Kurayami Monogatari

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FLOWER – Nettaigyo no Namida June 16, 2014

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 1:51 am

nettaigyononamida

Track Listing

  1. Nettaigyo no Namida
  2. Dolphin Beach
  3. Nando Demo (Regular only)
  4. Nettaigyo no Namida (Instrumental)
  5. Dolphin Beach (Instrumental)
  6. Nando Demo (Instrumental)

1. Nettaigyo no Namida

Dang, the sound of rain and oriental strings open up Nettaigyo no Namida and I’m already loving the atmosphere of the tune.  It does seem strange for me because without these small things, I feel like it would’ve been a typical effort from FLOWER.  I really do love the vocalists as usual as they bring a nice feel and sensuality to the song.  A good start after their debut album!

2. Dolphin Beach

I almost had thought this song would’ve been a goofy tune for the group with the title and such, but honestly…this is a GOOD song to listen to.  I mean the arrangement has such a laidback beach sound mixed with flowing synths, piano, and a cool beat arrangement.  Also the vocalists are just really smooth here.  I do not know why, but this song really pulls me in with the arrangement.  What a beautiful song from them!

3. Nando Demo

The regular edition comes with an extra track which is also a cover of a DREAMS COME TRUE tune (seems like people are covering them a lot recently huh).  Of the 3 songs, this has the most simplistic approach which I’m ok with and the inclusion of some guitar alongside the beats is a nice inclusion, but it feels like it’s missing something in the overall presentation…like something that would just tie everything together.  The chorus is the issue that makes this reasoning stick out…I feel like it’s missing a big punch to it…it just sounds like a louder verse to me.  It’s OK, but it’s missing something about it.

 

 

After being disappointed with their debut album, FLOWER came back with Nettaigyo no Namida and honestly this is their best single yet!  The A-side is very pretty and the mood of the song is just fitting yet familiar that it works!  Dolphin Beach though is just an amazing song in its own right and really should’ve been the main star while Nando Demo is an alright cover, but not the best it could’ve been.  I’m looking forward to how SONY will handle the group moving forward!

 

FLOWER – Flower April 1, 2014

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 10:06 am

flower

Track Listing

  1. Still
  2. forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~
  3. let go again feat. VERBAL
  4. Taiyou to Himawari
  5. Fadeless Love
  6. YOUR GRAVITY
  7. Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)
  8. To Be Free!!
  9. Koibito ga Santa Claus
  10. Shirayuki-hime
  11. SAKURA Regret
  12. Hatsukoi
  13. CALL

1. Still

Fitting that the album would begin with the group’s first single, Still.  When I first got into them, I thought they were pretty and had a nice sound going with their first single because it was R&B but had a nice dramatic flow to it.  As time when on and the group released more singles, the song did lose its luster quite a bit and I was totally forgetting what this sounded like.  I mean it was a good debut for them, but I don’t think it lasted the test of time.

2. forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~

Being a little faster than the opening track, forget-me-not at the time didn’t stand out to me for some reason, but on the album I actually find the boost of speed after “Still” to be quite welcoming and I found myself warming up to the song a lot more surprisingly.  I also LOVED whoever sung the song (Reina?) though all three vocalists REALLY sounded pretty together…yesh…I’m liking this a lot now!

3. let go again feat. VERBAL

For FLOWER, the album included two new tracks, the first is the only one with a collaboration and it’s VERBAL (ugh…great…).  let go again is also the longest track on the album reaching 6 minutes.  It begins nice before it just kind of turns into an R&B ballad (like what most of FLOWER’s sound is already).  I wasn’t really into the song and VERBAL once again manages to destroy the song too…yeah rapping with only piano behind ya is a poor idea.  No I just can’t with this song.

4. Taiyou to Himawari

I will say that “let go again’s” arrangement does lend itself to lead into the group’s 4th A-side nicely.  That being said it’s basically more of the same like the last track except VERBAL isn’t in the song and there’s acoustic guitar added in the arrangement.  Yeah, this was a bit bland on the album.

5. Fadeless Love

I was surprised that FLOWER would include B-sides on the album but there’s three (possibly 4?).  Fadeless Love came from their debut single and I do like that this song has a bit more depth to it than “Taiyou to Himawari” and has a cool buzzing synth melody.  Though I am started to get bored of the R&B beats and sound but granted I knew I was getting nothing but that for this album…but this is where I started to struggle with paying attention to the album.

6. YOUR GRAVITY

Coming from their 3rd single, this B-side tries to spice the album a bit up by going slightly more upbeat, but the song didn’t really intrigue me and the vocals were somewhat thin to listen to.  Also some of the arrangement had a Western groove which reminded me of those early 2000’s pop songs.  Yeah, I just wasn’t digging the song for the most part and seriously the lead vocalist sounds so much like Kana Nishino here that it’s not even funny.

7. Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)

Moving to the B-side from “Taiyou to Himawari”, I was just disappointed that this made the album’s cut.  As I’ve mentioned on the single review, there’s another version of this song by sister group, Happiness and it is LEAGUES better than FLOWER’s version.  To be honest, it kind of reminds me of “Still” with that fluttery piano mixed with a simple dance beat.  I will say the vocals are on point and after the last few tracks, it did bring my concentration to the group.  It’s not bad, but the other version is just so much better.

8. To Be Free!!

Then we hit the other new song on the album and I was wondering how this would turn out and it’s kind of like “YOUR GRAVITY” in where they tried to change the style up a little.  With To Be Free!!, it sounds like a disco track but a tad more refined.  Sadly, after a while the song kind of just becomes white noise to me as my mind drifts out again.  Though I think I could get into this song if I gave more listens to it.

9. Koibito ga Santa Claus

I hate to say it, but the album’s best song is simply a cover song!  As a Yumi Matsutoya song that’s been covered numerous times, FLOWER’s version stood out for me on this album as it’s probably the most energetic track of the album.  Also with the 3 ladies taking some good solos, I was just pleased with this song.  Though it is very unfortunate that I think a cover song is the best the album had to offer.

10. Shirayuki-hime

Fitting that they put the two Winter songs back-to-back on the album.  As the group’s 5th and final A-side before the album, Shirayuki-hime unfortunately did nothing for me in the context of the album.  It does sound less R&B than the other songs, but at this point, I was tired of hearing the piano in their songs.  At least the 3 gals sound beautiful in the song.  Still, it’s OK but not the best.

11. SAKURA Regret

Onto their 2nd A-side, I actually remembered coming into enjoying the group with this song more than their debut.  They are pretty similar with the arrangement, but the descending piano lines add a touch of sadness where “Still” couldnt.  Though when the chorus comes in, I’m just zoned out from the boredom that I’ve gathered from the previous songs on the album.

12. Hatsukoi

As the group’s digital single, I never got to review the original version but instead reviewed the acoustic version that was found on “Shirayuki-hime”.  Back on that review I said that the acoustic was a lot more nicer and the arrangement was better.  On the album we do get the original take and listening to it…yeah…it sounds like a clone of most of their works on this album.  Not even into the chorus and I was already bored of the track…it just did nothing for me

13. CALL

It’s weird when a group ends the album with a B-side isn’t it?  As the B-side from “forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~”, CALL honestly feels like a song that should be towards the front of the album alongside “Still” as they sound REALLY similar except this song is a bit slower.  I just was that impatient to get over this song and end the album finally.

Tracks Recommended

  • Koibito ga Santa Claus
  • forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~
  • Fadeless Love
  • Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)

Song of Avoidance

  • let go again feat. VERBAL

Lord this album was a bore!  I don’t know what it was but FLOWER’s debut album felt like one LOOOONG album that really had small changes within songs.  I do love the vocalists which is great but when they’re given such stale yet glossy R&B tracks and ballads…it really doesn’t work for me and I got bored and even sleepy from the album with really the only poppy and upbeat song being the cover track.  Though I still wish the trio of singers just ditch the backup dancers as they really don’t contribute to the music (just the visuals really >.>).

 

FLOWER – Shirayuki-hime January 3, 2014

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 11:57 am

shirayukihime

Track Listing

  1. Shirayuki-hime
  2. Hatsukoi acoustic version
  3. COLOR ME UP!
  4. Shirayuki-hime (Instrumental)
  5. Hatsukoi acoustic version (Instrumental)
  6. COLOR ME UP! (Instrumental)

1. Shirayuki-hime

It seems weird that we get another Winter song (especially since two singles ago, we had “Koibito ga Santa Claus”).  However, this isn’t a cover so we’re back to regular FLOWER.  As the ballad A-side, Shirayuki-hime actually isn’t all that bad and kind of stands out amongst their A-sides in that fashion, but at the same time it seems really vanilla of a song and in the long run, doesn’t really stick onto me.  I suppose I can grow to like it, but right now, it’s not ranking as the group’s best work yet.

2. Hatsukoi acoustic version

If you were wondering, Hatsukoi was a song the group released as a digital single back in October.  Listening to that song, it was basically a plain FLOWER song with not much to really fall back on as it’s quite typical from them.  The acoustic version takes out the beats and adds a piano/strings arrangement to fit the vocal melodies of both singers.  I actually thought it progressed a lot stronger than the A-side and it sounds a LOT better as the leading ballad and better than the original version.

3. COLOR ME UP!

For a wintry single, placing COLOR ME UP! here seems rather abrasive and not really suiting the single because this track is upbeat and has more of a summertime feel which totally throws this single off.  By itself, it actually sounds pretty good and makes up for FLOWER being an R&B group by giving us a dance track.  Actually it reminds me of “what I want”.  It’s a fun song though and really gets me thinking that the group would be a great dance group (if they were given something more challenging).

 

 

As the first single without their leader, Erina, Shirayuki-hime is a little better of a single than “Taiyou to Himawari” since two of the three songs were quite strong.  I love the acoustic version of Hatsukoi as it definitely sounded stronger.  COLOR ME UP! is also a good song as it shows off more of FLOWER’s dance sound and they should focus more on this.  The main track though was kind of boring and definitely overshadowed by Hatsukoi.  With their first album FINALLY announced, I can’t wait to review it!

 

FLOWER – Taiyou to Himawari September 30, 2013

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 6:35 am

taiyoutohimawari

Track Listing

  1. Taiyou to Himawari
  2. Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)
  3. what i want… (Limited CD+DVD only)
  4. Taiyou to Himawari (Instrumental)

1. Taiyou to Himawari

I kind of was wondering where has FLOWER been for a while and I noticed they released this A-side.  Listening to Taiyou to Himawari, it really isn’t different from songs from “Still” or “Sakura Regret” as it’s still the 3 main singers and an R&B beat.  Granted that’s their sound, but the song didn’t exactly resonate with me plus it felt like only one of the 3 girls were really singing.  There’s some things about the song that’s nice like the vocals (as usual) and using the strings (not new) but…after “Koibito ga Santa Claus” it just feels muddled to me.

2. Boyfriend (Moonlight Version)

If you were wondering what the whole version is all about, fellow group, Happiness also released a track “Boyfriend (Sunshine Version) which is why FLOWER has such.  Comparing the two, FLOWER’s version is more towards their sound and has a stronger leaning to R&B than Happiness’ version.  Sadly, I do prefer the latter (but I think it’s because that sound is more something I like and the vocals from them are stronger TBH).  To me, the moonlight version feels very bland and doesn’t really stand out to me, but I do like it slightly more than the A-side.

3. what i want…

On limited pressings of the CD+DVD version of the single, we get an extra B-side.  Funny enough I actually really liked this song because it did remind me of Happiness xD.  The song is very much catered to dance fans of E-Girls (or Dream).  It’s just fun to listen to and has a cool flow to it.  Even the musical breakdowns are impressive to me!  I must say this might be one of the best songs they’ve done so far!

 

 

As it’s the group’s 5th single, Taiyou to Himawari isn’t a totally bad single, but it kind of ranks with most of their other singles.  The A-side is kind of forgetful and after their last one, it’s not a good sign.  Their take on Boyfriend is a lot like their stuff so once again, it’s a tiny bit bland, plus Happiness did it much better!  However, the shining moment is the B-side, what i want… because of it’s more dance-focused arrangement.  I wonder when their 1st album will be announced…

 

FLOWER – Koibito ga Santa Claus November 27, 2012

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 9:32 pm

Track Listing

  1. Koibito ga Santa Claus
  2. Still ~Christmas version~
  3. Koibito ga Santa Claus (instrumental)
  4. Still ~Christmas version~ (instrumental)

1. Koibito ga Santa Claus

I kind of like how the song starts up with that guitar riff and bounce.  As it’s a cover of a classic from Yumi Matsutoya, Koibito ga Santa Claus is actually a rather nice song from the group especially after their last single.  There’s just something about the song that really suits the holiday season and it’s really pretty.

2. Still ~Christmas version~

I still am kind of sour that Still was on the last single since it was useless.  With a new version of their debut A-side on this single, I was more than a little apprehensive and for good reason!  It feels like it was lazily placed on the single with extra jingle bells in the arrangement…definitely wasn’t needed.

 

 

FLOWER, I relaly don’t know what to think anymore about them it seens after they’re debut they aren’t impressing me as much.  I don’t think SONY knows how to deal with them either besides caking on Still as much as they can.  Koibito ga Santa Claus is a good cover though, I will admit that, but rehashing Still by laying on some jingle bells is just damn lazy…

 

FLOWER – forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~ August 25, 2012

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 9:27 pm

Track Listing

  1. forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~
  2. YOUR GRAVITY
  3. CALL
  4. Still (Limited Pressing only)
  5. SAKURA Regret (Limited Pressing only)
  6. forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~ (Instrumental)

1. forget-me-not ~Wasurenagusa~

As the newest GUNDAM theme, FLOWER took it upon themselves to releae something good for it and forget-me-not is probably their quickest paced track which is good but it’s still in the vein of their previous singles.  As I listen to the song it starts to feel like there’s only one girl really singing the song and that bothered me for some reason.  It’s not a bad song but I like they previous A-sides a bit more.

2. YOUR GRAVITY

When I hear this song the first thing I notice is the fact that the lead singer in this song sounds a lot like Kanayan and this kind of song is that summery and bright song.  I’m not disappointed by the song but it does feel a bit meh when compared to other songs.

3. CALL

To me, CALL is the ballad of the single and there doesn’t seem to be a concrete lead in the song.  It’s light and and takes the R&B quite nicely.  Once the chorus comes up, the song kind of goes downhill for me for some reason.  I guess it’s the synths that kind of disappoint me because they’re oh so present in most of the group’s stuff so far.  It’s a song that could grow on me.

4. Still

On the limited pressing of the edition (the one with the GUNDAM on it), it takes out the previous B-sides and replaces them with the group’s previous two A-sides.  Starting with their debut, Still is still pretty much a song that I’ve come to enjoy moer since it was first released.  I mean it is a lot like “forget-me-not” but this came first.  Definitely one of the nicer debuts I’ve heard.

5. SAKURA Regret

I used to think SAKURA Regret was better than “Still” but not anymore, I’ve started to see that the song is kind of boring more nowadays even though the vocalists are sounding so smoother.  I guess it’s a nice ballad, but I think this is becoming their weakest A-side nowadays,

 

 

FLOWER’s 3rd single and this one is starting to wear on me.  I still don’t like the EXILE effect this group has (3 singers and a bunch of backup dancers).  forget-me-not isn’t bad and is the most upbeat track yet which is something the group needed.  However, YOUR GRAVITY and CALL are just boring songs that sound like other FLOWER songs out there.  Then there’s the GUNDAM edition with all three A-sides together and I’m kind of like…couldn’t we have waited for the album?  I don’t know, but this release felt super lazy IMO.

 

FLOWER – SAKURA Regret March 2, 2012

Filed under: FLOWER — solarblade @ 12:29 am

Track Listing

  1. SAKURA Regret
  2. be with you
  3. Just A Little Bit
  4. SAKURA Regret (instrumental)

1. SAKURA Regret

Already I felt that SAKURA Regret stepped up the group’s game up quite nicely.  At first it starts quiet with both vocalists singing quietly while the arrangement gains a bit of momentum.  While it doesn’t fully power itself, the song is still pretty and doesn’t offend me in anyway.  Still maybe it’s just me but at the end of the day, I kind of liked “Still” better…>.<

2. be with you

At least the B-sides are a little more worth it to be honest.  be with you is definitely a lot poppier than anything they’ve touched before.  It’s definitely a girly sounding song (no offense) but the way the synths play and how the ladies sound are kind of giving me this mall-shopping feel with this song and I kind of dig that about it.  It’s usually not the kind of songs I go for…yet I do somehow (like alan’s “My Stage”…).

3. Just A Little Bit

I get nostalgic vibes from the second B-side actually.  It’s like hearing 90’s R&B and seeing artist just strut down the street like it’s nothing.  I will say that it does sound a little safe for them but it’s quite chill and I could totally see Kana Nishino performing this song bwahaha.

 

 

FLOWER’s second single is a tad underwhelming when put next to “Still” but it’s a nice second single for them.  SAKURA Regret was nice but it lacked something to make it pop and stuff.  Though I think I liked the song better when it’s accompanied by its PV.  Minus the PV linkage, I felt the same way for Just A Little Bit…it lacked something for me but it’s got a bit of charm I guess.  However, the best was easily be with you since it had a lot going on and the two (or three…) girls sounded great in the song!  I hope their third single is really good!