Kurayami Monogatari

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Saoriiiii – Tokyo Kunyan April 22, 2019

Filed under: Saori@destiny — solarblade @ 3:35 am

Tokyo Kunyan 5

Track Listing

  1. Tokyo Kunyan
  2. Wanshanhao!
  3. command y
  4. fancy girl

1. Tokyo Kunyan

As the first track off the mini, Tokyo Kunyan fades in it feels like and we get a pretty cool funky technobop of a song with a lot of smacking bass in it that really sticks out to me.  Saori’s vocals are filtered a little but it feels clean and really interesting.  Yeah, this song is a great way to kick things off and brings me back to the days she was in D-TOPIA.

2. Wanshanhao!

With a Chinese title, I was not surprised in the least that the arrangement kind of gave me this fusion of like acid to kind of lowbrow EDM here.  Definitely a lot less wild than “Tokyo Kunyan” was, Wanshanhao! has this ethereal tone and it’s just really soothing to the ears especially with Saori’s vocals under echo filters too.  Neat song, I’ll say that!

3. command y

I was expecting our next track to be more futuristic, but it’s kind of just as light and relaxing like “Wanshanhao!” is.  It does feels slightly space-y and kind of floaty in places which is cool and definitely gives me some of old feelings, then the chorus hits and I’m kind of thrown off at it, but the song moves further along and the two ideas kind of merge in a pretty neat way.  Interesting tune overall!

4. fancy girl

Ending the mini is fancy girl and to me has the most synth usage in it and has a bit more grit versus the other songs from the mini-album.  I do like Saori’s vocals here even if they’re pretty much covered in computer work.  It’s got a good beat and the speed isn’t too quick and I think would’ve made for a great PV.

 

 

Wow, I didn’t even notice Saoriiiii had released a new mini-album at the end of last year!  Regardless, I would say Tokyo Kunyan is kind of middle for me.  I mean to be fair I had no problems with it at all, but I don’t think it’s going to quite stick with me.  I do like the Asian-like ideals in the songs themselves, but I don’t know…in time I’m sure I’ll warm up more to it, but for me it’s OK for now.

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Kobushi Factory – Oh No Ounou/Haru Urara

Filed under: Kobushi Factory — solarblade @ 2:51 am

ohnoounou

Track Listing

  1. Oh No Ounou
  2. Haru Urara
  3. Nen ni wa Nen (Acapella Ver.)
  4. Oh No Ounou (Instrumental)
  5. Haru Urara (Instrumental)

1. Ou No Ounou

It’s been a while I feel like Kobushi released a fun pop/rock song that kind of fits with their stuff from their first album and it seems it has returned with Oh No Ounou.  I find myself enjoying the crap out of this song!  It’s rockin’ and the ~oh no!~ quips in the hook are rather humorous to listen to.  Though I think the best parts are when the group sings in the chorus.  Add on that all 5 members seem to get a lot of awesome solo time so it really worked all-around.  It has been a while, but this is prolly their best song since “Kobushi Sono Ichi” dropped!

2. Haru Urara

To be fair, I wasn’t expecting the group to start leaning on more ballads as of recent but here we are with Haru Urara, their Spring song.  It does give the group a different mindset to singing which is a nice change of pace and the arrangement isn’t a total knockoff song like “Naseba Naru” was.  I kind of like the mid-tempo pop/rockfish feel to the song and like I said Kobushi overall sounds different than they did in “Oh No Ounou” so that’s always a plus too!  Not bad!

3. Nen ni wa Nen (Acapella Ver.)

Though I wasn’t fully expecting a 3rd track for the single, it was one that was kind of overdue at this point.  Yeah despite losing 3 members, Kobushi in recent times has been performing this acapella versions of older songs (“Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Mousin”, GO TO THE TOP!!” and “Samba! Kobushi Janeiro”) and finally this one which finally shows up.  I was surprised with the beatboxing coming from Reirei and the “guitar solo” from Hirose too.  Though I’m overall surprised by this version and really gives their debut song some new life!

 

 

Wow!  I was actually pretty surprised at how decent this single turned out for the most part.  Oh No Ounou is a pretty fun song and brings back Kobushi as the fun and wild ladies while Haru Urara tones things down for a softer, but just as decent performance.  The acapella take of Nen ni wa Nen was super cool though and I can see them releasing an album of redone songs like it!  Curious to see if an album is coming this year or not though!

 

S/mileage – S/mileage Best Album Kanzenban ① April 19, 2019

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:17 am

Kanzenban1

Track Listing

  1. Dot Bikini
  2. Choto Mate Kudasai!
  3. Please Miniskirt Postwoman!
  4. Tachiagirl
  5. Uchouten LOVE
  6. Koi ni Booing Buu!
  7. Short Cut
  8. Onaji Jikyuu de Hataraku Tomodachi no Bijin Mama
  9. ○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!
  10. Yumemiru 15sai
  11. Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!!
  12. Suki-chan
  13. Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai
  14. aMa no Jaku
  15. Kiiroi Jitensha to Sandwich

1. Dot Bikini

Wow, I guess the best album is going to go from the most released single (at that time) and go chronologically back huh?  I guess it’s fun to start with the group’s summer single, Dot Bikini!  I really like the beach vibes I get from the tune’s intro with the waves splashing on shore and that cute synth line.  Though the tune is pretty upbeat and it had some sawtooth synths to booth as well.  I will say that the chorus with the whole ~ke-ke-ke-ke-ke-ke~ bit can et a little grating at times, but I feel like the rest of the song just flies by mostly.  Though I did like the solos from Ayacho, Nyon, Meimi, and Takechan (the only four who actually did, sorry Rinapuu & Kanana).  Might not be the group’s most memorable A-side, but it was cute to listen to!

2. Choto Mate Kudasai!

As the first single without their most popular member, Yuuka, Choto Mate Kudasai! was going to be an interesting romp of a song and I initially thought it was going to be heavily shouldered on Ayaka and Kanon.  The tune is vibrant and has some surprises in it like some solos from the 2nd Generation (Takechan, Meimi, Kanana, and Rinapuu) and some tight high notes from Nyon, Takechan, and Meimi who all kind of was all over the map on pitch XD.  It’s a bit rocky of a song, but I definitely remembered this one for its quirkiness.

3. Please Miniskirt Postwoman!

As the last single for Yuukarin, Please Miniskirt Postwoman! was weird opening up with that odd baroque melody before the song opens up into another synth track (with some oddly sounding gritty synths).  This was also when the 2nd Generation of S/mileage was officially made and was the first time we hear Akari, Kana, Rina, and Meimi have solo lines.  I had also forgot how squeaky Ayacho & Yuukarin’s vocals were compared to other members.  I don’t know I mean the song is cute and upbeat and decent enough for me to put it high on the list.

4. Tachiagirl

Gosh was this a song that had history to it.  It was the first single without original member Saki Ogawa and the first to include sub-members (which later became the 2nd Gen S/mileage girls, well except one Fuyuka Kosuga who only appeared here and ended up having to leave due to sickness issues).  That said, Tachiagirl was just Ayaka, Yuuka, and Kanon (oh, Lilpri?) while the other 5 did backup shouts primarily.  The song never really put me into any good mood because it felt so not A-side-ish.  Plus, the hole that Sakitty left put a damper on the mood and with the new blood just kind of in the background, it was a song that really wasn’t needed to exist (would’ve been better if the 5 girls were utilized more honestly).  Overall, this was just a forgetful song.

5. Uchouten LOVE

Now onto the majority of the best album circulating around the original 4 members (before Saki’s rather sudden departure from the group), Uchouten LOVE was kind of touted as the group’s best single, but I mean I understood that but it those sawtooth synths was put at max here.  Though I can’t help but fall in love with the chorus and the quartet sounds so youthful and happy that it kind of just sticks to you.  I will say I had forgot how nice Saki’s vocals were in the group alongside Kanon and you had the genki duo of Yuuka and Ayaka here kind of adding the cutesy tone.  This was an exciting song that’s for sure!

6. Koi ni Booing Buu!

I just remembered this song as the piggie song and yeah it’s rather kind of just cute fluff here if not moreso because of the whole theming of the single.  If I take the song without the PV and listened to it by itself, Koi ni Booing Buu! feels like a cute Buono! song because of the electric guitars throughout.  Though those ~BUU~ quips are bizarre to me still.  Though it still doesn’t quite strike me much of a memorable song.  Though the guitar solo is kind of cool.  Yeah, another A-side that never really caught my attention.

7. Short Cut

I would have to say, S/mileage really never did a lot of serious songs, but I kind of consider this less cute than most of their discography.  Maybe it is cutesy, but it definitely didn’t feel caked on, almost kind of natural from the synths and the slightly nostalgic feel just stood out for me.  Plus it seems like the ladies didn’t try to over complicate things with their squeaky idol voices.  It’s glossy but somehow done quite well here

8. Onaji Jikyuu de Hataraku Tomodachi no Bijin Mama

If I thought “Koi ni Booing Buu!” was kind of the cutesy Buono! song, then this A-side (the last to represent their first album “Warugaki 1”) was the epitome of a track that REALLY sounded like a Buono! song and the PV kind of looked like one too which is surprising (and a surprise appearance of Momusu’s Nozomi Tsuji added).  While I don’t think the quartet’s vocals really suited the punk rock sound of the track, they held it together but that chorus kind of is a mess to be honest lol.  Still, this was pretty ballsy of a song and kind of wished S/mileage had explored this more (though later ANGERME would somewhat).

9. ○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!

I remember used to HATING this song from them to the point I’d never go outta my way for it.  Though for some ungodly reason over the years, I have grown more fondly towards the song than I should and it scared me (I call it the Tsunku effect).  Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!! is another one of their goofy A-sides (usually paired with “Koi ni Booing Buu!” because both songs feature nonsensical sounds to add effect.  Though for some reason the track itself is silly and has so lulzy lines, yet some good vocals especially for how young these 4 were.  I would definitely have this song on my playlist just on its fun merits alone.  Yeah, I should relisten to “Warugaki 1” and see if my thoughts have changed as much.

10. Yumemiru 15sai

Then we hit this song which was the group’s major label debut and boy was it a great one to debut with.  Yeah, the song does feel somewhat dated (and might have been the backbone for “Short Cut” for some reason), but this song is ridiculous and cool for the group (who prior to this in their indies singles was only cutesy stuff).  Also, Saki’s high note in the song is just epic!  Yeah, the song is sparkly and glossy but it really stood the test of time and changed them for the better!

11. Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!!

Going in this final stretch is their indies singles and while it wasn’t too far off from what S/mileage would release as their debut in their major label, Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!! is like a bit of a hidden gem for me returning to it these days because back then S/mileage never really piqued my radar in their indies releases but coming back now, Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!! is energetic and cute and the melody is really nice. Definitely my favorite of the 4 indies songs they have.

12. Suki-chan

Despite being a favorite amongst fans even today, Suki-chan wasn’t a song that really caught my attention.  Another pop/rock song but slightly cuter, Suki-chan is another song I feel like Buono! could’ve had too…but the vocals are slightly off-putting here.  Ayaka and Yuuka kind of make it difficult to really adhere to me.  I don’t know but of the 4 indies, I think I like this the least still to this day.

13. Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai

As the group’s 2nd indies single, Asu wa Date na no ni, Ima Sugu Koe ga Kikitai was kind of the first time that S/mileage had any kind of response out of me (well back then).  The tune was kind of that cutesy track that was its own thing and didn’t really set a course for the group to stick with this sound.  Though, it’s kind of hokey and adorable and while the quartet kind of squeak their vocals for this one (even the better two Saki and Kanon sounded squeaky too!).  Still, nowadays the song is just sugary and adorable and on occasion find myself humming it.

14. aMa no Jaku

Then we finally land in the group’s first song together, aMa no Jaku and it definitely doesn’t sound like anything that would come from them going forward.  It felt very idol standard of a song and unlike the cute songs and pop/rock songs, this is kind of mid-tempo and kind of mellow of a song which is odd that Tsunku chose this to debut S/mileage with.  Granted the quartet sound nice and got nice line distribution and for me it’s a rather nostalgic song even if it doesn’t represent then in the long run besides being their first song (“Yumemiru 15sai” gets all that attention).

15. Kiiroi Jitensha to Sandwich

We finally come to the end and as a surprise, the best album ends with a brand new song from the then current lineup.  Though considering the time this best came out I kind of let the song fly over my head essentially.  Though listening to it now, the tune fits the cute frame well and sits snuggly with both of the other 6-nin songs (“Dot Bikini” and “Choto Mate Kudasai!”).  I really liked that Rinapuu and Kanana got some push in the song while the other four do their normal duties.  It’s a cute song but not terrible.

Tracks Recommended

  • Yumemiru 15sai
  • Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!!
  • ○○Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!
  • Short Cut
  • aMa no Jaku

Song of Avoidance

  • Tachiagirl

Since Ayaka Wada (the last of the original S/mileage members is graduating in the end of May, I thought I step back in time to review a best album (and the only thing I hadn’t reviewed from barring OSTs).  Having to go back and review the old S/mileage releases was pretty neat and since the original days, my mind has changed somewhat about those tracks and this best album helped that.  Though after reviewing everything since then, this was an oddly placed best album considering how shaky the group was after the addition of 2nd Gen and the losses of both Saki & Yuuka.  Though at the same time I feel like S/mileage after “Dot Bikini” changed dramatically so this kind of capsulates the girly cute and genki S/mileage quite perfectly in a bow.  Overall the best album was nice and the only new track was OK.  Next up should be their 3rd album to be reviewed, “Rinnetenshou” and two discs are “best-of” discs so woo!

 

NCT 127 – Awaken

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 3:07 am

awaken

Track Listing

  1. Lips
  2. Wakey-Wakey
  3. Chain
  4. Regular (English Ver.)
  5. Touch (Japanese Ver.)
  6. Blow My Mind
  7. Limitless
  8. Long Slow Distance
  9. Kitchen Beat
  10. Cherry Bomb (Korean Ver.)
  11. Fire Truck (Korean Ver.)
  12. End to Start

1. Lips

Opening the album up, Lips kicks the album off on a rather interesting track.  Starting with Jaehyun and then building up in this kind of jungle-like hip-hop track, I found it pretty interesting especially when there’s lines from everyone all over the track against this deep and rather cool-sounding track.  Not bad for the opening song and sets up nicely for the next tack, but maybe Lips would’ve been better somewhere in the middle because of the subject matter?  I don’t know lol.

2. Wakey-Wakey

Though the 2nd track was the one used to promote the release and it definitely fills in the gap that pretty NCT has been doing (most recently in “Simon Says” which can be somewhat similar, but also to “Chain” too). Wakey-Wakey though has a lot of build-up and likewise with “Lips”, it has great build-up and leads to rather catchy chorus.  Though I’m noticing Jungwoo and Taeil a LOT in this song.  Though the tune is for sure in their style and really worked here (I wonder if there’ll be a Korean version someday)

3. Chain

I wasn’t surprised to see that Chain would be here considering it was the main track off their mini-album debut in Japan.  Chain was a surprise for the group because it felt a bit more dirty and mechanical but for some reason it somehow worked and I was happy to see some Yuta getting attention on top of Taeyong giving one of his fastest raps and Taeil’s super high notes.  It’s so unique for NCT and one of my favorite songs from the group!

4. Regular (English Ver.)

I’m more shocked that there wasn’t a Japanese version of Regular (considering there’s an English & Korean take and a Chinese version done by WayV).  Instead we get the English cut of the song and it’s still a great latin-y song that really get the mood going and was exciting because it was Jungwoo’s debut into the group.  I mean for what it is, it’s still a pretty awesome song regardless and the tune just wins, but maybe I would’ve preferred some effort and made a Japanese cut instead, but that’s just me.

5. Touch (Japanese Ver.)

Which is bizarre because this is a thing too.  Although this was released by itself digitally last year so I suppose it doesn’t count?  If you don’t recognize the song, Touch was originally on “EMPATHY 2018” as a Korean song and ONLY track NCT 127 kind of repped for it.  Not quite sure why a Japanese version was made, but hey it’s on this album woo!  I will say this though that Touch is their most unique leading song because it’s not fully hip-hop like their other efforts and really stick out.  The poppy, upbeat groove is nice and the song remains catchy from the lingual switch-up so altogether, it’s a nice inclusion overall!

6. Blow My Mind

The next new track pulls us back into their darker and smoother side and it kind of reminds me of “Lips” in that way, but it’s nice to see everyone once again just showing off their vocals here.  I’m starting to feel like Taeil is just used for her belting in the end of bridges like how Taeyong & Mark are just rappers.  Not bad overall, definitely fits the mold of a good NCT 127 track and hey more Johnny is always nice!

7. Limitless

Another track from “Chain”, Limitless is of course the Japanese version of the same Korean song that was their 1st comeback in Korea.  I mean I still love this song even if this version does sound slightly smushed up in the transition from languages and doesn’t quite ride or has the same oomph as the original.  Still, the song is just a rally for NCT to get noticed and I love that this song was used to introduce Johnny and Doyoung to the group and they fit in just nicely.

8. Long Slow Distance

After “Limitless” it kind of hits a brick wall and we’re led into the album’s lone ballad, Long Slow Distance!  With a small amount of actual ballads in their discography, Long Slow Distance is a pretty simple song compared to the rest of the album.  I really do love that Haechan, Yuta, Taeil, and Jungwoo have the first verse, but let’s be honest, it seems Taeil is the main vocalist here.  Though it is fair that both Mark and Taeyong didn’t get any lines here (though I think they should have since both can sing well enough to keep up with the rest of the group >.>).  Regardless, the tune is OK, but nothing here for me to dwell upon

9. Kitchen Beat

I wasn’t sure what to expect with a title as such, but this follows the dirtier sound that 127 has adopted in the last couple releases.  It has an unusual beat and has some weird sounds going on that kind of mimic “Chain”.  I mean I do like the aggressive sound of the track for sure, but I can’t help but feel that something is missing here.  Though those ~nananana’s~ can get somewhat annoying since it is the chorus essentially.  Probably the weakest song off the album for me.

10. Cherry Bomb (Korean Ver.)

Did we slightly get lazy for this end stretch?  I mean Cherry Bomb and “Fire Truck” both in their original languages?  Really couldn’t update it could ya (y’know with no Winwin and newly added Jungwoo who oddly was in the English cut of the song >.>).  Anyways, Cherry Bomb is my least favorite of their leading songs just because it felt a little repetitive and kind of off when compared to their other songs.  Not saying it doesn’t have merits because some of that repetition is catchy on occasion.  Lots of both Taeyong and Mark here which compliments the hip-hop sound of the song (a lot of rap-like than anything else previous).  Might be my least favorite, but it’s still passable.

11. Fire Truck (Korean Ver.)

Which brings us to Fire Truck which was the group’s debut song!  I mean remember when 127 was just 7 members in the beginning?  Yeah, this song is still pretty dope today and really feels like something unique was there when they debuted.  Fire Truck might not have a strong melody like later releases did, but it’s a cool song nonetheless and helped give this group some identity out there!

12. End to Start

Ending the album, we have End to Start the last of the new tracks from the album and like I was saying back in “Long Slow Distance”, I think Mark and Taeyong could fit along with the rest of the group singing.  Mark actually opens the song in a singing line and later on Taeyong kind of does this too!  End to Start though is kind of in the middle being not quite a ballad but not a full-on attack of dance either.  For the album’s finale, this wasn’t something I was expecting but it’s definitely cool

Tracks Recommended

  • Chain
  • Fire Truck (Korean Ver.)
  • End to Start
  • Wakey-Wakey
  • Regular (English Ver.)

Song of Avoidance

  • Kitchen Beat

So we have arrived at NCT 127’s first Japanese album and for what it’s worth, it’s not bad really and for the most part the new songs really suited the group nicely (maybe except Kitchen Beat, but it definitely had that NCT sound to it).  Though I can’t help but feel it was slightly padded with a little too much fluff and maybe not enough effort.  I mean the original songs were great and Limitless and Touch were nice but like why wasn’t Regular, Cherry Bomb, and even Fire Truck given the same treatment (especially since it’s two other languages here).  Add in this album had a LOT of different iterations of the group here (the original 7, the 9, the 10, and now the current 9 since Winwin is busy with WayV still and isn’t participating here nor the group’s next Korean comeback).  It just seemed like a little more could’ve gone into the album but what we got isn’t bad all luckily!  Just a nitpick I guess!