Kurayami Monogatari

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9nine – MAGI9 PLAYLAND June 26, 2014

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 3:20 am

magi9playland

Track Listing

  1. Re:
  2. Forget-U-not
  3. With You / With Me
  4. THE MAGI9AL FES.
  5. out of the blue
  6. 9uestions
  7. ATASHI≒WATASHI
  8. NeXT to FUTURE
  9. LOVE VAMPIRE
  10. To be continued…
  11. 【fu:】
  12. D.N.A.
  13. Evolution No.9
  14. ALGORHITHM + LOVE
  15. Prism Drops & Falls
  16. With You / With Me (Album Ver.) (bonus track)

1. Re:

Interesting that group actually would open the album with the 2nd A-side to represent.  It’s a pretty good choice despite being the weakest between the three leading songs.  I enjoy the electronic influences found throughout the track and the energy is already at a nice level too!  Like I said, it does remind me of “Shoujo Traveler” in some ways and that’s a very good sign!  Overall good way to kick things off.

2. Forget-U-not

Onto our first new track, Forget-U-not is actually what I was expecting to come from the album.  Love the synths and beats that came along with this one.  The chorus does take things to a better place, but the melodies are a bit messy here and there, but I can handle that.  Actually it almost reminds me of AKB48?  I don’t know but it was OK overall.

3. With You / With Me

Then we move back to the 3rd A-side 9nine released and it’s still the era’s best track.  It starts out slow and ballad-like before gaining some background beats and synths that turn out to be electronic overall which is how the group made the song so impeccable.  It’s a cool track from them and I’m happy to have it early on in the album to kind of prepare me for the rest of the album.

4. THE MAGI9AL FES.

That said, 9 brand new songs in a row?  We must’ve been really good to get this.  Starting with THE MAGI9AL FES., I wasn’t expecting some happycore idol track to come after the previous tune.  Listening to the song, it does seem like we could’ve had a faster tempo thrown in since the song is so focused on beats and such.  I mean there’s a lot of potential with this song, but I don’t know it could’ve been faster IMHO, though we did have that mid8 section which answered that completely…but still I wish it was the whole song.

5. out of the blue

With my disappointment of the last track, out of the blue was something I quite needed.  The beat is more aggressive and catchy and the group sounds a little more full of life and energy.  Also, the chorus is pretty catchy as all hell and made me wanna fist pump along with the beat!  The group does sound pinchy whenever they do sing the chorus but I though the rest of the song was pretty neat!

6. 9uestions

Oh hey more synths!  Unlike how forward “out of the blue” was, 9uestions takes a more subdued approach by having more a chilled out arrangement and slower lyrics as well.  Without the beats, I would’ve expected this to be a ballad.  Amongst most of the other songs from the album, it’s a bit weak for me…but I don’t dislike it either…it’s a strange thing for me.

7. ATASHI≒WATASHI

Oh boy, more symbols to deal with huh?  Man, 9nine are really just infusing every song on this album with EDM huh?  ATASHI≒WATASHI picks up the energy after the last track and infuses it with idol-pop to kind of give this sort of Kus Kus-esque track IMO.  Like, I really do love the synthplay of this song and the melodies are quite nice to listening to, but there’s something missing here…maybe it’s some attitude or something to make this tune pop?  I don’t know, but I do know this song will grow on me with more listens at least.

8. NeXT to FUTURE

Whoa, way to wake me up 9nine!  NeXT to FUTURE amps the energy even more with a more futuristic drive and funny enough, they actually filled in the spaces and the group really came together for this one.  There’s times where I felt dubstep was going to be thrown in (like in “Re:”), but doesn’t go there until the mid8 section…like the aforementioned track.  It’s a pretty catchy song and the group while a bit off vocally, pretty much sold me here.

9. LOVE VAMPIRE

With a track like this, I thought for a second we might have a reprieval from the EDM, but nope.  The song doesn’t even sound all vampiric which throws me off entirely.  Sadly, it does sound a bit generic here with not a lot of give out and on top of that, the vocals from the group are kind of grating (maybe not so much in the verses) but the chorus is annoying to me.  Meh song.

10. To be continued…

Moving on, I kind of got this weird 80’s/chiptune vibe here which kind of abandons the EDM a little bit before the verses brings them in afterwards.  I like how it tries to spread itself out away from the other new songs on the album which is something at this point, I can appreciate.  The vocals are as high-pitched either which is something that adds a bit more style with this tune.  It’s definitely a song I could back to again and again.

11. 【fu:】

Ugh, more symbols XD.  After the unique feel of “To be continued…” we get another interesting arranged song that takes some like Disney-esque forest theme and throws acoustic guitar and EDM.  It has some weird things going on that I like and some things I kind of don’t agree with (mostly the vocals, once again).  Plus some dubstep moments here too…with some of that theremin fill the arrangement…I mean it’s different so I kind of dug it.

12. D.N.A.

After those two tunes, we get back into some straight EDM with D.N.A. had it kind of reminds me of how I felt with “THE MAGI9AL FES.” in which it could’ve been better if the tempo was raised.  There are some odd time signature changes that make the song go in different directions so sometimes it’s slightly hard to follow, but this song kind of just here and there for me, at least the arrangement was cool.

13. Evolution No.9

Funny how the first A-side is all the way in the back of the album away from the other leading songs.  Evolution No.9 is such an odd song to come along on the album because it doesn’t focus on the EDM arrangements but has a more guitar-fronted arrangement which to me is a breath of fresh air for this album.  I do still kind of get confused with the mid8 section where it gets all chorale-fronted then back to the original arrangement with disc-scratching…I was like huhhhh?  Still overall, it’s a pretty good song!

14. ALGORITHIM + LOVE

As we move on our final stretch, we get ALGORITHIM + LOVE and I’m already loving the beat and arrangement mixed in with the vocals kind of going back and fourth (you can REALLY hear it if you’re wearing headphones).  It kind of reminds me of a Up Up Girls song for some reason, but hey the beat is kickin’ and the whole club-friendly sound altogether is nice to hear then the song goes up in keys a couple times before just ending it out with no cool down…that surprised me a lot…Pretty neat song!

15. Prism Falls & Drops

So dramatic of an opening there 9nine!  After the fun experience I had with the previous track, I was happy to see that Prism Falls & Drops is kind of going back to where the beginning of the album sort of sounded.  For a mid-tempo track, this song actually sounds nice to come to but without the lack of feelings they had earlier.  Good song!

16. With You / With Me (Album Ver.)

I’m surprised they featured the original version and then tacked on a new version as the album’s final song.  It’s strange still since I didn’t think it needed a new version especially since it only adds more emphasis on beats and synths that kind of makes the original seem more strong.  I will say the arrangement is cool and fitting to the arrangement and well the girls didn’t resing it either.

Tracks Recommended

  • With You / With Me
  • out of the blue
  • ALGORITHIM + LOVE
  • Evolution No.9
  • NeXT to FUTURE

Song of Avoidance

  • LOVE VAMPIRE

As the group’s 3rd major album, MAGI9 PLAYLAND is a MUCH better turnout than I expected after “CUE” for sure.  I mean there still was a lot of problems, but at least they tried to pull away from the stale and generic slate they had with the last album.  16 songs with the mofif of being EDM/Idol music is going to throw some people off (especially fans of 9nine) but this album was a much needed change.  My only problem was was that the group should focus on vocals a tad more and try not to half-ass some of their songs like they did here but overall I liked what they put out here.!

 

9nine – With You / With Me May 22, 2014

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 10:05 am

withyouwithme

Track Listing

  1. With You / With Me
  2. Positive
  3. Party9
  4. With You / With Me (Instrumental)
  5. Positive (Instrumental)
  6. Party9 (Instrumental)

1. With You / With Me

Man, I’m just loving the fact 9nine is knocking these A-sides out because once again I’m loving With You / With Me a lot.  Like the rest of the A-sides released for the era, this track has a really cool dance beat and the vocals are just right and doesn’t kill me.  I was surprised the mid8 was another dubstep production, but it doesn’t get too deep so it avoided my hate lol.  Overall, this is probably my favorite of the A-sides they’ve released.

2. Positive

The first B-side, Positive is so strange.  Like the intro is trying to be hyper andtrying to build up to something but it cuts to something light and cute like an instant which threw me off lol.  This song kind of goes back and forth which is odd but the chorus is exciting at the least and love the arrangement.  I think I can grow to enjoy this.

3. Party9

I am finding myself wondering if the group this era was just all about EDM since there was no slow song and most of the songs were danceable lol.  Party9 to me is like the previous two tracks fused for such a great tune!  I find myself dancing along and enjoying the ride of synths and beats the entire time except once again, dubstep kind of just kills the middle of the song…besides that,  Great B-side!

 

 

9nine closes their “MAGI9 PLAYLAND” era with a great single!  I wi be honest and say that I though the single was a double A-side with that title, but With You / With Me is a great song for the group and is my favorite of the three.  Both Positive and Party9 made exceptional B-sides and had great things about them (though the latter got plagued by Dubstep).  I’m excited for the album!

 

9nine – Re:

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 9:43 am

re

Track Listing

  1. Re:
  2. (Luv=) 0 or H8?
  3. Tsuzuku Tsuzuku…
  4. Re: (Instrumental)
  5. (Luv=) 0 or H8? (Instrumental)
  6. Tsuzuku Tsuzuku… (Instrumental)

1. Re:

The tune begins with some cute musicbox sounds before unleashing it’s true sound as a total strong dance track with blazing synths and bright atmosphere.  Like I said about their last A-side, the group seems to be putting more effort to their songs so I’m happy to hear that Re: is a continuation.  It’s almost similar to “Shoujo Traveler” but less sounding like an anison tune and more an idol track with some mismatched dubstep thrown in.  The voices are up at a higher range so it does tend to sound kind of pitchy, but it’s overall a solid track!

2. (Luv=) 0 or H8?

With such a strange title, I was curious of what the group would do with this.  I should’ve guessed but the intro is that 8bit style before kind of getting into this synth-heavy pop tune.  It’s kind of the group’s last B-side, “Anemone mo ne” but with the synths replacing the strings.  The tune is cute and the arrangement would’ve made a great tune for a video game lol.

3. Tsuzuku Tsuzuku…

The other B-side, Tsuzuku Tsuzuku… takes some of those synth but gave them a more buzzing feel and I kind of enjoyed it.  It’s like a glossier EDM tune.  I love the arrangement, but the girls vocals are really pushing it because they hit some super high notes and they kind of wrecked it each time.  I’ll take the instrumental track 😄

 

 

9nine’s next single, Re: wasn’t as strong as the previous single but this was better than majority of the previous era.  Re: would’ve been perfect if not for that dubstep in the mid8 section…still great to hear the group using EDM again.  (Luv=) 0 or H8? was an interesting song, but I think I remember the instrumental more than the girls’ melodies lol.  Tsuzuku Tsuzuku… also the same but the melodies from the girls are REALLY offputting here.  Overall…slight slip.

 

9nine – Evolution No.9

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 9:17 am

evolutionno9

Track Listing

  1. Evolution No.9
  2. Just A Koi
  3. Anemone mo ne
  4. Evolution No.9 (Instrumental)
  5. Just A Koi (Instrumental)
  6. Anemone mo ne (Instrumental)

1. Evolution No.9

I was wondering if the group could pick up their slack after the last era of singles and starting with Evolution No.9, they went for a more rock-flavored sound and I quite found it more enticing the most I listened to it.  After the verses, the song gets a bit more interesting with dance beats thrown in.  The vocals do have some slight emotive issues, but the song is cool and one of the betters ones they’ve had in a while.

2. Just A Koi

Into the B-sides, first up is Just A Koi and it begins with a rather interesting synth/vocal melody that kind of sounds a bit darker than I would’ve expect from them.  I quite enjoyed the song though and showed the ladies vocals a lot better.  I love the chorus the most to be honest and well I can’t believe it won’t be on the album lol.

3. Anemone mo ne

I was surprised the song starts with strings, but it provides some kind of melody hahah.  Of the songs, this is the poppiest one of them, but it’s so strange to listen to.  The beat is pretty simple, but the vocal lines have a bit more going on.  Even though sort-of rap is random to listen to.  Strange tune for me to listen to.

 

 

Kicking off their 3rd major album era, Evolution No.9 totally kicked things off on a good with with the three songs.  I feel like with “CUE” they really didn’t put too much effort into it (and even some of the singles through their “9nine” era).  This single to me felt like they were going for it again.  The leading track sounded cool and fun to listen to and so was Just A Koi.  Anemone mo ne is different, but I kind of like it…the chorus worked as well as the arrangement.  Looking forward to their next singles!

 

9nine – CUE April 4, 2014

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 2:55 am

cue

Track Listing

  1. Ryuusei no Kuchizuke
  2. Sakura, Yureru
  3. colorful
  4. I am…
  5. CANDY
  6. Sparkling Days
  7. One Kiss
  8. Precious
  9. 3three
  10. White Wishes
  11. Brave
  12. SMILE & TEARS
  13. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl

1. Ryuusei no Kuchizuke

Opening the album up is the first A-side they released from the album and like I said back in the single review, after “Shoujo Traveler” this seriously disappointed me.  However, since we’re on a different album, I can try to see this in a different light.  The song still kind of reeks blandness and does remind me of various AKB songs out there.  It just didn’t stick out to me despite being the first track on the album lol.

2. Sakura, Yureru

Moving onto the first new song, Sakura, Yureru opens up quite nicely with some nature sounds and some piano.  I loved that we’re hearing some solo lines from the members to a mid-tempo song.  Though the group trying to blend together is somewhat shaky at times, it’s a pretty song and stuck out better than the opening song at least.

3. colorful

Minus that opening line, colorful still kind of got stuck on me.  I mean it’s nothing too special for the group as it kind of sounds like a lot of their previous songs.  The vocals sound a lot more off than in “Sakura, Yureru” sadly and is probably the song’s biggest fault.  Otherwise, colorful is a nice track.

4. I am…

At least we get a long string of new tracks to hopefully fix some of the issues.  When I heard I am… I was kind of thinknigof Nana Mizuki’s stuff with the piano-led arrangement with some strong synthetics thrown in.  It still is lighter than songs like “Shoujo Traveler” but I actually am impressed with the song.  The group sounds good too which is much relief for me.  Definitely the first song to pop out at me in a good way.

5. CANDY

I was expecting something super sugary to come from CANDY and I was kind of right but at the same time not.  The tune opens with a bright upbeat sound with a cute chorus and then the verses just closes all the sound out minus piano and whoever is singing.  I get this early 90’s pop sound which is pretty cool and gives a nice slice of spunk.  Interesting tune and I might grow to love it.  My only gripe though…why are the verses so quiet?  It just seems to throw me off.

6. Sparkling Days

Things seem to slow down for our next track, Sparkling Days which was another song I assumed was going to be a cuter track.  I’m liking the cute bells and whistles in the track alongside an acoustic guitar.  Though it turns out this is a solo track from Kanae.  She’s got a pretty sweet voice that fits a setting like this so I would say this is a win for her.  If it was the group, I’m not sure if I would’ve felt the same way.

7. One Kiss

Oh so the one that I thought would be a ballad is actually the cutesy peppy one?  Having a more pico sound going for it, I wasn’t ready for the girls being in auto-tune (and being layered) as well.  Though it does at points sound like there’s just one singing but it’s the group.  I don’t know but I actually didn’t really care for the track.

8. Precious

The next track is reserved as a solo track from Sayaka (or more well-known as Perfume’s A-chan’s sister.  She does get the more upbeat sound and she’s definitely pushing her vocals right from the opening sounding like she’s yelling it.  At least she backs off that when it comes to the rest of the song.  Otherwise, the song is OK at best, nothing totally special.

9. 3three

At first, I kind of laughed because it’s playing up to the group’s name.  It kind of is and the song is sung by the remaining members that didn’t get a solo song, Uki, Umika, and Hirona.  Sadly, the song sounds so amazingly plastic and bland to me.  Of course it didn’t help that these 3 got such a song because they could’ve gotten a vocally trying track, but this song sounds like a Hamtaro theme.  Yeah, this was a pretty bad song XD.

10. White Wishes

Moving back to the group’s 3rd A-side released, White Wishes was the group’s winter single and it still kind of sounds cheesy and kind of bland when it comes to an idol song.  I wish there was more to it from when I reviewed the single, but there really isn’t.  It’s just a plain jolly wintry song from the group.

11. Brave

Then we come into the secondary A-side from the second single released and sorry to say it’s the best of them.  Actually some people will probably compare to “I am…” with the more aggressive sound when compared to all the other songs from the album.  I do kind of like how it sounds altogether and their vocals seem on point.  Not much else to say here XD.

12. SMILE & TEARS

As the last new track, SMILE & TEARS takes a more mid-tempo route and kind of sounds lie an apprpriate ending to the album (despite that it really isn’t).  Unfortunately, the song just kind of goes over my head for the most part without leaving much of an impression.  I guess it’s somewhat pleasant but still…

13. Yie Ar! Jiang Shi feat. Hao Hao! Jiang Shi Girl

Sadly the album closes out with the primary A-side from the second single and while it seriously sticks out immensely from the album for being so hyperactive and WTF-y.  I still am not the biggest fan of this song because it’s just unusual and really doesn’t seem right for 9nine (plus the overly genki quips are bothering me lol).  Musically, it’s quirky enough, but good lord the vocals bother me here…and strange it’s the final song.

Tracks Recommended

  • I am…
  • Brave
  •  Sakura, Yureru
  • Sparkling Days
  • CANDY

Song of Avoidance

  • 3three

As the group’s 2nd album under SONY (4th overall), CUE was a definite step down from their last album in almost every way.  I felt like the effort put on this album was just so tiring and low.  Only a couple of tracks REALLY caught on me, but overall I felt like this just didn’t work well in the end…I really hope they’ve picked themselves up after this.

 

9nine – colorful February 13, 2013

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 6:26 am

colorful

Track Listing

  1. colorful
  2. Yasashii Ame
  3. Shoujo Traveler (tofubeats remix)
  4. colorful (Instrumental)
  5. Yasashii Ame (Instrumental)

1. colorful

For me not being impressed with anything fully the group has released since their album, colorful might be the closest to something I can get behind because it has a kind of idol pop/rock sound to it does stand out amongst the other A-sides they’ve released.  However, I’m not exactly fond of how harsh they sound singing together…they weren’t exactly combining strengths here.  It’s good, but slightly ranks lower than “Brave” for best A-side of the era.

2. Yasashii Ame

The B-side of the single, was actually kind of nice to listen to!  I mean it is a ballad which is kind of low, but this actually slightly fixed the issues from “colorful” but they still kind of struggle harmonizing in certain parts.  I actually really liked the shimasen in the final chorus though, that was a surprising twist to the ballad.  I can get behind this a lot if I continue to listen to this!

3. Shoujo Traveler (tofubeats remix)

I was worried to see that Shoujo Traveler got a remix and feared the worst and sadly it came to light.  We all know the original is that electro sound that seriously whooped a lot of ass last year!  The remix from tofubeats turned that song into this chilled out, mid-tempo track and it just didn’t work with how beat-savvy those lyrics are.  I don’t know, it just didn’t work for me this time around.

As 9nine close out their 2nd major era, colorful might be the best single of the 4 that were released (which isn’t saying a lot considering that this era has been shockingly weak).  The leading track has a good arrangement but the vocals were all over the damn place!  Same can be said about Yasashii Ame but at least that had a stronger arrangement and the girls at least tried to vocally come together.  Shoujo Traveler’s remix was as disappointing as I had expected to me.  I think I’m a bit worried about this upcoming album of theirs…>.>

 

9nine – White Wishes December 12, 2012

Filed under: 9nine — solarblade @ 7:56 pm

whitwwishes

Track Listing

  1. White Wishes
  2. Romantic moon
  3. Chikutaku☆2NITE (tofubeats renux)
  4. White Wishes (Instrumental)
  5. Romantic moon (Instrumental)

1. White Wishes

Of course, 9nine would be a group to release a Christmas song with White Wishes.  This song is definitely a jolly and simple track from the group which might be cutting it because white this song is a butt ton better than “Yie Ar! Jiang Shi”, it’s still surprisingly to the books.  The members are mostly singing together It’s fitting to the holidays, but as for a song from 9nine?  This is kind of weak.

2. Romantic moon

When Romantic moon comes up, it’s like why wasn’t this promoted as the leading track x.x  It’s a bit slower, but this song has more of that trademark 9nine sound that we’ve got from their last album.  The vocals though on the lower side of the spectrum since they sound rough in various areas and well they sound a bit meh as well.  It’s slightly better than the A-side, but not by much.

3. Chikutaku☆2NITE (tofubeats remix)

Since their last single didn’t have a tofubeats remix, 9nine came back to it with Chikutaku☆2NITE.  The remix like the others are more electronic (since tofubeats is doing, DUH!).  I actually kind of like the cool instrumentation because it retains its cute factor,but has a certain 80’s feel and felt like it’s one of the better remixes to come from them.

 

 

9nine’s third single to close out 2012 with is rather bleh.  I mean, if I had to compare it to their last single they’re equal but that single was a lot polarizing unlike here where it’s kind of in the mediocre area in both tracks.  White Wishes though is suited for the season so it makes sense and you can’t really hate it, but it is bleh as a standalone.  Romantic moon had potential but the poor vocals and lack of unity just didn’t work.  The best thing to come off the single is oddly enough the remix which was cute, sparkly, and fun to listen to.  I hope the group gets out of this slump…