album (that wasn’t “Black on Black” well…yeah nevermind he technically is only in this track on the album).  I mean Kun’s solo line is OK, but he is definitely overpowered by the other 3 members of the track and his only line is in the beginning after Jaehyun’s so…eh.  Other than that same song, but in Chinese.

12. Dream In A Dream

So this surprised me too, but Ten’s track also made the cut (though it’s funny that after EMPATHY released, he dropped more “New Heroes” >.>).  Unlike other tracks, Dream In A Dream is just unique sounding by having a strong Oriental sound to it.  Most of the song is instrumental though which may a be a little odd, but Ten sounds great as a singer and singing in English was also impressive too!  Random inclusion, but it really sticks out to me for some reason despite the overall simple lyrics and heavy lean on the instrumentation.

13. OUTRO: VISION

The album of course ends with an outro piece and strangely doesn’t quite fit the album or it just kind of feels like out of place because nowhere else on the album has this gothic-like strings orchestral so it just feels awkward?  Plus the whole ~I see the vision~ thing just doesn’t work for me.  Yeah, kind of a misplaced track IMHO.

14. YESTODAY (Extended Ver.)

So for iTunes buyers, the album contains a bonus track in a slightly extended cut of YESTODAY which features more rapping from Taeyong in the intro which I personally already thought had too much spotlight in the track already.  20 seconds added isn’t much, but meh…nothing really changed my opinion of this track regardless.

Tracks Recommended

  • GO
  • BOSS
  • WITHOUT YOU
  • Baby Don’t Stop
  • The 7th Sense

Song of Avoidance

  • Black on Black

Ahhh here we are with the BIG NCT album to really showcase the groups and I feel slightly disappointed by it.  Overall, it felt more like an NCT U release more than a celebration of all the NCT groups unfortunately because 127 & DREAM only had one song to offer each (probably would’ve been nice to have simply added “Fire Truck”, “Limitless”, “Cherry Bomb”, “Chewing Gum”, “My First and Last”, and “We Young” instead of blowing it up with some unnecessary stuff.  Still, the first half was exciting and fun to listen to, but once “Timeless…” kicked in, it was just a slog of stuff we already heard of the past 2 years…I don’t know where I fully stand, but next time just make an NCT U mini, OK?

 

Let’s talk about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 12:19 am

Super-Smash-Bros-Ultimate-logo

Wow it’s that time again to check out the first news about the newest Smash Bros. game that will be released for the Switch on Dec. 7th, 2018.  So shall we get into all the info that ended up coming out (which is hella lots!).

Characters

So, Sakurai basically announced that EVERY character has returned for this iteration of the game and even better a LOT of them (if not all of them has had some change big or small dealt to them), but lets get to the big ones the returned!

Ice Climbers, Young Link, Pichu, PKMN Trainer (Squirtle, Ivysaur), Wolf, Snake

iceclimbersYoung_LinkPichuPKMNTrainerWolfSnake

So I picked these 6 out because they were the only veterans that were left off from Smash for Wii U (& 3DS) (minus Charizard) and the former 3 missed out on Smash Brawl and the game that followed.

It’s nice to see Ice Climbers return due to the fact they couldn’t make it to Smash 4 because of the 3DS limitations and whatnot.  When it comes to Pichu & Young Link they kind of were clones so I was here nor there, but I’m really excited to see them because Pichu while still a clone (and for some reason not an Echo fighter (something I’ll mention later) has its unique shtick of injuring itself from its own electricity.  Young Link though is more of an odd one because he’s the 3rd Link in the game but it seems Y. Link is different enough from regular Link & Toon Link to also escape being an Echo fighter as well.

Then we have PKMN Trainer return with Charizard returning as the powerful one next to Squirtle & Ivysaur.  Seems like the transition from switching out is a lot quicker and there’s no negatives like the stamina meter from Brawl to hinder any of them!

Wolf returning was no surprise as besides the Ice Climbers was one of the more requested veterans to return (after Mewtwo, Roy, and Lucas).  Still it’s awesome to see his return and he looks great and vicious and ready for a new fight!

Though the biggest surprise was them being able to bring back Snake!  It’s really mostly due to all the drama that Konami and Hideo Kojima had gone through and just the thought of the troubles it’d cause for Sakurai and his team to deal with so I’m elated to see his return the most out of the 6…though what’s interesting is that he’s the only one whose series symbol changed (in Brawl it was the FOXHOUND insignia, but now its a simple Exclamation Point.

That said, this is everyone that ever was and have been in a Super Smash Bros. game and I’m just so excited for it…but like the trailer they showed earlier this year, there was going to be new characters so let’s meet them!

Inkling

Inkling

So let’s get to the 1st character to be announced for Smash Bros. Ultimate!  Inklings were added first and its no surprise because the Splatoon! series has blown up since the first was released on the Wii U (unfortunately not making the time cut for Wii U/3DS).  Though we finally got our first look of our new character in the trailer and their unique shtick is the Ink which they can use to cover their opponents and make their attacks stronger, though they do have fill up with ink when it’s all used up.  Honestly, they look like a great fit and will definitely fit with the rest of the cast!

Daisy

Daisy

So midway through the direct, we were noted that Lucina & Dark Pit had the Epsilon letter next to them and Sakurai had mentioned that these characters are called Echo Fighters (fighters that closely resemble their original character like Lucina to Marth and Dark Pit to Pit.  Then he just casually announces a new character and it’s Daisy!  Of course just by looks, she’s an Echo Fighter to Peach and shares a lot of similarities.  Honestly, it’s more or less to me, I mean Peach is great, but Daisy getting her spot (over Waluigi who is still an Assist Trophy, just feels odd).  Though it made me wonder why Young Link, Pichu, and Dr. Mario didn’t get the mark, but it seems Bill Trinen said that those three are different enough from their originals to I guess not fit in that category. We’ll see where she adds up to, but like Lucina & Dark Pit…it’s just meh?

Ridley

Ridley

Though let’s be honest, the BIGGEST surprise was at the end of the presentation where Sakurai announced one more surprise and BOY was it a surprise indeed!  Yep, it’s finally time they had figured somehow to work Ridley into the game and what beast he is!  Not sure if he has a distinct concept like many of the Smash 4 roster or Inklings, but he’s a big character with long reach (especially with his tail).  It’s just great to see him finally making his first playable appearance…though it does make me question ONE thing which I’ll get to soon.

Stages

Currently, there’s a LOT of stages as in like over 80 stages found just from the Direct, E3 demo, and the official website, so I thought it’d be better just to name off the ones that haven’t been found quite yet!

From 64

  • Kongo Jungle – Well, it was in the last game, so I wouldn’t be surprise if it’s going to be in the game because its already fit enough for the Switch version by making small upgrades!  Plus it seems Sakurai went in and changed the names of some levels like Kongo Jungle in Melee is now Kongo Falls so its to assume that this level is more than likely going to make a return.
  • Peach’s Castle – This stage was also in Smash 4, though it was DLC…still I think its bound to make a return as well!  It’s different enough from the Princess Peach’s Castle from Melee right???
  • Planet Zebes – Ahh!  So this is one of the couple of stages that I’m actually kind of unsure about making a return!  It mostly stems from the fact that Brinstar of Melee kind of replaced it because the only difference between the two are the breakable tendrils and cells that are on Brinstar but not on Planet Zebes, but otherwise the two stages are the same mostly!  So this is why I’m kind of uncertain about seeing it make the cut!
  • Sector Z – The same can be said for this Star Fox stage!  It would be eventually sized down some and turned into Melee’s Corneria.  So the difference mostly comes down to the size (and there’s no lower platform where the front laser cannon is) OH and the dark space backdrop as well.  I could see this return only if they keep the size huge!
  • Mushroom Kingdom – One of the fan favorites, Mushroom Kingdom is in the middle of the list for me because I feel like they would need to figure out the Pipe situation…but I don’t think that’s too much a big problem???  I don’t know, it’s odd that we haven’t seen this stage return.

From Melee

  • Brinstar Depths – Kind of an odd one to begin with, this stage I think would have to be reworked entirely to fit the new engine, especially to fit in Kraid and his attacks to make the platforms rotate.  I’m sure this might be getting added, but we’ll see!
  • Fountain of Dreams – What an odd stage to leave out right?  I mean yeah, it’s basically Battlefield with a splash of Kirby paint and side platforms that rise and fall.  Still, it’s one of the best looking Melee stages and shame that it hasn’t returned thus far, I kind of want to see it back!
  • Icicle Mountain – Despite that I like Summit more as the Ice Climber’s stage, this is where it all kind of begun and I do partially want to see it return…maybe fix the speed of the moving up or down bits, but It’s an OK stage.
  • Mushroom Kingdom (Melee) – It took me a while to remember what the stage looked like because I remembered Kingdom II more.  After watching it, I mean it’s a LOT like the first one from Smash 64, minus the transporting pipes so there might be a cause of redundancy if it’s included alongside, but this also may be the easier one to work with.  Or they’ll somehow mash the two together to make one?
  • Poké Floats – With Pichu returning, I feel like it’d be nice to give him (or her) this stage because it’s based around 2nd Generation and it fits the character.  Not much was problematic on a visual point so it could be easily brought back too!  Well, that is until you think that all stages are getting a Battlefield / Final Destination and Poké Floats doesn’t have much of a flat platform (morbid to think you’d fight on a Pokémon cut in half XD).
  • Rainbow Cruise – Nothing seems to be holding this stage back it seems since the last time we saw was indeed in Brawl.  Moving stages it seems to be odd to bring back, but I did somewhat like this one and it would work!
  • Yoshi’s Island (Melee) – Like with Rainbow Cruise, is there anything really holding it back?  I feel like it’s just a matter of time before they show it off because its such a well-known stage and last time we saw it was in Smash 4 sooo, just a quick move over is all it needs.
  • Mute City – Definitely was a fun stage to fight at, has been a while since we’ve seen it last, but considering Port Town: Aero Dive exists and a new version of Mute City on the 3DS (that uses the original SNES graphics) it’s hard to tell where this one lies.

From Brawl

  • Delfino Plaza – Another traveling stage, no reason why they didn’t show off Delfino Plaza, so I’m sure it’ll make a return it’s just when will they show it off.
  • Mario Bros. – If they do bring this stage back they really need to work on those Shellcreepers & Sidesteppers and drop their knockback a WHOLE lot because that’s what kind of ruined the stage for me on top of the closed space it feels like it has.  It’s definitely a retro stage and memorable, but please drop the knockback!
  • Hanenbow – The only stage to have a symbol that doesn’t pertain to a character, Hanenbow was an oddball stage being from Electroplankton and using its own elements to make music.  It’s definitely an odd stage and seeing it return would be neat, but like Poké Floats, how would a Battlefield / Omega stage look?
  • Rumble Falls – Moving stage of course, seems like there’s a lot missing huh despite that there’s some already in (like Port Town: Aero Dive).  Rumble Falls is unusual with it’s vertical-ish movement and there are some things that I’d like toned down (like the purple spikes), but I could see it coming back.
  • Mushroomy Kingdom 1-2 – So a lot of people have kind of glossed over it, but yeah I have to mention the underground level from Mushroomy Kingdom.  Yeah the 1-1 version is confirmed to have returned, but nothing was shown for this one which I guess many people forgot existed because while 1-1 was on the Smash 4 3DS, it was by itself.  It would be nice to see this packed in again (and maybe made separate to at least make it more noticeable?
  • Pirate Ship – Was in Smash 4 as DLC so I expect this to make a return.

From Smash 4 3DS

  • Dream Land
  • Golden Plains
  • Mute City
  • Rainbow Road
  • Paper Mario
  • PAC-MAZE

For all of these, it’s just a matter of transferring them and updating the graphics to suit the Switch.  Honestly though, I can see all of these return (Paper Mario I could see getting an overhaul on the stage though too, since it could use more transformations (and fixing that Bowser Castle section).

From Smash 4 Wii U

  • Gamer
  • Jungle Hijinxs
  • Orbital Gate Assault
  • Woolly World
  • Windy Hill Zone

These 5 I have the least worries, but they all have something to bring and should be the easiest to bring back.

  • Pyrosphere – The problem with Pyrosphere isn’t exactly the stages fault but with Ridley now being a part of the playable cast seeing him as a Boss on the stage AND a fighter just doesn’t quite mesh well.  I mean they could leave it and just say because, but I feel like Sakurai could take out Boss Ridley and just leave the FG II-Grahams, Joulions, and Zeros and leave it at that too.  Though Mega Man’s stage still has Yellow Devil so it’s really up in the air.
  • Miiverse – I think the one that has the least amount of coming back though is Miiverse with well the Miiverse ending for one thing and the one gimmick that made the stage what it is non-existant now leaves it basically being a Battlefield with a different look.  I guess it could come back if the pictures were like the best-of Miiverse, but I doubt Nintendo would take the effort to sift through all of that (mixed in with all those memes).

Miscellaneous Stages

  • Battlefield & Final Destination – Now we know every confirmed stage so far is getting a Battlefield and Final Destination variation but how about some representation of its own accord?  As in get all the BF and FDs from past Smashes from 64 to now?  I think that’d be a nice throw-in and a nice run through the history of the series!
  • Meta Crystal – While this stage has never been playable in any format, it would be a super cool addition since it’d harken from the 64 era.  Simple stage though so it might not even happen…
  • Hole, Bath, Maze – Say what you will at how terrible Hole & Bath are, but these were stages brought in to promote the Stage Builder that was in Brawl and it was in every game (despite that you can delete/edit them).  I think it would be neat to see them retur just because it showcased an important feature in Brawl.
  • Flat Zone, Flat Zone 2, Flat Zone X – What’s weird is that one of these stages has been confirmed but because of how these stages work, its unknown to which of the 3 it is.  Honestly, I don’t see all 3 of these returning because it was be a bit redundant to me.  I could see Flat Zone X just because its a mish-mash of the Melee/Brawl stage but he could also end up just adding Flat Zone and Flat Zone 2 as separate stages, just not all 3 at the same time, but I can be surprised…
  • PictoChat, PictoChat 2 – Unlike the Flat Zones, both PictoChats had different features going on that didn’t cross into each other so they could technically add both to the game…or just keep 2.

NEW STAGES

  • Moray Towers – So of course Inkling would have to have a stage since it is the first newcomer revealed and Moray Towers is definitely an interesting level to say the least due to the upward climb of the level and accordion-esque look too.  It is interesting though that you can run up and down the levels too!  Interesting stage design though.
  • Great Plateau Tower – Then we have our new stage to represent Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild here with the Great Plateau Dog which is one huge raised tower with a mini tower placed in the middle that can be destroyed and be rebuilt.  It does look slightly basic, but LoZ stages mostly have been (Hyrule Castle, Bridge of Eldin, and Gerudo Valley).  Though overall it’s nice to represent.
  • New Donk City – Also there’s Super Mario Odyseey being represented too, nothing much has been shown off other than Mario landing in front of Pauline and her band…but still, it’s great to see it…it could be by itself or even a traveling stage (appropriate since Odyssey was about traveling to different Kingdoms and whatnot).

That’s it for Smash News…there’s a lot more to come in the next 6 months so stay tuned and I’ll keep up with it!

 

NCT DREAM – We Young June 10, 2018

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 6:12 am

weyoung

Track Listing

  1. We Young
  2. La La Love
  3. Walk You Home
  4. My Page
  5. We Young (Chinese Version)
  6. Trigger the Fever (bonus track)
  7. We Young (Instrumental)
  8. Trigger the Fever (Instrumental)

1. We Young

After “My First and Last”, I thought NCT DREAM was going to go a slightly more mature route with their music, but We Young went backwards, not quite reaching the levels of “Chewing Gum” but the song is just that amount of cheesy and goofy that makes me raise my eyebrows at it.  It does have a strong summer vibe to it, but there’s just something off about it.  I wasn’t expecting their youngest member Jisung to be rapping alongside Jeno & Mark though.  The song has to grow on me more for me to fully appreciate it, but lord does it sound abrasive.

2. La La Love

I guess the Summer vibes continue with La La Love and it feels a little more appropriate for me tastes as it shows off the group’s cuter side without crossing those lines.  I’m liking the vocals here more too.  I also feel like Haechan is getting better with singing as well as Renjun too!  I do feel like it’s a bit of an hand-swaying in the air kind of track but on the other hand, I don’t really hear Jeno or Jisung here sadly.

3. Walk You Home

More of the same if feels like happens for the next track, Walk You Home but with more acoustic guitar and some solos for Jeno & Jisung XD.  Like I feel like there’s a bit more oomph with this one since there are some rapping lines here, but like I said it’s as if they stripped down “La La Love” slightly and gave more equal line distribution.  Not that impressive.

4. My Page

At least the next track brings up to the dance beats that was set from “We Young” but not quite as hokey.  Actually if it was my choice, I would’ve chosen this as the track to promote since everyone is all over the song and the tune while poppy has a little bit of a mature tone to it.  I kind of dig this one the most on the mini here…just sounds fantasy-like in the right way.

5. We Young (Chinese Version)

Like with both “My First and Last” & “Chewing Gum”, we get a Chinese take of We Young and a language shift wasn’t going to change my thoughts around of the song but reminds me how eh the song actually is to me.  Nothing of importance to really talk about here.

6. Trigger the Fever

So a bonus track appears and its bolded due to it being released as a digital single a couple months before the mini-album was announced & released.  Unlike the other tracks off the mini, Trigger the Fever has more of a pop/rock feel and it doesn’t seem to be a style that NCT DREAM has done so far.  It’s a strong song for everyone but Jeno & Jisung (once again, no solos for them) but I guess it has its place…just an odd track to throw on the mini.

 

 

As NCT DREAM’s 1st mini-album, We Young did feel like it had a theme throughout and that’s Summer and it shows with the 4 main songs here.  Though I’m thinking We Young is their weakest lead-in track yet, I feel like they made up for it with My Page.  The other two tracks felt similar to one another and neither left much of an impression on me either and Trigger the Fever while OK for the most part, didn’t really fit here…I guess its OK for their first release with more than 1 new track, but lets have more Jeno & Jisung OK?

 

NCT 127 – Cherry Bomb

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 5:26 am

CHERRY BOMB 5

Track Listing

  1. Cherry Bomb
  2. Running 2 U
  3. 0 Mile
  4. Sun & Moon
  5. Whiplash
  6. Summer 127
  7. Cherry Bomb (Performance Ver.)

1. Cherry Bomb

It seems there’s a general style when it comes to NCT 127’s promoted tracks and Cherry Bomb follows in similar steps like “Fire Truck” and “Limitless” before it by having a heavier hip-hop vibe going for it.  That being said, it seems that Mark has the focus here as he has a LOT of solo rap lines in this song whereas Taeyong has the 2nd most.  Though others like Jaehyun, Doyoung, Taeil, and even Johnny, Haechan, & Winwin have solo lines all over too…leaving Yuta as the only one that doesn’t really have lines here.  Though of their leading songs, I feel like Cherry Bomb just goes on for too long and the various sections are all a little odd and off in places (like the actual vocal lines and a LOT of the later half of the song).  Still it’s not terrible, just not a song I got into as quickly as their last two lead-ins were.

2. Running 2 U

Moving to the new tracks for the mini, Running 2 U is first up and its more of that hip-hop feel, but it doesn’t feel as janky as “Cherry Bomb” is since the raps are quicker and the vocal parts are much profound here.  Though the chorus is a little odd with the squeaky synths and slight Indian vibe I get from it.  Hell, all the members get at least one significant solo here and despite being a short track (2:50), I actually prefer WAY more to the promoted track here.

3. 0 Mile

There’s something refreshing just listening to the next track on the mini, giving us a more funkier vibe than before.  I definitely like that Jaehyun & Yuta lead off this track and it just moves so silky and smooth throughout.  Another to have all members get solo, 0 Mile is actually even better than “Running 2 U” just because it has the right length of a song and everything flowed nicely from beginning to end.

4. Sun & Moon

So the next song breaks the members off to smaller groupings starting with Sun & Moon which only has Taeyong, Jaehyun, Doyoung, Taeil, Johnny, and Yuta.  Of course, hearing Taeyong sing instead of rapping is always interesting and the song could be considered a ballad, but there’s an underlying dance beat that creeps up in the song which is really cool and sticks out.  It’s a light burner of a song, but I kind of quite liked this one a lot just for the quieter vocals from everyone.

5. Whiplash

Another grouping, this time with only Taeyong, Jaehyun, Mark, and Taeil, Whiplash brings us back to some more of the lighter hip-hop grooves.  Though the verses are where the two rappers take over while Jaehyun & Taeil take the choruses and bridge respectively.  It’s funny to hear Mark say ~long ass ride~ again after using it in “The 7th Sense”.  It’s an alright song, but the previous 3 tracks definitely topple over this one by a big margin.

6. Summer 127

As the final new track of the mini, Summer 127, like “0 Mile” has more of a groovy arrangement and I love the beats here as well giving the tune a summery vibe almost.  This is another song that I’m so surprised it wasn’t chosen to lead the mini-album because it’s just that much better than “Cherry Bomb”.  All the members sound amazing (especially Doyoung & Taeil) and it does have the usual leads especially with the rapping lines from Taeyong & Mark.  It’s a fun bop and I kind of wish they did make this the lead-in.

7. Cherry Bomb (Performance Ver.)

What’s the point of adding 20 seconds to the song?  Yeah, the mini closes with Cherry Bomb but with a small extended part and I can’t seem to figure why because the song is already long enough and repetitive enough too.  Still, it’s just 20 seconds so it really doesn’t matter, but I feel like it was useless to add to the mini.

 

 

As the group’s 3rd mini-album, I actually feel like the album songs outweighs the leading track BY A BIG MARGIN.  I’ve always felt like Cherry Bomb was just a little too repetitive and slightly hokey with the ~if you’re happy than you know it, clap your hands~ line as well…it just was kind of meh.  Though the rest of the mini was just great stuff and while the hierarchy of the vocals was still apparent, at least they were trying to give other members spotlight.  I’m starting to see the group grow together and the songs are sounding a lot more like effort is being put in it so that’s great to see…can’t wait to see what’s next for them!

 

Morning Musume ’18 – Are you Happy?/A gonna June 4, 2018

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 3:33 pm

areyouhappy

Track Listing

  1. Are you Happy?
  2. A gonna
  3. Are you Happy? (Instrumental)
  4. A gonna (Instrumental)

1. Are you Happy?

As the leading A-side of the two, Are you Happy? seems to have a bit more focus on 12 Gen (a little more about that when I talk about the single) but it seems they get solos in major parts while the normal leads (Sakura, Fukuchan, and Maachan) get some significant lines too.  When I listened to this, I feel like Are you Happy? is a bit all over the map and a little too busy for me to keep up with.  Hell, the buildup to the chorus is just chaos and slightly reminds me of Berryz Kobo’s “1-oku 3-Zenman Sou Diet Oukoku” with the repetition.  I think that part is the only area where I feel like the song kind of falls flat, but the song does have a nice bopping feel.  Still, overall it kind of feels rushed out here…

2. A gonna

Which says a lot because I dug A gonna a lot more than I thought I would instead.  Being the older of the 2 tracks (this one performed as early as the HinaFest this year).  The song itself kind of takes us to a new place by giving the tune more of like a hip-hop/trap groove and that’s what caught me.  Plus, a lovely solo from Sakura was all it needed to catch me.  Not many feel for it because the chorus isn’t a very loud or climatic one, but it’s cool and some of the later parts like the aggressive bridge was surprising (wished it appeared more and not so early).  Though it does feel off that the song isn’t structured like a normal song

 

 

Maybe it’s just me, but this single feels incredibly rushed and just oddly timed I guess.  Since this is Ogata’s final single with the group, she barely got anything substantial as a parting gift (she still only has like one solo on this single and it’s on the least liked of the two tracks).  A gonna though is a neat little bop and kind of gets stuck in your head in a while due to the repetitive nature of its chorus.  Still, I can’t help that so far MM’18 hasn’t seemed to impress me with anything too heavily (“Hana ga Saku Taiyou Abite” was alright while “Otenki no Hi no Matsuri” was a giant snorefest of a song).  Can they get back to awesomeness after Haachin leaves?