Kurayami Monogatari

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Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Rainbow×2 May 16, 2018

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 5:31 am

rainbow2

Track Listing

  1. Rainbow
  2. Yacchae! GO! GO!
  3. 43do
  4. Tadashii Seishun tte Nan Darou
  5. Medatte Do Dance
  6. Arigata-Meiwaku Monogatari
  7. Hello! Massara no Jibun
  8. Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~
  9. Isshakudama de Buppanase!
  10. Mirai e Tsunagu Yakusoku
  11. RealLittleGirl

1. Rainbow

Opening the album, we get a lot of new tracks to listen to.  Well, technically not really because a couple of them were performed live.  Anyways, Rainbow kicks things off in a nice pleasant way that feels like an intro song with some fluttery synths and a dance beat.  Considering it is only 5 of the Kenshuusei singing, it feels really nice to hear how well they sound together.  At points some of the song sounds like an anison theme, but the song is bright and pleasant as a whole!

2. Yacchae! GO! GO!

One of those songs that were performed prior to the album, Yacchae! GO! GO! takes the more cutesy pop/rock feel this time!  It’s an energetic song and it features many of the members (most from the recent generations), but it feels so concrete and well done.  Especially for how the tune weaves its lyrics in and around each other.  It reminds me of an early S/mileage song for some reason like “Suki-chan” or “Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!”.

3. 43do

I’m really loving that the song opens with an acoustic guitar before adding synths and synth horns to add spice.  Choosing in 6 members, I was also pretty surprised at how energetic and cool they sounded together.  Then again they’re decent singers (some of them being the favored members).  It’s definitely the “Onna no Sono” of the album and really kicked ass here…very cool track!

4. Tadashii Seishun tte Nan Darou

Another song performed prior to the album, Tadashii Seishun tte Nan Darou definitely reminds me of another song that’s on this album actually, “Real☆Little☆Girl” because of the similar instrumentations and energy behind it.  Not quite sure if that’s a good sign or not, but there’s quite a number of members involved here, but it’s OK.  It’s cute and whatnot but it’s like “Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki”…it’s just kind of here.

5. Medatte Do Dance

I had thought last year that this would’ve been released digitally (like the next couple of tracks were) but for some reason it was held back until now.  It was something I was looking forward to because the tune has such a cool intro and heavy sound that felt right with most of the other digital songs that were released.  The chorus is catchy and the tune is cute but not hardcore genki.  Hell, I think I hear Rin Hachisako a LOT (even a solo!).  Fun song!

6. Arigata-Meiwaku Monogatari

So we get into digital singles and this one was so awesome because it was darker and rockin’ and it’s a sucker for me because it’s just as catchy as it was last year.  It’s also like “Onna no Sono” but this is more for the energetic performance and beats.  Surprised that only 5 of the Kenshuusei took part in it.  Great to see it make the cut honestly.

7. Hello! Massara no Jibun

On the flipside of the coin, I wasn’t as much interested in seeing this make the cut besides the fact that it’s the oldest on the album.  It even shows by including Mizuho Ono (who is currently in Tsubaki Factory, after this recording).  It’s her and 3 others here and I’m just surprised that its just them here.  The song itself is a bit chintzy and forgettable for me for some reason.  Yeah, probably my least favorite song off the album…maybe?

8. Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~

Now this was a total surprise because it felt like it wasn’t connected to the Kenshuusei in anyway by how it was represented.  Considering all 5 members are currently H!P members in some fashion (Ichioka, Takase, and Kiyono are still waiting for their groups while Dambara and Kawamura are in Juice=Juice & ANGERME respectively).  Gobaku itself though is such a bop and its got this glossy 80s vibe to it and the members sound SOOO good here.  Yeah, what a surprise, but an awesome one to have got!

9. Isshakudama de Buppanase!

The last of the digital songs that were released, Isshakudama de Buppanase! surprised me by having Kaede Kaga & Mizuho Ono here (both in H!P currently).  The song itself feels pretty in the middle for me on this album.  It’s like a toned down “Yacchae! GO! GO!” with deeper vocals which is always decent to hear.  Though I still kind of dug it, even if there’s better.

10. Mirai e Tsunagu Yakusoku

As the last of the new tracks, I had figured one of them was going to be a ballad and boy it’s a boring one at that.  Being a simple piano ballad (with strings that come in later), this song should’ve had all the Kenshuusei singing but it doesn’t.  Yeah and its all sung in unison so it really doesn’t move me in anyway.  Pretty disappointed here.

11. Real☆Little☆Girl

I’m pretty surprised they slipped in a Hokkaido KSS track at the end of the album (and somehow disappointed they omitted both “Hankouki!” and “Ice day Party”.  Anyways, Real☆Little☆Girl definitely still reminds me of a Country Girls song, but its an oddly catchy song at that and hearing the Hokkaido girls is always nice right?  Definitely a cute way to end the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • 43do
  • Arigata-Meiwaku Monogatari
  • Gobaku ~We Can’t Go Back~
  • Rainbow

Song of Avoidance

  • Mirai e Tsunagu Yakusoku

Wow, it’s just something when about 90% of the girls involved from the first Kenshuusei are gone when we get to their sophomore effort.  I have to say, Rainbow×2 is kind of on the same level, maybe a bit here because the songs were a lot stronger and left more of an impact here.  There are still some stinkers here, but I feel like the fact H!P kind of put the girls in groupings was interesting (but couldn’t we have one that had all the KSS in it?).  Also could’ve used more Hokkaido presence here to be honest besides their first A-side.  Otherwise, solid album!

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Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido feat. Manaka Inaba – Hankouki!/Ice day Party May 9, 2018

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 2:41 am

hankouki

Track Listing

  1. Hankouki!
  2. Ice day Party
  3. Hankouki! (Instrumental)
  4. Ice day Party (Instrumental)

1. Hankouki!

The first A-side of the single, Hankouki!, is pretty much what I would think a KSS song would sound like just from the guitar chords alone.  I feel like this pretty much just a standard song for them though I do hear Manaka straight up get a solo here over the other girls.  I do like the guitar break in the bridge, but otherwise I would say this is kind of straightforward, not bad, but not terribly memorable?

2. Ice day Party

As for the other half of the single, Ice day Party is definitely a different route than the group’s previous effort, “Real☆Little☆Girl” by taking it more like an upbeat EDM track that’s bouncy and cute.  It’s definitely a song I would see the Kenshuusei sing and it kind of at times, remind me of “Seishun Beat wa 16”.  Still, the Hokkaido girls sound a lot better and vocally viable than they did at their first single.  Maybe, Manaka is another reason why they sound a bit more together too.

 

 

Wow, wasn’t expecting the Hokkaido girls to get another single in, but here we are with their 2nd offering!  Though I do have to say that both Hankouki! & Ice day Party were kind of basic of songs for the them, the girls sound better than in “Real☆Little☆Girl / Kanojo ni Naritai!!!”.  Though despite being released back in February (and this review was released in May), Ryo Kitagawa has left sadly and both songs were oddly omitted off the Kenshuusei’s sophomore effort (yet their first song is on it?).

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido – Real☆Little☆Girl/Kanojo ni Naritai!!! (Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido Ver.) May 26, 2017

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 4:39 am

reallittlegirl

Track Listing

  1. Real☆Little☆Girl
  2. Kanojo ni Naritai!!! (Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido Ver.)
  3. Real☆Little☆Girl (Instrumental)
  4. Kanojo ni Naritai!!! (Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido Ver.) (Instrumental)

1. Real☆Little☆Girl

As the Hokkaido’s debut A-side, Real☆Little☆Girl was our actual first taste of the 7 members that make up the branch and its no surprise that they would get a very cutesy song as their first.  When I actually first heard it, I felt like this was an unused Country Girls song because it’s just got that feel from the intro sounding a smidge like “Dou Datte Ii no’s” intro to the rest feeling like “Koi Dorobo” & “Wakatte Iru no ni Gomen ne”.  Though it’s a catchy song to listen to and solos from all 7 members is pretty impressive too!  It’s got a lot of potential for these girls and they don’t sound bad really.

2. Kanojo ni Naritai!!! (Hello! Pro Kenshuusei Hokkaido Ver.)

The other A-side is of course known as the debut A-side for the actual Kenshuusei.  Well, originally it was 5 of the Kenshuusei back then in 2012.  Anyways, the Hokkaido version isn’t too different opting to keep the original’s arrangement but replacing vocals.  Considering the original barely had solos (3 lines), this cut actually has no solo lines so it’s just there to listen and not really focus on the members individually.

I wasn’t expecting the Hokkaido branch to actually receive its own single, but here we are with their first apparently.  I will actually say that Real☆Little☆Girl is a nice bout of fresh air to get away from the EDM-ness of H!P in recent times (granted other groups are starting to sway away as well).  It’s just a simple, cute and bright song to really showcase these newer girls.  Though I’m curious to why Kanojo ni Naritai!!! was chosen to be covered…I guess it makes sense that it was a first single for the main branch so it’s more like a signature song for the trainees.  Overall, it’s OK, but I wonder if we’ll get more.

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Nega Poji Poji” Original Soundtrack December 29, 2016

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 5:36 am

negapojipoji

Track Listing

  1. Nega Poji Poji
  2. Ima Made Ikitekite Doukou
  3. Tempura Tabetai
  4. Ima wa Dame

1. Nega Poji Poji

As the theme song for the play, Nega Poji Poji is a lot more upbeat and danceable than past OST themes which is pretty cool and actually interesting.  Despite that a lot of the song is sung by Kenshuusei since only 4 of the 9 Tsubaki members are involved thrown in there throughout.  Not sure what I think of the vocals as it’s majority unison with a few duet lines here and there.  It sure does get repetitive having the girls repeat Nega & Poji so much, but otherwise, I enjoyed the bouncier atmosphere.

2. Ima Made Ikitekite Doukou

The remaining tracks on the single highlights different Teams (3 teams of different girls did the stageplay on different days).  We start off with Team B (consisting of Mizuho from Tsubaki and KSS members Takase, Maeda, Yoshida, and Onoda from the Engeki troupe.  After hearing “Nega Poji Poji”, I wasn’t expecting an acoustic ballad on the single.  Now I hate to say, but I actually do not know what most of the members sound like so I can’t comment on it, but there’s some good vocals here.  After the chorus, it does start to feel like a reggae track.  Interesting, but I wanna see who’s singing what.

3. Tempura Tabetai

Team C’s track is next and that grouping is Ogata and Asakura from Tsubaki and Ichioka, Ono K., and Nishida from the KSS.  The arrangement feels poppy and like a simple track with just piano involved.  I definitely heard Risamaru and Icchan in the song and maybe Kiki here and there.  With the playful but minimal arrangement, the song is a bit forgetful but not bad.

4. Ima wa Dame

Finally, we have Team A’s track which is sung between Tsubaki’s Yamagishi and KSS members; Kaga, Horie, Kanatsu, and Kiyono.  From the start, I get this sense of kayoukyoku and 90s pop and interestingly enough all the members seem to get lines.  As short as the song is, I quite like this track of the four.

 

 

At the end of the year, we had another OST to deal with and while initially it seemed to be a Tsubaki stageplay, it feels more like a Kenshuusei-led one.  The preview single overall was a good taste and I liked the variety of genres it handles, but I feel like 3 discs could happen since the groupings exist.  Overall, nice but there’ll probably be more!

 

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – ① Let’s say “Hello!” February 24, 2015

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 9:42 pm

1letssayhello

Track Listing

  1. Say! Hello!
  2. Onna no Sono
  3. Crying
  4. Seishun Beat wa 16
  5. Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki
  6. “Koishitai Shinto”
  7. “Idol wa Robot” tte Showa no Hanashi ne
  8. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
  9. Kanojo ni Naritai!!!
  10. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

1. Say! Hello!

Opening up the album, Say! Hello! instantly gave me a trip going back a couple of years when H!P was oversaturating the brass with songs like “Shining Power”, “Waratte YOU!”, and “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku”, even “The Matenrou Show” so I was initially worried that this song would’ve been a giant fail, but for some reason this song is refreshing.  It could be the 8bit melody that’s in the chorus (made me think of Katamari XD).  It’s a funky tune and all sorts of solos to be had (as of the review no one knows who sings those yet).  Although Manaka Inaba’s epic solo at the end of the first chorus was downright amazing!  There’s just something about this song that really pops out and I love every moment, makes me feel happy and upbeat…good way to begin the album!

2. Onna no Sono

I was waiting for the KSS to do another EDM song and they bring it with Onna no Sono.  It’s another heavy song like “Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa” but has a lot more oomph and it isn’t as goofy as the aforementioned song.  I was happy to see Minami Nomura and Mizuki Murota get the two solos especially the former because she sounds really good through it.  Add on that awesome mid8 section with the fluttery piano and strings punch…so good.  Definitely a song that stands out within the EDM mold of H!P.

3. Crying

It seems like Tsunku is hitting the main sounds that H!P has been known for.  Crying strives to be a lot like the stuff you would hear from Buono!  A lot of guitars and drums but still quite idol-ish.  Now a lot of songs from the album were performed during 2014 (except maybe “Say! Hello!” and “Idol wa Robot”).  Crying has had gone through some vocal changes but it seems like the solos here were from Ruru Danbara, Kisora Niinuma, and Ayano Hamaura.  I wasn’t fully into this song much and just didn’t stick much for me…definitely an album song.

4. Seishun Beat wa 16

Our next song is a bit more upbeat and funny enough kind of reminds me of the days when H!P was into anime like Shugo Chara! and Kirarin Revolution.  This song sounds a lot like something you would hear as an anime introduction.  I do like the synths of course and of course the three soloists, Ayano Hamaura, Risa Yamaki, and Natsumi Taguchi sound too cute for their solos.  It’s definitely the cute tune and I enjoyed it for the most part.

5. Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki

Back to something more EDM-ish, Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki has a strong beat and melody and yet the vocal melodies has a certain S/mileage sound to it.  Considering this is one of the two songs that are sung entirely in unison, this song actually left nothing for me to enjoy.  I just couldn’t get past the song being so repetitive and cumbersome to sit through.

6. “Koishitai Shinto”

The next track kind of reminds me of the B-side Morning Musume had in 2013 where one of the girls would rap lol.  “Koishitai Shinto” has a pretty cool opening and the random MCs are interesting touches, but once the squeaky voices throw me off xD.  I do think the transitions into the chorus is a bit jarring, but some of the choices like the ~throw your hands in the aiiiir~ is fitting for some reason.  Overall, this song is good, strange but I like it.

7. “Idol wa Robot” tte Showa no Hanashi ne

The last of the new songs, “Idol wa Robot” is really strange for Tsunku…well it doesn’t sound like something Tsunku has done before and I’m happy for that.  I love the arrangement and goofy lyrics.  There’s so many solo lines here that even I don’t know who’s who.  It’s kind of synthy but also a bit cutesy as well.  Sometimes, it feels like it’s going on a bit too long for its good because the main hook of the song gets repetitive pretty quickly.  Still, it’s a catchy tune!

8. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa

Though the goofy song on the album is definitely this one.  As we enter the older songs, Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa is still a pretty bangin’ song and a damn funny one at that.  Though I am curious why they didn’t edit any of the older songs considering a lot of girls that were in the KSS are either promoted in the company or left it altogether.  Either way, it’s a pretty great song still and shows off the girls in such a fun, energetic way…plus I still get a kick in Hamachan’s intro!

9. Kanojo ni Naritai!!!

Then we get to the debut of the KSS (well that’s in the grey area, but whatever).  Now this one I would’ve expected some kind of album version, but it isn’t…it’s the original when it was sung by the 5 girls.  On the album, this song is pretty energetic and fast and the synths are just all over the place.  Not much else to say, but I think we could’ve had more girls involved here.

10. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

I would’ve figured that this would’ve end the album because of it’s meaning and feeling.  It’s a light and happy song and the girls sound good singing in unison here.  Now Juice=Juice is here because they were still considered KSS after the group was made at the time.  Still it’s a nice ending to the album and a sweet and calming one at that.

Tracks Recommended

  • Onna no Sono
  • Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
  • Say! Hello!
  • “Idol wa Robot” tte Showa no Hanashi ne

Song of Avoidance

  • Table Seki Aitetemo Counter Seki

Wow, to think the Kenshuusei got an album before Juice=Juice did :0.  ① Let’s say “Hello!” is surprisingly not that bad of an album, since it’s the first studio album released in 2015.  The Kenshuusei last year were definitely picking up speed on releases and was surprised they got an album and it turned out better than I thought.  Some of the songs are a bit meh, but most of it was good.  Wished they edited the last three tracks to actually fit the group of current girls, but that’s a small issue.  Hope that means more music is going to come from the trainees after this!

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Karen na Gasshoudan

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 8:30 pm

karennagasshoudan

Track Listing

  1. Karen na Gasshoudan
  2. Annie Laurie
  3. Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo

1. Karen na Gasshoudan

The single begins with the main theme of the stageplay that Nanami Tanabe, Ayano Hamaura, Mizuki Murota, Riko Yamagishi, Rikako Sasaki, Kaede Kaga, Risa Yamaki, and Hirona Oura starred in.  Being the only upbeat track on the single, I was curious to how it’d turn out.  For the most part, I enjoyed it despite that it sounds kind of under-made (almost a little like early H!P stageplays).  It still sounds good and the girls sound decent enough with Ayano and Nanami taking up the solos here.  Like I said it doesn’t have the production value H!P’s main songs and that might be turnoff but I still like this tune regardless.

2. Annie Laurie

So the 8 girls get split into two groups of 4 for the rest of the single.  Nanami, Mizuki, Risa, and Hirona take up the first track, Annie Laurie which this and the next track are covers (covers of choir songs?).  Sadly it doesn’t mean the four ladies get solos which is unfortunate because I would’ve loved to hear everyone.  Annie Laurie though was way too simplistic and kind of boring to listen to especially with the raw vocals from the girls.  It just kind of went over my head.

3. Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo

The other 4: Ayano, Kaede, Riko, and Rikako got Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo and already it sounds a lot more engaging and upbeat than “Annie Laurie” was.  It is just piano by the way xD.  Despite most of the girls are higher toned ladies, it was a little squeaky and I heard Hamachan over all the girls lol.  I also enjoyed that ~lalalalala~ part because they added a clapping part to make it pop more.  Still kind of under-produced but it’s better than the previous track.

 

 

Coming into Karen na Gasshoudan, I wasn’t expecting much especially since “LILIUM” essentially took the spot of awesome stageplay music.  This single in comparison to the other two stageplay CD releases, this felt so under-produced like it was just recorded on the stage with no edits.  The main song is pretty good and it was good enough to make on 2014’s Petit Best which is good to me.  The song is fun and upbeat and is a break from EDM.  Kikyuu ni Notte Dokomademo and Annie Laurie were OK but suffer from no edits and Annie Laurie is a giant borefest.  Overall it was OK, could’ve been handled a little better in the audio department, but still not bad.

 

Hello! Pro Kenshuusei – Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa/Ten Made Nobore!

Filed under: Hello! Pro Kenshuusei — solarblade @ 8:14 pm

ohesonokunikarakonnichiwa

Track Listing

  1. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
  2. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

1. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa

LOL at Hamaura opening the song in such a victorious way to enter our cool EDM song from the group!  Now looking at the cover, there’s a lot of ladies involved and thought it was going to be all unison like “Ten Made Nobore!” was but hey 8 solos from Ayano Hamaura, Mizuki Murota, Kurumi Yoshihashi, Rie Kaneko, Nanami Tanabe, Fuyuka Kosuga, Rena Ogawa, and Kaede Kaga (some…their last appearance like Kaneko, Yoshihashi, Kosuga, and Tanabe).  The tune is pretty epic and really suited the EDM-style Hello! Project was diving deep into.  The song is hilarious, yet cool at the same time and just crazy catchy.  Definitely my favorite of their A-sides thus far!

2. Ten Made Nobore! feat. Juice=Juice

I’m not sure why they had to include Ten Made Nobore! considering it was their 2nd single but it’s whatever.  The song is pretty light and airy and has a simple idol arrangement which sounds nice, but there’s no solos to be had unlike the main course on this single.  The horns add a cute thing, but I’m just overall tired of it listening to it and is WAY overplayed in 2014.

 

 

As the Kenshuusei’s 3rd single, Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa is a pretty awesome song for the trainees as it really makes them feel like they’re still H!P members even if it’s not an official thing.  The song is heavy and way catchy and the amount of solos was unexpected but awesome (as of 2015 only one of those girls with a solo is still a KSS).  Now, I’m not sure why Ten Made Nobore! was tacked on besides the possibility that this is a DVD single so both PVs are on it (Ten Made Nobore! was an indies single for the KSS and Juice=Juice simultaneously).  Overall not bad, but Oheso is the song to listen to.