Kurayami Monogatari

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Kobushi Factory – Kitto Watashi wa/Naseba Naru July 29, 2018

Filed under: Kobushi Factory — solarblade @ 1:12 am

kittowatashiwa

Track Listing

  1. Kitto Watashi wa
  2. Naseba Naru
  3. Kitto Watashi wa (Instrumental)
  4. Naseba Naru (Instrumental)

1. Kitto Watashi wa

As the leading A-side, this is surprisingly Tsunku’s first time doing a song for Kobushi Factory and it shows because this song sounds a lot different than what Kobushi is quite known for so far in their discography.  I think the last actual poppy song they did was “Samba! Kobushi Janeiro” and that was kind of like the black sheep off their first album.  It is an interesting song though with bounce and the quintet sounding a little different from past singles!  I do like the small rapping parts within the song and it does have a couple parts with electric guitar, but this is kind of like the feelgood summer track and I enjoyed that about this one!

2. Naseba Naru

As for the other A-side, Naseba Naru is a LOT like their previous ballad, “Kobushi no Hana” from their first album!  Actually there’s a lot of similarities I could place between the two besides the change of members because it has the same pop/rock/strings sound and the chorus is kind of full-sounding with all 5 members.  Besides the good vocalwork though, I really can’t remember much out of this song.  Maybe it’s a little too close to sounding like “Kobushi no Hana”…

 

 

As the 2nd single as a quintet, Kitto Watashi wa/Naseba Naru is not quite as decent as their previous single due to mostly the fact that Naseba Naru is kind of a ballad they’ve already done before and it’s just a bit plain to me.  Though, I do like Kitto Watashi wa with its Summer vibes and fun sound despite being a bit not the usual for Kobushi Factory.  I kind of wonder what’s next though (especially with 2 unreleased songs in their collection at the moment).

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UVERworld – ODD FUTURE July 22, 2018

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 6:57 am

oddfuture

Track Listing

  1. ODD FUTURE
  2. PLOT
  3. CORE STREAM
  4. ODD FUTURE (short ver.)

1. ODD FUTURE

As the leading song to promote the anime, My Hero Academia, ODD FUTURE definitely had to show up since the anime is pretty big right now and this song is pretty different after coming off from “TYCOON”.  The tune isn’t quite as hardcore as I was expecting UVERworld to normally pull off and instead we get a lighter affair of a song that slightly eye-raising and yet so totally them.  Most of the interesting things revolve around TAKUYA’s vocal style (and that cool robo filter).  It’s definitely their poppiest song in recent times but I really dug this for some reason!

2. PLOT

Let’s just clap it up for our first B-side, PLOT and I guess to make up for how light “ODD FUTURE” is, PLOT is more aggressive sounding and TAKUYA’s growling and aggressive singing just pulls me back to what UVERworld is well-known for!  Other than the synths in the song, PLOT sounds like a track that just missed the cut from “TYCOON” because it’s loud and has that overall feel!  Cool track!

3. CORE STREAM

I see this title and instantly wondered if it had anything to do with “CORE PRIDE”.  Unfortunately, I really couldn’t tell you one way or another because the song is entirely an instrumental track (which is nothing new to UVER fans).  There are some chanting going on, but otherwise there’s no vocal lines from TAKUYA so I’m left with the band just jamming out (even Seika joins in with some cool sax lines of his own).

 

 

This single comes out at an odd time because it’s coming out before their next best album (though the A-side does make their digital best ironically) but I suppose there’s a chance it won’t make the next album?  Either way, ODD FUTURE is definitely an interesting step for the band since the track is poppy and not hard-hitting like some of their previous singles.  That’s where PLOT comes in with the harder sound I’m used to from UVERworld and it’s OK, B-side material though.  Then there’s CORE STREAM which is here nor there, shows the band jamming out and that’s always cool to hear.  Overall, nice single and good follow-up after “TYCOON”.

 

MOMOLAND – BBoom BBoom

Filed under: MOMOLAND — solarblade @ 6:35 am

bboombboom

Track Listing

  1. BBoom BBoom -Japanese ver.-
  2. Welcome to MOMOLAND -Japanese ver.-
  3. BBoom BBoom -Japanese ver.- (Instrumental)
  4. Welcome to MOMOLAND -Japanese ver.- (Instrumental)

1. BBoom BBoom -Japanese ver.-

Oi, this song really got huge this year in Korea didn’t it?  Figured that we’d eventually get to see this make it into Japan into its own version and considering this is MOMOLAND’s debut single for the Land of the Rising Sun, I was curious to see if it was just as awesome and YUP!  This song is just amazing to me and hearing the group tackle the song in a different is of course impressive.  The only noticeable things beyond the language transition is the group adding ~GREAT!~ in the opening/after chorus (which while surprising, makes sense as they had started doing that in their Korean performances after a while).  Besides that, the song just is a bop and the saxophone melody to the rapping section with JooE & Daisy is just badass!  Easily one of my favorite K-pop songs this year and happy it’s in Japanese as well!

2. Welcome to MOMOLAND -Japanese ver.-

So the B-side of the single is actually from their first mini-album of the same name (not their debut song oddly enough, “Jjan! Koong! Kwang!”).  I’m curious to why it was chosen because unlike “BBoom BBoom”, this is more of the sparkly girly song that I would have assumed would be for other groups.  I will say the opening is damn cute with the spoken dialogue and then moving into this quirky, slightly throwback, and cute track with brighter vocals and more members involved (Daisy & Taeha weren’t in the group when this song originally came out).  It reminds me of early Girls’ Generation and KARA for some reason.  It’s cute, but definitely is a B-side for me.

 

 

MOMOLAND finally debuts in Japan (well they did a Korean best for Japan, but I don’t count those as debuts to be honest).  Anyways due to the popularity that BBoom BBoom got, it’s no surprise Japan would get this as well.  The song is just so fresh and full of nice saxophones and moments with all the members that really worked for them.  Though on the other side of the spectrum, we have Welcome to MOMOLAND which wasn’t originally a song they promoted for their debut so it was interesting to see 9-nin MOMOLAND give us a Japanese cut of it.  Overall, a good single, but I wonder what they’ll do next for Japan (lol, prolly a recut of “BAAM” if anything XD.

 

Up Up Girls – 5th Album (Kakko Kari)

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 6:02 am

5thalbum

Track Listing

  1. Overture (Kakko Kari) NEO
  2. Kuchibiru wa Knife
  3. KOMEDIUM
  4. Be a Girl
  5. Saikou Shy Girl
  6. Lady→GO!
  7. Fighting Girls
  8. Night Flight
  9. Joujou do Konjou
  10. PROMISE TRAIN
  11. Nevermind!
  12. Katteta Iin da yo
  13. Watashitachi

1. Overture (Kakko Kari) NEO

Opening the album is a short intro to the album and it kind of made me look at the title and wonder if its connected to the original “Overture” from their first album.  Either way, this intro is a banger with an aggressive dance arrangement and powerful beats!  Of course the intro is basically sounding the members off so it really just is there as such to kind of tell who’s in the group.  Interesting way to kick things off.

2. Kuchibiru wa Knife

The electronics continue onto our first new track on the album, Kuchibiru wa Knife and it sounds pretty neat to hear!  I really like the quickly-paced sound and I love whenever UUG does EDM music as it feels right with them and likewise, this song just sounds different from what I’ve known from them before!  I also was surprised how powerful the quintet’s vocals were…very cool song to kick the album off with!

3. KOMEDIUM

Is EDM the theme for the album?  It continues with KOMEDIUM, but unlike “Kuchibiru wa Knife” the song has a more quirkier side to it with by mixing with some slight dubstep properties and maybe a smidge of a trap-like feel?  It’s definitely an oddball song with all the places it goes to within the track, but I feel like maybe with some past tracks, it sort of fits them as well.  I kind of dug it though even if it doesn’t surpass the previous track.

4. Be a Girl

I’m still pretty surprised that the album only had one single before it (typically UUG would release a butt ton of singles and would leave the album with not many new tracks.  Anyways as the secondary A-side from their single, Be a Girl was the song I liked more and wasn’t surprised that it would be close to the other electronic tracks.  Like I’ve said on the single, it still does remind me of an older track of theirs, “Kimi Iu to Kasetsu”, but the relaxing dance beat make it straightforward and a pleasant listen.  Happy to see this make the cut though!

5. Saikou Shy Girl

Moving onto the next batch of new tracks, Saikou Shy Girl starts off strong with a cooler sound and the girls in different variants of filters which is pretty surprising, but then the chorus hits and it clears up into another powerful dance track!  I think this is another winner for the album and the vocal filtering adds a lot of energy and sass to an already booming song!

6. Lady→GO!

Ugh symbols though right?  Anyways, not sure why I keep thinking of Koda Kumi’s song of the same name here, but there’s definitely a difference!  I’m not sure how or why, but it seems Up Up Girls are really bringing it on this album!  At first I thought it was going to be cutesy from the 8-bit-like & sawtooth synths, but they offer little as they’re replaced by guitars and an overall rockin’ sound!  It’s just an energetic romp and I’m loving the girls vocals here as well!  Yeah, keep rolling these good tracks out!

7. Fighting Girls

It feels like the group is slowly switching their sound over to rock elements and Fighting Girls seems to kind of get there (even if some of the grittiness is still from the synths).  The song might be the first misstep but not a totally big one because there’s things to enjoy about it, but I do feel like the vocals are a bit too robotic in the track (verses & chorses basically).  Maybe a little more energy in the vocals too perhaps for some of the girls?

8. Night Flight

At least there’s a break from the dance/rock tracks with Night Flight and I’m a bit happy that this song is a bit more poppier than previous tracks but it also has a cool funky groove about it.  Not quite tropical house, but there’s slight elements that grey the line a bit.  The song actually gives me a little bit of a Kpop vibe (funny because UFZS was a thing).  Night Flight is a pretty decent track and a small break from the more upbeat stuff!

9. Joujou do Konjou

Moving onto the other A-side released for the album, Joujou do Konjou is probably the wildest song on the album and that’s saying a lot because of the energetic ska arrangement here!  It’s pretty much a fun track and hearing the group having a good time with it is always awesome!  I still definitely have a laugh whenever I watch the PV so like “!!!!!!!”, this song is just loud and silly!

10. PROMISE TRAIN

OK, so I had thought “Joujou do Konjou” was the loudest track, but PROMISE TRAIN knocks it out of the park by being entirely a rockin’ track group, reminding me of “Ichiban Girls!” with the loud guitar riffs but there’s also a synth melody that boost the sound in the chorus!  Really hits you in the face with an explosive amount of sound.  Not bad, but doesn’t quite really do much for me.

11. Nevermind!

I was wondering what was up with this track because it’s such a short track (2:30).  It’s not an interlude (or it doesn’t quite feel like one).  It’s pretty poppy for a track and it has a certain idol pop/rock sound that isn’t like what we just got with “PROMISE TRAIN”.  I don’t know, it’s slightly catchy, but it doesn’t quite live long enough for me to truly leave an impression on me, but I could also see how it could get annoying if stretched longer.

12. Katteta Iin da yo

I assume that with “Nevermind!” the final stretch are the more cuter songs on the album?  Yeah, Katteta Iin da yo is probably the cutest song off the album with its poppy sound and the chorus has a summery feel to it and I think I quite enjoyed the bounciness of the track.  The guitar solo was pretty cool in the bridge too and the final run through the chorus is just ahhhh.  Yeah this was pretty cool!

13. Watashitachi

As the promotional song for the album and tune to close things out, I was kind of expecting a ballad, but the song came off cute in a more kiddy-like way unlike the previous track.  Something about the sing-along structure of the song kind of bored me though, but the sound is nice and fulfilling…little odd as the final track but fitting, I think lol.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kuchibiru wa Knife
  • Night Flight
  • Be a Girl
  • Katteta Iin da yo
  • Lady→GO!

Song of Avoidance

  • Fighting Girls

I have to say as a whole package, UUG’s 5th album is my favorite by far!  There was something really nice going on and the album was pretty consistent in sound and flow that it really didn’t bother me that they didn’t even include a ballad here.  I was quite surprised when they announced this only after one single but it was for the best and they released a very cohesive and decent album, even their worst had some good things about it too! *RECOMMENDED*

 

Utada Hikaru – Hatsukoi July 21, 2018

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 7:08 am

hatsukoi

Track Listing

  1. Play A Love Song
  2. Anata
  3. Hatsukoi
  4. Chikai
  5. Forevermore
  6. Too Proud with Jevon
  7. Good Night
  8. Pakuchii no Uta
  9. Nokoriga
  10. Oozora de Dakishimete
  11. Yuunagi
  12. Shittosarerubeki Jinsei

1. Play A Love Song

Opening the album, Play A Love Song starts off with such an ethereal kind of glow and positive outlook like “Fight the Blues” did but this song is a lot more chill and laidback in comparison as well.  With the simple piano melody and light strings, percussion and synths, the song is definitely reminiscent to stuff from “HEART STATION” for myself.  There’s something relaxing about the track and it just starts the album off on a nice note.

2. Anata

So the bolded tracks are digital releases she dropped in the last two years prior to the release of the album!  With a piano intro, Hikki brings it in quite nicely and softly, but it does kind of come off a little similar to “Play A Love Song” in the arrangement and same instrumentation as well (minus synths though).  Though I was happy to hear brass in the song though to kind of spice things up, but it’s a middle-of-the-road kind of track for me.

3. Hatsukoi

As the title track of the album (and released a couple weeks before the album was released), Hatsukoi marks as the first ballad on the album and it really pops out especially since Hikki is singing in a slightly higher register.  Though the ~I need youu-hoo~ lines sound so alien to me for some reason like it’s not Hikki but yet it is.  As the song moves forward, strings are added to the arrangement.  It’s a dramatic track and she sounds good in this one!

4. Chikai

So to be honest, I was pretty hyped for the album just to listen to this song in full and if you didn’t know this is the song chosen to be the theme song for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III.  Though unlike “Hikari” & “Passion” before it, Chikai is more of a ballad with strings and piano at the forefront.  Though it does take some interesting turns with the beats because it kind of throws me off a bit since it’s not a simple beat to follow.  It might not quite live up to its hype, but I suppose it works for the series (especially with the English lines she throws in this).  Makes me wonder when we’ll get its US version, “Don’t Think Twice” released.

5. Forevermore

Moving on, Forevermore was another digital single released and this one has a little more oomph than all the previous songs that came before it.  I do like the songs more bright nature and the lowkey jazz vibes I get is also a nice twist to the song.  It does feel like it’s building up the entire way, but never totally feels like it makes it there?  Still, I’m pretty impressed by her vocals here!

6. Too Proud with Jevon

Hmmm?  Something odd from Hikki once again?  It seems like it’s the case with Too Proud with the kind of upbeat, but also somewhat playful atmosphere I get with the synths and harp?  It’s a mellow track it feels like and Hikki sounds relaxed and then hearing the tune kind of going into an R&B sound is just unique!  Could’ve lived without Jevon though, he kind of takes me outta the song…but otherwise, quirky little track.

7. Good Night

I thought our next track Good Night was going to be another piano ballad, but it’s quickly dashed as it’s more like a rock ballad, but still has strong pop elements!  I have to say, the song’s more lowbrow sound is nice and really was there to set Hikki’s vocals up front and she sounds pleasant if not maybe a little weak?  I don’t know, but there’s just something mysterious yet refreshing about the song.  I mean she does say ~gooooooooood~ a LOT in the track, but it’s still one of the standout tracks here.

8. Pakuchii no Uta

If I thought “Too Proud” was a bit strange on the album, Pakuchii no Uta is basically the “Boku wa Kuma” for this album as the sound of the intro is kind of cheesy and kid-like, but afterwards the song kind of goes into this somber-like state that sounds more depressing than “Good Night” did.  It does go back to the kiddy-like sounding lyrics, but otherwise…just not quite that good.

9. Nokoriga

Pipe organ to open up the next track?  I guess, but it just suddenly drops when Hikki begins to sing the first verse.  I don’t know why, but this song just doesn’t do much for me for some reason.  Maybe it’s the simplistic arrangement or the boring pipe organ chords that plays, but this song just doesn’t go anywhere for me and I almost fell asleep to it.

10. Oozora de Dakishimete

The last of the digital singles released, Oozora de Dakishimete kind of makes up for the boredom from “Nokoriga” with a more lighter sound but happier arrangement as well.  I like the arrangement and Hikki’s vocals are a lot more mesmerizing to listen to going in and through the song.  There is a couple of odd parts in its choruses where the arrangement gets bass synth and acoustic guitar?  Still, the song is a much needed improvement.

11. Yuunagi

Something dark comes this way in our penultimate track to the album, Yuunagi with some dark chords played by the piano.  At the minute mark is when Hikki begins singing and boy does this song sound fantastic and sends you to a different place.  It’s such a haunting ballad and my thoughts take me through an Autumn forest for this one even if lyrically it’s about loss.  It’s one of the best tracks off the album hands down!

12. Shittosarerubeki Jinsei

As the album’s closer, Shittosarerubeki Jinsei is definitely the one track that got something different going on from the other tracks on the album from the unique beats and cool bass and other things like the strings that give it a somewhat Arabesque groove.  Why it was chosen to close the album instead of “Yuunagi” is interesting though.  I kind of dug it!

Tracks Recommended

  • Yuunagi
  • Good Night
  • Shittosarerubeki Jinsei
  • Play A Love Song
  • Hatsukoi

Song of Avoidance

  • Nokoriga

Wow, it feels like forever since her last album doesn’t it?  Hatsukoi as a whole left me both fulfilled and somewhat bored by it at the same time?  I don’t know why but it feels like none of the songs were terrible persay, but many of them felt a bit too mellow for me, I’m kind of missing the truly upbeat stuff like the stuff she released back in “ULTRA BLUE” and “HEART STATION”.  Still, this is a pretty decent album and Yuunagi is a hidden gem to the album!

 

EXO – Love Me Right ~romantic universe~

Filed under: EXO — solarblade @ 5:48 am

lovemeright

Track Listing

  1. Love Me Right ~romantic universe~
  2. Drop that
  3. Love Me Right ~romantic universe~ -less vocal-
  4. Drop that -less vocal-

1. Love Me Right ~romantic universe~

As EXO’s first A-side, it wasn’t a surprise to me that the leading track was going to be a simple Japanese cut of one of their Korean tracks.  As it’s the first song to be without Tao (as he left the group), Love Me Right was a smidge more like what we heard of from “Call Me Baby” but this song is a bit more funkier and upbeat which is impressive.  I have to say, hearing D.O., Baekhyun, and Chen together just sounds so awesome and the rest of the group follows suit as well.  It’s definitely a fun track, though there’s plenty of other EXO songs that I LOVE!

2. Drop that

As for the B-side, it’s nice that Lay opens things up to this kind of upbeat dance/rock track and the verse starts with a rap from Chanyeol & Kai.  The song just hits harder than “Love Me Right”, but it also kind of comes off as a song that’s better suited for concerts as it pumps the crowd up quite fiercely.  Definitely not what I was expecting from EXO, but nice for a B-side

 

 

As EXO’s first foray into the Japanese market, it seems a little odd they came in midway of the careers (y’know without Kris, Luhan, and Tao) and missed kind of the big beginnings the group has had like “MAMA”, “History”, “Wolf”, and even “Growl” & “Call Me Baby” but to kickoff with one of their weaker lead-in songs, Love Me Right.  The song is decent, but it doesn’t quite compare to those other tracks IMO.  Drop that is alright, I guess they needed that crowd-pleasing track to energize everyone…Overall, decent debut in Japan, but I think they should have debuted way earlier here.

 

pLumsonic! – colorful capacitor July 8, 2018

Filed under: pLumsonic! — solarblade @ 5:52 am

folder

Track Listing

  1. colorful capacitor
  2. Shinjuku meteoroid
  3. Bad dream, Mad world
  4. Curiosity
  5. Little Mutant
  6. AEQUORIN
  7. Yumeiro Teleportation
  8. Dennou Cubism
  9. esora.
  10. Mikakunin Creation

1. colorful capacitor

As the album’s first track and title track, I was ready to see what pLumsonic! were up to and it’s more of the futuristic synth pop that I’ve come to enjoy from the duo.  I will say it does remind me of “Soryuushi Macrophage” from their previous album with the kind of techno, yet flowing sound of it.  I just like the feeling of the song and Yuu sounds nice if not just the same as she was in previous releases.

2. Shinjuku meteroid

Moving into the next track, I easily got an 80’s new wave kind of feel from this track.  This one has a bit more of a unique arrangement behind it that includes a lower synth sound and some 80’s-ish blips and bloops.  It’s definitely a cool sound and Yuu once again fits the mood…I’d say it’s better than “colorful capacitor”.

3. Bad dream, Mad world

Next track in and we have our 8-bit track with Bad dream, Mad world and boy does sound nice!  Of course there’s some regular flowing synths to kind of fill out the spaces, but the song just kind of brings in more of the pLumsonic! that I kind of dig even if the song does start to drag towards the end.

4. Curiosity

Next song up definitely is giving me some “Atomic-girl” vibes from the synthwork from Yasushi.K but I think it’s fine for this song but considering this was a style that is all over their work, it does kind of fly over my head.  I do think the song is kind of cute and cool in places, but otherwise it doesn’t leave much of an impression otherwise.

5. Little Mutant

I wasn’t expecting cute to be further pushed with the next track Little Mutant as it’s bouncy and Yuu is trying for that genki style for this one.  I’m not sure what to think about this track as it feels strange on the album but yet familiar enough that it has that pLumsonic! vibe.  I just don’t know about this one.

6. AEQUORIN

Moving on, AEQUORIN pulls us back into more of the futuristic setting that “colorful capacitor” opened up with but there’s a little bit of a electropop groove to it that kind of reminds me of old D-TOPIA acts like Aira Mitsuki here.  It’s chill and cool and does a nice job after messing things with “Little Mutant”.

7. Yumeiro Teleportation

As the album’s shortest song (under 3 minutes), Yumeiro Teleportation is kind of a throwback as well to some of their past works, this one slightly reminding me of “CodeName “yuu.”.  The tune kind of flew over my head though, but because of the short length I felt like it worked for the best here.

8. Dennou Cubism

Next track up, Dennou Cubism moves the BPM a little more up and it’s a track I could dance too quite easily versus others on the album!  I mean it doesn’t totally stand out from the album and it gets samey towards the end, but the song is danceable and Yuu sounds good still.

9. esora.

I was curious when I first started our next track, esora. being curious to what this song would bring.  All I hear in the beginning is a muffled synth melody, but it grows the longer it goes into something I would compare to “Shinjuku meteoroid” with the lower synth line and syncopated style coming from Yuu.  It’s kind of cool and brings the cold electronic vibes.  Nice!

10. Mikakunin Curation

Ending the album off, Mikakunin Curation is more or less the sound this album has been mostly on about and that could be good or bad depending on your outlook on the album.  Personally, the song kind of passes me by with no impression, but I suppose it’s an appropriate ending to the album, but just doesn’t stick to me with similar electropop vibes and whatnot.

Tracks Recommended

  • Shinjuku meteroid
  • esora.
  • AEQUORIN
  • Bad dream, Mad world

Song of Avoidance

  • Little Mutant

As the duo’s 5th studio album, colorful capacitor to me is just pLumsonic! being quite confident in their sounds and style in comparison to the previous albums!  Though that being said, maybe they’re also getting a little too comfortable with their sound because a lot of the songs sounded slightly samey here (something I felt with their last album as well).  Not bad, but could be better.