Kurayami Monogatari

Would love a comment every so often <<

Country Girls – Seasons January 13, 2019

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 1:27 am

seasons

Track Listing

  1. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke
  2. Konamaiki Girl
  3. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”
  4. Matenai After Five
  5. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai
  6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls version)

1. Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke

As the only new track for the mini-album technically, Yowaki Joshi Taibu Todoke was kind spoken as the track for Yanamin who is graduating from this group AND Juice=Juice (huh, she’s getting to send-off songs?).  This song is kind of cutesy and upbeat, sounding a lot like something from the first couple of singles (ironically the singles that didn’t have Nanami involved).  I do like that she does have a LOT solos in the song and it sounds cute and upbeat.  Not bad, but there’s been better from them!

2. Konamaiki Girl

So the majority of the rest of the mini contains the digital songs they’ve released in the last two years (basically since Momoko graduated).  That said, I wasn’t sure what the group was going to sound like without Momochi backing them up and Konamaiki Girl showed off a much more cutesy side to them after having such a boogie-woogie and rockabilly vibes out of the last couple of releases.  It’s cute like the previous track, but I’ve always felt like it was a weak song for them since it’s kind of minimal, but eh?  Just wasn’t that strong of a track for me.

3. Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You”

Which carried over to the 2nd of the digital songs, Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” but of the four digital songs, this one actually ended up with a PV.  The tune definitely reminds me of a mi of “Koi Dorobo” & “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  Still, the tune is pretty nice and while super girly, I found my self tapping my feet to the beat.  Also, Funakki just sounds so cute here!  Still even Yamakki and Ozeki sound better than before.  Nice track!

4. Matenai After Five

Then last year, they came back surprisingly with a double A-side digital single and I was surprised with Matenai After Five being upbeat kind of big band-like.  It’s got a nice groove to it and the members seem to gel even more than before especially since everyone is getting a lot of solos here!  I’m just surprised the girls sound pleasant and not shaky.  Risa’s deeper vocals are enticing, but we have Musubu, Mai, Chisaki, and Nanami really giving strong performances as well.  Maybe not as great as the previous track, but it sticks out!

5. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

Of the four, Kasa wo Sasu Senpai is probably the most serious track of the digital songs and I was hoping they’d release another song in a similar vein to “Koi wa Magnet”.  Though I wasn’t expecting the song to be similar to it.  I mean it doesn’t quite have to cool 80s throwback gloss upon it, but the track is really calm and the strings are beautiful (kind of reminds me of Platinum era Momusu).  Really nice track overall!

6. Itooshikutte Gomen ne (’19 five girls version)

It is what it is, a self-cover of their debut A-side, Itooshikutte Gomen ne.  Obviously the biggest and lone difference in the song is that there’s no Uta, Manaka, or Momoko here and instead got the current girls (Chisaki, Mai, Risa, Musubu, and Nanami).  I mean I’ve always loved the song and I was curious to see what an updated take would sound like, but it does sound off to me without the aforementioned girls despite Yanamin and Funakki adding a lot more oomph to it.  I suppose it’s nice, but it feels like a hint or something…

 

 

As the first H!P release of 2019, I wasn’t expecting to kick off with a Country Girls mini-album.  To be fair it does feel like a mini-best what with 5 old songs (granted 1 of them is updated) and only one new track which was more of a song for Nanami’s impending graduation from the group.  Seasons is nice overall as most of the songs (except Konamaiki Girl) were pretty decent tracks all-around, I just hope it isn’t the final release for the group as Country Girls becomes a quartet (and that Risa, Chisaki, and Musubu are in other groups).

Advertisements
 

Hello Pro All Stars – YEAH YEAH YEAH/Akogare no Stress-free/Hana, Takenawa no Toki September 18, 2018

yeahyeahyeah

Track Listing

  1. YEAH YEAH YEAH
  2. Akogare no Stress-free
  3. Hana, Takenawa no Toki
  4. Hello! History
  5. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.) (Regular A only)
  6. YEAH YEAH YEAH (ANGERME Ver.) (Regular B only)
  7. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Juice=Juice Ver.) (Regular C only)
  8. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Country Girls Ver.) (Regular D only)
  9. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Kobushi Factory Ver.) (Regular E only)
  10. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Tsubaki Factory Ver.) (Regular F only)
  11. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Instrumental)
  12. Akogare no Stress-free (Instrumental)
  13. Hana, Takenawa no Toki (Instrumental)
  14. Hello! History (Instrumental)

1. YEAH YEAH YEAH

As the leading A-side of the single, I was kind of expecting a bombastic dance track with such a title, but instead it’s quite the opposite taking more of a mid-tempo piano ballad that actually is structured a bit more as a dance number.  I mean the song sounds a little bit like previous Hello! Project songs and it just doesn’t really put a spark in me (doesn’t help there’s no solos either).  Even the dance breakdown is eerily similar to Momusu’s “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” & “The Vision”. I don’t know, but the song comes off generic and forgettable.

2. Akogare no Stress-free

At least the 2nd A-side kind of fixes that mess with more of an interesting sound and it’s actually upbeat!  I like the surfers rock sound I get from it and the song just has a bit more oomph to it since it is a bit more of a cooler song for them.  Though the only solos here are actually between Ayacho & Fukuchan (leader and sub-leader of H!P).  It’s a pretty cool song, probably the favorite of the single though.

3. Hana, Takenawa no Toki

I was surprised we were getting this song on the single considering I thought it was more of an Up-Front song than anything (because it was performed first at HinaFest earlier in the year).  That said, seeing the H!P girls get this song is kind of interesting.  The song is a full chorale of a song to a simple piano arrangement.  While I like the togetherness of the track, didn’t we technically get that in “YEAH YEAH YEAH”?  I don’t know, this one is pretty much eh as well, but I suppose it’s clean and simple.

4. Hello! History

Honestly, this should’ve EASILY been the lead song as it really showcases H!P up to date!  It’s funky and the singing is pretty upbeat and kind of quite unique because it mentions a lot of big songs that involve the current groups.  Hell, the leaders of H!P get a solo too (even Reina Ichioka!).  Might look like a bigger “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari” but I dig this quite a bit, why is it a B-side???

5. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.) (Regular A only)
6. YEAH YEAH YEAH (ANGERME Ver.) (Regular B only)
7. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Juice=Juice Ver.) (Regular C only)
8. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Country Girls Ver.) (Regular D only)
9. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Kobushi Factory Ver.) (Regular E only)
10. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Tsubaki Factory Ver.) (Regular F only)

Each Regular version of the single does come with a 5th track depending on which version you get (obvious which group you want).  Though I kind of wish it wasn’t YEAH YEAH YEAH as the chosen track though.  Really not much to say here sadly because I’m still not that much of a fan of the song.  Though I guess one good thing that sets these apart from the original is the fact there’s solo lines through each group’s version so I suppose there’s a plus right?

 

 

Compared to “ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL!” and “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku”, this is by far the weakest (get all of H!P together) single to date.  I don’t who thought YEAH YEAH YEAH would make for a decent showing of the company because it kind of brought the generic stuff that H!P has done together in one song.  Probably would’ve better had Akogare no Stress-free or Hello! History as the leading songs because both those tracks are great!  Hana, Takenawa no Toki is simple and nice, but maybe not for this single.  I don’t know this 20th anniversary thing hasn’t really celebrated a lot music-wise IMO…disappointing…

 

 

Country Girls – Matenai After Five/Kasa wo Sasu Senpai August 28, 2018

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 7:40 am

matenaiafter

Track Listing

  1. Matenai After Five
  2. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

1. Matenai After Five

Well, I wasn’t expecting Country Girls to tackle more of a jazzier side to their music with this song which they first performed at the Summer tours.  Of course I was kind of surprised with the lighter sound in comparison to their previous releases of recent times.  I’m a little surprised to hear some vocal filters, but the song is really neat and the little guitar solo was just impressive as well!  Nice track overall!

2. Kasa wo Sasu Senpai

As the other track off this release, Kasa wo Sasu Senpai is giving me slight “Koi wa Magnet” with the bit of synth usage and more somber tone in comparison to “Matenai After Five”.  It’s surprising how far Funakki has grown because I hear her all over the song and she sounds wonderful.  Actually the song is really nice overall!

 

 

Seriously, they should’ve made this a physical single instead of being digital because both tracks are probably the best tracks they’ve done since Momoko left the group and the group itself going into its odd hiatus.  I know I never reviewed “Konamaiki Girl” or even “Kaite wa Keshite no “I Love You” but both songs were kind of mediocre…at least both songs here are really decent songs…just wished they made PVs for these!

 

Momoko Tsugunaga – Tsugunaga Momoko Idol 15 Shuunen Kinen Album ♡Arigatou Otomomochi♡ (Disc 2) July 5, 2017

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:09 am

arigatouotomomochi

Track Listing

  1. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)
  2. Ashita Kara wa Omokage
  3. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto
  4. Mousou Rehearsal
  5. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!
  6. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei
  7. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta
  8. Kimama na Kataomoi

1. Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou (2017.5.4 Live @ Nakano Sun Plaza)

Opening the 2nd disc up is what is considered to be Momochi’s graduating track from Country Girls (and Sharam Q’s drummer, Makoto) to her (and digital single, to promote the album).  I wasn’t expecting the track to be 7 and a half minutes long, but after listening to it, it’s more of the remaining Country Girls members giving their speech to Momoko in speech form and then singing a chorus altogether.  The song itself (when they sing together) is kind of basic and a little on the nose for me, but it’s appropriate for the occasion.  I will say, I do like when the music strips and it’s the 5 (plus Makoto) singing the chorus.  Otherwise, it’s kind of a one-use kind of track, so I’ll probably never see this being performed again.

2. Ashita Kara wa Omokage

As there is only actually four new songs on this disc (the other half were unreleased CG songs), I was happy to see new material presented (albeit, I wish it was on a Country Girls album and not so much a Momochi centered release).  Sung by the remaining members of Country Girls (aka without Momoko), Ashita Kara wa Omokage is the first song that really sounds like old Country Musume songs, but then come to fact that it like “Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou”, it has a LOT of spoken dialogue and the girls come together for the chorus.  Honestly, I’m once again not really into the song due to the immense amount of spoken dialogue so it’s not much of a song to me.

3. Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto

So the middle four songs in this disc are unreleased songs the group have been performing since right around before Uta Shimomura had left the group, but the songs seem to have been updated to fit with the current group of girls.  Kiss Yori Saki ni Dekiru Koto though has been released physically back in the H!P compilation “Petit Best 17”, but at that time it had Manaka Inaba and no Funakki or Yanamin.  This version does seem slightly updated and I hear the newer members, but there are some spots where I hear Manakan or maybe it’s someone else like Funakki?  Either way, I feel like the new musical changes made the song a bit more nicer…it’s pretty interesting.  It’s also kind of growing on me too.

4. Mousou Rehearsal

The other 3 tracks though have not seen a physical release of any sort and all I had were live performances to really get a listen to.  Another song that was performed before Uta’s departure, Mousou Rehearsal is a fun upbeat track that really suits the group like “Koi Dorobo” would and features a little moment, throwing a little nod to “Wakatteiru no ni Goman ne”.  Though it is sad that the song was resung to add the new members and take Manakan, but I swear Funakki sounds like her in the song which throws me off and impresses me at the same time.

5. Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!

I’m kind of surprised they kept this song under wraps because I really found myself loving this song just after one listen.  It’s fun and has a mix of their throwback sound and their pop beginnings mixed into this fun and goofy track.  It helps that the dialogue section is just lulzy too.  I also love that this is with the current girls so no updating was needed.  It’s a song that really should’ve been released as an A-side to be quite honest and is one of my top favorites in Country Girls.

6. VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei

The last of the unreleased songs, VIVA!! Barairo no Jinsei had some balls to come after the fun and exciting “Rhythm ga Yondeiru Zo!” and unfortunately it’s another bummer.  This track is a bit like “Ashita Kara wa Omokage” being a bit more country sounding with shuffling percussions and certain chords that pertain to the genre.  It does have a certain Country Musume vibe like “Kakumeichikku KISS” did.  It’s not a terrible song, but it’s not a song that I’ll remember much.

7. Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta

As the only new track that hasn’t been performed live (and might not ever after the news about the group), Gizagiza Heart no Komoriuta is another cover from the band, The Checkers (Country Girls covered another of their songs, “Namida no Request” last year).  Unlike the saxophone craze of the first cover, this one is a bit more rockin’ and I really liked Funakki and Ozeko with their solo lines throughout!  It’s a good cover overall, but “Namida no Request” was the better one.

8. Kimama na Kataomoi

The final track, Kimama na Kataomoi kicks off reminding me that it’s not a Wintry track, even though its arrangement is arguing otherwise.  I like the mood and hearing Momochi leading here is not surprising in the least, considering when it was first performed live it was nearing her graduation.  It’s super cute and I like that there’s some ad-libbing going on and the melody is just pretty to listen to.

 

 

Considering this is Momoko’s best album, I felt like I really needed to get Country Girls’ portion of the release reviewed because it might be the last for a long while.  I have to say though, the 8 songs sound like they were good enough for an album primarily (maybe except Idol Sotsugyou Chuuijikou & Ashita Kara wa Omokage).  I can’t believe we waited like 2 years for some of these songs though and with no actual CG album to place them into (even though they have more than enough A-sides as it is).  It’s good they added new material though becauuuse….

The group more or less is going into hiatus and not like the sugar-coated Berryz take on it either.  From the announcement that was made, once Momochi graduates, Yamakki & Ozeko are going to focus on school studies and will be missing (except for holidays & breaks) while Chiichan, Funakki, and Yanamin join other groups (Momusu, ANGERME, and Juice=Juice respectively).  My feelings are kind of neutral, stemming from sad (seeing CG basically being only active when girls are on vacation) to excited (the girls in new groups).  So we’ll see what happens then…

As for this release and why I’m not reviewing Discs 1 & 3, Disc 1 is Momoko self-covers and while I’m respectful for her time in H!P, she was one of my least favorite vocalists and her doing solo takes on songs (the arrangements weren’t changed) is not exactly in my interests, though there are some interesting moments like in “Ganbacchae!” where shes singing and her younger self is doing the kiddy chants and her new & solo song “Momochi! Zutto Otomomochi” is a nice send-off song.  As for Disc 3, it’s basically fan-picked tracks (the originals) and all of the songs that were covered in Disc 1 is on Disc 3 so I don’t want to double my thoughts about them.

 

Country Girls – Good Boy Bad Girl/Peanut Butter Jelly Love January 31, 2017

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 6:53 am

goodboybadgirl

Track Listing

  1. Good Boy Bad Girl
  2. Peanut Butter Jelly Love
  3. Good Boy Bad Girl (Instrumental)
  4. Peanut Butter Jelly Love (Instrumental)

1. Good Boy Bad Girl

As the leading A-side, Good Boy Bad Girl seemed to really have left the rockabilly vibes of the last couple singles behind and gave us a straight up pop/rock song to deal with!  Seeing the group moving back into something a little more straightforward musically, I was enjoying the simplicity more!  As it seems a lot of the song is in duet lines but all the girls have solos (the best belonging to Funakki, once again).  Easy song for them and while it doesn’t rise above past A-sides that I loved, it’s a decent track.

2. Peanut Butter Jelly Love

Opening with a cute intro from Momoko, PBJL takes us back to some of their cuter songs (especially giving me a bit of a “Koi Dorobo” & “Namida no Request” vibe).  I found there was some guitar elements here as well, but the tune is just overall cute all over the place.  I found myself tapping my toes along the arrangement and the whole group just sound bright and lively!

 

 

With this being Momoko’s final single with the group, I have to say that she didn’t quite have much spotlight, even though she was just a overseer to the group and trained the members.  Like I said, the rockabilly vibes of the last two singles are absent which is a nice break from it and both songs are OK, if not a little above average for them.  With an audition being leaked (not officially announced yet), I can only wonder what’ll be next on the horizon (hopefully an album showcasing Momoko’s time with the group (if not a little of Uta & Manaka too)).

 

Country Girls – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!” Original Soundtrack (FULL) October 19, 2016

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 5:28 am

1cTGCS9244_FH1A_H1-4_prep.pdf

Track Listing

  1. Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!
  2. Diana
  3. Okite
  4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Tsukamitai
  5. Honto no Shimai Mitai
  6. Taman’nai Summer
  7. Yakusoku Shite ne
  8. Kore ga Yume Nara
  9. Seaside Bound

1. Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!

So it’s not a surprise that the re-release would open once again with the title track!  Like I said before on the preview single that was released, this song features a lot of Manaka, Risa, and Yumeno and well they were the leads so it wasn’t a big surprise, but the other members managed to sneak in with a line here and there.  I LOVE the rockabilly vibe though and it suits the more cuter vocals on top of the lower sounding girls as well!  One of the better stageplay songs we got this year!

2. Diana

While I was hoping for more than just 4 extra songs on the re-release, I suppose I had to swallow my pride and just deal with it.  The first new track is surprisingly a Kisora solo (which my make you fans tilt your head as she isn’t in Country Girls).  It’s addressed as a CG stageplay, but Tsubaki Factory did have some stagetime here (wow…three stageplays this year???).  I really enjoy the diner vibes that include saxophone…they’re really hamming it up aren’t they?  For a Niinu solo, she sounds decent…maybe a bit weak at times, but she wasn’t disappointing…overall a pleasant and simple track!

3. Okite

So next up is a track that’s sung between CG’s Chisaki, and Tsubaki’s Riko, Risa, and Kiki. There’s a cool swing vibe to the song and the track has a bit of a sly sound to it.  Considering it’s 4 members, the members sound pretty good together but by themselves, some are trying to hit a deeper sound (like Risamaru).  It’s an interesting song and some of the melodies are nice on the ear!

4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Tsukamitai

So we go back to older songs which brought Manaka, Risa, Mai, and Yumeno once again sharing that same genre that the main theme had which is great and it really has a cool 50’s rock ‘n roll sound that just works.  While it vocally doesn’t sound as clean or epic like the aforementioned track, it’s a got an awesome guitar solo so I can’t fault too much hahha.

5. Honto no Shimai Mitai

Another already released track, Honto no Shimai Mitai is a duet between Manaka & Chisaki.  While I’m a bit surprised Manakan was singing in a much higher range than normal and surprisingly harder to differentiate between her and Chisaki.  It does sound a LOT like “Shining Itoshiki Anata” (an older Country Musume song).  Though I like the arrangement, the performance felt a bit flat…but it was short so I really don’t know what to make of it.

6. Taman’nai Summer

Another song sung between 4 members, this time Yumeno, Mai, Nanami, and Musubu.  I really love Kishimon opening up the track in such a cool and epic way, but then the song kind of amps up the sugar a little bit.  While it does feel like something that would suit between “Boogie Woogie LOVE” and “Dou Datte Ii no”, Taman’nai Summer sounds a bit exciting outside of the similarities and the guitar solo is really cool too!  Really good stuff!

7. Yakusoku Shite ne

As I’ve said before, hearing Yakusoku Shite ne definitely sticks out from the stageplay because a lot of it comes off as an Enka-ish kind of song (maybe kayoukyoku?).  As a duet between the newest Country Girls members, Nanami and Musubu…I quite like the sound of them together, but Musubu really took it home especially breaking into two different vocal melodies.  Short, but neat track.

8. Kore ga Yume Nara

As the last track from the preview single, Kore ga Yume Nara is a duet between Manaka & Yumeno and it was obvious it’s that kind of romantic track.  While I think both of them did splendid vocal performances, the song is a pretty simple piano/strings ballad.  It’s Ok…

9. Seaside Bound

So the OST ends with the final new track and funny enough it’s sung between Risa, Kisora, and Ami.  Though it really feels like just Risa and the other two are just background vocalists.  The tune itself sounds good taking more of a beach vibe (like the Beach Boys).  It is really short though so it doesn’t leave much of an impression, but I suppose it’s nice.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kizetsu Suru Hodo Aishiteru!
  • Taman’nai Summer
  • Yakusoku Shite ne

Song of Avoidance

  • Kore ga Yume Nara

Going into the re-release of the Country Girls’ stageplay, I was a bit disappointed it only went up to 9 tracks (especially coming after Momusu’s OST).  I also wasn’t a big fan that there was just only 4 new tracks to come back to as well.  I have to say, this stageplay was running very closely to what Country Girls’ current sound is so it felt safe, but decent enough to pass by.  Songs were good overall, but not enough….It’s OK, but compared to “Thank you Very Berry” and “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa” they could’ve had more!

 

Country Girls – Dou Datte Ii no/Namida no Request September 19, 2016

Filed under: Country Girls — solarblade @ 2:43 pm

doudatteiino

Track Listing

  1. Dou Datte Ii no
  2. Namida no Request
  3. Dou Datte Ii no (Instrumental)
  4. Namida no Request (Instrumental)

1. Dou Datte Ii no

It seems like Country Girls seem to be sticking to this rockabilly/50’s vibe for now and Dou Datte Ii no has a lot more energy than what “Boogie Woogie LOVE” had previously and is just a song to really let loose and dance wild.  I am a bit perturbed at why the song is generally shouted moreso than sung it feels like.  Either way, it is a bit short barely reaching 3 minutes and the 6 members do get solo lines throughout, just not as plenty as previous singles.  It’s an OK song, but they’ve had better.

2. Namida no Request

The other A-side just like “Ranrarun ~Anata ni Muchuu~” is a cover song this time from a band from the 80’s, The Checkers.  I have to say the intro of the song really caught me off guard especially the harmonies of that last ~request~, that was was beautiful.  After that, the song once again harps on the rockabilly vibes and that’s fine and I’m happy they toned it down a bit after “Dou Datte Ii no”.  It does seem like this one has a LOT of Chisaki, Risa, and Momoko as the other 3 members sing the chorus and doesn’t have much to go on.  Maybe except Yanamin, because she has sax solos throughout the tune.  Overall, a pretty good song, if not a little sad…but I was impressed here.

 

 

So if you haven’t noticed this is Country Girls’ first single without Manaka as she had to graduate to do her asthma issues which is quite unfortunate because I think she would’ve been great for Namida no Request since that was a wonderful cover and just pleasant to hear.  Dou Datte Ii no could’ve laid back a little from the yelling but it’s catchy and Funakki really stood out in the song.  Can we just have a stable line-up in Country Girls for at least 2 singles?  Jeeze!!!