Kurayami Monogatari

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ikimono-gakari – Kaze ga Fuiteiru July 18, 2012

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 7:00 am

Track Listing

  1. Kaze ga Fuiteiru
  2. Kaze ga Fuiteiru -instrumental-

1. Kaze ga Fuiteiru

I didn’t expect ikimono to get all grand and mighty with Kaze ga Fuiteiru which is over 7 and a half minutes long.  It starts with Kiyoe alone before the song actually opens up a bit more broadly.  I felt like when the guitars enter, I thought it was going to anthemic in style but seriously it feels like most of the A-sides from “Hajimari no Uta” as in it’s the typical ikimono mid-tempo song.  Add that it was longer than it should’ve been and you get a pretty boring and plain track (but I’m sure it’ll sell like hell on ORICON.

 

 

Honestly, I’m kind of tired of hearing ikimono-gakari doing these one-song singles because they could easily put a B-side on to cover up how bland Kaze ga Fuiteiru really is.  I mean I’m used to these songs back two eras ago but this is just tiring and making as long as it was was adding salt to the wound.  Yeah, it’s easy to say I just don’t like the song…

 

ikimono-gakari – Haru Uta April 24, 2012

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 7:40 pm

Track Listing

  1. Haru Uta
  2. Haru Uta -instrumental-

1. Haru Uta

Doesn’t feel like “NEWTRAL” has been out that long hahah…but ikimono continues to release those singles and Haru Uta might be just the only song on the release but it’s a pleasant song to listen to and fits the season of Spring very well.  A breezy arrangement and Kiyoe’s vocals just seem to make it a happy-go-lucky song.  It’s a nice song to smile to for sure.

 

 

Quickly getting into a new album era, Haru Uta is a bit unfortunate to be like “Kimi ga Iru” and “Arigatou” in the fact they have no B-sides to represent them either.  I will say this song has a lot charm going for it and I’m sure it’ll sell pretty well despite how empty the single really is.

 

ikimono-gakari – NEWTRAL February 29, 2012

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 9:53 am

Track Listing

  1. Aruite Ikou
  2. Warattetainda
  3. Itsudatte Bokura wa
  4. KISS KISS BANG BANG
  5. Ai ni Iku yo
  6. Chikyuu
  7. Sentimental Boyfriend
  8. Shiroi Diary
  9. Renshi
  10. NEW WORLD MUSIC
  11. Ai Kotoba
  12. Oyasumi

1. Aruite Ikou

Gotta love the fact that ikimono really wanted to get through most of the A-sides first on the album!  As the second single releasedm Aruite Ikou kicks things off quite lightly and is their best selling single of the era if I’m correct but ikimono’s ballads usually have that effect so I’m happy with this.  A bit long, but I loved Kiyoe’s sincerity in her voice, it just worked in her favor!

2. Warattetainda

A couple seconds longer than “Aruite Ikou”, Warattetainda is good being as long as it is because unlike the first track, this is actually upbeat and a lot more bright and fun to listen to.  Of course Kiyoe still sounds as lively as ever and she pulls a great performance here even though it’s been a while since this has been out.

3. Itsudatte Bokura wa

Fitting that Itsudatte Bokura wa would follow behind “Warattetainda” since they are both quite similar to one another.  Though I felt Kiyoe was being a little more daring with this song by hitting stronger notes and going a bit high there.  It’s definitely a favorite of the era (though there were no misses to begin with).  Fun song and loving the brass parts as well…good job here!

4. KISS KISS BANG BANG

Then we get a long stretch of new material from the trio starting with the album’s promotional song, KISS KISS BANG BANG which is even filled with more brass instruments and funky sounds that make it so exciting and lively!  Reminds me of “Kimagure Romantic” from two albums ago!  It’s got a bit of synths and once again you can tell Kiyoe was enjoying singing the song!  An early favorite on the album!

5. Ai ni Iku yo

Then the album comes to a halt going into our next song which is definitely a ballad.  I’m happy that it moves along in the song so it’s not like it suffers from the usual ballad problems.  It’s kind of one of those songs that would get BIG sales had it been a single so being said Ai ni Iku yo is actually nice to listen to!  Impressed even more towards the end…LOVE it!

6. Chikyuu

I was wondering when ikimono would actually pull one of their songs with a harmonica to be an album song and Chikyuu is representing that nicely.  Another slow song, I didn’t feel much for this one very much since it is mostly acoustic guitar and some low-laying strings.  It’s just floats on by in my ears.

7. Sentimental Boyfriend

At this point, I really wish the trio would get out of the ballad zone since it’s kind of putting me to sleep here.  Oh wait!  This song is a bit of tease now with that introduction.  Sentimental Boyfriend kind of turns into this acoustic mid-tempo track that’s got a bit of charm for it.  Kiyoe just sounds good here once again…dang I like this song too!

8. Shiroi Diary

For a title that means “White Diary”, it was surprising that it turns out that the song was going to be a ballad.  I do like the dramatics about the song that’s for sure but there’s not much else I can remember it by for right now…it just seems like good old ikimono-gakari if you catch my drift.

9. Renshi

At least things start to pick up again with Renshi which is probably the biggest surprise to the album.  First off, I’m surprised that the arrangement is all big band and quite bright.  Next thing is hearing Kiyoe singing in a deeper tone and then hitting these notes that I didn’t think she could pull off.  It’s just so out of their comfort zone but I loved this move and if they ever decide to move into a more jazzier setting and it’s like this…I’m ALL for it!!!

10. NEW WORLD MUSIC

It’s good that NEW WORLD MUSIC follows after “Renshi” since both songs are so different…though I have to say that NEW WORLD MUSIC is interesting because instead of a jazzy feel, we get a latin feel and I thought it made the song rather cute and such.  Though I did think Kiyoe stress her vocals a little bit here.  Still it’s my favorite A-side of the era here lol and once again a great follow-up after “Renshi”.

11. Ai Kotoba

After all that excitement and since we’re getting near the end of the album it’s obvious we were going to get more ballads.  Once again this’ll be memorable to the fans of their ballads while for me it’s alright but nothing I’ll be going back to.  I know it should sound amazing but that’s why “Ai ni Iku yo” is there haha.  Oh and by the way, longest song on the album XD.

12. Oyasumi

As the album’s final song, Oyasumi has a little more movement than “Ai Kotoba” that’s for sure but I’m pretty much continuing to kind of glaze over the song because it’s still a ballad hahah.  Though it’s charming and I like the arrangement of strings and acoustic guitar with a little keyboard here and there.  Kind of like a Disney song but less dramatic hahah.

Tracks Recommended

  • Renshi
  • Ai ni Iku yo
  • NEW WORLD MUSIC
  • KISS KISS BANG BANG
  • Itsudatte Bokura wa

Song of Avoidance

  • Chikyuu

 

Wow, I was pleasantly surprised by ikimono’s 5th album.  While I did like “Hajimari no Uta” it was piled with so many ballads that I felt overly tired after listening to it.  With NEWTRAL, it seems they breathed new life to their music and I was impressed with majority of the songs even moreso with the A-sides and certain album tracks.  It also does come with a second disc…but it’s just merely a live CD of their older tracks,  This is definitely *RECOMMENDED*

 

ikimono-gakari – Itsudatte Bokura wa January 18, 2012

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 3:06 am

Track Listing

  1. Itsudatte Bokura wa
  2. Akai Kasa
  3. Itsudatte Bokura wa -instrumental-
  4. Akai Kasa -instrumental-

1. Itsudatte Bokura wa

I’m enjoying ikimono’s more upbeat songs as of recent and with their A-side for Itsudatte Bokura wa.  It sounds really happy but not to the point where it’s just happy happy.  I’m loving Kiyoe’s enthusiasm the most of the song as she gives a rather great performance.  Even throwing brass in the mix helped the song give more color!  Impressed…they haven’t disappointed me at all in the era.

2. Akai Kasa

While it isn’t as energetic as “Itsudatte Bokura wa”, Akai Kasa is still upbeat and has a rather happy flow to it that made me sway my head back and forth.  However, it doesn’t have a very memorable sound to it and kind of seems forgetful (though it does remind me of other songs of theirs).  Not their best, but certainly not their worst.

 

 

As the third and final single representing their upcoming “NEWTRAL” album, ikimono-gakari still is releasing rather good A-sides and with Itsudatte Bokura wa, it’s one of their best upbeat songs but I’m not sure where it lies since all their A-sides were impressive.  Akai Kasa is alright, but their B-sides usually aren’t all that great….hmmm weird LOL.

 

ikimono-gakari – Aruite Ikou November 22, 2011

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 5:12 am

Track Listing

  1. Aruite Ikou
  2. my rain
  3. Aruite Ikou -instrumental-
  4. my rain -instrumental-

1. Aruite Ikou

Well, I guess it seems we’re back into ballad-land with Aruite Ikou.  When I finished my first listen through, it felt like something that would fit the holiday season because it has jingle bells, bells period, and strings to mix up with the usual sound of their ballads so it works to a better degree.  I mean it’s a bit long since it’s 6 minutes long, but it’s still a relaxing song and I could see myself drinking hot chocolate by the fire hahah.

2. my rain

The B-side of the single is more upbeat and more of the classic ikimono-style which is including harmonica ^_^.  I actually kind of liked this song since it’s mostly an acoustic guitar tune.  Kiyoe’s vocals sound more refined and pretty than in “Aruite Ikou” but the thing is is that simplicity can only go so far hah.  I liked it, but I’m sure it won’t be a lot of people’s taste.

 

 

ikimono-gakari’s second single might not be as exciting as “Waratteitanda/NEW WORLD MUSIC”, but this is a good second single.  Aruite Ikou pulls us back down to what they’ve done the best with ballads and this is pretty good.  More than most of the “Hajimari no Uta” ballads.  my rain to me was pretty nice for being acoustic and all that…but those kind of songs bored many people in older eras.  Not a bad release tbh.

 

ikimono-gakari – Warattetainda/NEW WORLD MUSIC July 19, 2011

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 7:39 pm

Track Listing

  1. Warattetainda
  2. NEW WORLD MUSIC
  3. Warattetainda -instrumental-
  4. NEW WORLD MUSIC -instrumental-

1. Warattetainda

While it hasn’t been that long since we’ve had an upbeat song ikimono-gakari, Warattetainda sounds so refreshing for some reason even though “Kimi ga Iru” was nearly the same way.  Kiyoe sounds like her normal self and doesn’t really go and stress her vocals which is a plus.  I do wish there was something a bit louder about the track, but this isn’t bad at all and is a great song for ikimono to return to.

2. NEW WORLD MUSIC

Two upbeat songs?!?  This is something foreign for the trio!  NEW WORLD MUSIC did a much better job at catching my attention, especially with the whole latin vibe I get from it (partially because of the brass that’s included).  Kiyoe also sounds great and more lively as well.  Definitley the preferred song off this single!

 

 

After ikimono-gakari took a rather short hiatus after the release of the best-of, they return to the music scene with a great single in Warattetainda/NEW WORLD MUSIC.  It beats the past two singles simply by actually having more than one song and BOTH tracks are upbeat tunes in which the trio excels a lot in.  Great single and a good beginning of an era.

 

ikimono-gakari – Kimi ga Iru August 3, 2010

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 4:55 pm

Track Listing

  1. Kimi ga Iru
  2. Kimi ga Iru -instrumental-

1. Kimi ga Iru

I’m so happy we have an upbeat A-side this time.  At first I thought it was going to be a ballad with Kiyoe opening the song like that, but when she finishes the rest of the trio joins in and I love the fact it’s happy and light-hearted (since the rest of the era has been ballads).  It might not be “Joyful” or “Kimagure Romantic” exciting, but it’s still enough to enjoy ^_^

 

 

Once again, I’m finding myself disappointed in the fact that this is the second single in a row without a B-side.  At least Kimi ga Iru is the best single of the era so far clearly because it’s not a ballad and I was starting to get bored with em.  Album time yet?

 

ikimono-gakari – Arigatou May 4, 2010

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 5:18 am

Track Listing

  1. Arigatou
  2. Arigatou -instrumental-

1. Arigatou

Hey!  Something that isn’t slow and boring!  Arigatou actually sounds good from the trio.  Ok, so there isn’t any harmonica to make it perfect, but I’m alright with what we got.  I think Kiyoe sounds really pretty in the song and mixed with the usual fare of instruments, it’s good.  The only thing that got me was that this is a pretty long song but at least it doesn’t drag and has a lot of great climaxes.  Good A-side.

 

 

While Arigatou is a great song, the single feels really empty for an ikimono-gakari single.  I mean one song and it’s instrumental?  That’s just not good enough for me.  I guess it does even the fact that “Nostalgia” had a B-side and a rearrangement of a past track, but c’mon…really guys?

 

ikimono-gakari – Nostalgia February 28, 2010

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 8:19 pm

Track Listing

  1. Nostalgia
  2. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
  3. YELL -Gasshou Tsuki-
  4. Nostalgia -instrumental-

1. Nostalgia

Wow, if “Cosmos” wasn’t enough, Nostalgia is also a re-arrangement from their debut mini-album, “Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshiraemashita…” and this is much like their previous releases in the way that it’s a ballad of sorts.  Though unlike those songs, Nostalgia sounds oddly strong for them because it isn’t as foreboding or as boring as the singles were.  Kiyoe’s vocals also sound a lot better as well since she isn’t straining too much. 

2. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo

Kind of basking in the limelight of “Kimagure Romantic”, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo has this very relaxing upbeat nature to counter “Nostalgia’s” more calm exterior and this song definitely worked itself up to me because it’s not boring nor it isn’t like too out of range for Kiyoe and of course there’s a harmonica present.  So far I’m liking this quite a bit more than “Nostalgia”.

3. YELL -Gasshou Tsuki-

It’s pretty cool to see that YELL gets somewhat rearranged as well on this single.  I’m not sure what it really means on the single, but I like the more live-like sound I get from the single.  It’s simpler overall and Kiyoe sounds nice otherwise so that’s a plus.  Near the end, there’s a choir added in the background to make it more broader than the original cut and I like this new addition.  Good job!

 

 

While I’m not fully sure that Nostalgia is a first in the era or just something to bridge the time gap before starting up one because of Nostalgia rearranged story.  I do like the single however and it does fix the things that “Hajimari no Uta’s” singles kind of lacked in and that’s music that isn’t half-assed or boring.  Hope we get more singles like this in future.

 

ikimono-gakari – Hajimari no Uta December 22, 2009

Filed under: ikimono-gakari — solarblade @ 3:00 am

Track Listing

  1. Hajimari no Uta ~Tooi Sora Sun de~
  2. Yume Kendai
  3. Joyful
  4. YELL
  5. Nakumonka
  6. Mahiru no Tsuki
  7. Hotaru no Hikari
  8. Cosmos
  9. Futari -Album version-
  10. Tenohira no Oto
  11. How to make it
  12. Mirai Wakusei
  13. Ashita e Mukau Kaerimichi

1. Hajimari no Uta ~Tooi Sora Sun de~

It’s really unfair for me to have to listen to so many ballads from the group because it’s really hard to care for them when they aren’t exciting or anything special.  The first track, Hajimari no Uta sadly falls into this category.  It’s a little more upbeat than the previous ballads and there’s strings that make it a softer blow, but besides that, nothing caught my attention…not even Kiyoe.

2. Yume Kendai

Luckily things get sort of better with Yume Kendai since it’s more upbeat and features the harmonica and synths together.  I already enjoy Kiyoe’s vocals a whole lot more than before and it sounds powerful.  The melody is lighthearted and fun which was what the era was lacking in the singles (save for “Joyful”).

3. Joyful

Which is fitting because Joyful is full of fun awesomeness.  It’s even more peppier than “Yume Kendai” and Kiyoe is showing a great amount of energy and at points makes me wonder if this was an ikimono-gakari song or a school food punishment song since they both have a tendency to make fun songs.  Definitely one of the best A-sides of the era.

4. YELL

YELL being the primary A-side, was a surprise because it’s a ballad rather than being an explosive song like “Joyful”.  I wanna like, I really do, but “Futari” did come first and this just seemed to be another round of it.  I mean take out Yoshiki’s vocals from “Futari” and you basically get this song.  Easy to say that I just didn’t feel for this song.

5. Nakumonka

I know when it’s a bad idea to stick the songs that roughly sound like each other next to each other.  At least the good thing about Nakumonka was that there were no strings to really fully connect with “YELL” until later in the song, after that, it felt like deja vu.  Good thing though is that Kiyoe isn’t sounding awkward as much as she was in “YELL”.

6. Mahiru no Tsuki

I know I shouldn’t be complaining but I’m already getting tired of the ballads already and while Mahiru no Tsuki somewhat makes a change to the music by adding more of something, it still feels rather dragged on for me.  Still, it’s actually a lot more profound and stronger as an ikimono song than both the previous songs.

7. Hotaru no Hikari

The anime song of the era, Hotaru no Hikari really does have a strong anime feel to it, but that’s because it’s tied into Naruto: Shippuden so I can’t really hate on it since I usually like the series’ songs.  It’s pretty upbeat and it breaks the dragging of the ballads so I enjoyed hearing this song at the point of the album.

8. Cosmos

Oddly enough, Cosmos is really interesting as a song all-around.  I love the beginning with the harmonica solo and then it just opens to this mysterious pop/rock tune.  It’s really an amazing song and Kiyoe is just amazing here, her vocals were really strong and full of emotion.  I think I’m in love with this song.  Interesting to note by the way, Cosmos is a self-cover from their original song of the first name off their debut indies mini-album, “Makoto ni Senetsu Nagara First Album wo Koshiraemashita…”

9. Futari -Album version-

So we get a new version of Futari, the era’s first A-side and honestly I kind of like this version more than the original because it just has a stronger arrangement and has a nice opening instead of starting immediatly with Kiyoe’s opening line.  Yoshiki is still present in the song as well given it a more profound sound.  Best ballad of the era…funny how that works huh?

10. Tenohira no Oto

To me, Tenohira no Oto goes back to the group when they released great music and oddly enough Yoshiki and Hotaka are actually singing majority of the lines of the song while Kiyoe acts as the main in the chorus and I was pleasantly surprised to find a track where the guys take over for a song.  We need more of these kind of songs and not just Kiyoe by herself!

11. How to make it

Stand up and clap your hands everyone! is the feeling I get with the song.  It’s kind of a light-hearted song and it’s kind of cute at the same time.  Kiyoe is singing particularly fast here in the song but it’s enjoyable.  It’s funny that it’s just so chill and free-spirited.  Nice song.

12. Mirai Wakusei

While I was happy they started to drift away from the ballads, we sadly fall back in with Mirai Wakusei and once again I’m getting another deja vu moment with this being a little bit like “Mahiru no Tsuki”.  I didn’t really enjoy this song much and feels tacked on the album to be the filler song.  I’ll admit the chorus is catchy as hell though.

13. Ashita e Mukou Kaerimichi

Not surprising that ikimono-gakari would end off the album with another ballad and a pretty slow one at that.  Unlike the other ballads where there’s a grandiose arrangement, Ashita e Mukou Kaerimichi takes it and overloads on it.  There’s beautiful passages of strings and Kiyoe together.  Acoustic guitar has an actual minor role in the song so it’s good they backed off on that.  Then once the drums come in, I’m instantly bored…didn’t enjoy where it went…

Tracks Recommended

  • Cosmos
  • Yume Kendai
  • Tenohira no Oto
  • Futari -Album version-
  • Joyful

Song of Avoidance

  • Mirai Wakusei

Where people have said that ikimono-gakari’s album tracks are mostly worse than the singles released, I honestly felt that the album tracks this time were better than the released stuff.  I honestly didn’t like the fact the ballads weren’t different enough to make a true difference, but they were one or two that I did like.  Clearly shows ikimono-gakari excels way better at upbeat songs than ballads.  Not a bad album, but could’ve been so much better.