Kurayami Monogatari

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Juice=Juice – SEXY SEXY/Naite Ii yo/Vivid Midnight April 5, 2018

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 8:51 pm

sexysexy

Track Listing

  1. SEXY SEXY
  2. Naite Ii yo
  3. Vivid Midnight
  4. SEXY SEXY (Instrumental)
  5. Naite Ii yo (Instrumental)
  6. Vivid Midnight (Instrumental)

1. SEXY SEXY

Kicking the single off, we get SEXY SEXY and boy does it seem to give a new side to Juice=Juice that we haven’t seen since “Black Butterfly” and “Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no KISS”.  It’s also an interesting sight to see Yanamin actually lead the song considering that she’s the furthest of being considered sexy in Juice=Juice.  Granted, we get to hear a lot from the other members especially Sayuki, Ruru, and Tomoko who gave powerful performances here.  I definitely dug this track and really shows the level this group has (especially after adding Nanami & Ruru)

2. Naite Ii yo

Of course, I wasn’t surprised that one of the A-sides would’ve been a ballad here and that’s where Naite Ii yo and it seems pretty Kanatomo centered, but it’s nice to see Aarii and Yukanyan get some extra spotlight as well. Unfortunately, the song for me kind of goes nowhere for me and it sounds pretty standard otherwise.

3. Vivid Midnight

The last track, Vivid Midnight is an odd track for them, but it seems really intriguing (primarily due to the fact that a lot of people involved in the track’s creation has made music in K-pop) which gives this song a slight K-popish feel to it which is nice, but also kind of unusual for the single.  I do like that Karin and Ruru dominate a lot of the song, but what kind of kills it for me is this high-pitched arpeggio synth that happens in the choruses.

 

 

As the actual first physical single to include Juice=Juice’s newest members, Nanami Yanagawa & Ruru Danbara, I thought this single was OK.  I think the biggest win here was SEXY SEXY because it’s true to its form and it sounds hypnotic a lot of the times giving a nice sensual feel.  Then comes Vivid Midnight which is fun and bright but it doesn’t seem to connect with me personally (plus that arpeggio is annoying af!).  Finally there’s boring Naite Ii yo…just there and blah.  I hope an album comes from them soon though (especially with 5 unreleased songs in their repertoire).

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Juice=Juice – Fiesta! Fiesta! August 24, 2017

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 4:04 am

fiestafiesta

Track Listing

  1. Fiesta! Fiesta!
  2. Wonderful World (English Ver.)
  3. Fiesta! Fiesta! (Instrumental)

1. Fiesta! Fiesta!

Huh, I wasn’t expecting Juice=Juice to explode onto the single with a latin-esque party song!  If anything after “KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!”, I was ready for the group to bring more energy to their songs and have good a time.  Though what’s bigger is that the group grew two members further in Ruru Danbara and Country Girls’ Nanami Yanagawa!  Right from the start it seems Ruru is gonna charge in headfirst with powerful vocals!  Yanamin does have her score as well and she sounds more or less the same as she does in CG…I’m also quite surprised that Aarii had so many lines too!  Honestly, this song is really catchy and stands out!

2. Wonderful World (English Ver.)

Though I was dreading seeing the coupling song was going to be an English take on one of my least favorite Juice=Juice songs.  It doesn’t help that their accents are a LOT more heavier than Momusu doing “One and Only”, but I feel like I can understand some of what they’re saying.  Actually I don’t think I hear Yanamin or Ruru here so it might just be the original 5 singing this again.  Still not a fan and the whole last half is a bit of a vocal trainwreck to my ears, but it is what it is.

 

 

With H!P going through some big changes, some of the releases have been relegated to digital releases as is the case for Juice=Juice’s Fiesta! Fiesta! (“Goal” and “Jouro” did release, but I skipped them up as they were just the track).  As the first single with new members Ruru and Nanami, they did pretty well and the group gave us a fun song to cherish while the Summer season starts to close shop.  I only think Wonderful World got its new version because they’re set to go on a World Tour soon, so it makes sense, but I still don’t like the song much.  Either way, not bad…makes me wonder how the 7-nin will do for future releases!

 

Juice=Juice – Jidanda Dance/Feel! Kanjiru yo April 19, 2017

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 2:35 pm

jidandadance

Track Listing

  1. Jidanda Dance
  2. Feel! Kanjiru yo
  3. Jidanda Dance (Instrumental)
  4. Feel! Kanjiru yo (Instrumental)

1. Jidanda Dance

It’s been a while since Juice=Juice has really done a goofy song so when I begun listening to Jidanda Dance, I was happily surprised at how funky and funny the song came off (especially the hooks it was passiong off).  I was also impressed with how much more Yuka and Akari have been pushed as vocalists.  Throw in a random section for Ondo-styled music and it’s a bit bizarre but it definitely stuck out to me a LOT!  Great A-side for the group!

2. Feel! Kanjiru yo

Though I can’t quite say the same for the other A-side for the single.  Unlike the bizarre upbeat and fun style of the previous track, Feel! Kanjiru yo is the opposite, a slow-paced ballad with a lot of synth horns *sigh*.  I don’t know, this just feels plain and slightly generic but considering that Juice=Juice hasn’t done a ballad since “Tsuzuiteiku STORY” and that was just a blah (even when there’s a sitar thrown in the arrangement).

Juice=Juice return with a new single and I’m half & half with it.  I really did enjoy Jidanda Dance a whole lot and seeing Juice=Juice with their hair down and having immense fun (like they did in “KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!”) is always a treat to hear from the quintet.  Plus the music was off the wall and just left a smile on me.  Feel! Kanjiru yo though is just bland all over and really doesn’t do any favors for them as a ballad (couldn’t we have gotten “Giniro no Telepathy” instead?…or any of the other 4 unreleased songs they have…

 

Juice=Juice – Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~/KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!/Ashita Yarou ga Bakayarou October 17, 2016

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 4:06 pm

dreamroad

Track Listing

  1. Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~
  2. KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!
  3. Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou
  4. Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~ (Instrumental)
  5. KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!! (Instrumental)
  6. Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou (Instrumental)

1. Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~

Opening the single, Dream Road brings us back to some EDM sounds that Juice=Juice usually worked well with.  Though the tune is far from being just a straight up dance track as it feels like a ballad when you take out the synths.  Add on the saxophones lines and it sticks out to me quite a bit!  Though the problems are far more noticeable to me from the out of place bridge section and the choice to use a fade-out was just not a good idea.  Beyond those problems, I really enjoyed the song!

2. KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!!

So the 2nd A-side was a nice surprise as they said it was a bit of a nod to Michael Jackson’s music back in the 80s.  It also helped that it was produced by both Hyadain & DANCEMAN!  I really do like the vibe of the track and each of the members sound lively and alive (albeit a little flat in places like Karin and Tomoko).  There’s just a lot of excitement in this song and I have to say I approve of this a lot!

3. Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou

Looks like ex-ANGERME’s Kanon Fukuda strikes again as the lyricist of J=J’s 3rd A-side on this single and honestly I guess I might’ve been spoiled by the two previous tracks, but I thought this was the weakest of the three.  Unlike the songs before, Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou is a bit more rockin’ and a little more on the edge (like something Buono! would get).  Still, the song feels lacking and I myself felt like it was just an extra album song that got saved for a single (to me that is).

 

 

As Juice=Juice’s 2nd single of the year, I felt this one trumped over their last one “Next is you!/Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai” by a huge margin (include “Otona no Jijou” as well).  I do think the star of the show is by far KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!! with its disco vibes and overall fun atmosphere.  Dream Road was 2nd due to my love for EDM, though it had some weird things that didn’t make sense to me and Ashita Yarou wa Bakayarou rounds out the back…just something about it doesn’t work with me either.  Overall a decent single and not sure why it took so long between the singles…

 

NEXT YOU – Otona no Jijou April 13, 2016

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 4:51 am

otonanojijou

Track Listing

  1. Otona no Jijou

1. Otona no Jijou

I was happy to see that Tsunku got involved with Otona no Jijou and yet unexpectedly sounds like something he’d do with the EDM arrangement.  I do feel like it reminds me of something that would’ve came out back in 2014 as it reminds me of Berryz’ “Sayonara Usotsuki na Watashi” with the beats and sawblade synths found throughout.  There’s also seem to be a lot of Karin and Sayuki here despite that Akari is the lead in the track.  Still it’s a solid track.

 

 

I’m wondering why this was only a digital single and not part of a single itself (or a part of “Next is you!/Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja Nai” because I feel like by itself, it feels like it needed something to pair with.  Otona no Jijou though is a pretty good song and carries the Juice=Juice sound nicely!

 

NEXT YOU / Juice=Juice – Next is you!/Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai January 28, 2016

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 3:55 am

nextisyou

Track Listing

  1. Next is you!
  2. Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai
  3. Next is you! (Instrumental)
  4. Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai (Instrumental)

1. Next is you!

As the leading song and currently being used for the group’s TV drama, Budokan.  Next is you! seems to be like the theme song.  It does seem like Tsunku was involved in the song which is pretty familiar to my ears and seems typical.  As per usual, Karin, Tomoko, and Sayuki seem to lead the song which is pretty much the norm for the group.  Though I can’t help but think it’s a bit weak for the group coming after their last single and the promotional tracks from their album.

2. Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai

As the other song credited to Juice=Juice, I definitely was enjoying this song despite that it almost sounds a LOT like “Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru” with the brass and guitars.  Unlike the other A-side, this has some interesting levels of vocals and we see a lot more of Aarii in the song.  I think it’s one of the weaker A-sides, but it’s definitely got some magic in it.

 

 

So to explain, NEXT YOU is basically Juice=Juice as they are portrayed on their show Budokan (funny though that Erina Mano is playing the 6th member that leaves shortly after formation).  Moving on, after having almost a year without a single released by the group (though did release their first album), their first single in 2016 is kind of average at best.  Neither song really stuck out to me in anyway, except the possibility of Karada Dake ga Otona ni Nattan ja nai being somewhat catchy in arrangement.  Not sure what the year will have for the group, but here’s hoping for them to be a little more active.

 

Juice=Juice – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Koisuru Hello Kitty” Original Soundtrack November 2, 2015

Filed under: Juice=Juice — solarblade @ 8:41 pm

koisuruhellokitty

Track Listing

  1. HELLO!
  2. Ningen no Sekai e!
  3. Diary
  4. Mittsu no Lulu (Omocha no Kuni ver.)
  5. Shooting Star
  6. Itsumo no Asa
  7. Nakayoki Koto wa Utsukushii Kana
  8. Todoke Todoke Todoke!
  9. Mittsu no Lulu (Ningen ver.)
  10. Ningen no Sekai
  11. Anata ga Wakaranai
  12. Tsubasa Ochiteku
  13. & YOU
  14. Only choice
  15. Todoke Todoke Todoke! (Reprise)
  16. Honto no Kimochi
  17. Good bye Kitty
  18. Ano no Ko Okage
  19. HELLO! (Reprise)

1. HELLO!

Opening the album up, we get HELLO! and yes I bolded 5 of the songs because I’ve reviewed the mini-album.  It opens up nice enough with Karin before the fanfare and cuteness overload takes over the song.  Now unlike the other stageplay albums, there’s a lot exposition and general spoken dialogue which does take me out of the loop with certain songs.  HELLO! though is nice and the slower section with Karin is actually really nice for some reason.  As such, it’s a good opening song, but I’m not sure I’ll remember it after the review (again).

2. Ningen no Sekai e!

Like the bumbling and goofy songs from “LILIUM”, it seems to follow on Koisuru Hello Kitty.  I do like Karin’s intro lines as she has the best cutesy voice.  I think I also hear Yuka singing as well which is pretty cool, but that upbeat section is cut short before spoken dialogue happens.  Though I was thinking it was more of a short song, but in reality, it’s about 5 minutes long :/.  The tune even changes directions throughout and gets more upbeat and poppy but then slows down again.  It’s a little too busy and changes way too frequently to generate a good impression…

3. Diary

At least the next track is short!  Being a Karin solo with some light instrumentation that incorporates harp.  As lullaby-like the song is and the pleasant fact that some of the other girls act as back-up is sweet, I still don’t find the song very much interesting.

4. Mittsu no Lulu (Omacha no Kuni ver.)

After more dialogue, the next track, Mittsu no Lulu begins with some more Sayubee and she gets a song that’s a bit similar with “Ningen no Sekai e!” and once again the kind of bumbling arrangement is just bothersome.  However, I do enjoy Sayuki’s vocals here but I’m not sure if she’s trying to purposely be mature.  I think the fact that Akari, Yuka, and I think Karin doesn’t add much to the song either.  Making the ending be a short dialogue with light acoustic guitar didn’t much help either.  Yeah no thanks.

5. Shooting Star

The second song from the mini-album, I actually liked Shooting Star and for me worked as the promotional tune too.  It’s definitely not the cutest song on the release and I think that’s what worked best for me.  Being a mid-tempo tune with some acoustic guitars at the forefront, I actually enjoyed it.  Yeah, it’s a catchy song too (could’ve been a decent album song).  Honestly, it sounds like an ending theme though haha.

6. Itsumo no Asa

Next up, Itsumo no Asa comes in continuing with some happy-go-lucky acoustics and piano and fortunately Tomoko is singing most of it and of course she sounds great and the upbeat feelings is actually nice to hear (almost giving a nice summer breeze kind of feeling).  It’s definitely an early favorite from the stageplay for sure.  Though I could do without dialogue thrown in.

7. Nakayoki Koto wa Utsukushii Kana

More of that kiddy bounce returns for our next track and funny enough Tomoko is once again at the front and she starts of really strong.  Unlike the breezy sound of “Itsumo no Asa”, this song more off shown Tomoko in a brighter and happier mood and she’s got a voice to have some brightness.  Fun song!

8. Todoke Todoke Todoke!

Another returning song, Todoke Todoke Todoke! is a stark difference from the previous two tracks as it has a more dramatic sound and once again Tomoko has such a powerful voice, but it contrasts with Karin’s girlier voice.  Though it is plagued with a lot of dialogue so it throws emotional value out the window for me.  It’s a good duet song between the two for sure and has a lot of oomph where most of the stageplay lacks it.

9. Mittsu no Lulu (Ningen ver.)

Seems we get a repeat song here with Mittsu no Lulu.  It feels like the stageplay went more of a serious tone after the previous songs so it makes sense this song sounds deeper.  While I’m not entirely sure who’s singing beyond Sayubee…I thnk Aarii and Yukanyan are present too.  Likewise, Sayuki’s vocals are crisp and strong to listen and the groove is pretty solid!

10. Ningen no Sekai

Opening with a lone piano and Karin singing, I thought it was going to be a cuter ballad, but it’s thrown out the window when Tomoko enters the picture and the arrangement goes back to that bouncy poppy sound that’s prevalent here.  It does slow down again, but that’s when it begins to just drag towards the end unfortuantely.

11. Anata ga Wakaranai

Now this song was my favorite from the mini-album due to its more serious sound and it definitely worked because it was such a tune to include Karin, Tomoko, and Sayuki.  To be quite fair, disregarding the dialogue, this would’ve been great on “LILIUM” for sure.  Even Akari and Yuka get a solo here which adds to how powerful the song is.  I definitely enjoyed this a lot!

12. Tsubasa Ochiteku

Following it up with another ballad, Sayuki’s character sounds heartbroken and the emotion is oozing in this song.  While I do like how it turns into this really cool ballad with acoustic guitar and strings/piano and just adds to the emotions all over this song.  It’s a good song if you wanna hear how talented Sayuki is.

13. & YOU

While I am starting to get bored with ballads being stacked next to each other, I do like that we finally get something with Akari and Yuka and while in the main songs they aren’t the most promoted members, this shows more potential for both of them even if this song is really vanilla and plain just being piano & strings.  It is a light song though so it just flies over by my head.

14. Only choice

Yup, ballads aplenty it seems and Karin starts up with some dialogue and then gets into the song.  While I do think the sweeping strings and piano melody is a lot more intriguing than in “& YOU” for sure, I still don’t think it rides high for me beyond some good dramatics from Karin herself.  It’s just once again nothing I’d fully invest coming back to.

15. Todoke Todoke Todoke! (Reprise)

Seems like we get another ballad but it is between Tomoko and Karin and uses Todoke Todoke Todoke! as its basis.  I do like violas here and it has a hopeful kind of arrangement and hearing certain parts of the melody of TTT! is pleasant.  I will say that first time rolling through this, I was about to pass out from boredom…

16. Honto no Kimochi

Which didn’t help that this song was next.  As it was my least favorite from the mini-album, it’s another goddamn ballad.  While it has a little more push than the last couple of tracks, this song still doesn’t do much for me.  I will say that Karin gave a good performance, but I just couldn’t really get myself into it after the buttload of similar songs.

17. Good bye Kitty

Seems like Karin gets another ballad solo but this has some harp and acoustic guitar together.  I have to say, I just wasn’t here at this point and unfortunately Karin doesn’t really make the song any better as her voice takes on a lighter sound.  At least it is a shorter piece at nearly 2 minutes.  Probably the most forgettable of the bunch.

18. Ano no Ko Okage

*sigh* Does this ever get better?  While I do think it is about saying goodbye to Hello Kitty (or something like that), Ano no Ko Okage has mostly a piano arrangement which gives a somber but bright feel.  However, the song doesn’t even begin until midway.  We also seem to get all 5 members involved which is great, but yeah meh…

19. HELLO! (Reprise)

Then it all comes to a close with a reprisal of HELLO! (which opened the stageplay), but it sounds like it’s repeating the same thing since they’re at the same time length so really it might just be a repeat with little changes overall.  I actually think maybe it’s different vocalists and lyrics.  It did try to wake me up, but I was like oh, I’ve heard this already…

Tracks Recommended

  • Anata ga Wakaranai
  • Shooting Star
  • Nakayoki Koto wa Utsukushii Kana
  • Itsumo no Asa
  • Mittsu no Lulu (Ningen ver.)

Song of Avoidance

  • Good bye Kitty

Not even gonna lie, I figured I wasn’t going to like the songs from Koisuru Hello Kitty for the most part after reviewing the mini-album (even though the mini had probably the best choices).  I think the big problem was was that second half of the release being entirely ballads which killed my interest.  Though the rest had its issues like too much spoken dialogue in songs, it actually took me out of numerous songs (weird that it is the only one of the stageplays of recent to do this).  Yeah, I’m definitely not gonna listen to this in full again >.<