Kurayami Monogatari

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KOTOKO – ZoNE-iT September 30, 2015

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 5:41 am

zoneit

Track Listing

  1. ZoNE-iT
  2. call
  3. ZoNE-iT (instrumental)
  4. call (instrumental)

1. ZoNE-iT

You know, KOTOKO tricked me with that opening intro being all nice and pretty before doing a 180 and throwing a rock song in my face hahaha!  The song itself is pretty damn catchy and KOTOKO is up to her usual vocal trips that I’m just used to it now and she brings power to an already edgy song.  Probably my favorite A-side since “Light My Fire”.

2. call

The B-side on the other hand does take itself a bit lighter (maybe more like a mid-tempo rock song).  KOTOKO also took things a bit slower as well by using a more lighter and wispy tone for the verses and coming out in the pre-chorus and chorus which is really nice to hear!  It’s nice to see KOTOKO sing songs like these as it shows a more grand view of her voice and emotions and it really makes the song pop out (she should do more of these in the future!).

Another single I’ve missed out, this late 2014 single is actually pretty good for KOTOKO.  Neither song did anything to hurt her sound and I feel like rock is very good on her (though I don’t want her to totally avoid electro).  ZoNE-iT really makes me hope she releases more sometime soon!

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KOTOKO – TOUGH INTENTION July 25, 2014

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 1:52 am

toughintention

Track Listing

  1. TOUGH INTENTION
  2. ARCH
  3. TOUGH INTENTION (instrumental)
  4. ARCH (instrumental)

1. TOUGH INTENTION

Ahhh, KOTOKO is back!  The leading song, TOUGH INTENTION is quite heavy and has a strong rock atmosphere with a slight anison touch.  Think “Light My Fire” but slightly lighter in the arrangement.  KOTOKO’s voice sounds a little more straightforward and stable unlike some of her other tracks where she overdoes it.  I didn’t expect that the mid8 would include her male background singers to start chanting it up but it’s a nice addition.  Overall it’s plain, but a passable track from KOTOKO.

2. ARCH

As for the B-side, ARCH starts muffled and under filters to kind of sound mysterious but goes away when the actual verses kick in.  My first thought is this song is slightly more anison and less powerful than “TOUGH INTENTION”.  I mean this could’ve been a “SHORT CIRCUIT” song if she had hiked her vocals higher.  Eh not all that memorable.

 

 

KOTOKO begins a new era off with a rather unmemorable single with TOUGH INTENTION.  They both seemed to lack a sense of energy musically and while KOTOKO’s vocals were quite nice, it really didn’t do much for either the A-side or ARCH.  I was kind of expecting more out, but maybe she’ll get better as this era moves on.

 

KOTOKO – Kuchu Puzzle December 4, 2013

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 10:37 am

kuchupuzzle

Track Listing

  1. My-Les
  2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  3. Kuchu Puzzle
  4. frozen fir tree
  5. Light My Fire
  6. Damare yo, Peter
  7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  8. Fushi-Gina-Ana
  9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪
  10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo
  11. Loop-the-Loop
  12. Restart
  13. P◇lyG△n
  14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

CD2

  1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

1. My-Les

KOTOKO opens up her 6th album with the promotional song used for the album, My-Les and it starts off quite strong with some electro mixed with some heavy guitars and that’s always good to hear.  To be honest, I really do like what I’m hearing on the track and KOTOKO herself sounds really powerful and cool.  Though I hear that dubstep breakdown in this song and it honestly felt slightly out of place to transition to the mid8.  Still minus that small gripe, My-Les is a pretty cool way to start the album off.

2. WING OF ZERO -the ring-

I learned with our next track that WING OF ZERO was used as a theme song for the video game, BALDRSKY ZERO.  I actually heard the original version and loved it because it reminded me of “SCREW” with its electro synth style.  On this album, it got touched up (hence the title) and the song added some new tricks like some grittier guitar riffs to go alongside the arrangement.  To be honest, the original was fine just as it was and didn’t need the added stuff found on this album.  Though WING OF ZERO is good all-around so I guess I do somewhat enjoy this still with the additions it got.

3. Kuchu Puzzle

We get into the title track and it’s definitely a shift of focus to KOTOKO’s rock side.  I will say I’m not enjoying KOTOKO’s vocals in this song as she’s putting off this cutesy voice and it doesn’t work with the strong guitar lines and awesome arrangement.  I think if she had resung this in a lower tone, I think I would’ve loved this song a whole lot because it’s just badass *sigh* maybe this’ll grow on me because damn this arrangement is awesome.

4. frozen fir tree

When this song begun, I kind of thought this was song made for Ayumi Hamasaki because it had that certain 90’s avex sound which caught me off guard XD.  Then I see that the song was produced by sat (of fripSide).  Then it all clicked because I’m not too big of a fan of his works because they tend to sound like generic clones of one another.  Sadly, this is the case here because this song sounds like many of fripSide’s stuff, though KOTOKO’s voice is slightly deeper than them.  Can’t say I’m a little more than bored with this one.

5. Light My Fire

What I thought was the first single of the era (I’ll talk about it later), we get the 2nd single of the era Light My Fire and I LOVE THIS SONG from KOTOKO.  This is what I wanted “Kuchu Puzzle” to have ended up like because it’s arrangement is awesome and KOTOTO’s vocals are just awesome to listen to.  Plus the chorus is so good and powerful.  I just don’t understand why “frozen fir tree” had to be placed in between them to be honest.  Definitely my favorite from the era!

6. Damare yo, Peter

I’m kind of enjoying KOTOKO taking such an interest in rock because it seems to be working for on this album so far.  Damare yo, Peter is a bit lighter than the previous track and it does have a certain anison vibe to it which is pretty nifty.  I also kind of get indie rock vibes as well which is also cool in and of itself.  Also, KOTOKO sounds rather not as dramatic as she usually tends to be, so this was a nice track overall.

7. SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-

I didn’t expect KOTOKO to well do this.  If you don’t know, KOTOKO wrote SHOOT! for the anime/idol group RO-KYU-BU! (who I reviewed and thought they were done when they clearly weren’t >.>).  So it’s nice to see KOTOKO do her own version of the group’s debut single.  I love how she changed the arrangement to less idol/rock and has a stronger electro vibe to it.  Honestly, I already love it more than the original because there’s no messy melodic issues like there was with the group.  Plus, it’s pretty funny to see KOTOKO rap in the song too…so much fun xD.  Still, I think she made this song SO MUCH BETTER than what RO-KYU-BU! did.

8. Fushi-Gina-Ana

Hm, a MAIKO song (I kind of was expecting another “BUCCANEER”.  I can hear some of it since it’s a mix of guitars and electro which I suppose cool but once again KOTOKO is using that cute voice that I’m not too fond of.  The song is quite busy and has a lot going on with the instrumentation.  I mean, I like the flow of the song, but there’s just something missing about it.  I’m just kind of like…ehh with this song.

9. Rock☆DE Fruit Basket♪

When I saw the title of our next track, I instantly thought that this was going to be the “SHORT CIRCUIT”-esque track.  Though this song sounds like a mix of that and “Escape from the City” from Sonic Adventure 2 >.>).  Though it also is such a genki song from KOTOKO which made me think of the former.  I really like how frantic the song is, but I feel like deep-voiced KOTOKO would once again make this even better.  Still, I can’t shake off that SA2 thought…it sounds so much like the aforementioned song so much to me xD.

10. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

We get into a small stretch of older songs starting with the only B-side to make the album from “→unfinished→”.  Actually didn’t we just have this kind of song with “frozen fir tree”?  It sounds like their the same track, but I actually like KOTOKO’s vocals in this one as she brought the dramatics out here and I quite like how she just sounds.  Though I can’t help but think sat produced this track too (though this did come before “frozen fir tree”.

11. Loop-the-Loop

I was REALLY surprised that she decided to include this single even though in her discography it makes sense.  Though it’s the only single that she didn’t release under Warner so it kind of sticks out in that response.  This anison pop/rock sound doesn’t exactly work with this album and would’ve preferred it back on “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket”.  I’m not too big of a fan of this song and its inclusion seems random at best.

12. Restart

Though I suppose “Loop-the-Loop” was to kind of bridge into Restart which was the 4th and final single released for the album and sadly I still can’t really can’t get into this track.  I mean it’s very anison and pretty generic (though the verses are nice with that synth beat) but this never really stood out to me and if it wasn’t for the previous song, this would’ve been the worst A-side she’s released in the era.  It just seems so pale to me.

13. P◇lyG△n

I was wondering where our awesome electro would be and it turns out P◇lyG△n would be that, but it oddly reminds me of MELL’s “kicks!” with the mix of gritty synths and the lighter synths.  Even though it isn’t a total badass track, I do love the flow of the song.  It’s a pretty nifty song and kind of gives us that cool I’ve Sound track…quite awesome!

14. →unfinished→ -Album ver.-

The album ends with →unfinished→ and it’s a new version!  Though it seems like this version starts with a piano intro and not the fade in, but also the song seems to be this electro/anison track through and through and not have the slow points in the verses like the original.  I enjoyed the original as it is, but this new version feels like it’s at one level then entire way through so I couldn’t attach myself to it as well.  Odd choice to be the ending track though >.<.

CD2

1. →unfinished→ -English ver.-

So if you bought the album at certian stores, it comes with an English version of her 3rd A-side released.  I like that its based off the original version and I had to do a double take because this song is VERY Engrishy and a lot of the time I was trying to decipher her voice.  There are some words she does well, but that’s rare in this song.  It’s not the best bonus incentive…and fans of this song will be like WTF…so in the end…not that great…

Tracks Recommended

  • Light My Fire
  • P◇lyG△n
  • WING OF ZERO -the ring-
  • SHOOT! -KOTOKO ver.-
  • Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

Song of Avoidance

  • frozen fir tree

As this is KOTOKO’s 6th album, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it with the 3 Warner singles (and then random “Loop-the-Loop”).  KOTOKO released a semi-good album with Kuchu Puzzle.  I mean it’s slightly better than “Hiraku Uchuu Pocket” but still many of the gripes I had there were here as well…it’s just that a good portion of the songs were better on this one.  I still can’t say I’m a fan of her cute voice and having sat produce some of the tracks was a bit meh in the end.  Still not bad.

 

KOTOKO – Restart December 18, 2012

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:22 am

restart

Track Listing

  1. Restart
  2. Largo
  3. Restart (Instrumental)
  4. Largo (Instrumental)

1. Restart

I wasn’t expecting KOTOKO to release a rather cutesy A-side after the previous two singles but here we are with Restart and I’m just feeling somewhat alienated from this song.  I don’t know it’s kind of just a very ligh pop song with some I’ve synths thrown in.  It’s not the worst I have heard from KOTOKO, but compared to her previous two singles, this is a bit blech!

2. Largo

Even more cutesy stuff for the B-side.  I know “Candy or Chocolate?” was a bit suspicious, but Largo is just taking one step backwards.  It’s like her cuter songs when she was under I’ve Sound…and she sounds like an idol singer for some strange ass reason.  It’s just a really bland song even for KOTOKO…

 

 

Lord, this single is really bland to listen to.  I’m not exactly sure if this era (well I think this is one) has been very good for KOTOKO (cept for “Light My Fire”) but she really hasn’t been very interesting to me.  Her songs lack that spark that I really love about her but it could be from the label change.  Restart and Largo are really plain and forgettable tracks…I hope she jumps forward with what she releases next.

 

KOTOKO – →unfinished→ May 14, 2012

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 7:42 pm

Track Listing

  1. →unfinished→
  2. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo
  3. →unfinished→ -instrumental-
  4. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo -instrumental-

1. →unfinished→

Being produced by sat of fripSide fame,  →unfinished→ might be quite a new experience for KOTOKO fans out there but some of it will be familiar because of the assault of synths that are blazing through this song.  I kind of enjoyed it but after “Light My Fire”, I was kind of expecting her to follow the rockin’ side of her music more than this.  Still, not bad for her and she sounds great in the song. 

2. Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo

I wasn’t sure what we were going to end up as the B-side because of her stuff since she switched labels and all that.  Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo kind of tones things down by a big margin by bring sort of a mid-tempo ballad.  KOTOKO sounds pretty strong in the song and her high notes kind of impressed me here.  It does have a certain 90s anime feel to it (like an ending theme or something along those lines).  It’s not bad, a bit formulaic, but it’s good nonetheless.

 

 

KOTOKO’s second single since joining Warner actually was pretty good.  Even though →unfinished→ isn’t as great as “Light My Fire” was, it still came off as exciting and energetic.  Sakura no Ame mo Egi no yo is quite soothing and less dangerous than her last B-side, “Candy or Chocolate?”.  Still overall, a solid release here ^_^

 

KOTOKO – Light My Fire November 13, 2011

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:38 pm

Track Listing

  1. Light My Fire
  2. Candy or Chocolate?
  3. Light My Fire (Instrumental)
  4. Candy or Chocolate? (Instrumental)

1. Light My Fire

I was kind of surprised that KOTOKO’s first single under Warner was going to be a loud one with Light My Fire.  Also, I’m kind of left shocked that she chose to do a rock song but somehow she made the song her own and powers through the song like she’s HBIC and I love the song.  Not as much as “SCREW” but this is her best A-side since then!

2. Candy or Chocolate?

I want to say the B-side is a little thing leftover from Halloween but I can’t decide if it’s that or just because KOTOKO can still release cute songs which is essentially this.  After the powerful A-side, I am a little disappointed with this mostly because KOTOKO is utilizing her cute genki vocals for this one.  I will say that the synth-pop style is nice and relaxing but simple actually.  I say it’s better than most of the B-sides of recent but I still love “Light My Fire” more.

 

 

KOTOKO’s first single under Warner and she kicks it off with a bang with Light My Fire.  There’s not many strong rock songs that she has so having one like this is pretty awesome and shows that Warner really wants her to succeed.  Candy or Chocolate? is a little “SHORT CIRCUIT”, so much so that I was surprised this wasn’t one hahaha.  Good single overall ^^

 

KOTOKO – Hiraku Uchuu Pocket October 10, 2011

Filed under: KOTOKO — solarblade @ 8:14 am

Track Listing

  1. TR∀NSFoRM
  2. ☆Mirai -Ressha-☆
  3. Metal Link
  4. Love Letter
  5. Aoi Jeep de
  6. mirror garden
  7. Command+S
  8. χ-kai-
  9. Sa・yo・na…ra
  10. beat
  11. Kikoeru
  12. Hiroke! Sora no Oto
  13. Chikyuu -TERRA-

1. TR∀NSFoRM

Awesome to begin the album with the promotional tune for sure and I thought there was gonna be an immediate change due to KOTOKO switching labels.  It seems like TR∀NSFoRM is the same electro I’ve Sound stuff she’s released since her start which is to me good for me since I like her electro-pop style.  I will say that the song has the same groove and touch like “SCREW” did and I loved the hell outta that song.  Basically this is pretty damn good for a tune to open the album up.

2. ☆Mirai -Ressha-☆

I would have never thought that KOTOKO would utilize her SHORT CIRCUIT vocals on her albums but it seems that is the case for Mirai.  I like the synth-pop out of this one and it sounds cute and almost Perfume-ish in ways.  It’s really sugary and add in the cutesy vocals from KOTOKO you get a song that most people would never expect her to pull (unless they delved into her SHORT CIRCUIT works).

3. Metal Link

Not surprised that we drift away from the cute synths to a more gritty synth/rock mixture with Metal Link.  I like the whole garage-rock feel of the song but once again KOTOKO is kind of in-between using her normal pipes and her SC pipes so it’s got this youthful sound to it as well but a little more authentic than “☆Mirai -Ressha-☆”.  It’s all right in the end, but it felt kind of fast and short.

4. Love Letter

Everyone is seemingly using this title nowadays rather than “Ai no Uta” hahaha.  I really like the mood and melody of the song since it has this fantasy-like tone going for it and it just sends me to places in a good way.  I’m also happy that KOTOKO is singing in her normal sound as well and it works for this fluffy mid-tempo track.  Beautiful little track we have here.

5. Aoi Jeep de

Another short tune comes next with Aoi Jeep de and this feels like more of the garage-rock sound that we had earlier with “Metal Link” but spun around a cute rod since KOTOKO’s vocals are back to the cute side of things and the piano in the song has placed this weird anime-like feel to the tune as well.  It does grow on you which is a good sign, but there’s something a little too basic here.

6. mirror garden

It’s a little strange we get back into the gritty synths and I’ve Sound-sounding songs.  mirror garden definitely feels like something that could’ve been on her previous albums.  I will say that I had problems getting into it since it was pretty slow for the most part and while it does it show off KOTOKO’s vocals and power…this really didn’t lead itself to anything good for some reason.  Wow a synthed up song that I didn’t enjoy hmmm.

7. Command+S

I didn’t expect the next song to start out like it was some kind of club song with the repearing beat and then leading into the melody and synths galore.  I must say this is a new side to KOTOKO and I thought the arrangement was pretty awesome…almost Underworld-like in ways.  At first I thought it was going to be instrumental for the 8 and a half minutes but after two minutes KOTOKO does come in and she sound quite nice.  It’s a bit too long for me, but I really like this song…why am I so on the fence for this one x.x

8. χ-kai-

I guess it’s a play on the word ~Chikai~ so I can see the gears turning in some peoples minds.  To me, the song is quite interesting because it’s one of the more darker songs on the album with the deep gritty synths and KOTOKO under filters at first.  It’s a little strange in the arrangement being slow and kind of like some of her older I’ve tunes.  It’s interesting no doubt, but there’s something off about it…prolly is due from the strange movement of the song.

9. Sa・yo・na…ra

Now this is something that belongs on a “SHORT CIRCUIT” album since it’s high-energy and features KOTOKO’s more cute vocals in conjunction.  At first I thought it was going to be really odd like “”☆Mirai -Ressha-☆”, but it kind of works a bit better because KOTOKO resorts back to her normal vocals for the verses while she peps her vocals in the chorus.  Better song after I listened to it a couple of times!

10. beat

To me, beat also kind of has a strange atmosphere.  It reminds me of stuff like “Aoi-iconoclast” and such since it’s rock, but it has various things in it like piano, strings, and synths.  Unlike most of the previous songs on the album, this one is kind of forgettable and to me is the filler song on the album.  It isn’t bad, nor is it that great…it’s just there.

11. Kikoeru

As the album’s token ballad, Kikoeru to me really isn’t that but it’s much lighter than everything before it (maybe with the exception of “Love Letter”).  It’s different and while KOTOKO is singing in a higher and cuter pitch it kind of becomes more of a chore to listen to.  It’s not that bad, but I can’t remember much besides the ~kitto, kitto, kitto~ at the end of the chorus. 

12. Hiroke! Sora no Oto

More of this garage-rock stuff it seems lol.  I actually kind of enjoyed Hiroke! quite a bit since the arrangement is more straightforward and KOTOKO didn’t sound too extreme like the other ones which is definitely good news.  I heard the strings and was also imagining that she was channeling a little of Nana Mizuki in this tune.  Good tune here

13. Chikyuu -TERRA-

Closing the album out on a rather unusual note is Chikyuu which could be paralleling “Love Letter” because both songs have this slowish atmosphere about it except this song is a bit more darker in approach with the synths and mechanical feel.  KOTOKO is singing quite lightly to fit the mold of the song more and I do think she does a better job at making this a lil more broad since the chorus is loud and has guitars ^_^.  Great ending to the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Love Letter
  • Command+S
  • TR∀NSFoRM
  • Chikyuu -TERRA-
  • ☆Mirai -Ressha-☆

Song of Avoidance

  • mirror garden

I’m a little surprised that KOTOKO would leave (technically she did) I’ve Sound to Warner but it feels like she didn’t lose her steam since she kept the producers from her I’ve days while working with new ones on this one.  Hiraku Uchuu Pocket was a nice effort despite not really surpassing “Epsilon no Fune” unfortunately.  I would kind of like KOTOKO’s higher tone to be kept elsewhere off her albums.  I will say also that better producers are needed I think.  Still a solid release and good first release on a new label.