Kurayami Monogatari

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Kie Kitano – Can you hear me? March 15, 2012

Filed under: Kie Kitano — solarblade @ 12:22 am

Track Listing

  1. Can you hear me?
  2. Darl:orz
  3. Kimi ga…
  4. Just Friends
  5. Keep
  6. Hazakura
  7. Beautiful World

1. Can you hear me?

Starting the mini off, the title track comes first with its acoustic atmosphere.  I already can tell I’m gonna like hearing Kie’s vocals once again because I actually like her tone…it sounds familiar like Van from Do As Infinity.  Kind of has this power to it and she sounds so good.  While it isn’t the best the mini has to offer, it’s pretty damn good otherwise.

2. Darl:orz

As the only single that came out for the era, Darl:orz is interesting from when I heard it the first time because this time around I felt her vocals were a little higher than in pitch than in “Can you hear me?”.  I really do love the synths mingling with this pop/rock style…like it gives it an IMALU-like feel.  It’s pretty fun and just a great song to listen too…though off-topic…I wish “It’s All Right” had made the cut x.x

3. Kimi ga…

Starting off with a melody from a music box, Kimi ga… was interesting because at first I thought it was going to be the mini’s first ballad but it turns into this kind mid-tempo pop song with a nice dance beat to along for the ride.  It’s kind of simple but it shows off Kie’s vocals in a much brighter setting though I felt like there was something different about her vocals like light filters being used…it could just be me though but this was a nice, floaty track from her.

4. Just Friends

Moving back into something a little more aggressive natured, Just Friends kind of reminds me of various Kylee songs with a lot more focus on guitars and the synths playing a more minor role.  This has fun written all over the song (like “Darl:orz”).  It’s still a great tune overall and just fun to listen to on a happy day.

5. Keep

Another music box opening (even though it’s slightly different than the one that started “Kimi ga…”.  Oddly enough, talking about that song, I get the same vibes with Keep for some reason.  Like it’s pretty floaty and has a nice beat to it.  Actually this might be a tad more poppy but still similar in many ways though the breakdown in the song…was very unusual to me…seemed like there were ideas to get lyrics in there but failed.  Not bad overall.

6. Hazakura

I love that Hazakura begins with piano only before it grows into the song with the most amount of synth usage.  I guess I should be happy with the piano/synth mixture but being at a little over 5 minutes it took a little while for me to enjoy…but I think it’s from the long intro.  After a while the song kind of just fades into the background for me since it doesn’t have climax points for me…just kind of sails on a straight line after the synths come in.

7. Beautiful World

Closing things off, Beautiful World is the longest track hitting 6 minutes straight.  I do like how it starts in the studio like behind the scenes with Kie and someone else singing alongside.  After that the song opens with the chorus and there’s a lot of people singing behind Kie.  It’s nice they chose this as the last track since it kind of gives this hopeful feel…(is it a song based from the earthquakes maybe?).  Kind of cute and has a positive message in it.

 

 

After “Shin”, I was hoping she’d drop Komuro for something better and for the most part I felt this mini-album was 10x stronger than her full debut album tbh.  Minus Hazakura, all the songs were pretty damn good and left a much stronger impression of her as an artist than before which is great.  While I do think “It’s All Right” should’ve been somewhere here because it fits with all the great stuff found her this short era was more than needed…*RECOMMENDED*

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Kie Kitano – Darl:orz January 19, 2012

Filed under: Kie Kitano — solarblade @ 10:17 pm

Track Listing

  1. Darl:orz
  2. It’s All Right
  3. Darl:orz (Instrumental)
  4. It’s All Right (Instrumental)

1. Darl:orz

I’m surprised Kie would opt for an upbeat A-side with the first A-side in her sophomore era, Darl:orz (what?).  The tune is kind of a nice change from her rather soft singles but I also found myself enjoying Kie’s vocals since their deeper and she was allowed to have a little more fun as the atmosphere is poppy.  Kind of like IMALU-ish.  I actually enjoyed this and marks a great change for Kie’s sound.

2. It’s All Right

The B-side though was a surprise because unlike “Darl:orz’s” rather pop/rock/synth hybrid, It’s All Right is more synth heavy which is also an interesting change which is nice.  It reminds me of another song somewhere…but this is really good surprisingly.  Kind of pretty much fitting with the good upbeat songs she has already.

 

 

It seems that she left Komuro’s wings to work with different producers for her first single for her sophomore era (or it might show up on her upcoming mini-album) but Darl:orz is a pretty damn solid single!  Both songs are great but I loved the B-side just a smidge more.  I can’t wait to see how this era plays out now!

 

Kie Kitano – Shin April 20, 2011

Filed under: Kie Kitano — solarblade @ 7:45 am

Track Listing

  1. Sakura Saku
  2. Shiroi Sekai
  3. Tokumei Kibou
  4. Cider
  5. Namida wa Misenai
  6. Brave 4 U
  7. Ukima Funato
  8. Kizuna
  9. Juukyuu-sai
  10. Todokanai
  11. Fuukaren
  12. Zutto, Issho da ne
  13. Hanataba
  14. Sakura Saku (Piano Version)

1. Sakura Saku

Fitting that Kie’s album begins with her debut A-side.  I remembered this first being released and I thought it was a pretty great song from her since it sounded nice as kind of cool with the amount of synths.  However, since time has passed, Sakura Saku feels really weak since it shares the same beat and sound with some of AAA’s songs that were released in between the times and this kind of turned me off.  I do think it’s good, but nowhere as good as I thought it once was.

2. Shiroi Sekai

I enjoyed her upbeat songs that were all B-sides in the era and Shiroi Sekai is the first new track and was impressed that it was upbeat and easy to clap and dance to.  Kie sure sounds great in the song and the arrangement is quite amazing to me.  I’m surprised I ended up liking this song a lot more than I did with “Sakura Saku” (well coming back to it XD).

3. Tokumei Kibou

Then again, we do end up with songs like these as well which aren’t exactly Kie’s style IMO.  It’s just that cute songs doesn’t seem to suit her vocals much even though she sounds heavenly in the song but it sounds like some GND rehash which could be the closest I can describe the song right now.  Coincedence?  Maybe not…

4. Cider

I found the title and opening for our next song funny as hell because it begins almost too similar to one another with a can of cider being opened and poured into a cup.  However, those are the similarities since Kie’s turns into a mid-tempo track with some synths and acoustic guitar.  It’s breezy and kind of enjoyable in ways and has an enjoyable chorus to go along.  I liked it.

5. Namida wa Misenai

I thought our next song was going to be a ballad with namida in the title and all, but I was sure wrong since our next track sounds like a good Komuro song since he introduces guitar to the song to coincide with the synths and beats.  I’m not sure if it’s just me, but it feels like it’s missing some oomph, especially in the chorus…it just felt dry and lifeless for some reason…but the interludes of the song was so much better IMO.

6. Brave 4 U

Hey, another upbeat dance track here?  I can’t deny that it’s a good sign since Kie’s vocals sound great with a faster tempo despite the Komuro hax going on in the song.  It does once again feel like a thrown out GND track and Kie does have slight problems with the singing, but it’s not so bad…but the other upbeat songs stand out better…maybe the guitar solo is the only reason I remember this song at all.

7. Ukima Funato

I didn’t expect another track that’s similar to “Sakura Saku”, but here we are with Ukima Funato and it’s kind of bland to me almost.  I just don’t know why it doesn’t stand out for me since it’s mid-tempo and all that, but we essentially had the same sounds from her debut A-side so yeah, this doesn’t mean much and is kind of the throw-away track on the album.

8. Kizuna

Kizuna comes up next and while it hasn’t been too long since the single’s release, I still think it doesn’t do much for me still, but it’s a lot better being after “Ukima Funato” at least.  The positive outlook does feel a bit more refreshing as well which perked my ears since it didn’t do this when I first reviewed it.  It’s hard to really tell which was my favorite A-side of the era, but I’m leaning towards this.

9. Juukyuu-sai

At least there’s a good enough change for our next song since it has a stronger flow, but damn does this sound like an old Ayu ballad for some reason with the piano love and acoustic/90’s pop sound that’s heard.  It is a powerful and slightly dramatic song with Kie sounding amazing in the song.  I’m surprised there’s a ballad on her album at this calibur and it’s one of the better songs.

10. Todokanai

I love that she chose one of the better B-sides of the era as the lone B-side entry here (although I wouldn’t have minded if “Kiseki” or “Brand new way” made the cut either).  At first I did think it was another ballad and I was ready to just quit, but after a while…the song switches from a piano/strings style to a dance style about midway through the song.  It is a random switch of ideas and seriously would’ve preferred it under the dance style the entire way but whatever.  Still pretty awesome of a B-side in my opinion.

11. Fuukaren

I swear some of the songs I listen to, I almost confuse Kie with Chiaki Ito from AAA in these songs since they sound similar in tone and well yeah.  Sadly, Fuukaren is another song that just doesn’t bring anything to the album and just flows on a stale boat for the entire time it’s playing.  Sad to say huh?

12. Zutto, Issho da ne

Oh? Another GND kind of track to appear?  However, this is another one of those tracks that actually does well since it fits Kie almost perfectly since it’s dancey and energetic and has good synths backing her up.  It might not strike people’s minds since the beats are way constant and might be a little typical.  I found it catchy and fun to listen to, but I can also tell that the less than interesting arrangement might be a headache to other people.

13. Hanataba

Closing the album out is the 2nd A-side, Hanataba has never blipped on my radar to really enjoy it.  I can take ballads every now and then from Komuro, but when it’s this bad, I just write it off and ignore it.  Why it became an A-side baffles me, but I still can’t stand the song.  Sorry to say, but it’s not all much to listen to, but I guess the acoustic guitar in the song was a slight change to break the Komuro-ness of the song.

14. Sakura Saku (Piano Version)

As a bonus (and there’s no official title, I’m just putting it up as a placeholder until it’s figured out), we get a new version of Sakura Saku which takes out the synths and 90’s pop feel and replaces it with piano and light percussion.  It’s a simple tackle of her debut and her vocals seem more comfortable since she resang the song as well.  I liked it better as the album closer than “Hanataba” IMO.

Tracks Recommended

  • Shiroi Sekai
  • Zutto, Issho da ne
  • Juukyuu-sai
  • Todokanai
  • Cider

Song of Avoidance

  • Hanataba

Y’know, it’s hard enoguh that I was majorly disappointed with “Love songs” and “Buzz Communication” mostly because of the stale arrangements and almost lifeless feel that most of the songs Ayu and AAA had put out.  In the case of Kie, Shin is her debut album so she has nothing to compare to and oddly enough this wasn’t as bad as I thought, but it still was somewhat boring, but there’s hope for Kie once she switches producers for her next era (I hope at least).

 

Kie Kitano – Kizuna March 2, 2011

Filed under: Kie Kitano — solarblade @ 10:57 am

Track Listing

  1. Kizuna
  2. Todokanai
  3. Wishing on a Star
  4. Kizuna -instrumental-
  5. Todokanai -instrumental-
  6. Wishing on a Star -instrumental-

1. Kizuna

I find it funny that our 3rd A-side from Kizuna really shoots the Komuro sound quite strongly here.  I still don’t like the piano/keyboard use here since it gives it a quite bland sound.  I will say Kie’s vocals sound good and full of life, but Komuro just did try with this song and it kind of worries me for the upcoming album if all the songs will be like this x.x;

2. Todokanai

I think Komuro tried to do a better job with Todokanai since ballads are a bit more of his strong point than upbeat stuff like “Kizuna”.  Kie’s vocals also seem to be more suited toward this style since she sounds really nice in the song and great with the piano/strings style that’s going on.  Though I was surprised that before we got to the halfway point, the mood of the songs changes from the slow strings to more of a dance-ish style which made me think of Ayu’s “Last angel” for some reason.  Iono why I have this sense of dejavu, but I think Kie sounds a lot stronger here as well…This should’ve been the A-side IMO.

3. Wishing on a Star

As we get into the second B-side, I thought the beginning was pretty weird with the filtered vocals, but I was even more terrified of the synths and overall cuteness of this track for some reason.  Komuro really messed up on the arrangement here and Kie’s vocals also takes a big drop with the song since it calls for cutesy and stuff. 

As we end the chapter of Kie’s debut era, Kizuna isn’t much better than her first two singles I think.  Komuro really needs to stop arranging for artists or change the way he arranges because it’s getting very tiring to hear his work.  Todokanai is the best thing off the single, but it has similarities which hurt it a bit.  Kizuna was alright, but “Sakura Saku” and “Hanataba” were slightly better as A-sides.  Though the biggest offender was definitely Wishing on a Star clearly because it just didn’t work and just sounded bad xD

 

Kie Kitano – Hanataba August 13, 2010

Filed under: Kie Kitano — solarblade @ 5:38 am

Track Listing

  1. Hanataba
  2. Kiseki
  3. Omoide Arigatou
  4. Hanataba -Instrumental-
  5. Kiseki -Instrumental-
  6. Omoide Arigatou -Instrumental-
  7. Hanataba -acoustic version-

1. Hanataba

Being a another victim to Tetsuya Komuro, Hanataba is just like everything he’s done so far since his return earlier this year.  At least of his contributions so far, Kie’s song actually fits her voice quite nicely and hearing some acoustic guitar in the song made it stand out a little bit more.  After a while I do get tired of the song since it’s in the zone of mid-tempo blahness and for me it did. 

2. Kiseki

I’m surprised that Tetsuya continued to work his magic for the rest of the single because Kiseki tends to bring some similarities between this song and AAA’s “Dream After Dream”.  Not that I mind because I like both songs equally and for Kie it’s her most energetic song released so far in her career.  Though I just can’t imagine her doing choreography for a song in this euro style, so we prolly won’t see an A-side of the calibur.

3. Omoide Arigatou

The last B-side on the single is the slowest of the three of course and since it kind of has some twinkly sounds opening the song up, I wasn’t surprised that once again I’d find myself drifting from this song because it just suffers from a bland and boring arrangement.  I mean take most of the instruments from “Hanataba” and just slow the tempo and place them here.  I just couldn’t get into the song.

4. Hanataba -acoustic version-

Shaving off 22 seconds of the original off, as a special treat, we get an acoustic version of Hanataba which would’ve fit more as a Piano + Keyboard version of said song.  I’m happy it did take out the Tetsuya-ness of the song and left Kie singing with less annoyance.  She sounds pretty and while she lacks a true vibrato…it’s still very passable.

 

 

I was quite disappointed in hearing that Kie’s 2nd single was produced by Tetsuya Komuro and it really shows that his sound has never fully got out of the 90’s-00’s.  Both Hanataba and Omoide Arigatou just purely weren’t up to snuff like “Sakura Saku” was and I would get rid of him quick Kie.  However if he stays, he should make her more energetic and with Kiseki, he nailed that pretty well.  Let’s see what’ll happen next.

 

Kie Kitano – Sakura Saku February 24, 2010

Filed under: Kie Kitano — solarblade @ 5:12 am

Track Listing

  1. Sakura Saku
  2. Brand new way
  3. Itsuka Kitto Anata e
  4. Sakura Saku -Instrumental-
  5. Brand new way -Instrumental-
  6. Itsuka Kitto Anata e -Instrumental-

1. Sakura Saku

While this is Kie’s debut song, Sakura Saku is actually nice to hear because she has a pretty good voice for a new artist.  The music reminds me of a slower SONY Nami song which is pretty cool.  It’s pretty mid-tempo, but nowhere near boring.  I kind of like this song quite a lot.

2. Brand new way

Wow, I was surprised at the first B-side because it definitely reminds me of AAA’s “Summer Revolution”.  I mean it’s got a strong eurobeat sound to it and Kie’s vocals are like a mix of Chiaki and CHISA’s vocals which is kind of ironic in this kind of song.  It’s not bad at all because she sang out quite nicely and has a pretty strong flow.  Ok, I really like this song for sure!

3. Itsuka Kitto Anata e

The slowest song off the single, Itsuka Kitto Anata e is more or less what we’ve heard already on the single, minus the energy.  It has a rather ending feel to it which sounds nice to me, but there’s points where it just sounds like it’d drag for the entire song and it sadly did. 

 

 

I’m rather surprised that someone who debuted under avex is rather stuck to be given such a GND-like single.  Sakura Saku is a good single to me, but if you’re anti-GND you might wanna pass this single up because it really does have that soul to it.  Maybe avex will steer her off that course and get her going on something fresh, but right now this single is ok.