Kurayami Monogatari

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AYUSE KOZUE – LOL March 15, 2013

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 6:41 am

lol

Track Listing

  1. LOL
  2. Kimi no Koto feat. RED RICE
  3. CLAP!
  4. SURVIVORS
  5. What They Say feat. TSUGUMI (ex SOULHEAD)
  6. My Friend
  7. Shinji Sasete
  8. Ienakatta I LOVE YOU
  9. A GOOD GIRL
  10. STORY

1. LOL

For a title like LOL I wasn’t expecting the song to be kind of a mid-tempo song for some reason.  I mean it should be silly or even random, but this song sounds a lot like what was on her last album.  For a title song, this was kind of VERY bland and vanilla from an R&B standpoint.  Yeah this was a weak opening track.

2. Kimi no Koto feat. RED RICE

Erasing that taste of the first track, I was trying to get into Kimi no Koto BUT RED RICE is in this song.  As he’s a part of SHONANNOKAZE, I was REALLY dreading his appearance as he screwed up Aoyama Thelma’s song up badly.  While AYUSE does nice and the song is a bit generic in the arrangement, RED RICE SOUNDS TERRIBLE IN THE SONG.  His quips just annoys me to no end and ruins whatever I liked about the song.  Blech.

3. CLAP!

At least CLAP! tries for something a little more playful.  It still does have an American feel to it, but this time AYUSE is drowning in auto-tune for the entire song which REALLY doesn’t work for the song because she would’ve sounded great without it!  The arrangement is quirky and quite nice to listen to, but the auto-tune MUST go.

4. SURVIVORS

Going into SURVIVORS, I was kind of wanting AYUSE to change styles and she really doesn’t here.  I mean it’s another “LOL” and “Kimi no Koto” minus the annoyances.  Which means this song didn’t do so bad, but it’s still kind of forgetful in the long run, but I do like the electric guitar present in the song…that I can say I enjoyed a lot.

5. What They Say feat. TSUGUMI (ex SOULHEAD)

I honestly could’ve lived without TSUGUMI being processed as she’s a good enough rapper without that BS going on.  There’s a lot of her as well with AYUSE singing the chorus which is nice but once again the auto-tune prevents me to enjoy the song in full.  At least AYUSE sounds really pretty in the song right?  Even that guitar solo was a bit of a weird but nicely done solo.  I can grow to enjoy it somewhat.

6. My Friend

I love the fact she uses the same beats and synths throughout this album…totally original right?  Once again I feel like it’s another one of those I’ve already heard this song somewhere else on the album kind of feeling.  Nothing really new to report that I haven’t already said in “SURVIVORS” so apply that here once again.

7. Shinji Sasete

Moving into an actual ballad, Shinji Sasete could’ve been a great song to listen to from it’s synthed up arrangement, but once again it comes with a lot of auto-tune present as well.  There are just times where processing your voice is VERY inappropriate for a song and this is one of those times.  It would’ve been a really solid song had it not been for that.  Ugh…

8. Ienakatta I LOVE YOU

Maybe for the first time, there’s a song that really stood out on the album.  Ienakatta I LOVE YOU doesn’t feel like a cheap rehash nor the song is drenched in auto-tune.  Plus hearing AYUSE in a higher pitch is quite pleasant and she fits this piano-fronted R&B song and maybe the auto-tuned parts are nice and not annoying (and small).  Not bad.

9. A GOOD GIRL

I kind of enjoyed the loopy synths the opened up A GOOD GIRL.  It actually might be the first song that kind of surprised me by its arrangement, but don’t get me wrong, it’s still an R&B track through and through.  AYUSE is singing in a deeper tone as well which also tends to impress me nicely.  It’s a pleasant and non-offensive track so that’s a real nice thing, but at this point many people would be REALLY tired of this sound.

10. STORY

As the final song for the album, STORY is a bit more heavier on the beat but like “SURVIVORS” it just rides that same train which is just kind of a bit of kicking a dead horse at this point.  It’s OK, but the I’m basically done talking about this song.

Tracks Recommended

  • Ienakatta I LOVE YOU
  • SURVIVORS
  • A GOOD GIRL

Song of Avoidance

  • Shinji Sasete

AYUSE…what is happening?  I mean LOL is a slightly better album than “U&I” but you were making more crappy mistakes like all that auto-tune present.  That was the most loathing thing on the album tbh.  I wished AYUSE would go back to the days of “Simply Good” where her stuff didn’t feel so washed up.  Yeah not a great album here…again!

 

AYUSE KOZUE – U&I December 18, 2011

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 12:36 am

Track Listing

  1. DISTANCE
  2. Koi no Kakera feat. GIORGIO13
  3. Naite Bakari Datta
  4. Kimi no Sei ~u knocked my heart~
  5. All About Me
  6. DANCE WITH U
  7. Let It Go
  8. TOO LATE
  9. Still In Love
  10. Cry For You
  11. FORGET ABOUT U (AK ver.)

1. DISTANCE

Opening the album is DISTANCE (another title that Japanese artists seem to be way fond of recently).  While I was expecting something totally different to open the album, it actually sounds rather good despite my not-so-fond outlook on R&B.  AYUSE sounds rather pretty in the song.  It’s a good start to the album actually.  Though the way AYUSE says ~distawnce~ is a bit weird 😄

2. Koi no Kakera feat. GIORGIO13

Oh hi there auto-tune what are you doing here to poor ole AYUSE?  It’s only found in some parts of the song which is good.  Koi no Kakera is a little more aggressive than “DISTANCE” which is good but it’s no surprise that it would since if I’m correct (which I’m not sure to be honest, this album was produced by the same guy) who is also the guest rapper/MC here.  He sounds alright through his raps but I think AYUSE did a better job here lol.  OH, if you don’t recognize GIORGIO13…he’s one of the members of NERDHEAD (best known for working with Kana Nishino).

3. Naite Bakari Datta

After two upbeat songs, we chill out with Naite Bakari Datta which does sound like a booted Kanayan song.  At least the vocals remind me that it’s AYUSE for a bit.  It’s a little too formulaic for me and just sounds rather unoriginal here.

4. Kimi no Sei ~u knocked my heart~

As one of the two A-sides that represented the era, Kimi no Sei was a total 180 from most of the stuff she did on “Simply Good” by being more R&B and less a mash of electro/R&B.  On the album, I’m kind of disappointed because it sounds a bit like “Koi no Kakera” but without GIORGIO13.  Otherwise, it’s just the same ole same ole here.  I liked it better on the single to be honest.

5. All About Me

The next five songs are brand new and by the direction this album has gone, I’m starting to feel a little dread.  All About Me tried to be something else than the song at first including some acoustic and electric guitars but it didn’t hide the beats and such that filled the song otherwise.  I will say the lighter arrangement actually did fulfill the need for something nice right?

6. DANCE WITH U

I think the fluttery and breezy sound of DANCE WITH U surprised me a lot oddly enough and since it has a synthy background, it makes up for the same beats being used.  It’s kind of cute in its own right and tis pretty catchy fun enough.  It’s probably my favorite song off the album funny enough.

7. Let It Go

Oooh filters are used this time for Let It Go’s intro and that was a surprise but then it just drops like a brick when the actual song begins.  I’m liking the piano in the song but I can’t remember the rest of the song because of the lack of anything beneficial that isn’t the already used up beats…c’mon…

8. TOO LATE

~tick tock tick tock~ I’m sure we have a better song that has clocks in it’s theme.  I must say that TOO LATE might replace for the top of the album.  I can easily tell her voice was tampered with the most out of the song but I’m alright since this actually stands out on the album with it’s tick-tockin and the amount of English I heard in this one.  Yeah this was actually pretty strong!

9. Still In Love

Kind of acting as the R&B ballad, it suffers the same problems like “Naite Bakari Datta” in the way that is sounds like a rejected Kanayan song.  Just a little slower and her vocals are kind of more annoying here.  I’m just not finding anything remotely interesting about the song unfortuately.

10. Cry For You

Then we get into the primary A-side for the era in Cry For You and just like “Kimi no Sei”, it kind of just got worse being placed on the album for me since it doesn’t stand out on the album at all.  It actually feels like album fodder (which most of the album really is).  Yeah, it’s just a big blur to me nowadays unfortunately.

11. FORGET ABOUT U (AK ver.)

I’m not sure if this song has been elsewhere but I’m sure it has if it’s tagged like that.  Maybe it was originally NERDHEAD’s song?  I don’t know but FORGET ABOUT U at least tries to close the album out nice.  GIORGIO13 makes another appearance vocally again and this time I liked his parts more than AYUSE’s vocals for some reason still…kind of bleh.

Tracks Recommended

  • TOO LATE
  • DANCE WITH U
  • Koi no Kakera feat. GIORGIO13

Song of Avoidance

  • Still In Love

I mean I was interested in her in “Simply Good” and that album was alright but this album kind of just bombed all over the place for me.  I can partially blame GIORGIO13’s lack of making her music any different from one another (cept a few).  It just kind of felt boring of an album and despite AYUSE changing labels this change has not worked for her!

 

AYUSE KOZUE – Cry For You/Kimi no Sei ~u knocked my heart~ February 26, 2011

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 4:34 am

Track Listing

  1. Cry For You
  2. Kimi no Sei ~u knocked my heart~
  3. Cry For You (Inst)

1. Cry For You

It’s been a while since we’ve seen something new from AYUSE, but Cry For You brings us back the R&B sound in full from from AYUSE’s previous delve into some electro songs.  While I’m not keen on these kind of songs, I like AYUSE’s vocals in this song and it works with the piano, strings, and beats.  I do like that’s it’s a bit more mid-tempo than I would’ve expected, so it’s great to listen to. 

2. Kimi no Sei ~u knocked my heart~

As for the other A-side, Kimi no Sei actually keeps up the same way as “Cry For You” with being an R&B styled kind of song.  I do think things are standing out a whole lot moreso than the previous song, but at the same time…it’s smoother?  Not sure, but I do enjoy this song quite a bit more…but it’s not as good as her previous singles in the last era.

 

 

 

Since AYUSE isn’t on the Toy’s Factory label anymore and I think this was an indies release, Cry For You/Kimi no Sei ~u knocked my heart~ isn’t a bad release and it keeps true to her style, but I feel like she needs to experiment again.  Though I wonder what label she’s on…and if it’s indies or not….hmmmm.

 

AYUSE KOZUE – Simply Good November 24, 2009

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 2:18 pm

Track Listing

  1. close to you ~Zutto Soba de~
  2. Yamitsuki
  3. Anone no Ne
  4. Toori Ame
  5. Bambi no Shippo
  6. Un-controllable ~Itsudemo Kimi Dake~
  7. Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite
  8. KISS KISS KISS
  9. LUV CRUISIN’
  10. ONE
  11. How Beautiful
  12. Don’t let you down

1. close to you ~Zutto Soba de~

Oh hot damn, close to you has one of the most intriguing openins I’ve heard in an album.  It seems to continue to reinstate that AYUSE + synths & R&B really does work.  Her vocals are at their usual stance like in her previous songs, so you know it’s pretty strong.  It could’ve be a bit stronger, but this is nice.

2. Yamitsuki

Girl is getting better at doing music altogether.  This is the first time I’ve heard AYUSE actually sound edgy with her music and she’s basically saying the lyrics of the song at a very fast pace.  It’s strange that there’s like no melody at the verses, but the chorus is where things happen and it’s pretty nice, though thin.  Interesting…

3. Anone no Ne

Then AYUSE goes back to the synth/R&B fusion again with Anone no Ne.  It’s can be a really catchy song when you really dig into its core, but that strange ad-libbing really weirded me out…Especially since its AYUSE we’re talking about, it’s something new and different and like I said, it can be a good track, at the right time.

4. Toori Ame

I’m trying to think where AYUSE was exactly going with this song.  The arrangement is really stiff and while AYUSE is trying to make a song out of this one, she kind of messed up because it’s kind of annoying with the boring drum rhythm.  Though I do like whenever synths are heard and the small parts with xylophone.  I can appreciate that at least.

5. Bambi no Shippo

Bambi huh?  I guess she was writing a song about that famous deer?  AYUSE still hasn’t deviated from her R&B sound, but as one of the album’s ballads, I kind of enjoyed this.  It’s more nicer when there’s acoustic guitar and piano with a simple beat.  It really did work out.

6. Un-controllable ~Itsudemo Kimi Dake~

I’m happy that we’re getting back into a more upbeat mood because Un-controllable is really nice as a song.  There’s a lot of synth present here and while it’s more of a pop tune than anything else, it’s rather cool and AYUSE’s vocals are radiant in the song.  Definitely one of the smoothest tracks she’s released in a while.

7. Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite

As the era’s 3rd A-side, Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite really boosted AYUSE back up after two singles released previously to this.  There’s a lot more energy found here and with brass and guitars to break the synths out, it’s really exciting and made for parties.  Though the rapper dude, could’ve been left out IMO.

8. KISS KISS KISS

Damn, I love the bass synth opening KISS KISS KISS (which isn’t a cover of Ami’s or BENI’s.)  While it does remind me highly of “Don’t let you down” with it’s chilled out R&B sound and soothing vocals from AYUSE, it just doesn’t beat the latter track at all.  Then again hearing AYUSE in the higher register here isn’t such a good thing. 

9. LUV CRUISIN’

I was weirded out by this song.  This seems to be the only track where AYUSE is actually rapping in the song (mainly verses).  Sadly, the song is filled with auto-tune and the tempo of the song is way too slow to really ensnare me into it.  Though I was impressed at how fast she was getting through the verses, probably the best thing here.

10. ONE

Released as the era’s 2nd single, ONE is probably my least favorite track out of the A-sides because while it’s another ballad which isn’t too bad, it didn’t scream A-side and previous release “When I Wish Upon A Star” was handled a lot more better (unfortunate that that song was omitted off the album and yet is present on the DVD.)

11. How Beautiful

As we near the end of the album, How Beautiful ups the energy back up and I kind of like the songs heavier beats and free-sounding arrangement.  It seemed to be made with fun in mind because that’s what I’m getting.  The only thing I kind of cringed at was whenever she scooped her vocals when saying ~how beautiful~.  Other than that, it’s fun and really catchy.

12. Don’t let you down

I’ll admit it, the album ended really nicely with the era’s final A-side.  I thought we were going to get something epic especially with how sweet that opening line is.  It’s a little sad that the album is joined with other similar sounding songs, but at least it had a PV and the synths weren’t too distracting from AYUSE’s singing and the beats were also nice. 

Tracks Recommended

  • How Beautiful
  • Un-controllable ~Itsudemo Kimi Dake
  • Bambi no Shippo
  • Yamitsuki
  • Don’t let you down

Song of Avoidance

  • Toori Ame

AYUSE’s sophomore effort was a step up after her debut, but I initially came into the album expecting more electro songs like what she did with majority of the era.  Though with what I got, it was a nice set of R&B songs.  She does need to work on not making songs so tedious at points and adding everything.  I mean no “When I Wish Upon A Star” & “Apple pie”?  WTF

 

AYUSE KOZUE – Apple pie October 10, 2009

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 3:03 am

applepie

Track Listing

  1. Apple pie
  2. Delicate ni Sukishite
  3. feel so good
  4. EXCLUSIVE JAM MIX

1. Apple pie

Oh this song is just way too cute for words.  I thought “unpretty good” was 80’s giddyness, but damn she 1-upped for this A-side.  Apple pie was a lot of synths involved and AYUSE totally fits with the songs mood.  I can’t believe how this was omitted from “Simply Good”, still I’m happy with this track and c’mon who doesn’t like apple pie and ice cream?

2. Delicate ni Sukishite

Why yes, this is a cover of a pretty well-known anime tune which is a more electro-styled tune than the original.  I actually think other artists that have covered this were a lot more better and more lyrically stronger than AYUSE’s, but I do love the arrangement for this one since it reminds me of a mix of the FOLLOW ME remix and “unpretty good” mixed in with AYUSE under auto-tune/vocoder.

3. feel so good

The other B-side goes back to what AYUSE’s more typical sound of R&B.  Unfortunately, the song doesn’t really catch my interest since it doesn’t really lead anywhere more interesting besides the synth solo after the chorus.  Besides, AYUSE sounding food, it’s otherwise a bland tune.

4. EXCLUSIVE JAM MIX

  • Sundae Love
  • boyfriend
  • Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite
  • KONOMAMA
  • Omoidasu yo
  • eyes to eyes
  • 24/7
  • pretty good

Should I be surprised AYUSE would actually do a megamix to finish off the single?  Now, Sundae Love was a pretty damn random tune by the time of its release and hearing it first on the track still carries that funny sound that made me lulz at the video.  It’s just so unneeded that I had to hear Flavor Flav sampled here.  boyfriend pops up next with it’s chilled flow and AYUSE spins through the song pretty nicely.  Even though I do think it’s a little too hectic sometimes, her slow parts are really nice.  Since I did just review Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite it’s actually the only song of this era featured in this megamix.  It did fit since it is that upbeat.  Luckily, WISE isn’t featured here as much…and didn’t do his rap before transitioning to KONOMAMA.  That being said, KONOMAMA was a little messy coming after a fast track to a more slower R&B tune.  It does sound like a normal R&B tune with it’s oddly cheesy arrangement before the synth beeps come in.  Omoidasu yo continues to show off it’s laidback flow and it actually kept me interested more than “KONOMAMA”.  Though the question is what was with that rapping section…it was just awkward even for this megamix.  I actually think it was the worst on the megamix.  After that awkward mess, eyes to eyes fixes things up nicely since it’s still chill but it’s got a lot more of a nicer flow and arrangement.  It’s however the shortest used tune and quickly goes over to 24/7 and by here is where I start to lose interest because of the similarities going on and this flew over my head pretty quickly.  pretty good finishes up this 16 and a half minute megamix on a smooth note.  It’s a bit more closer as a ballad because of the piano and strings and arrangements used her and I though it made a nice end to this. *thanx to Selly for figuring the list of songs used here since I haven’t heard anything from her first album*

 

 

While I still don’t understand why Apple pie is excluded from her sophomore album, I have to say this is an alright single.  Apple pie is clearly the shining track off the single with is fun-sounding 80’s-like arrangement.  Delicate ni Sukishite was an alright cover, but I’ve heard way better handling with this song.  feel so good though is probably the worst song of the era since it really didn’t offer anything new here.  The EXCLUSIVE JAM MIX was a nice treat for those big fans of her and featured big songs from her, but she could’ve had less of the chilled out tunes that were plaguing the later part of the megamix.

 

AYUSE KOZUE – Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 2:27 am

koyoikiminikoiwoshite

Track Listing

  1. Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite
  2. unpretty good
  3. FOLLOW ME (Soul Central remix)
  4. Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite (instrumental)

1. Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite

I was happy to see AYUSE finally pick things up after two slow singles with Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite.  It’s more of the style that we’ve seen back with “Sundae Love” and I was happy to see some action.  She sounds pretty good with the exciting.  I mean brass? and guitar?  Sadly, the song does go down because WISE is featured in the track and while his rap section changes the sound of the song, it still wasn’t that good.  Without him, the song would’ve been pretty good.

2. unpretty good

The B-side follows up after a few similar songs like “Pretty Good”.  I lulz at the opening with AYUSE doing the swooping with her “WHOOO!”.  It’s got a bubbly personality and it does fit with what’s coming up on her next single.  It’s the cute 80’s like sound that made me like it more than the A-side.

3. FOLLOW ME (Soul Central remix)

It kind of seems random to remix a track that was released back on her debut album, “A♥K”.  Either way like other remixes, it starts up with a beat and the main sound which can become annoying, but I do like the chill sound of the remix.  Though it takes way too long before FOLLOW ME starts up and by then I want to change it. 

 

 

AYUSE’s 3rd single is a lot more exciting for starters since the previous two were ballads and such.  Koyoi Kimi ni Koi wo Shite is good and all, but WISE actually destroyed the tune for me.  If he wasn’t part of it, I think I would’ve been lighter on it.  That’s where unpretty good fits in.  The song was more towards what she’s going for for the rest of the era.  The remix was just too long and went nowhere til later.

 

AYUSE KOZUE – Don’t let you down September 22, 2009

Filed under: AYUSE KOZUE — solarblade @ 12:13 pm

dontletyoudown

Track Listing

  1. Don’t let you down
  2. material girl
  3. Don’t let you down (Instrumental)
  4. material girl (Instrumental)

1. Don’t let you down

The beginning of the tune was quite hopeful as AYUSE starts singing in heavy vocoder.  Then it goes into this synthy R&B track that is rather smooth and fun-sounding with it’s clicking sound.  The problem though is that it seemed like there was no effort to make the song and lacks the punch her last two singles had, especially “APPLE PIE”.  It’s alright, but it’s not amazing.

2. material girl

While it isn’t a cover of Madonna’s tune, material girl also feels hardly strong.  It’s even more smoother and while AYUSE’s vocals are really nice and soothing, and the 8bit melody in the after-chorus seemed like an afterthought, it’s a bit more to the era’s style of 80’s pop.  It’s a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.

 

 

Isn’t it time to release an album AYUSE?  Don’t let you down is rather a step down after the nostalgic release of “APPLE PIE”.  Don’t let you down is alright, maybe a little more effort could’ve worked for her and added stronger beat or two.  material girl is better and worked better in her R&B style.  I just hope she releases an album next!