Kurayami Monogatari

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W – Choiwaru Devil March 31, 2019

Filed under: w — solarblade @ 5:53 am

choiakudevil

Track Listing

  1. Choiwaru Devil
  2. Dou ni mo Tomaranai
  3. Harusaki Kobeni
  4. Kojin Jugyo
  5. Uchi ni Kagitte Sonna Koto wa nai Hazu

1. Choiwaru Devil

I had figured this song sounded familiar but it’s only because this whole release is kind of an odd one to begin with.  Apparantly back in 2007, this alongside “Dou ni mo Tomaranai” were planned to be W’s 7th single but due to Aibon’s scandal and eventual firing, the single (and album) were both scrapped and left to the unknown until now-ish.  Well, if you follow Tsuji, she actually released an updated cut of this song, “Chibi★Deviwl” back in 2010 in her Children’s cover album.  Also to note, these songs were sung as if it was still 2005/2006 so Aibon/Nono still sound young.  Choiwaru Devil sounds darker in comparison to both singles prior, “Miss Love Tantei” and “Ai no Imi wo Oshiete!” which is cool to hear but it sounds familiar too!  Aibon & Nono of course work well off each other and it’s a total surprise to hear them to once again try rapping like this did in “Miss Love Tantei”.  Overall, the song is cool and yeah probably would’ve been great back then.

2. Dou ni mo Tomaranai

I wonder if this was originally going to be the lead or the B-side of that single?  Either way, I do know this song because Morning Musume would’ve eventually cover it in 2009.  Hearing the duo cover it is pretty cool if not surprising because it really feels like something that came from their first album (which is unironically a cover album).  It’s catchy and the duo sound good overall.  I do like the feisty atmosphere and the band itself is awesome too.  Pretty good cover!

3. Harusaki Kobeni

The remaining 3 songs on this release were actually going to be part of their 3rd album, “W3: faithful”, but likewise that was cancelled as well.  Kind of surprised that the idea for the album was pretty much set to possibly be half original songs and half covers (well from the prior singles and this release in itself).  I’m loving the intro to this song though and it turns into this breezy and airy affair with Aibon & Nono singing just as light as the tune is.  I was kind of surprised with the magical sound from the song and it really colored a pretty picture in my head.  Nice cover!

4. Kojin Jugyo

I recognized this song because misono had covered this song as her 2nd single!  Unlike the slow pace of “Harusaki Kobeni”, Kojin Jugyo was rockin’ and aggressive here and while I enjoy the take, I’m not sure if the horns or the duo’s higher vocals suited this song fully, but I definitely commend them for trying something they really haven’t delved into and this brassy/rock n’ roll vibe wouldn’t be the last time H!P would tackle this style!

5. Uchi ni Kagitte Sonna Koto wa nai Hazu

Even back then, Moritaka songs were covered too?  Yeah, I guess the last track of this mini is a Chisato Moritaka cover (not the first time and certainly wasn’t the last).  I wasn’t sure from the intro, but it did start to speed up and turn into this interesting track that kind of felt like a mix of the last couple songs.  I think this song also reminds me of songs from “Duo U&U”.  Not the most memorable on the mini to be fair.

 

 

I never thought we’d ever hear something from W again after their disbandment in 2006.  But here we are 13 years later and they announced they were going to perform at HinaFest and dropped this bomb on us.  Granted this was kind of in a way a closure to the group since this mini-album included what were to be their 7th single and parts of their 3rd album (unless they wanna surprise more?).  I will say, Choiwaru Devil was a good sign of the group’s directon, but the covers maybe were starting to get old for the duo as besides Harusaki Kobeni, I wasn’t attracted to the rest of them very much.  What an utter surprise of a release this is and so happy to see these two together on stage again!

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ANGERME – Koi wa Accha Accha/Yumemita 15nen March 27, 2019

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 4:34 am

koiwaacchaaccha

Track Listing

  1. Koi wa Accha Accha
  2. Yumemita 15nen
  3. Koi wa Accha Accha (Instrumental)
  4. Yumemita 15nen (Instrumental)

1. Koi wa Accha Accha

Since the other A-side is more focused on Ayacho, the primary A-side Koi wa Accha Accha is here to introduce us to the group’s two newest members, Haruka Oota & Reira (or Layla depending) Ise.  I do like that it kind of reminds me of C-ute’s “The Power” because both had heavy Indian vibes going on and are pretty danceable.  I kind of already enjoy Reira’s vocals a lot and Haruka is OK for right now…interesting additions to the group to say the least.  The rest of the girls get some decent time with solos (except for Kanana and Rinapuu for some reason).  Regardless, the song is a bit of a bop and can be quite the earworm!

2. Yumemita 15nen

Immediately just from the title alone, it screamed nostalgia back to S/mileage’s first major single, “Yumemiru 15sai”.  Though it’s definitely not like the mentioned song because this tune is meant to kind of send off Ayacho (the last of the original S/mileage members) who is graduating.  Yumemita 15nen sadly isn’t quite the song that I was hoping it would be because it’s a bit more mellow and kind of feels more like a sentimental feeling throughout.  It definitely works with the PV and lyrics it got but as song alone, I just kind of passed it up.

 

 

ANGERME’s going through some big changes again with both two new members and a graduation!  Though I kind of feel slightly disappointed in this single.  In a way, I do like that Koi wa Accha Accha did a lot to show all the members and giving the new girls something to work with, but my disappointment is more with Yumemita 15nen being kind of a poor sendoff to Ayacho (especially with her tenure from the Eggs to SCE!/Lilpri to S/mileage and now ANGERME…you’d think they’d celebrate her time a LOT more, hell Kanon got a solo song for her last single….there better be a damn album announcement soon!

 

Up Up Girls – Agenomics!!/Kimi Loss/Upper Ranbu March 25, 2019

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 4:20 am

Agenomics

Track Listing

  1. Agenomics!!
  2. Kimi Loss
  3. Upper Ranbu
  4. Agenomics!! (Instrumental)
  5. Kimi Loss (Instrumental)
  6. Upper Ranbu (Instrumental)

1. Agenomics!!

As the first A-side of the single, Agenomics!! sure kicks off like it’s some kind of epic track and I think I liked that instantly especially since it grows into a heavy dance track in tandem with many of their previous songs!  I’m enjoying the rave-like feels of the song bit I will say I’m not sure if I’m too much a fan of the group’s more gravely vocal style.  At least the chorus fixes things up and hearing Akari and Manami getting solos is nice, but then the other 3 get theirs in the 2nd verse.  Energetic and bouncy, not bad…although am I hearing a dog howl in the background of the arrangement?  Regardless…decent A-side.

2. Kimi Loss

The 2nd of the two songs, Kimi Loss opens up softer than “Agenomics!!” and it kind of follows this Tropical House beat that’s been kind of popular in the East in recent times. I really do like the amount of solos here with the rapping going to Azusa, Manami, and Saki and I’m suddenly given a little bit of a K-Pop vibe from this song with the beats and cooler tone.  Hearing Akari & Konatsu is pretty awesome as they take most of the vocal lines.  It’s a definite surprise on the single and I kind of really dug it!

3. Upper Ranbu

Of course UUG would have another “Upper ____” in their discography and no surprise it’d be as upbeat, but it’s not quite as in your face like “Agenomics!!” either.  It seems to me a middle of the road kind of song as it features a lot of what I’m used to hear from the group.  The chorus does open up into a sparkly bump of a song.  It does have a little bit of an Ondo taste to it which is cool, but of the 3 songs, I tend to forget it.

 

 

After the kind of passable, but not memorable “Ai Ai Fire!! / Watashitachi (with friend)” single, I was curious to see where the group was going to head and with this one it’s a pretty decent single to be quite fair.  Agenomics!! and Kimi Loss are surprisingly good and I’m more surprised that it took the latter song (something that sounds K-pop) to come to the group (especially if you know the group’s history as UFZS).  Upper Ranbu is kind of the typical tune I’d expect coming from UUG, but it’s OK.  I’m curious with the group being so far in their discography, when is a best album due?

 

Morning Musume ’19 – Best! Morning Musume 20th Anniversary March 20, 2019

Filed under: Morning Musume — solarblade @ 5:22 pm

best20th

Track Listing

  1. Mikan
  2. Resonant Blue
  3. Pepper Keibu
  4. Naichau Kamo
  5. Shouganai Yume Oibito
  6. Nanchatte Renai
  7. Kimagure Princess
  8. Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai
  9. Seishun Collection
  10. Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game
  11. Maji Desu ka Ska!
  12. Only you
  13. Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo!
  14. Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!
  15. Pyocopyoco Ultra
  16. Renai Hunter

CD2

  1. One Two Three
  2. The Matenrou Show
  3. Wakuteka Take a chance
  4. Help me!!
  5. Brainstorming
  6. Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai
  7. Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke
  8. Ai no Gundan
  9. Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa
  10. Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai
  11. What is LOVE?
  12. Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe
  13. Password is 0
  14. TIKI BUN
  15. Shabadabadoo~
  16. Mikaeri Bijin

CD3

  1. Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru
  2. Yuugure wa Ameagari
  3. Ima Koko Kara
  4. Oh my wish!
  5. Sukatto My Heart
  6. Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki
  7. Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi
  8. ENDLESS SKY
  9. One and Only
  10. Utakata Saturday Night!
  11. The Vision
  12. Tokyo to Iu Katasumi
  13. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu
  14. Mukidashi de Mukiatte
  15. Sou Janai

CD4

  1. BRAND NEW MORNING
  2. Jealousy Jealousy
  3. Morning Misoshiru
  4. Jama Shinaide Here We Go!
  5. Dokyuu no Go Sign
  6. Wakaindashi!
  7. Are you Happy?
  8. A gonna
  9. Furari Ginza
  10. Jiyuu na Kuni Dakara
  11. Y Jiro no Tochuu
  12. Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai (Morning Musume ’15 Ver.)
  13. Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi (TYPE B)
  14. Akogare no Stress-free (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.)
  15. Jiyuu na Kuni Dakara (TV EDIT)
  16. Koishite Mitakute
  17. I surrender Aisaredo Ai

1. Mikan

So the best album kicks things off with the furthest back this album will go with Mikan.  As a reminder I joined the Morning Musume fandom right around when “Resonant Blue” was being promoted.  So it’s relatively interesting that I was only off one song with the best album’s release.  Anyways, Mikan is an interesting song to kick the best album off because it’s a lot lighter and brigher than most songs here.  Definitely idol-like.  Even better is that it’s been A LONG TIME since I’ve reviewed this song and I’ve gotten stronger with being exact with who is singing what in songs (especially within the Platinum era, which BTW makes me think they should’ve kicked it off with “Onna ni Sachi Are” honestly since that’s where the Platinum era technically kicked off).  Mikan’s guitar-laced arrangement is pretty upbeat and yet poppy and hearing a lot of the members here (like Ai-chan, Gaki (Risa), Mittsi (Aika), Koharu, Sayu (Sayumi), and Reina is always good).  I think Kame (Eri), Junjun, and Linlin got shafted, but the latter two seem to always get it.  Anyways, nice way to open the best with!  To think it’d be the group’s worst selling single up until “Pyocopyoco Ultra” is just baffling…

2. Resonant Blue

What an unfortunate time to join it felt like.  As much as I love Resonant Blue for it’s upbeat, yet serious tone…the sheer fact that only Ai-chan and Reina got solo lines bothered me just a little bit and promotions for the song really hid the rest of the girls to the back.  Though to be fair, Ai-chan & Reina really kicked some ass here and their strong vocals kept the song afloat with some sass and attitude which is always cool.  Still, a smidge salty than the other 7 members got VERY small parts.

3. Pepper Keibu

Third track in and we have a cover song of an old PINK LADY track.  Since this was the single that was used to promote that “COVER YOU” cover album, Pepper Keibu stands out for the Platinum era by being upbeat and boppy.  Channeling a lot of the disco era, Pepper Keibu sounds simplistic and considering that only Reina had the solo lines (minus Sayumi’s ending line) it did feel somewhat barren.  It’s an OK song and it’s mad catchy at times!

4. Naichau Kamo

Closing off the “Platinum 9 DISC” era, Naichau Kamo continued where “Resonant Blue” left with this kind of melancholic dance sound that Tsunku was pretty much handling during this era and of the many songs that were similar, I feel like Naichau Kamo gets forgotten a lot in that regard.  I mean I’m a bit more happier that the line distribution was a little more looser giving Gaki, Sayu, and Kame some spotlight.  Listening it to it today, the song is passable but it really was a song with little coincidence or effect on the group’s history.

5. Shouganai Yume Oibito

Continuing on, we get Shouganai Yume Oibito which kind of was the big Emo-Musume song I’d say for them.  It might not be as strong of a beat of the previous track, but it’s still the ever-same overall sound.  I do appreciate the guitar-laced moments throughout and the silkier arrangement versus the herky-jerky groove of “Naichau Kamo”.  Hey, I even noticed Junjun & Linlin (though they had duet lines with each other >.>).  Still, this is heavily sung by Ai-chan & Reina which I’m sure for fans at this point was starting to become tiring despite Eri, Risa, and Sayumi getting pushed.  Still, the song was a high-point for them and I do enjoy this song a LOT more nowadays then I did back then during the “10 MY ME” era.

6. Nanchatte Renai

Another Emo-Musume song follows after “Shouganai Yume Oibito” but even more moodier and dark than the one previous!  To be fair, I really enjoyed this song back then and still do to this day with the overlay of dramatic strings and a rap pre-chorus of all things!  I do appreciate things, but it’s so strange hearing Koharu after Ai-chan in the first verse as Koharu wasn’t really a strong singer for the group arguably being the worst alongside Sayu during this period which by the way, she got the solo in the 2nd verse after Ai as well.  The rap was interesting including the rest of the group swapping lines between one another was nice.  Also, Eri and Risa are really showing up their vocals here.  Still the song is really nice and probably my favorite of the Platinum era.

7. Kimagure Princess

After 6 tracks, we finally get to our first graduation single on the best album, this one for Koharu (who ironically had little spotlight in this track, she had more of an appearance on the B-side).  This song kind of split the fandom a bit and I’m not surprised about it.  On one hand, the song isn’t depressing and has a very vibrant ethnic feel to it, almost Arabian-esque.  On top of that, there’s a LOT of Kame in the song which is a shock, but she held her own!  Though on the flipside, the pitch-shifted squeaky vocals in the verses  are kind of distracting and doesn’t suit this track at all!  Not sure why that was decided to be used on Reina, Ai, Risa, and Eri but this was a poorly executed idea.  Weird A-side and if I hadn’t already known it was a grad single for Koharu, this would’ve just been a normal single since she didn’t even get a solo in the track.

8. Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai

Not gonna lie, the next two tracks I totally forgot existed as A-sides because of how forgettable they were back then.  As the first single post-Koharu, Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai is just kind of messy all over.  A mix of grating sawtooth synths and aggressive latin guitar is just a bit brazen to the ears and I’m not quite sure if they make an interesting song here.  Like nothing really sticks out to me with this A-side, but I feel like Risa & Eri are basically the secondary vocalists after Ai-chan and Reina since they’ve been taking up the 2nd verses/chorus.  Oh yeah, the violin solo in the bridge…absurd to me…yeah this one has fallen down for me.

9. Seishun Collection

Though I’ve said how I’ve forgotten how “Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai” went, Seishun Collection was more like me wanting to forget it.  It’s a surprise that it managed to sell above “Mikan” because this was just a generic mess, though I guess it hindsight it could be that that made it stand out in their discography?  It’s a mid-tempo pop track and tries to be bubbly and sentimental which is kind of blah since this was like the typical idol-pop that bores me.  Although I still poke fun for the ~seishun correctioooon~ lines.  I mean the fact that Ai, Reina, Risa, and Eri got one line is rather shocking.  Just ick.

10. Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game

Surprised they didn’t throw in “Appare Kaitan Zushi!” here but that’s whatever.  We get to our next graduation single and it was a triple attack of losing Eri, Junjun, and Linlin.  I kind of like the dramatic Russian jig I get from the arrangement of this A-side and just hearing all the girls get at least one solo line is a breath of fresh air despite this being the last single for 3 of the members, hell I think it’s the ONLY solo lines in an A-side for Junjun & Linlin >.>.  It’s a good favorite of mine as the song is heavy and cool and the girls are hitting some nice notes, just a smidge bit sad to see 3 members leave (leaving us with 5 for the moment before new additions happened).

11. Maji Desu ka Ska!

Which came in the form of 4 new members (Riho, Zukki (Kanon), Fukuchan (Mizuki), and Eripon (Erina).  I also wasn’t expecting the music to become suddenly youthful, makes sense but after 10 more mature-like songs, this was a bit of surprise to throw Ska in the mix.  Right from the start even, the new girls got the solo lines…though the song is still lead by Ai-chan and Reina.  Man, it feels weird going back to this considering only Fukuchan and Eripon remain in the current lineup.  The song itself is fun though and REALLY liking the line distribution as the elder members also got solos too.  Fun track and was a breath of fresh air away from the moody Momusu to something bright and new!

12. Only you

Then it just seem to pull back for some reason as the next single after the debut of the 9th Generation was another Emo-Musume song lol!  I will say that this did feel a smidge different because Tsunku made it a challenging song especially with the verses having a butt-ton of triplets.  The chorus though is simple and reminds me of an anime theme so that worked too.  I am surprised the line distribution was kind of pulled back, going back to Ai-chan and Reina but surprising us with Gaki’s solo covered by auto-tune.  Hell, the 9th Generation were barely noticeable with the exception of Riho who got plenty of solo lines here.  Still, the song is pretty edgy and I quite dug it even still today…just very hard-hitting and could be considered the start of the EDM-Musume that was to come.

13. Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo!

Then we move into Ai-chan’s final single with the group with the long title xD.  Going back to the Golden era of Momusu, Kono Chikyuu… has an obvious disco-pop vibe to it and I appreciate the throwback to it.  Of course, the line distribution is just like in “Only you” which doesn’t surprise me in the least, but at least the vocals are more important here and I was impressed with everyone.  With so much of the focus on Ai though, I think the other members outside the core 4 (Ai, Reina, Gaki, and now Riho) felt invisible sadly (and yes it included Aika since she was injured and stayed kind of to the back to her graduation).  It’s a decent song and one I remember fondly as a great sendoff to one of the group’s best vocalists.

14. Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!

I’m wondering what’s the explanation of this song making the cut.  I assume it’s because the PV connected to the previous track, but it’s also a B-side (and yeah it was on their B-side best-of a couple years back and this release doesn’t contain a PV collection) so I wonder why this make the cut over other songs that more or less have a place on here.  Either way, this song is VERY different from “Kono Chikyuu…”.  It’s a bit more genki and silly and has a focus on Sayu and Reina here which is shocking but dare I say is when I started liking the Robo-Sayu idea.  Though it was also good because it had solos for the back members and everyone else on an equal level (cept the two mains).  I especially like seeing Mittsi getting pushed a bit!  What a goofy song and I still think it’s one of the most fun songs from them in quite a while.

15. Pyocopyoco Ultra

Then we finally get to the group’s worst selling single and by god this song still strikes a bad chord with me.  As the debut for the new 10th Generation members: Maachan (Masaki), Ayumi, Duu (Haruka), and Harunan (Haruna) they couldn’t have been given a more cringy song as such as this one.  Not even counting the absurd PV it got, Pyocopyoco Ultra was just the wrong direction for the group, since they were trying to win over younger fans.  This was also the first single with Gaki as the leader and even she seemed over it XD.  I don’t know, this song is just awkward and musically was abrasive with those sawtooth synths.  I don’t think it was a good showing for the new members either since a lot of the song surrounded Gaki, Reina, Mittsi, Sayu, and Riho. Though Fukuchan got a solo too soooo yay?  Yeah, this was a pretty bad song IMHO.

16. Renai Hunter

Ending the first disc on this jam-packed best-of, they chose a good closing spot here with Gaki & Mittsi’s graduation single, Renai Hunter.  Unlike the bizarre choice of the previous track, this followed back to their dance style by incorporating some dubstep in its arrangement.  With Gaki, Reina, and Riho leading the track (and Sayumi doing a robo line) it kind of felt a bit barren with the lack of the newer members.  Though I get similar feelings like I did with “Only you” but moreso due to both being dance tracks.  I do love that Gaki got a lot of love here (Aika didn’t get anything because she left after the single released, so that’s why there’s no focus on her with this single despite being her final single).  It was a pretty good song though and a nice way to close the Platinum Era up (well most think it ended with “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game” but I considered it finished with the last of the 5th Gen members graduating.

CD 2

1. One Two Three

So the 2nd Disc to me is what I consider the Colorful era (Sayu becoming the group’s leader up to when she graduated).  This single was also HUGE because it was a defining single as it was the group’s 50th single!  No surprise they wanted to celebrate this big mark in their history with what would become their best selling single since “Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT”!  Though coming back to the song and getting a deeper look to it, it’s a strange song.  The EDM was interesting and while some songs kind of hinted towards it, I was surprised it took over the group.  As the song being mostly led by Reina & Riho (with secondary Sayu lines) it was not surprising in the least (especially with graduations of powerful vocalists like Ai & Risa).  You still had 7 other members and they were all relegated to just syllables which is incredibly shady and salty for fans who wanted more out of the newer members.  It’s still a cool song though, but I do agree that maybe UFP should’ve pushed more of the newer members.

2. The Matenrou Show

Which was made even worse with the secondary A-side from that single.  It felt incredibly lazy here to have made it a lead track because it’s PV was just a dance-shot.  The song itself kind of gives me disco vibes like “Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo!”.  Though unfortunately the solos ONLY belong to Reina & Riho which makes it even less equal than “One Two Three”!  Hell, I would take the TYPE 0 version (it included Gaki & Aika) over the original single version.  I don’t know, it just doesn’t scream A-side to me and for that, it was a mistake.

3. Wakuteka Take a chance

Because of the huge popularity that was set with “One Two Three / The Matenrou Show” it seemed they wanted to strike lightning again with the follow-up single and in ways it worked and in other ways it flopped.  I do love the heavy electro influence in the song even more than I did with the previous single, but really again with the new members only getting mere words as their lines?  Are we that desperate to not promote the members, UFP?  Still, the song sounds catchy and the edginess was what I needed in this track and Reina / Riho owned the song (and the Robo-Sayu lines xD).

4. Help me!!

Next single up and once again a new member has joined the group in the form of the singular, Sakura Oda!  Continuing with the futuristic EDM vibe, Help me!! felt like it was a shift away from the formula of the previous two single to something a smidge more fresh than what we got.  We see the other girls get duet lines with others alongside Riho, Sayu, and Reina getting those solos alongside Fukuchan, but in a good twist, Sakura gets two hefty solo lines to basically show that she’s here.  Essentially, Odasaku sounds great in her lines and seem to give this impression she’ll be depended on a LOT going forward.  Overall, the song is pretty nice even if hearing it live makes me cringe (the chorus especially kills me).

5. Brainstorming

Then we have our next graduating member and that was the first half of the vocal lead for Momusu for quite a while, Reina Tanaka.  Of course it’s no surprise it’s another EDM-centric track but it does have a bit more grit behind it with sawtooth synths and guitars pressing the group.  Reina did has a lot of presence but so did Riho, Fukuchan, Sayu, Maachan, and omg Harunan!.  Hell, even the song is kind of a structured mix of the last two singles from the weird juxtaposition of the track itself and Odasaku’s two big solo lines in the verses.  Still after all that, this song just kicks ass and really left a mark on me when I first reviewed the single!

6. Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai

However, I can’t quite say the same for the sister A-side to “Brainstorming”.  It’s definitely a LOT more robotic sounding and was presented just as much too.  The marching aspect and the ~2000 people on the dance floor~ was just a bit absurd to me and didn’t really gel with me.  I mean the usual suspects got their solos (well Ayumi got one which is the first distinct one she’s had since joining).  Still, the song just feels a bit cold to me and really doesn’t sell that it was Reina’s last single (though she had a lot of solos in both A-sides).

7. Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke

As the first single post-Reina, a LOT of people were wondering how the line distribution would work due to losing one of THE main singers leaving us with Riho.  I will say from the start it was nice to finally hear a song that actually sounded fluid and not like 5 songs stapled together.  Of course, the big question was who was going to step up alongside Riho and it seems Sakura, Fukuchan, Ayumi, and Maachan were at the front (with the ever-loving Sayu lines).  This song though was just bombastic and really hit a good spot for me since the song is just a bop and the chanting and that chorus was just powerful in every way.  Yeah, this is a GREAT crowd-pumping song and still LOVE it to death!

8. Ai no Gundan

I’m not sure what happened behind the scenes, but goddamn two epic songs on a single!  This did feel a little like what we’ve gotten before, but there was just something clean-cut with this dance track than included saxophones!  It did reserve itself to go back to Riho leading the cause but Sayu, Sakura, and Mizuki had their solos too.  Plus that bridge is fan-frickin-tastic.  Like seriously this single was perfect A-side duo!

9. Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa

As the first single to incorporate the year to the group (ex: Morning Musume ’14), Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa is a strange song to kick that year off with.  I do like the intro a LOT because those synths really were cool sounding and it gave a bit of a hip-hop beat to the EDM backbone.  Though what I was kind of put off was the smushing of the lyrics in both the verses & chorses of the track (and is that Tsunku?  That’s pretty distracting).  Not a lot of solos (mostly from Riho, Fukuchan, and Ayumi).  It’s a pretty unique song arrangement-wise to Momusu, I’ll give it that, but lyrically and how it was presented it was a bit of a trashfire.

10. Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai

Being a bit more aggressive than the previous track, the 2nd A-side of the single was used as promotion for the Japanese airing of the Sochi Olympics which as we all know is a pretty big deal!  While it wasn’t hard to see why it was my favorite of the 3 A-sides of the single, Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai is just fun and fitting to the group’s style to a T.  It’s nice to see the Riho / Sakura duo starting to really click, but Fukuchan, Maachan, Sayu, and Ayumi were the secondaries and that worked too!  I will say though Sakura is getting more stronger with each song so it’s great she’s getting comfortable with being a lead!

11. What is LOVE?

The 3rd A-side to me is oft forgotten for no reason besides the fact it got a crappy performance PV.  The song itself brings back those crazy sawtooth synths, but the song is really gripping that Happy Hardcore sound here.  It’s even funnier remembering that only Maachan & Sayu have the only solos in the song (being either spoken dialogue or heavily filtered).  Well, Riho does have one but that’s in the final chorus.  The song is a bit of a headache to me and the vocals somehow sound rough in the recording…it’s kind of an odd song to be quite honest (considering it was a celebratory track for J-MELO) so take that as you will.

12. Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe

It doesn’t feel like this song is 4 years old already, it just feels like yesterday that this song was pretty much ruling the airwaves!  Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe really took the classical vibe for this track and fused it with their electro sound to create this kind of awesome atmosphere.  I was also completely surprised at the lack of solos here too (with the lone belonging to a simple line from Sayumi).  It’s a lovely song and after the long line of heavy dance tracks, it was nice to get a reprieve from it with this amazing song!

13. Password is 0

Which is saying something because back then, I was starting to get tired of the Electro songs and just the lack of variety that was not just coming from Morning Musume but Hello! Project in general.  I think Password is 0 & “TIKI BUN” were kind of the tipping point with me.  Both songs to me were just filler trash and OVERLY repetitive in nature.  What I can say is that, Riho, Mizuki, and Sakura sounded great in their solos…but the song as a whole is just a forgettable song and way to repetitive otherwise.  I totally forgot that Ayumi & Masaki also got solos too…huh…

14. TIKI BUN

Which is almost exactly what I can say for this song which was the leading A-side for Sayumi’s graduation single.  I do love the intro of the song and sometimes the ~cheeky boo~s get stuck on me, but it is WAY overused in this song.  Oh yeah, the pre-chorus is pretty rad too since it isn’t quite cringey to listen to, but that chorus is a bit of a letdown.  Otherwise, the repetitive levels are quite as in your face as in “Password is 0”.  Actually, I don’t remember solos being here either (except for like SUPER filtered ones).  Yeah, I was surprised it was chosen to lead the single but the other two A-sides made it more clear to fans.

15. Shabadabadoo~

The other A-sides actually revolve around Sayumi, this one especially as it was a solo song from her.  Kind of weird that it’s on a Momusu best album but to be fair it was an A-side officially.  This track also kind of sticks out in an odd way because it was EDM-ish but had a lot of jazzy undertones to it (though the dubstep parts could leave).  I was actually surprised to hear Sayu’s natural voice though.  It’s still a rather sugary song for my tastes so it doesn’t rank too high for me, but I appreciate that Sayu did this entirely and I respect that.

16. Mikaeri Bijin

Closing the 2nd disc, is a rather absurd song on this disc as it is the only one of them to be a ballad and have natural-sounding instruments versus all of that electro craziness.  As this was used as a send-off song for Sayu, Mikaeri Bijin is a nice tune all around since it’s sentimental and just a pleasant song, although I kind of wish there were solos because there are none here.  Still, the song is overall a nice experience just finny that this was the end of the 2nd disc.

CD 3

1. Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru

Opening the 3rd disc, we are introduced once again to 4 new members (Maria, Akane, Miki, and Haachin (Haruna O.)) and since we’re coming off the graduation after Sayu, I was wondering but not quite as much of what the group could do without Robo-Sayu and Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru is EDM and quite an adventure of a song.  The song doesn’t really do much to show off its new members and the solos are light here (Riho, Fukuchan, Ayumi, Maachan, and Sakura seem to be now the leads here).  Still, the song was pretty good even if it took notes from past songs for use here.

2. Yuugure wa Ameagari

I think they wanted to lighten up on the EDM, so the 2nd A-side from the single, Yuugure wa Ameagari was a bit more lighter in presentation in comparison to “Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru” at the least.  I like the piano and strings at the forefront with the dance beats that’s for sure!  It’s a gentle, upbeat song and the vocals are sweet with Fukuchan seemingly as the lead here with the usual suspects in the secondary.  I don’t even think the new girls got lines xD.  Still, the song is pretty lovely.

3. Ima Koko Kara

I remembered really disliking this song when I first reviewed it and coming back to it, it’s still kind of crap song for the group to have taken.  It is a lot like “Yuugure wa Ameagari” with the EDM + piano/strings arrangement and the build-up to the choruses are nice to say the least, but its that 2nd half that really tears the song apart because it basically closes right after the 2nd chorus, making the song feel super incomplete to me.  Add on that only Riho and Sakura have solos and this song was just an afterthought despite its big anime tie-in.

4. Oh my wish!

Moving to the next single, Oh my wish! marks a LOT of big changes that happened just in the line distribution of the song itself!  First off, Riho, Eripon, Fukuchan, and Ayumi did not take part in the singing of the track (because they were relegated to a dance unit for the song, so you’d only see them visually from the PV) and 2nd; Zukki and Duu were the actual vocal leads in the song which was a pretty HUGE deal during this time period.  Gotta say, love that they made these two leads as we finally get to hear them sing solos (alongside Harunan and 12th Gen!).  I really do love the song though with its faster pace and aggressive hooks and such.  There’s even a spoken dialogue in the bridge between Akane and Haachin so that’s always cool too!  Yeah, this song really won me over though it is funny that it’s odd with no Riho and Fukuchan singing :0

5. Sukatto My Heart

At least things go back to the norm with the 2nd A-side off that single with the disco bop, Sukatto My Heart.  While I know this song was the unlucky song that had to be the least liked off the single, it’s still a decent track with a lot of fun vibes and focus on a bunch of members here.  I definitely still love the pre-chorus and how the chorus feels in sync with the rest of the track.  It’s a pretty fun track at the end of the day and definitely didn’t hurt the single.

6. Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki

The 3rd A-side from this single, was quite something else that kind of was how I thought of “Yuugure wa Ameagari” but with more solos for many of the members.  It seemed back then it was toted that Maachan & Miki were the leads but it felt more like the former had a concrete lead while Miki supported her.  I will say it’s nice to hear solo lines from members like Eripon, Miki, Harunan, and Maria (and even Maachan!).  It’s a pretty nice take on a mid-tempo track that kind of teeters in between upbeat and a ballad.  Really neat track!

7. Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi

Then we finally come to MM’15’s single to have our first 9th Gen member graduating, Riho.  When it came to Riho’s final single with the group, it did feel shocking at that time because it felt sudden (plus she had like a month from that announcement to her graduation, so it really felt so sudden).  I was surprised to see that Duu got the first solo line and then followed by Miki and Maachan.  The song is very melancholic and the mood is more serious and emotional, but still sticking to light EDM.  It’s a pretty song nonetheless and a good way to send off their ace!

8. ENDLESS SKY

Are we getting another “Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki”?  It seems so because ENDLESS SKY really reminds me of that song (if not a little more progressive due to the synths and beats).  I kind of enjoy the upbeat arrangement and positive message, but whenever I listen to this song I still feel that bit of sadness due to Riho leaving (and Duu’s crying in the PV for this).  I do see Duu and Maria getting another solo line which is curious but the song is still mostly Sakura, Fukuchan, and Riho though.  I do like it, but it’s not one I would constantly come back to.

9. One and Only

While the previous two tracks were pretty much revolved around Riho’s departure, One and Only was kind of the oddball song here.  Just like “What is LOVE?”, One and Only was a song for J-MELO but unlike that track, One and Only marks as the first (and currently only) song sung entirely in English!  Also this is pretty upbeat so it kind of picks up the single from a more somber setting for something rockin’ and cool!  While the English is mostly good (with some discrepancies with the phrasing & pronunciation) overall that was handled pretty well.  No solos though which is not surprising, but maybe a Miki line would’ve been interesting.  Still, good song overall!

10. Utakata Saturday Night!

Not even one single later and we’re losing another member, this time Zukki is graduating from the group and while she didn’t have a front position like Riho did, she was well-loved during her tenure!  So while she didn’t get a solo song or two tracks revolving ’round her, she did get focus for the first A-side of the single!  Like “Sukatto My Heart” two singles ago, Utakata Saturday Night! also dabbles in the disco era and it definitely struck me harder and better than the aforementioned song.  It seems like every member gets a solo in some fashion which is awesome to hear and the by the time the chorus hits, I was jamming along with the tune!  Even with Zukki’s big part in the bridge, the energy was just so infectious and powerful.

11. The Vision

With the 2nd A-side from Zukki’s graduation single, we get the return of the dance unit from “Oh my wish!” (which are the same members sans Riho) so they’re once again put on the bleachers for this track.  The track itself kind of reminds me of “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe” from the sparkly piano and slower tempo it has to the slightly EDM-ish chorus.  I feel like the song tries to push the 12th Gen members since they seem to be everywhere in the verses, but most of the song is led by Sakura & Maachan interestingly.  I do think the verses and chorus are jarring to one another and the song isn’t quite as interesting as I thought was before so it grew less on me…It can be a nice song on occasion though.

12. Tokyo to Iu Katasumi

Ending off the single, Tokyo to Iu Katasumi is definitely the most aggressive and chaotic song from that single with the wild strings and rock arrangement from the intro.  It’s a crazy song all over with just a bit too much going on in its arrangement.  Although I’m seeing Sakura and Maachan paired up again mostly in the chorus (a sign maybe?).  Though it does show that all the members except 12th Gen got solos throughout the song oddly enough.  Like I said, the song is a bit of a wild ride and didn’t quite stick to me despite being a ’16 single.

13. Sexy Cat no Enzetsu

Moving onto a single without a graduation tied to it, Sexy Cat no Enzetsu is so interesting because it kind of slides away from a heavier EDM sound for something a bit more classy with included saxophones which is always a nice addition.  Though I was surprised to see that the solos belonged to just Sakura, Fukuchan, and Duu!  I loved the song when it came out though and even today, the tune is just catchy and pretty sly for a song for the group.  Really interesting song overall!

14. Mukidashi de Mukiatte

Though I really wasn’t expecting the group to follow that up with a totally boss song in Mukidashi de Mukiatte which definitely drowned itself in that EDM sound and like “Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke”, it felt like a totally cohesive song all over and really impressed me with how powerful and cool this one was!  I love the call and response in the pre-chorus and chorus and it just felt so overwhelming in a good way.  I would have to easily say, this was the best that the 3rd disc offered!

15. Sou Janai

Ending off the 3rd disc, Sou Janai was kind of the usual of what Momusu was carrying on their backs until the previous two tracks changed that up.  Though what’s surprising was that Maria was the lead here (the first of the 12 Gen to really get that position).  It does sound glossy and full of character though and I really LOVE the bridge section, but the rest of the song kind of goes over my head.  I will say while Maria isn’t the strongest singer in the group, she held her own here and I’m happy we’re seeing a push for them finally!

CD 4

1. BRAND NEW MORNING

Opening the final disc for this lengthy best album, BRAND NEW MORNING was the introduction to the group’s 13th Generation; Kaedii (Kaede) and Yokoyan (Reina) and I also somehow forgot how this went (despite it being a ’17 song).  The song is pretty much sticking to the formula for the group no surprise and I also have to remember that Maachan was absent due to health problems.  I do love the song though and the chorus is pretty catchy and watching Sakura & Fukuchan lead seemed normal to me after the last couple of A-sides!  About the new members both got a nice solo in the song, (well Reina got two) and while I knew Kaedii would own her line, Yokoyan sounds a bit like Zukki which is interesting to me.  Still, this song was pretty decent all things considered and missed Maachan here.

2. Jealousy Jealousy

The other A-side, Jealousy Jealousy was often another song that I had tend to forget in the big timeline that is Morning Musume and I really couldn’t find much to really stic to with this song.  It’s kind of dance/pop with some brass elements thrown in for color.  Though I think I remember the rapping section the most between Ayumi, Miki, and a little of Sakura too!  Hell, Miki gets a pretty big line here too!  Though otherwise, the song didn’t really connect with me at the end of the day.

3. Morning Misoshiru

Huh, another B-side sneaking in huh?  I actually have no clue why this was included (especially since this came out before Masaki’s hiatus and is technically the debut for Kaedii and Yokoyan too).  If you didn’t know, it’s a self-cover of the group’s major debut, “Morning Coffee” with one lyric changed to fit the whole promoting of Miso soups.  I mean the song itself feels more modern of course, but I do feel like the song is still kind of lazy (especially since “Morning Coffee” was remade again the following year with the original members who sung it) so this feels very unnecessary to me.

4. Jama Shinaide Here We Go!

So the next single in, it’s a couple things here!  A new member joined, Chiichan (Chisaki) from Country Girls had made the move over, Maachan returned from hiatus, and this was marked as Duu’s final single with the group.  As the first A-side, there was a lot of Chiichan in the song, but it was Haachin & Harunan that opened the single with some dialogue.  It was hard to follow, but it seems many of the members had solos in some fashion which is nice.  I will say I noticed a LOT of Chiichan, Sakura, Miki, Maachan, and Fukuchan.

5. Dokyuu no Go Sign

I really wasn’t expecting a track like this from them as an A-side but I’m sort of glad they did it because this song is frantic and wild in all the good ways!  Though it did come with the fact that the dance-unit returned once again leaving quite a number of members sidelined; (Eripon, Ayumi, Duu, Kaedii, Yokoyan, and Chiichan)  Though, I do love hearing the other members here (LOT of Miki and even a strong solo from Akane!).  Regardless, it’s a wild song and it really pushed a new sound for the group.

6. Wakaindashi!

So of course, we had to have a send off for Duu and it’s with Wakaindashi! which carries a light tropical house feel which is always nice and refreshing to hear from Momusu.  It’s no surprise that Duu does have a LOT of lines here and she sounds amazing as usual so it ended up as a good song for her.  Other than that, I found it interesting the other solos belonged to the 3 youngest members; that being Akane, Yokoyan, and Maria which is neat to say the least.  It’s a happy tune with a bit of sentimentality to it, so I thought it was the perfect way to say goodbye to Duu.

7. Are you Happy?

Which is followed by another graduation single, this time for Haachin (the first of the 12th Gen to graduate).  This song was a bop from its intro and the song is just cool for the group even though it does have some H!P tricks while interesting have been used before (mostly a lot from Berryz Kobo’s A-side “1-oku 3-zenman Sou Diet Oukoku”).  It just feels like a lot of different ideas kind of cut n’ pasted here.  Just like Koharu’s last A-side with the group, Haachin barely stood out for her final single (her biggest notice was one word in this track).  It’s an OK track, but I wouldn’t have known this single was a graduation single otherwise.

8. A gonna

The other A-side of the single, A gonna took a bit more of a trap-like setting here and while it was a twist on their EDM, I actually dug this song a bit more than “Are you Happy?” which showed off the group’s cooler side.  Although I’m not sure if I agreed with the song’s movement, especially making the bridge immediately after the first chorus…it was hype no doubt…but still, the song felt odd with the choice made since the track actually ends after the 2nd chorus (at least it wasn’t a trainwreck like how “Ima Koko Kara” handled it).

9. Furari Ginza

Wow, 3 graduation singles in a row?  Harunan this time and Furari Ginza is once again another push for a new sound by going a bit more pop and less synth-centric.  The tune kind of reminds me of something Country Girls could’ve released after “Ranrarun ~Anata no Muchuu~”.  Though the guitarwork is pretty neat though, but the song otherwise kind of doesn’t do much for me.  Sadly, I don’t remember much about this song or if there was solos besides Sakura, Maachan, and Fukuchan.  It’s OK, but nothing I’ll remember (even if this single was just released last year).

10. Jiyuu na Kuni Dakara

Of course Sakura and Fukuchan open up the next track and it’s another EDM-heavy track from the group.  I do like the verses cool vibes here and it just shows a lot of power and edge that I love from these kind of songs.  There’s just something cool about the first half of the track and while there isn’t a lot of solos (most though do come from the usual suspects).  I will say raising the key over and over in the final run-through of the chorus was dragged out a bit, but this song is another bop for me!

11. Y Jiro no Tochuu

I guess it made sense to include the B-side from the single since it was the most recent single released from the group and I liked they added the song that kind of sent off Harunan.  Though we are just midway through the 4th disc so it is funny to me they still included it here.  Y Jiro no Tochuu is a lighter song than most of the disc includes and it kind of does remind me of “Wakaindashi!” without the tropical sound.  Not surprised that Maachan, Sakura, and Fukuchan have solos, but I’m relieved that at least Harunan gets a lengthy solo to go out on.  Overall not bad, though I don’t think it needed to be here to be honest.

12. Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai (Morning Musume ’15 Ver.)

Now here’s where the interesting part of this whole release begins with some rarities and some new tracks!  Now, Watashi no Nanni mo Wakachannai isn’t a new song by a long shot, but we did get this track off their 2017 album, “15 Thank you, too”, but from what the title explains it’s not that version, it’s probably the original cut that for some reason wasn’t released back then (when it probably should have).  This cut actually features Riho & Zukki (but not Kaedii, Yokoyan, or even Chiichan).  Listening to it and compared to the later official version, I definitely hear a lot more Riho in the song and that surprised me and kind of felt right too (not saying the ’17 version is better or not), but I wonder why this was such a hold up back then and they couldn’t release it prior to Riho’s graduation (honestly should’ve been a part of that final single she did with the group).  Otherwise, it’s still the same great song with some line distribution moved around.  At least each member had a solo!

13. Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi (TYPE B)

Initially released as a bonus track on the vinyl edition for “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi/ENDLESS SKY/One and Only”, this track was a nice inclusion because it felt a bit more heartfelt than the regular cut of the song!  Taking the synthwork and replacing it with strings & piano gave the song more of a melancholic feel and I also appreciate the effort to take out the duet lines of the original and give more solos out (despite that Haachin, Maria, and Akane didn’t get one here).  The tune is shorter most because they did take out the bridge and instrumental breaks too.  It’s a nice ballad retake of the song and I appreciate here as a bonus incentive.

14. Akogare no Stress-free (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.)

I’m a bit surprised with this one though because no other group in H!P has done this yet, but if you didn’t know, Akogare no Stress-free is originally a Hello Pro All Stars (basically all the units in H!P sung here) so seeing it stripped down to just Momusu here was definitely a curious choice.  While I can’t detect solo lines, it feels like duet lines here but it does feel less cluttered than the original cut of the song.  Still, I think I’m enjoying the all groups version than a one-by-one outlook here.

15. Jiyuu no Kuni Dakara (TV EDIT)

Usually 95% of the time, TV Edits happen because the song is tied to an anime so seeing Jiyuu no Kuni Dakara get one is a bit bizarre as it’s not tied to anything and seems weird as a rarity when there was no need for one.  The song basically goes through the intro, first verse, and then repeated chorus with no instrumental end like the full version.  I mean not bad, but why?

16. Koishite Mitakute

The final two tracks on this best album are brand new as they were both performed pretty recently (the latter promoting this album).  Koishite Mitakute right from the get-go reminded me of a mix between “ENDLESS SKY” and Juice=Juice’s recent song, “Bitansan” with the loud synths and whatnot.  I think the upbeat, sparkly poppyness is something I’ve been sort of missing from Momusu for quite a while.  This definitely was something I’d call refreshing and stuck out for me.  Nice song overall!

17. I surrender Aisaredo Ai

As the final track, I surrender Aisaredo Ai closes the best album out on a fiery song such as this!  I was instantly reminded of songs like “Chikyuu ga Naiteiru” and “Dokk~an Cappricio” with how much energy is pushed out of this one with its aggressive guitar-work and the tempo mixed with how much force the ladies put out too!  While I do like “Koishite Mitakute” better, this was a pretty decent track as well!

Tracks Recommended

  • Only you
  • Nanchatte Renai
  • Shouganai Yume Oibito
  • Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game
  • Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!

 

  • Brainstorming
  • Ai no Gundan
  • Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe
  • Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke
  • One Two Three

 

  • Oh my wish!
  • Mukidashi de Mukiatte
  • Utakata Saturday Night!
  • Ima Sugu Tobikomu Yuuki
  • Sexy Cat no Enzetsu

 

  • Koishite Mitakute
  • Watashi no Nanni mo Wakacchanai (Morning Musume ’17 Ver.)
  • Wakaindashi!
  • Jiyuu no Kuni Dakara
  • BRAND NEW MORNING

Songs of Avoidance

  • Pyocopyoco Ultra
  • The Matenrou Show
  • Ima Koko Kara
  • Morning Misoshiru

Wow, finally got all of this reviewed out!  It definitely seemed like a long time coming because there was a LOT of A-sides that haven’t been included on any album (well in their main discography until now).  Best! Morning Musume 20th Anniversary is very much a continuation from their “ALL SINGLES COMPLETE ~10th ANNIVERSARY~ that they released in 2007 and includes all the A-sides (and some B-sides as well as a few rarities) showcasing the group from “Mikan” to “Furari Ginza/Jiyuu no Kuni Dakara”.  What I can say is that for 4 discs, watching the group from when I joined the fandom has been an experience and honestly there’s only a few songs that I dislike here so it was an awesome walk down memory lane.  I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years will bring for Momusu!

 

moumoon – NEWMOON March 12, 2019

Filed under: moumoon — solarblade @ 4:42 am

newmoon

Track Listing

  1. Yui Tsumuni
  2. Catharsis
  3. One Time
  4. LED
  5. Hitotsu Dake,
  6. Watashitachi wa, Hikari wo Erabou
  7. Afureru Hikari
  8. I can fly high
  9. Dream in Paris
  10. Heartbeat
  11. Kin no Sabaku, Gin no Hoshizora
  12. Eternal
  13. Love Song
  14. Yes
  15. Love, unbreakable

1. Yui Tsumuni

Opening the album, a nice strings melody kicks things off and I find myself kind of liking the tone of the song already!  YUKA does sound a bit more alive in this song and her voice is as fluffy as it has been.  It really does remind me of the most back to basics sound they began with as a duo.  That said, its simplicity made it quite cute and refreshing…definitely a nice track to kick things off.

2. Catharsis

At first I was kind of wondering if there was going to be more fluff like what happened on “Flyways”, but YUKA sings Catharsis in a lower tone in its verses before lightening up and the tune brightens up.  Kind of reminding me of a BONNIE PINK song (well, many of them).  Actually, this song is rather catchy too and I think YUKA pulled off a better performance here.

3. One Time

Kind of an interesting tidbit for this album, all of the songs that are bolded are because all of those songs were released in compilations they did through the last couple of months.  Though it seems all those exclusive tracks made the album’s tracklist.  One Time is one of those tracks and this one definitely gives me slight “Flyways” feels, but it also sounds a bit like the previous two tracks with its main acoustic pop sound.  Not bad, but not memorable either.

4. LED

The last of the new songs, LED is quite the oddball song of the 3 new songs mostly because it’s a little more electronic than the others (something I’ve kind of missed for a while from moumoon).  It’s also a bit complex of a song which is a nice change of pace.  It might’ve been Masaki’s musicality, but I definitely dug this song even if it does feel longer than it actually is!

5. Hitotsu Dake,

So the remainder of the album are songs that were previous released, but considering I never got any of those compilations, they’re all new to me.  Hitotsu Dake, is kind of harkening back to when moumoon did cuter songs like “moonlight” and the like.  YUKA’s light and airy vocals really suit that soft-spoken vibe it gives.  Not bad and I’m happy the duo brought this sound back.

6. Watashitachi wa, Hikari wo Erabou

Next up, we have another acoustically driven pop tune with Watashitachi wa, Hikari wo Erabou and it’s a bit more progressive than the previous ones I’ve heard so far and this also reminds me of moumoon of yore which is a nice throwback and YUKA sounds pleasant and a bit stronger in the vocal department as well!  I was definitely surprised by this one and its an early favorite here!

7. Afureru Hikari

This song was actually also released as a digital single (before this Four Seasons compilation release happened).  At first, I was expecting a ballad out of this one, but it quickly builds itself to a rather upbeat pop track with piano/strings tacked on to it and I was surprised as it reminds me of stuff like “DREAMER DREAMER” and I kind of enjoyed the feels of this…even more than with “Watashitachi wa, Hikari wo Erabou”!

8. I can fly high

Then we run into I can fly high which begins by YUKA singing pretty calmly and positively like the song would suggest.  It does feel a bit minimal compared to other songs on here, but it has this kind of dreamscape vibe (like songs from “No Night Land” actually).  The song is OK, but doesn’t quite reach the levels of the previous two tracks.

9. Dream in Paris

With the jingling bells and wintry tone, Dream in Paris is definitely from “winter moon” and it shows it blatantly as the song sounds a LOT like other moumoon songs they’ve done with this in mind.  It’s got a boppy vibe to it and screams Christmas to me, but I’ve kind of liked their wintry songs and while this might not be their strongest one, the tune does a good job of sticking to me!

10. Heartbeat

Another synth heavy track comes in this way with Heartbeat and this one takes pages from stuff like “Yes/No Continue?” and “Love is Everywhere” by being upbeat and poppy with the synth beats and arrangement from Masaki.  I was happy to see a song like this one the album as I craved this on the last album and didn’t receive it.  It’s catchy and really sticks out to me (like “cocoon” did).

11. Kin no Sabaku, Gin no Hoshizora

After the peppiness of the previous track, I was mildly surprised to see that they’d slow things down for Kin no Sabaku, Gin no Hoshizora for another minimalistic approach here.  Though I’m happy things can a bit more interesting in its chorus, but it definitely once again gives me “Flyways” vibes which I didn’t truly care for too much.  I do like the verses though…but that chorus is just bland to me.

12. Eternal

Another synth track?  I kind of enjoy whenever moumoon decides to experiment, but Eternal is something else completely…working with abstract time signatures and just an otherworldly sound overall.  I am rather curious to know what was behind creating this song because it’s unique and just interesting even if the rhythm is obscure and hard to follow sometimes.

13. Love Song

After that, things seem to go back to normal with Love Song which goes back to the pop/rock vibes that songs from like “LOVE before we DIE” & “PAIN KILLER” mostly had and Love Song is kind of a bit more sullen and straightforward for me.  Not the strongest track off the album, but this is pretty middle-of-the-road.

14. Yes

Ohh the glossy synths that open Yes caught my attention because this is the track before the final one and Yes is kind of cool and slick of a pop track.  It gives me some 80’s nostalgia, but then the chorus is just fluttery and light and just puts me in a good place!  I’m not quite sure why but despite not being a hard dance track, it’s just enough to get me to sway and move with it.  YUKA sounds sweet too, even if she spends most of the song in the higher registers of her voice.

15. Love, unbreakable

As the final track for the album, Love, unbreakable kind of ends the same way it opens with an acoustic pop track with a nice beat behind it.  After “Yes”, jumping back to YUKA’s more middle range is nice and relaxing.  Like I said with “Catharsis”, I feel BONNIE PINK in this setting and I enjoyed it…but I think I like the former better.  Still, a very nice way to close things out!

Tracks Recommended

  • Yes
  • Heartbeat
  • Afureru Hikari
  • Eternal
  • Catharsis

Song of Avoidance

  • One Time

Doesn’t seem too long since “Flyways” was it?  Well, we’re finally here with NEWMOON and boy was it a much better album than the aforementioned by a long shot.  With a lot of variety to be found here, NEWMOON’s best assets definitely came from that and pulling from their different albums for a kind of best-of sound-wise.  Though, it is worth mentioning that 4/5 of the album is considered old material (by that a couple months), but at least these are on a physical disc now and not just digital-only.  So overall, NEWMOON is a pretty good album overall…sadly Masaki has taken a hiatus, so I wonder what will come next for YUKA!

 

Pokemon 8 is a Go! March 7, 2019

Filed under: ~Video Game Writing~ — solarblade @ 5:53 am

Alright, it’s that time again and now we have an official green light for Generation 8!  While I can’t say that Gen 7 was my favorite, it brought a lot of interesting ideas and designs from Alolan variations of Kanto Pokémon to Ultra Beasts (beings from another dimension).  Though with Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon kind of ending up as slight disappointments and Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu & Eevee being a thing…I’m excited to finally hear the announcement of a new Generation! (the first not on a fully handheld system (first on a main console, the Nintendo Switch)  So shall we talk about it briefly!?

pokemon-sword-and-shield

Yup, welcome to Generation 8’s main games, Pokémon Sword & Shield!  Set in the Galar region, we will get to go through GameFreak’s take on the United Kingdom this time around!

Not much big info was shown off besides a good look of the region itself and some of the previously known Pokémon that will appear (makes me wonder if there’s going to be Galar variants of Pokémon, hopefully not of Kanto but Johto (or even Kalos since that region was based from France).  Looks good so far, but let’s get into the big information here and those are the 3 starters we begin with!

Scorbunny

scorbunny

We start with our first look at the Fire starter, Scorbunny.  I like the fact that it doesn’t use red/orange as its main color opting for a mostly white look.  I am curious to see where its evolutions end up as, but currently he’s my favorite of the three!

Sobble

sobble

After kind of being disappointed with Popplio in the last Gen, I was kind of surprised to see someone like Sobble introduced as I’m already liking it a lot too!  Though I feel like I should bypass this one so I can focus on bringing up a Grass type since I chose Litten and Froakie previously!  Still, I can’t wait to see its evolutions as well!

Grookey

grookey

So Grookey, I’m really enjoying the fact that it is a chimp (although I already get Pansage feelings here), but he looks good enough to pass and knowing it can evolve twice makes me feel better.  Like the others, I’m curious to see what it does in the meta and see if it gains a secondary type.

 

I’m definitely interested in this Generation and I hope we get a LOT more Pokémon than we did in both Kalos & Alola…Like this drought is just a bit wild…It does make me hope that somehow Meltan / Melmetal are catchable in Sword & Shield and we don’t have to do that arduous task from Pokémon Go!….Oh and Pokémon Bank needs to be updated too!