Kurayami Monogatari

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UVERworld – AS ONE May 24, 2020

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 7:38 pm

asone

Track Listing

  1. AS ONE
  2. Spreadown
  3. AS ONE (instrumental)

1. AS ONE

I was wondering what I was getting myself into with AS ONE, especially after all the songs that they released for “UNSER”.  AS ONE though continues this experimentation with more synths and unique quirks about it.  Though it does lean towards more like “GOOD and EVIL” with the beautiful combination of the new things and the band’s explosive sound.  Another banger out of this one!

2. Spreadown

As for the B-side, Spreadown sounds a bit more edgier than “AS ONE”, but still carries the band across and fuses a lil less of the synthwork found in the lead track.  Though it is strong sounding and its various sections are cool and unique…it’s just an instrumental track, something UVERworld tends to do on singles.  So it’s good for the band, just could’ve used an actual vocal track.

 

 

As the first single after “UNSER”. AS ONE is OK for the most part I suppose.  Not their strongest offering though.  AS ONE does feel like a track leftover from their last album which is good because of the high praise I gave it and enjoying they’re continuing with that ideal, but it’s literally the only track because Spreadown was just an instrumental (which sounds like it could’ve used some vocals).  Not bad, but I’m hoping for more in their singles.

 

UVERworld – UNSER

Filed under: UVERworld — solarblade @ 6:34 pm

unser

Track Listing

  1. Making it Drive
  2. AFTER LIFE
  3. Touch off
  4. Kyoukai
  5. stay on
  6. First Sight
  7. ODD FUTURE
  8. Muimi ni Naru Yoru
  9. EDEN e
  10. ConneQt
  11. OXYMORON
  12. One Last Time
  13. ROB THE FRONTIER
  14. GOOD and EVIL
  15. UNSER

1. Making it Drive

Wasn’t expecting the album to open up with something a little more electronic like Making it Drive.  Hearing TAKUYA rapping and having a lot of interesting quirks like filters and synths in the track that isn’t the band itself is really interesting and makes me wonder if this album will be something more experimental (especially after a lot of the A-sides showed off this side of UVERworld).  Making it Drive is unique I will give it that and kicks the album off in a unique way.

2. AFTER LIFE

Yeah, next track in is definitely giving me vibes of both “Making it Drive” and “EDEN e” with it’s darker glow and kind of leniency towards the synths and TAKUYA’s raps and vocals.  Though not as powerful as those two tracks, it’s quick-paced lyricism and just ethereal glow really makes it interesting, but I’m happy to hear the band does finally come in towards the end.  Yeah, interesting as well!

3. Touch off

Then we get into our first of the old tracks with the band’s 3rd A-side released, Touch off.  I did appreciate finally hearing SEIKA on the album since he wasn’t really a part of the first two track and Touch off is the first kind of hard-hitting song which is great since I’ve was wanting something more aggressive.  While I was kind of middle of the road when I reviewed the single (especially since it was after 3 amazing A-sides and this tune felt more like what I had come to expect from UVERworld.  On the album, it’s much better to me and the loudness of the song really caught my attention.  The only thing that threw me off was TAKUYA near the end where he’s kind of spittin words out without rapping and it felt like it was a bit out of place for me.  Still, Touch off is pretty good on the album now!

4. Kyoukai

Back to new tracks, Kyoukai takes the band to a more brighter sound for it that’s kind of giving me slight synth/pop/rock vibes like “ODD FUTURE” did, but then you get something like beatboxing included here and the song gets more interesting.  There’s just this thing about this track that catches me off guard and once again makes me think UVERworld is experimenting which is great because it brings out a lot of colorful works such as this.  Though I should mention that it is under 3 minutes which is a bummer.

5. stay on

Next up, stay on brings back the mixture of trap beats and synths on top of TAKUYA’s filtered vocals and cool stylings.  It feels different to me because now the band is also on full force as well, but not too much because the song changes so much throughout, like it’s a combination of many songs that didn’t get elaborated on to make this one lol.  I’m not sure if it mixed together very well to be honest and feels messy IMHO.

6. First Sight

Next up, First Sight pops up and I think for the first time I felt like UVER really felt more poppy than one is to be expected.  I think it’s mostly due to the synths and piano and the more laidback feel I get from the band themselves.  I mean, I don’t mind that aspect from them, just not something I would’ve expected they’d tackle.  It’s not terrible, but it just lacks energy (and maybe that’s what they were going for?).

7. ODD FUTURE

At least the energy is picked up immediately with ODD FUTURE (the first single released for the album).  I had worried it wouldn’t make the cut because it was a part of their 2 best album releases, so I was relieved to see it make its way onto UNSER.  While I thought it was poppy for them (at least until I just heard “First Sight”), hearing this being a theme for My Hero Academia was shocking, but like also badass in its own right.  I still do believe this song really kicked off this experimental kick that the band went through for the album and I mean ODD FUTURE is great because while it has many parts and lots of elements from various songs of this album (poppy/anison flow, quick TAKUYA raps and singing, SEIKA solo, and vocal filters), it just collided into something genius in a song like this!  Still one of my favorite UVERworld songs!

8. Muimi ni Naru Yoru

Getting into the next track, Muimi ni Naru Yoru brings things back down with more of a laidback sound that’s a little funky and jazzy and I’m really happy this tune was able to let TAKUYA rap a little more freely on top letting SEIKA play sax throughout the arrangement.  I will say this chill tone crosses my mind nicely though I will say, it’s a little odd they put it in between “ODD FUTURE” and “EDEN e”.  Still, as a track on its own, I’m really impressed by it and sticks out entirely in a good way.

9. EDEN e

Which goes into one half of the 2nd single UVERworld released for UNSER and EDEN e was another hit for me and I hit myself a lot for not reviewing it when it released initially because it’s just a powerful synth track for the band!  I’m a little beside myself with the sampling from “The Eye” from INFINITE still, but the song is still great and showcased TAKUYA’s vocals in a nice light.  Though I’m surprised it wasn’t somewhere around “Making it Drive” and “AFTER LIFE” because it had similarities, but a bit more loud in places.

10. ConneQt

Though it leads to our next track which was the lone B-side to make the album’s cut.  When I reviewed it on “Touch off”, I felt like ConneQt was decent, but familiar but then hearing it on the album, it reminds me a LOT of “First Sight” and the two could be confused.  I just know the difference because this was the older track.  Not sure why these two songs are making the band feel oddly more poppy, but I don’t think it works as well as they wanted it to be.

11. OXYMORON

Man these low, synths openings always has me curious to where a song leads and so far this album has been doing it in spades.  For OXYMORON, the song’s feel is definitely more inclusive for the band, though I wasn’t expecting strings to be in the tune.  Actually I just wasn’t expecting the tune to be bright and upbeat.  Like as if “EDEN e” was a little more happier.  I kind of found myself just enjoying this one a lot and has a lot of elements and a beautiful synergy between all the experimentation and the band themselves.

12. One Last Time

Seems like we’re back to having TAKUYA doing his rapping for our next new track.  Though after his lengthy verse, he and the band start going and it’s really nice as a chorus as it’s cool.  I mean I do like TAKUYA’s skills for sure, but I feel like we had a LOT of that on this album.  So unfortunately, I wasn’t heavily into this one since it really wasn’t popping out at me.

13. ROB THE FRONTIER

Then we get into the 4th and final single before UNSER released and ROB THE FRONTIER kind of still puts up the same opinions I had for it in the single review.  Though I will give it some points because despite being a pure UVERworld song with a relentless arrangement and heavy use of the band, it doesn’t have the heaps of experimentation that the rest of the album has.  Plus it’s just rockin’ and really pops off a lot better on the album than the single (though I mean it was the only track other than many live versions of past songs on it).

14. GOOD and EVIL

GOOD and EVIL coming after “ROB THE FRONTIER” shows what I mean from the pure rockin’ vibes of the latter and the fruits of the experimentation out of this track.  Yeah, this song is pretty wild and doesn’t suffer the same shenanigans that “stay on” suffered from.  It does slap hard in its own right and I love the arrangement out of this one a lot especially since it’s kind of the more serious UVERworld here.

15. UNSER

Then we get to the album’s outro which is the title track UNSER.  I’m not sure what they were going for here because the outro is definitely the most dance-ish track here with EDM beats and some other quirky things about it.  It’s only 1:40 in length, so it doesn’t leave too much of an impression, but just makes me wonder why it’s an outro.

Tracks Recommended

  • ODD FUTURE
  • EDEN e
  • OXYMORON
  • Muimi ni Naru Yoru
  • GOOD and EVIL

Song of Avoidance

  • stay on

If there’s anything I have to say about UNSER, it’s definitely experimental.  I don’t think I’ve heard UVERworld play around and try new things to this level since “Last” and even then that album had a lot of their usual rock songs.  I just wasn’t expecting them to go light rock here to synth music and of course the best tracks were the singles even Touch off and ROB THE FRONTIER sounded better with the album.  Yeah, this is now my favorite UVER album…I just hope they keep doing this! *RECOMMENDED*

 

Koda Kumi – re(CORD)

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 4:26 pm

record

Track Listing

  1. DO ME
  2. GET NAKED
  3. STRIP
  4. k,
  5. Rich & Famous feat. Sean Paul
  6. again
  7. Merry Go Round
  8. Eh Yo -re(CORD) edit-
  9. GOLDFINGER 2019
  10. Put Your Hands Up!!!
  11. Summer Time
  12. OMG
  13. SHUTOUT
  14. Livin’ La Vida Loca

1. DO ME

Oh?  We’re already jumping into the album super quick with the opening track, DO ME.  It has been a while since I’ve heard Kuu and this kind of attitude-laced performance is kind of eye-raising especially hearing the amount of auto-tune and filters placed here is slightly distracting.  I will say, the track is rather a booty-shaking romp and Kuu seems to really be into this one, interesting way to open the album, kind of miss the opening intros though lol.

2. GET NAKED

I guess the sexy romps continue from the evidently titled, GET NAKED.  While the previous track was a little more in your face, GET NAKED tries to go for the more sly and slick sound, but I’ve noticed for some reason that Kuu sounds a bit different from before, but it’s only in some places.  The tune is more or less how I felt about the opening track, maybe not so much memorable as “DO ME” was.

3. STRIP

Jeeze three in a row?  STRIP isn’t so much a romp, but it has that dark, sexy, glow to it on top of Kuu’s more rap-like verses to the chorus that’s a bit more alive.  I have to say, I do enjoy this track most of the 3 songs here as it has hooks and just sounds like another hit she could’ve had (I mean if she had released singles for the album).  Very cool song, one of the better ones from the album!

4. k,

While I feel like we’re leaving the romps behind, k, is pretty much a slightly toned down cut of “STRIP” as it has some funk vibes in it on top of some sections where she actually sings and not does the pseudo raps (though they’re still present in this one).  I definitely found myself interested in this one a lot and the chorus is interesting (that ~bum, bum, bum~ arpeggio is strange to say the least.

5. Rich & Famous (feat. Sean Paul)

Oh hey, another collaboration with Sean Paul eh?  After “Loaded” from her 2014 album, “Bon Voyage”, it seems we’re seeing these two again and while it doesn’t hit hard as the aforementioned track and Sean Paul doesn’t quite have as much of an appearance (except in his part in the bridge to the end, Rich & Famous’ more R&B tinted sound and mood are smooth and unique and the two sound so good together ironically.  I can see why Kuu wanted to do this again!  Wait, you’re saying it samples stuff from “CHANCES ALL” from her previous album?  That’s a little bizarre considering it wasn’t a main song?

6. again

Things slow down quite heavily for the only ballad on the album, again.  Taking away from the trap beats and sexy sound for this toned down acoustic/piano ballad is a bit strange, but I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve had something like this for Kuu (which is strange because I know she’s had ballads on the last couple of albums).  I mean Kuu sounds good once again and even though this is another case of if you’ve heard one of her ballads you’ve pretty much heard them all, it kind of sticks out on the album nicely in my opinion since it shows she still has the vocal chops for it.  It’s OK in her discography, just not on the higher side of things.

7. Merry Go Round

The mood starts to pick up again for Merry Go Round with it’s heavy summery vibes and it’s overall cute vibes throughout here.  It’s Reggae style really suits things throughout and Kuu sounds exciting here.  It’s probably my favorite so far on the album as it doesn’t rely on those trap beats and has its own identity, something I found more fulfilling here.  Really pleasant track here.

8. Eh Yo -re(CORD) edit-

So it seems like most of this album was released digitally prior to the album’s release and Eh Yo was the first one so for some reason it was the track that given an edit here.  I think most of the edits had went to cleaning up the equalizer and changing some of the elements to not stick out so much like the original did (and somehow shave 10 seconds off too).  Eh Yo is bringing back the energy back with something rockin’ and chant-worthy here.  I kind of dig flow of the song and Kuu sounds OK here too!  Decent track!

9. GOLDFINGER 2019

So I saw that Kuu was doing some covers for the album, GOLDFINGER being a cover of a 1999 Go Hiromi track and I thought I’d take a listen before diving into the track and…it turns out that this song is actually a cover of Ricky Martin’s HUGE hit in the same year, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” which now makes sense why Kuu is covering this song twice lol.  Instead of the latin pop sound of the originals, GOLDFINGER 2019 is a bit more dancey and synthy, but retains a little bit of the horns.  Though that dance break in the bridge didn’t need to be there…it kind of was incredibly out of place and made no sense.  The rest of the song is great though, I dug this!

10. Put Your Hands Up!!!

Are we back with the tropical house theme?  I think the song had something going, but I really couldn’t deal with Kuu under auto-tune here, it felt strange especially since she’s such a great singer that she definitely didn’t need this happening for a summery song such as this.  I think it’s what made me cringe away from the track, should’ve followed the same track that “Merry Go Round” did to be honest, what a shame…

11. Summer Time

I still find it funny Kuu saved the album release to November when there was so many Summer songs (thanks to the digital releasing).  Anyways, Summer Time is definitely what it brings to the table and it’s fun, cute, beach-friendly and whatnot, but I tend to feel after a while that she’s done so many songs like this that it’s also starting to blend into one another (like her ballads do).  It’s fine, it’s just kind of forgettable to me.

12. OMG

Oooh, are we back into the cool side to Kuu?  Wow, this song is definitely buzzing with the heavy beats and futuristic tone that caught my attention and Kuu has a lot of sassy moments which surprised me here.  Plus hearing Kuu say the title in its chorus is kind of humorous, but cool.  This is what I was wanting, something a little more energetic and works with Kuu’s vocals (though that auto-tune can go away).  Yeah, this was pretty damn good!

13. SHUTOUT

As we nearing the end of the album, SHUTOUT kind of brings me the same feeling that I got with “GET NAKED”, but once again the trap beats aren’t as in your face, but I’m wondering what this new timbre Kuu is using in her voice, it’s the 2nd time on the album she sounds like it and I’m not sure what I feel about that tone.  Very interesting song and like “OMG” would love more of to be honest!

14. Livin’ La Vida Loca

So I had a bad feeling when I got to the end of the album because while I think “GOLDFINGER 2019” is a decent cover, I also had to think that yes, Kuu is going to be singing in English again for the actual Ricky Martin cover.  Even since her take on “real Emotion”, Kuu has not really grown in the language much and while I do understand about 70% of what she’s saying, it’s pretty odd to me.  Much better than her take on “Venus”, just saying…As for the song, still the same as the earlier track, including the strange dance break.

Tracks Recommended

  • Merry Go Round
  • OMG
  • SHUTOUT
  • Eh Yo -re(CORD edit)-
  • STRIP

Song of Avoidance

  • Put Your Hands Up!!!

It seems like Kuu is just going through the waves in recent times with her last couple of album and unfortunately I feel pretty much similar to how this album felt.  It’s like the ideas and unique surprises are missing (though there are some to be found).  I will say now that I feel like her trap tracks are just not doing it for me no more and her aggressive sex romps are one too many now.  I will say that I wasn’t expecting the tracklist how it went, again being the lone ballad and a Japanese & English cover of what is a Ricky Martin song was interesting, but I need something new from Kuu…but what could that be?  Hard to say because Kuu has done all sorts of styles…so dance music as a whole next?