Kurayami Monogatari

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Aya Hirano – Promise September 22, 2015

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 6:21 am

promise

Track Listing

  1. Promise
  2. Takaramono
  3. Up To Date
  4. Promise -instrumental-
  5. Takaramono -instrumental-

1. Promise

So like the cover and title put in my mind, Promise is a ballad from Aya and we’ve haven’t had one in a long time.  Though I can’t help but feel as if this song is just overly white and generic all over the place.  It’s not Aya’s fault though as she has very pretty vocals for tackling a ballad, but the arrangement is rather trite and lacks any strong footing for me.  Rather unfortunate though this couldn’t have had a more dynamic arrangement.

2. Takaramono

At least things get a little more interesting with Takaramono, add a nice soft dance beat alongside piano and you essentially get this song.  I mean it’s nothing special either though.  Sadly like “Promise”, the song doesn’t really grow much and stays at the same pace (though Aya gets some backup vocals).  Still, the song is kind of playing it rather too safe.

3. Up To Date

Then to somehow wake me up from the slumber I was beginning to have, Up To Date changes things up and ends up sounding something nice and familiar to stuff from her albums.  I’m enjoying the pop/punk sound here and Aya’s vocals sound really solid and stronger than in the previous tracks too!  Suffice to say this is my favorite of the single.

I know I’m rather late for the single, but good lord this is a weak single.  Something about Promise and Takaramono just didn’t work and felt so lazy and generic that it really didn’t work together.  It wasn’t until Up To Date came where there was some light at the end of the tunnel, but even then this could’ve been album fodder for her albums previous.  Considering that she released this in 2013 and releasing her 3rd album “vivid” in 2014…I really wonder if her scandals had basically destroyed her career…

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Aya Hirano – TOxxxIC March 3, 2013

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 8:50 pm

toxxxic

Track Listing

  1. TOxxxIC
  2. Mirai Voyager
  3. Mirai Voyager -Aya Ver.-
  4. TOxxxIC -Instrumental-
  5. Mirai Voyager -Instrumental-

1. TOxxxIC

I was wondering where Aya went off to after “FRAGMENTS” and she cme back with TOxxxIC and I wasn’t expecting the song to be so dance-pop friendly almost American in a way (then again she did work with Steve Diamond, who has worked with Britney Spears and etc.).  She sounds good but the way she says ~toxic~ does bother me a bit.  Still this is kind of new footprints in the sand and I kind of liked how this song turned out overall.

2. Mirai Voyager

I was curious to why there was two versions of Mirai Voyager on the single but listening to this it seems like this version SCREAMS VOCALOID.  You can easily tell by the computerized vocals and high pitch that’s present that it’s Aya in VOCALOID form and this just kind of sucks to me.

3. Mirai Voyager -Aya Ver.-

Thank god this came after.  It’s the same song of course but instead of high squeaks and annoyances, it’s Aya…pure AYA!!!  I love her deeper vocals of course and it suits the rockin’ arrangement quite perfectly for me.  Then again Aya is pretty comfortable doing these songs since it’s kind of her main thing lol.  The song isn’t totally bad and I kind of wish this was promoted as an A-side as well.

What a strange single this was! TOxxxIC has a great arrangement and her voice suited it but there were some nuances that irked me but overall the song was great.  If you’re going to listen to Mirai Voyager PLEASE listen to the Aya Version first because that is the better one than the original VOCALOID mess there.  Nice to see Aya still releasing though lol.

 

Aya Hirano – FRAGMENTS May 27, 2012

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 4:01 am

Track Listing

  1. DIFFUSION (To the Other Side)
  2. Muboubi na Refrain
  3. FRAGMENTS
  4. PizzzzzzzA!!!!!!!
  5. LOOP
  6. BRIGHT SCORE
  7. Sunday
  8. Stargaze Love
  9. Kimi wo Mamoru Tame ni Boku wa Yume wo Miru (CD+DVD+Photobook edition only)

1. DIFFUSION (To the Other Side)

The first song off this album, DIFFUSION opens up really cool with Aya’s anime background for her music and I thought it was really cool and bouncy to listen to.  What’s more impressive is how deep Aya’s vocals have gotten and how much better she sounds.  During the second verses, she gets some filters going but it’s not terribly placed.  It’s an awesome way to kick things off for this album ^_^.

2. Muboubi na Refrain

Moving to Muboubi na Refrain, she gets a bit more happy pop but the song seriously has major Katamari vibes but I love it for some reason.  The piano melodies are bright and colorful and just gives off this happy tone.  Add in that Aya is singing in her higher pitch and it’s wrapped together in a nice bow.  Cute, but “DIFFUSION” was much better hahaha.

3. FRAGMENTS

Moving into the title track, FRAGMENTS is like the two tracks met together and was thrown a bit of extra synths to deal with and I kind of like that about this song.  It’s a mix of Aya’s previous two era’s but in one song.  Aya’s vocals are more powerful and has a lot of emotion throughout and she just sounds excellent.  Probably the best song off the album!

4. PizzzzzzzA!!!!!!!

Oh boy, the song that acts as the worm into the brain.  Unlike the previous tracks, PizzzzzzzA!!!!!!! is quite cute and definitely sounds like some character song more than legit Aya music.  I mean the chorus is just essentially Aya repeating ~pizza, pi-pi-pizza~ and some other lyrics.  It’s really weird and the second verse is UNUSUAL because it adds a 8-bit game melody when she sings.  Plus all the ways she sings is kind of grating at points.  Not my kind of track, but it’s a song that’s all in good fun.

5. LOOP

We continue with the more anime-esque stuff with LOOP but this kind of feels more corny than anything since it kind of has this mix of anime, hokey pokey, and seiyuu vocals going on.  All this culminates into this kind of absurd and just awkward song from her.  Definitely my least favorite off the album.

6. BRIGHT SCORE

At least things calm down once BRIGHT SCORE enters the headphones.  It’s pretty rockin’ and one of the style that I love hearing Aya in, especially with her deeper tone present.  It’s straightforward and I’m OK with it because there’s not a lot of negative things to say about the tune. 

7. Sunday

The next two songs were promo material for the album and is cool to see here.  Sunday kind of reminds me of “DIFFUSION” and “FRAGMENTS” since all three use guitars and synths which is always a good thing to hear from her.  I love the bridges but they transtion from the verses quite jaggedly IMO.  Still, the song is pretty exciting and has a lot of good energy.

8. Stargaze Love

Stargaze Love does close out the CD only release of the album.  This song being the other promo track does utilize her cute side which is appropriate since the album is split with cute and mature tones lol.  I like that this is pretty synthpop but kind of idol-like in a way as well.  It’s alright but I think there’s better songs on the album…but it is the best of the cute songs XD.

9. Kimi wo Mamoru Tame ni Boku wa Yume wo Miru

Closing the album out only on the 2Disc+Photobook edition is a cover of the Chiffons song (though is it that popular?).  Aya sounds nice covering the song since it’s just her voice and all anime-esque stuff lol.  Not bad and a nice closer to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • FRAGMENTS
  • Sunday
  • DIFFUSION (To the Other Side)

Song of Avoidance

  • LOOP

Even though it’s a rather short album, FRAGMENTS showed Aya off quite nicely between her normal tone and her seiyuu tone as well  (half/half actually if you don’t count the Chiffons’ cover).  Granted it has been quite a while since she released official Aya promotion material (the last was 2010’s “Hysteric Barbie” single though there was last year’s “AYA MUSEUM”…).  Still it’s been quite a while.  I liked this release but I’m still not keen on her cutesy voice as much as I am with her deep voice…

 

Aya Hirano – Hysteric Barbie June 23, 2010

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 3:27 am

Track Listing

  1. Hysteric Barbie
  2. Kiseki no Iro
  3. Dahlia

1. Hysteric Barbie

Ever since her debut, Aya’s A-sides have been getting stronger and more energetic here.  With Hysteric Barbie, she decided to toughen up and go into a pop/rock style.  I sometimes think her vocals are a little too expressive and like trying to be epic, but somewhat comes off as vocally strange.  However, you can’t dismiss the fact that she’s trying pretty hard.  It’s an alright A-side, but she certainly has better.

2. Kiseki no Iro

The first B-side, at least makes up for the vocal weirdness “Hysteric Barbie” had.  I found the arrangement also sounds a bit more memorable and upbeat which is good.  Now back to Aya, her vocals are so much more stable and she sounds quite nice here.  I wished she sounded like this in the previous track.

3. Dahlia

Then we get into Dahlia and to be honest, it’s the best song off the single.  Even though it’s got the upbeat nature that’s similar to “Kiseki no Iro” and a few other songs off her last album, it isn’t too bad of a song and she mixes both of her vocals styles into one crazy ride.  Still a pretty good B-side!

 

 

Aya begins her 3rd era with a pretty good single.  While I think Aya is running away from her cutesy pop days, Hysteric Barbie is a pretty good single for what it’s worth.  I’m not sure what she’ll do next, but I hope it gets better.

 

Aya Hirano – Speed☆Star November 16, 2009

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 3:32 pm

speedstar

Track Listing

  1. stereotype ~inst~
  2. Super Driver
  3. Sing a Song!
  4. OH! My Darlin’
  5. Kiss Me
  6. Mizu Tamari
  7. Ano Hana no You ni
  8. Aishite!
  9. VOXX
  10. Set me free
  11. LocK-oN
  12. Speed☆Star
  13. Unnamed world

1. stereotype ~inst~

We begin the album off with the opening track stereotype.  At first, I was actually quite surprised with the electro-based arrangement, but Aya is actually not even in the song which is difficult to understand, but the countdown reminds me of how Perfume opened up there album.  Strange, but you know it’s true.

2. Super Driver

Super Driver ended off this era on a very rockish note and I’m still loving the song after all that time passed.  While the electro opening kind of creates friction between this song, I love the highly energetic rock sound coming from Aya.  Also coming from her, is a pretty strong vocal performance and she pulls off this very well.  Awesome song.

3. Sing a Song!

Coming from the first single of the era (I guess Namida NAMIDA Namida doesn’t count), Sing a Song! comes blaring in just as “Super Driver” did.  While her vocals here are very reminescent to misono’s in a very disturbing way, I thought this was purely messy.  I mean the melody to me just doesn’t seem to fit with all the chaos going on with the rock arrangement.  I’m sorry but this was a pretty bad track.

4. OH! My Darlin’

Taking things down quite a bit, OH! My Darlin’ is a bit more laced with a pop/rock sound and Aya goes into her more girly voice.  While I’m happy to not see this in every song that was mashed up in the front of her debut album.  It’s relaxing and has a fun atmosphere to it so in other words I like it alot.

5. Kiss Me

Besides the opening, Kiss Me is the shortest song off the album and oddly enough it’s rock like the first two vocal tracks.  The song seems to have been rushed and not finetuned like it should’ve been.  For that, I’m not too big on this track. 

6. Mizu Tamari

I like how quiet the opening for Mizu Tamari was with just quietly-played guitar and Aya singing the opening lines.  It’s still relaxed, but it’s a tad more energetic then our last track so that’s good.  I’m also hearing some synth usage as well in between choruses and such.  Other than that there’s not too much that really sticks out, but it’s an alright listen.

7. Ano Hana no You ni

Hmmm, I wonder why so far this album has been on the rock side of things for the entire album so far.  At the same time, Ano Hana no You ni is all about pop/rock and once again I’m liking what I’m hearing from both the producers and Aya’s vocals.  They mesh nicely on this track and makes up for that last track quite nicely.

8. Aishite!

As the B-side from “Super Driver” Aishite! brings its joyous and exciting arrangement to the album and I thought it was perfect to have been put right here.  It’s also exciting, but not messy which is another point added to this song.  What seperates this from the other tracks was the addition of brass and some sparse English to make it more fun. 

9. VOXX

One of the more edgier songs from the album, I loved VOXX’s more serious tone and Aya’s vocals are also sung more deeper than usual which surprised because she barely uses this voice.  This is a different kind of rock and seriously stands from the album, even moreso being after “Aishite!” of all songs.  Talk about wild differences huh?

10. Set me free

What started out this era, Set me free is probably the closest thing to have the most synths used.  At this point of the album, this song just feels like filler material since everything before it were really great and this tune doesn’t bring much to the table except for its synths.

11. LocK-oN

Hmmm…we get another “VOXX” eh?  LocK-oN shares the same angsty arrangement as said song, but this is the first time I’ve actually heard Aya under auto-tune and it works quite well enough since there’s a lot going for the song.  I just wished the chorus was a little bit stronger since it’s a little repetitive to me.  Still, this is another interesting song that surprised me after all that she’s released beforehand.  Great track overall.

12. Speed☆Star

Just like the title track off her debut, the titular track here is actually quite bad.  Aya seems a little too excited for this track and her voice doesn’t sound right IMO.  Question is is why does Aya make her title tracks almost impossible to enjoy?  I can see the energy she put in here, but it just isn’t that memorable.

13. Unnamed world

I guess, Unnamed world was the “official” first A-side of the era…  I have to admit, I was so sad to not see this track on her first album, but thx to her label, they decided to throw this song on this album and I’m happy for it, but like I said before, If you haven’t heard this before you’ll probably be tired of the rock arrangement.  For me, I already liked the song since listening to it on its single and I have to admit it’s placing to really help it, but makes for a good album finisher.

Tracks Recommended

  • LocK-oN
  • Aishite!
  • Unnamed world
  • Super Driver
  • VOXX

Song of Avoidance

  • Sing a Song!

Aya’s sophomore effort was definitely more appreciated by me than “RIOT GIRL”.  Though the lack of diversity between the songs arrangements can make this album a rather difficult listen.  About that, the new songs were good, but rather sameish but there were a few songs that got me for sure.  I still think stereotype doesn’t fit with the album’s sound but w/e what could I do.  Good album though.

 

Aya Hirano – Super Driver July 19, 2009

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 8:58 am

superdriver

Track Listing

  1. Super Driver
  2. Aishite!
  3. Super Driver (off vocal)
  4. Aishite! (off vocal)

1. Super Driver

So unlike the last single, Super Driver is more rock-oriented which is definitely a positive thing.  I don’t know why, but this song is a energetic as the title suggests.  Even though the song doesn’t do anything good for Aya vocal-wise, she does sound so much more into the song than she did for either of the previous A-sides.  The only problem though is that Super Driver might come off as a mirror to “Set me free”.  For me though, it’s a pretty good A-side, just as worthy as “Set me free”.

2. Aishite!

Thank god Aishite! comes in.  It’s still rock, which is starting to run dry for her.  At least she featured brass in the song and vocally she isn’t yelling her heart out until the chorus.  I do like the energy as well here, but sometimes she’s going into idol mode.  The interlude of the song was a bit weird, but otherwise another fun song from Aya.

 

 

As a package, Super Driver was a good pickup after “Set me free/Sing a Song!” as both songs were different from each other.  As for the songs themselves, I thought Super Driver was more or less sameish to the stuff on her last single while Aishite! took a more brass-forward approach with the rock song.  Maybe she’s getting a little stale now, but the single is keeping her afloat.

 

Aya Hirano – Set me free/Sing a Song! April 26, 2009

Filed under: Aya Hirano — solarblade @ 7:25 pm
Tags: , ,

set-me-free

Track Listing

  1. Set me free
  2. Sing a Song!
  3. Set me free (Off Vocal)
  4. Sing a Song! (Off Vocal)

1. Set me free

Set me free reminds me of Shokotan’s “Sorairo Days”.  When I mean that it’s because both songs are definitly rock songs and shows off the artists wild side.  I gotta say, Aya sounds pretty hardcore with the song and hearing the weird 2nd verse…this song sounds so much more memorable than “Namida NAMIDA Namida”.  Pretty nifty!

2. Sing a Song!

And no, It’s not a cover of Eri’s great dance track.  The song continues the rock sound, but it’s a bit more controlled, except for Aya’s singing she’s definitly singing out and until the chorus, the music gets as wild as the singing.  Sadly, since it’s an A-side and after “Set me free” this comes as a bit disappointing as it doesn’t seperate itself as an A-side

 

 

Set me free/Sing a Song! is actually a smidge of a downgrade when compared to last single “Namida NAMIDA Namida”  Both songs just sound similar to one another and I found myself missing Aya working with Tsunku surprisingly.  I think this single would’ve been better with an B-side added on as well…I don’t know it’s just not that good.