Kurayami Monogatari

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Kana Nishino – Always November 4, 2012

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 6:43 pm

Track Listing

  1. Always
  2. Happy Song
  3. Love you, Miss you

1. Always

It hasn’t been a full two months and Kanayan releases a new A-side in Always.  Unlike most of her older ballads, Always is slightly different by using acoustic guitar and strings along with some guitars as well which is great putting making it stand out.  However, like “Watashitachi”, it doesn’t resonate well with me and I only remember the arrangement and not Kana’s vocals.  It’s OK, but I’m certain it’s not one of her best songs.

2. Happy Song

I’ve gotten so used to Kanayan’s pattern to her singles that it’s just second hand now.  Happy Song is the happier and joyous tune and while it feels like it’s almost close to “Distance” in style, it’s not a bad song since I found myself enjoying Kana’s voice a lot!  It’s just light and pretty and fun to dance to.

3. Love you, Miss you

As the single’s second B-side, Love you, Miss you starts off lightly but quickly moves into more of a solid synth track but unlike her previous second B-sides, the song isn’t as heavy as I was expecting but it also kind of reminds me of “Distance” as well >.<.  That said, I don’t like as much as her bangers which are usually found here.

 

 

I think Kana should take a break because like I said, it hasn’t been two months after “Love Place” and we’re getting this.  Always is OK, but I don’t think it has longevity like most of her singles do.  Always is a nice ballad but forgettable and both Happy Song and Love you, Miss you are kind of like split “Distance” clones…I wish this single had a banger tbh…

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Kana Nishino – Love Place September 9, 2012

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 10:31 am

Track Listing

  1. *Prologue* ~Welcome~
  2. Watashitachi
  3. Day 7
  4. GO FOR IT!!
  5. Be Strong
  6. Happy Half Year!
  7. Love Song
  8. FANTASY
  9. Is this love?
  10. Honey
  11. SAKURA, I love you?
  12. Tatoe Donna ni…
  13. kiss & hug
  14. My Place
  15. *Epilogue* ~Love Place~

1. *Prologue* ~Welcome~

As like the other Kanayan albums, we have a prologue to get through first and of course it’s a pretty little intro.  It’s really nice and hearing Kana sing fully is really pleasant and sets the tone for a good portion of the album.  Pleasant, light, and just all around sweet to listen to….I enjoyed this intro a lot.

2. Watashitachi

Unfortunately, it leads into the worst A-side of this era.  I really had a hard time trying to remember what this song sounds like because honestly, these songs have been done numerous times by her and this is just straight up bland!  I mean her voice is nice yes, but the song is so uneventful and near 6 minutes which just draaaaags.  Yeah this is not a good way to start the album.

3. Day 7

Hahah, what a positive intro to our first new song!  Day 7 is bouncy brightness that decided to resonate with me in a nice way.  I still do feel as if the song is kind of borderlining bland just a smidge but Kana keeps the song above expectations and I kind of found myself bouncing to the beat of the song.  Not bad!

4. GO FOR IT!!

Then we get into the 4th A-side released and this kind of amps up the peppy and bright factor to an extreme.  The good thing about this song is that since I’ve reviewed the single, this song is slightly growing on me which is always a step in the right direction.  I still think the other two A-sides are still better, this is nearby ^_^.  Get it!

5. Be Strong

As the song chosen to promote the album, Be Strong was a good choice, not the best one that could’ve pushed the album better, but it’s a nice tune to listen to.  I like the piano being used a lot underneath the synths and junk.  The chorus is a little bit disappointing and doesn’t really seem to fill the song fully…which could’ve easily avoided if it had more power behind it…but not bad of a track. 

6. Happy Half Year!

OF ALL THE B-SIDES WOMAN, WHY DID YOU PICK THE WORST ONE?!?  I swear, Happy Half Year! is like punishment for the fans or something.  I don’t know why she chooses such poor B-sides for the album.  Coming from “Watashitachi”, this song kind of runs with the happy and upbeat tunes likewise before it and I just don’t like it.  This was a bit too cookie-cutter R&B/pop and I just kind of loathed the hell out of this.  The good thing…her vocals…she sounds so consistent and the higher notes she hit flawlessly…but this song is just cheesy.

7. Love Song

Getting into a nice line of new tracks, we start with the ballad, Love Song.  As it’s a ballad and not in the way like “Watahsitachi”, Love Song is kind of more quieter and easier of a listen altogether.  A very flowing and beautiful track from Kanayan.  Might come off as a bit too lame and doesn’t do much, but I like it for some reason…pretty little tune.

8. FANTASY

Things finally seem to pick up with FANTASY which is pretty unique on the album.  I mean it’s still pretty much an R&B track at its core, but this song is fun and has some interesting melodies, courtesey of the strings and some random knick-knacks here and there.  I can sense there’s a little sense of burlesque/show girl kind of deal going on but it’s a little muddled and kind of comes off as this diet coke try at that kind of setting IMO.

9. Is this love?

I was starting to wonder where the awesome Kanayan club banger was and is seems Is this love? would be the closest thing to that setting.  To me it’s kind of more towards “MAYBE” since there’s a lot more synth involvement and the song is bright and upbeat.  I still love the hooks in the bridge because she like ~K-A-N-A, Tell me what’s your name~…it’s so cute and it works!  Of course some people ended up downloading a bootleg because on some downloads, there’s a horribly (but hilarious) chinese rap section THAT ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THERE…if you have that…then you need to find the version without that mess. 

10. Honey

The fun continues with Honey which to me sounds like a reach back to her last album with the slight island-y pop vibe.  Or a mix of that and “Distance”.  I really like this song for some reason and it just has the theme of summer quite right here.  Definitely a little nudge to the past but I liked it for the most part ^_^

11. SAKURA, I love you?

Then we move into SAKURA, I love you? which was the second A-side of the era and I felt like this suited coming after “Honey” since they both kind of give off this summer vibe but this track isn’t really based around the season.  It’s groovy and I just love the flow of the song so much…no wonder why it’s the favorite of the era. 

12. Tatoe Donna ni…

Then we go back to the first of the era with Tatoe Donna ni… and I still find myself really enjoying this ballad (even more than newcomer “Love Song”).  After the previous track, this was actually my second favorite but that’s good for me since it made the transition to the song even sweeter.  It is a bit long like “Watashitachi” but unlike that hot mess, this actually worked since the song was engaging and Kanayan’s vocals were awesome!  Yeah, it’s that good!

13. kiss & hug

As we make our way closer to the end, kiss & hug keeps going at a slower pace which is nice.  Though the song kind of reminds me of “Be Strong” but without being too sparkly.  It’s another one of those songs where she’s done it before so its effect on me kind of flies over my head.  Though those super high notes were a little too much out of her range there lol.  It’s all right, but doesn’t have high merits from me.

14. My Place

As the final new track of the album I didn’t think I get the feel of Kingdom Hearts out of that intro (which seriously sounds like a theme from Twilight Town).  I actually think this stood out more to me than “Tatoe Donna ni…” oddly enough…then again the woodwinds and light atmosphere really worked its way around me and I just fell in love with it.  I definitely approve of seeing this and it just easily won me over.

15. *Epilogue* ~Love Place~

Like her previous albums have done, the album closes with a soft little ribbon wrap.  Like the previous track, it has a bit of a sparkly tone and it kind of goes back to the beginning with the same melody from Kanayan singing.  Though I’m a little annoyed at how she says ~love place~ as much as she does.  At least it ended on a good note!

Tracks Recommended

  • Is this love?
  • SAKURA, I love you?
  • My Place
  • Tatoe Donna ni…
  • Day 7

Song of Avoidance

  • Watashitachi

So here we are with Kanayan’s 4th album!  I’m kind of torn how I feel about the album.  I will say overall this is probably her best offering yet vocally which is pretty good.  As for the songs themselves, there were some winners and some losers but it kind of evened up by half.  The thing I missed was the cooler and groovy songs like “WRONG” and “Every Boy Every Girl” there wasn’t any of that and that saddened me a bit.  Still…for her 4th, this is moving her into a great direction ^^

 

Kana Nishino – GO FOR IT!! July 23, 2012

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 8:57 am

Track Listing

  1. GO FOR IT!!
  2. TALK TO ME
  3. SUMMER TIME

1. GO FOR IT!!

Cheerleading chants to open up the song?  That’s a bit strange.  Though I can’t help but enjoy Kanayan’s belting in the opening as well which surprised me in a good way.  Now, this song is a bit cheery and peppy cute (like a lot of her B-sides and early singles).  It’s a lot better than “Watashitachi” at least and while I don’t enjoy the song fully, I can admit that it works for her and will get a lot of fans out of this one.

2. TALK TO ME

The cutesy stuff follows her into the first B-sides which usually are the more cute songs and stuff.  Now the high notes she pulls off here are a bit strained when I hear them.  The song isn’t as peppy as “GO FOR IT!!” but it’s still pretty happy for the most part.  Once again, I’m not too thrilled about the song…

3. SUMMER TIME

At least the second B-sides are more of my style and it’s a heavy dance track from Kanayan.  It’s a really cool and aggressive song from her and I really ended up enjoying this song A LOT but the way she counts into the chorus is strange hahaha.  Actually of her B-sides, this is probably my favorite in recent times…straightforward and just super catchy!!!

 

 

I’m guessing her 4th album is next up and GO FOR IT!! was a nice way to close things up after a rather unfortunate set of releases.  GO FOR IT!! might need some time but I can see how bright and catchy it can be which to me makes it better “Watashitachi” and “SAKURA, I love you”.  TALK TO ME is kind of a mess but still bright and poppy to fit this summer theme.  SUMMER TIME though is the banger and stand-out on the single and she should just stick this on the album XD.  Overall a much better package of recent from her ^_^….though that cover art is just horrifying…

 

Kana Nishino – Watashitachi May 19, 2012

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 11:22 pm

Track Listing

  1. Watashitachi
  2. Happy Half Year!
  3. LOVE LIKE CRAZY

1. Watashitachi

I’m starting to think Kanayan is in a little bit of a rut when it comes to Watashitachi which isn’t different from the last two singles that came from her.  It lacks that oomph that would normally make it sound really nice.  Then I see that GIORGIO CANCEMI produced the song and it makes sense because I can also hear Mai Kuraki singing this as well.  I mean it does come off as a pretty ballad but damn, “SAKURA, I love you?” and “Tatoe Donna ni…” kind of just overruns this song to death.

2. Happy Half Year!

I’ve never heard a song that celebrates…half a year? XD  The first B-side isn’t truly a surprise because it’s a bit more R&B-tinted and relaxed.  To me, the song sounds a little cheesy for some reason because the synth beats and the underlying piano and strings kind of gives the song a playful nature…but it still cheesy for some reason XD.  I just can’t seem to take the song very seriously at the moment but whatever XD.

3. LOVE LIKE CRAZY

Yeah, the second B-side is of course going to be the energetic tune of the single.  LOVE LIKE CRAZY isn’t as edgy like “Secret” was but kind of follows more like “LOVE IS BLIND”.  I just like the mix of guitars and synths together.  Song’s lyrics are still a little cheesy but not as bad as “Happy Half Year!”.  This is her best song vocally on the single though, that I can’t deny.

 

 

I think of the singles so far released after “Thank you, Love”, Watashitachi is probably my least favorite yet.  The leading song is kind of bland to me and we all know Kanayan has much BETTER songs in said style.  Happy Half Year! is a bit cheesy for me but I’m sure some people can find enjoyment somewhere in it.  LOVE LIKE CRAZY though is quite good though…nothing new there because it seems I love Kana’s 2nd B-sides quite often lol.

 

Kana Nishino – SAKURA, I love you? March 6, 2012

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 1:26 am

Track Listing

  1. SAKURA, I love you?
  2. My Baby
  3. sweet sweet

1. SAKURA, I love you?

At first when I listened to SAKURA, I kind of thinking it was different from “Tatoe Donna ni…” enough to make me think it didn’t happen.  I also thought the song felt like it was a little reggae-ish (especially that chorus).  Every A-side she releases it feels like her voice is getting stronger and it’s pretty evident in this song that it’s pretty awesome.  I actually compare this to a slower “Distance” almost since it has tons of synths in it.  I still want an upbeat track though despite “Esperanza” wasn’t that long ago.

2. My Baby

I think I’ve gotten used to the fact that every single has a certain pattern to them.  The first B-sides are mostly relaxing tracks or ballads.  My Baby kind of strings between both because it’s slower than “SAKURA” but it’s not dramatically slow.  These for me are the weakest songs on the singles so it comes as no surprise to me when I don’t find it much appealing…but might be to others.

3. sweet sweet

Usually her B-sides are pretty much the redeeming factor to Kanayan’s singles after the mehness of the first B-side.  sweet sweet though is kind of ridiculously cheesy and light.  I mean it’s definitely a girly song and kind of all kinds of silly with the many hooks of it.  Still, it’s rather catchy and full of lulz throughout…quite enjoyable of a song even if it does break the aggressive songs line out.

 

 

Kanayan’s second single of the era actually seemed to be a small step above “Tatoe Donna ni…”.  I liked the leading track and it just sounds sweet overall and his a great sound to it like I said a much slower “Distance”.  sweet sweet was good too but it’s because it’s laced with so many hooks that it’s hard not to like it.  My Baby though is kind of bland and forgetful but that was to be expected.  Overall good release ^_^

 

Kana Nishino – Tatoe Donna ni… November 7, 2011

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 9:08 pm

Track Listing

  1. Tatoe Donna ni…
  2. Just the way you are
  3. Secret

1. Tatoe Donna ni…

Who knew that Kana would begin her fourth era with a ballad A-side?  I know I’ve said it numerous times before but I’m not a ballad person so a lot of these kind of songs just pass over my head.  I will say that despite my biased side, I can’t help but admit that Kana’s vocals have definitely grown since her debut and she sounds really nice and the chorus is definitely the best part of the song.  It really slams the old ones to the ground (basically, this is her best ballad yet!).  It is a little long at 5 and a half minutes, but it’s a pleasant song so that it doesn’t kill me XD

2. Just the way you are

The first B-side, Just the way you are is NOT a cover which is good and is best left for MiChi’s upcoming single LOL.  Of course the song’s meaning is kind of gooey and lyrically (from the English lyrics) it sounds rather cheesy as well which is good for a laugh too.  I didn’t find this really special, despite noticing that Kana’s vocals are strong.  The whole repeating ~are, are, are~ gets annoying to me as it’s used more in the song towards the end…meh song!

3. Secret

As usual, Kana’s second B-sides are more than likely to be the most aggressive song on the a single and it that continues with Secret which is her boldest song since “Grab Bag”.  It kind of mixes an edgy synth arrangement with the previous song’s twinkly mood and it creates this pretty good song! 

 

 

I’d say Kana started out her 4th era on a pretty solid note with Tatoe Donna ni…  As much as I dread ballads from her, she actually pulled off a rather nice one in the leading track and the 5+ minutes of it didn’t bore me.  She’s definitely grown in vocals which is a godsend!  Just the way you are is the worst on the single IMO since it kind of was like old stuff plus it got annoying at the end.  Luckily, Secret brought the single back up with it’s mix of styles and she’s definitely pulling these kind of hard songs better than her A-sides XD

 

Kana Nishino – Thank you, Love June 27, 2011

Filed under: Kana Nishino — solarblade @ 4:54 am

Track Listing

  1. *Prologue* ~Sunrise~
  2. Esperanza
  3. Clap Clap!!
  4. Together
  5. Distance
  6. I’ll be there
  7. Flower
  8. Every Boy Every Girl
  9. Where are you?
  10. if
  11. Alright
  12. Kimitte
  13. Wishing
  14. *Epilogue* ~Thank you, Love~

1. *Prologue* ~Sunrise~

Like her other albums, Kana begins the album with an introduction and like it says, it feels like a song you can wake up to because it has a light beachy feel with acoustic guitars and light maracas.  I do like that Kana sings amongst the arrangement and she sounds beautiful to listen to.  I kind of enjoyed this intro more than previous ones tbh.

2. Esperanza

Makes sense that she’d put her last A-side in the era up after the intro simply because this tune has more of a tropical feel and stands out in her discography since it is her first dabble in such a style.  I still think it fits more with Yuna Ito, but it’s a fine start for her since it’s fun and kind of cute to listen to every once in a while. 

3. Clap Clap!!

I’m already sensing this album is going to be like her last album in the way that it’s summery, especially with this song at the forefront.  I’m surprised that it’s all beach-warming fun time with the song but it’s hard to keep a straight face when it’s all ~crap crap~ for the chorus.  I just can’t help but snicker at this.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty solid song and continues to show Kana’s lighter and fun side.

4. Together

I mean Kana doesn’t really go off and do cute songs THAT much, but with Together, you might as well get a lollipop and a soda for this one.  I’m kind of surprised that she pulled more of an acoustic track off after the previous two songs, but I think this is a more reserved and better style for her.  However, I can’t shake off the feeling that this is kind of too Disney for her lol.

5. Distance

Of the singles released, I must say I have a fond admiration for Distance.  After the previous two A-sides, I was ready for something that had energy and something to remember it by and I loved how this song moved throught the verses and chorus.  It was pretty magical and Kana’s vocal performance was pretty sharp and fun to listen to.  Favorite A-side for sure!

6. I’ll be there

I’m quite shocked that of the B-sides she’s had in the entire era, she chose a crappy one to put on the album.  Then again it does signal a change of moods since this is the first ballad on the album.  Instead of the synth-pop of the last track, I’ll be there carries a piano, some strings, and beats to fill it up.  On the single it was kind of crappy, but on here it feels a bit more natural and kind of sounds better lol.  It still was a poor choice, but at least it wasn’t an uber poopy song like “GIRLS GIRLS”.

7. Flower

Carrying it further down to a REAL ballad, Flower only really has piano and Kana (mixed with background singers).  I do like that she toned things down and while the R&B elements made me frown a bit, she sounds pretty singing along the song.  Of course by going by the lyrics, it seems to be a summer ballad and that also works for me as well.  Pretty song and stands out better than the other ballads of the era.

8. Every Boy Every Girl

After the two slow songs, we needed to get ourselves back into something quite awesome and I LOVE EVERY BOY EVERY GIRL!!!!  There’s just something about a mix of electro-rock and Kana’s attitude that always make sense and sound pretty tight.  It’s not straightforward like “WRONG” was, but it’s kind of like “ONLY ONE” off the “Esperanza” single but done better and sounds so much more memorable.

9. Where are you?

Then again, Where are you? reminds me of a more synth-based “WRONG” but I don’t mind this because Kana sounds pretty good and the song moves at a good pace.  After a while I do kind of feel bored for some reason, but I think it’s because I prefer “Distance” as the synthy pop song more.

10. if

Of the A-sides, I also found myself enjoying If since it’s not like her other R&B songs she has out there and it sounds pretty soothing and quite strong for Kana’s vocals.  I still don’t understand the NARUTO tie-in very well, but I guess it’s fitting???  It’s different for Kana and I liked this song because of that.

11. Alright

Hey!  Let’s give “if” a heavier beat and throw it right after it as well!  Seriously, if the beats and extra synths would disappear, it would slightly sound like the previous song but on the flipside of the coin it’s also kind of like “Distance”.  I like the positive message Kana is singing about, but the arrangement kind of just doesn’t feel new and kind of stale after the previous songs. 

12. Kimitte

As my least favorite of the A-sides Kimitte felt like something that should’ve been on “to LOVE” or something.  It has the usual R&B + strings and piano arrangement that a lot of Kana’s previous singles have had.  The good thing is that there isn’t a whole lot of ballads on this album so it kind of stands out a bit.  I still don’t really think it’s amazing, but better than the last song XD

13. Wishing

Another ballad after “Kimitte”?  It’s also kind of like it too?  Yeah, not a big fan of the similarities between the two tracks really.  I do think Kana does a better job at giving a strong vocal performance and the chorus is pretty epic as well.  I must say that I like this song quite a bit more than the last track and this wasn’t even an A-side.

14. *Epilogue* ~Thank you, Love~

Finally we get the outroduction and it’s a pretty sappy outro with Kana (or someone else, I don’t know) but she is saying thank you for different things with a kind of fairytale-like atmosphere.  I don’t get the need for addition of dance beats in the later half of the song.  Altogether it’s a nice outro and a pleasant track like the introduction.

Tracks Recommended

  • Every Boy Every Girl
  • Distance
  • Flower
  • if
  • Clap Clap!!

Song of Avoidance

  • Alright

Kana’s 3rd album definitely felt a bit like her last album, “to LOVE” in the way that it was also pushed out as a Summer album.  That being said she did put more focus to the synths in her songs and while I like that and all…she kind of got bland (especially in the later songs).  I’m not sure if this album ranks higher than her last, but I’ll say there weren’t any songs that came off like “Aitakute Aitakute” and “WRONG”.