Kurayami Monogatari

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Mao Denda – Ren’ai Chuudoku October 20, 2010

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 9:37 am

Track Listing

  1. Everyday is a Lovesong
  2. Ichiban Suki na Hito
  3. Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki
  4. Sukitte Iwanai
  5. Magic Number 090-xxxx
  6. Sweet Pain
  7. Watashi Rashiku Aru
  8. Jaa ne.
  9. Share your world
  10. Jiyuushugi
  11. Kyounen no Sakura
  12. Like a Rockstar
  13. Mou Sukoshi Bijin Dattara

1. Everyday is a Lovesong

Being the album’s introductory, I kind of like the whole (sort of) acappella take for the 25 second tune.  It’s Mao and backup singing in perfect English with sparkly stuff being the melodic structure for them.  It’s cute, but a little off for me…but whatever 😄

2. Ichiban Suki na Hito

It does open nicely into Ichiban Suki na Hito which was the second digital single released within the era.  I do like that it continues to carry that familiar sweet R&B/ballad style that Mao really excelled in back in the “I AM” era.  While she started off at a slow pace, it quickly becomes this moving and sweet-sounding song that had a good beat and sweet synths thrown in to mix up with the piano.  I also love Mao’s vocals here since they’re sweet and steady and strong as well.  For being only a digital single, I really liked this song!

3. Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki

I love when Mao does something that’s different from her excelled work.  Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki is beautiful to listen to and it’s got such a great opening tricking us to believe it’s dark, but once it lightens up the song becomes pretty with strings/piano/and the various synth stuff to keep it afloat.  It’s still definitely a darker tinged mid-tempo ballad from Mao, but damn I ended up loving this to death.

4. Sukitte Iwanai

Being the fourth digital single released, Sukitte Iwanai seemed to be more natural of a song compared to the last two tracks since it was really only piano and strings.  After a short while, we get some other natural instruments to coincide with the other instruments.  I loved when she hit those high notes though, she’s got a beautiful voice and it showed off quite boldly in this song. 

5. Magic Number 090-xxxx

Kind of a funky title if you ask me.  Now if (like me) you’re a fan of her upbeat stuff from “I AM” like “My Style”, you will definitely get your fill with Magic Number since it’s upbeat and filled with so much bass that it’ll rock your car well.  I thought it showed off her fun side quite strongly and she sounds great as usual.  Good party song for sure!

6. Sweet Pain

For song that screamed ballad from first look, Sweet Pain is actually quite funky and while it’s upbeat and has different things going on in the synths, it still is interesting and I almost feel like it’s borderline 8bit.  While it doesn’t have the same party groove that “Magic Number” did, it’s still very fitting after said song.  It’s like R&B but very synthy.

7. Watashi Rashiku Aru

I guess the middle of the album is dedicated to upbeat songs because I think Watashi Rashiku Aru is definitely the fastest song off the album so far.  Unlike the two previous songs being upbeat and having a slight upbeat sound to it, Watashi Rashiku Aru sounds more serious of a song.  I actually liked this kind of different flow and I don’t remember “I AM” carrying such but this is great.

8. Jaa ne.

Being the first digital released to begin the era, Jaa ne. is pulling us back into the R&B-stylised ballads and I don’t mind since I liked Jaa ne. when it first released since it reminded me of “Bitter Sweet” and the like.  Maybe this time on the album, Jaa ne. is rather forgettable against the other ballads here but it’s still nice to listen to.

9. Share your world

As cheesy as that title looks, Share your world is definitely sharing a lot of qualities that made “Ichiban Suki na Hito” work so well and it did again here in this song because of how chill it just sounds mixed with how much control Mao had with her vocals.  After a while it does kind of drags a bit and I feel a little bored with it, but the synths were great.

10. Jiyuushugi

I thought the album was gonna stay to a ballad setting for the rest of the album, but Jiyuushugi saved from the possibility of the album going into a slump.  The opening was weird for sure, but once the disco-ish arrangement opens up and Mao begins with super ad-libbing, I immediately fell in love with this song for sure.  Jiyuushugi is to Mao as “Nande Nakitaku Nacchaun Darou?” is to Miho Fukuhara and “Koi wa groovyx2” is to Yuna Ito.  These three singers just do so good with these songs!

11. Kyounen no Sakura

Ok simplest ballad clearly goes to Kyounen no Sakura.  I initially thought it was going to be barebones as a ballad with just acoustic guitar and piano, but it kind of grows in the chorus where other things are added and luckily it does gain a beat which is good until the second run through the chorus.  It’s not heavy and doesn’t become stale, but it is a bit too long, but I think it’s a sweet ballad and Mao’s airy vocals worked for me.

12. Like a Rockstar

I don’t remember getting a memo stating that rockstar = sitar and synths.  At least that was the beginning.  I love the fact that we get an actually mid-tempo pop/rock song from Mao and for being the odd one out from the album, it’s different.  Now her vocals don’t really suit the style but I think she noticed this and did some of the verses in more of a lighter tone.  Not bad for a first try in this style, and I hope she can do more like this.

13. Mou Sukoshi Bijin Dattara

Closing the album out, Mou Sukoshi Bijin Dattara’s jazzy style really put the album at ease to close things off.  I do think it’s prolly a little tame for her and doesn’t show off her strong vocals as hard as other songs in the album.  At least it was released digitally as the 3rd single and it was pretty good and closes the album very nicely.

Tracks Recommended

  • Jiyuushugi
  • Koyoi, Koakuma Nitsuki
  • Ichiban Suki na Hito
  • Magic Number 090-xxxx
  • Watashi Rashiku Aru

Song of Avoidance

  • Everyday is a Lovesong

It’s very surprising what an artist could do after albums.  I mean it’s already surprising that she surpassed her debut album with her sophomore effort, “I AM” and I liked that album.  When it comes to Ren’ai Chuudoku though…she just flew right past “I AM”.  I am in love with this album and is one of the rare exceptions where you’ll see my loving an R&B album in the first place.  She took what she did right in her last album and amplified it and made more of connection by being experimental as well.  I’m definitely considering this in my top-10 this year! *RECOMMENDED*

 

Mao Denda – I AM December 9, 2009

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 4:35 am

Track Listing

  1. Always Love
  2. Bitter Sweet
  3. Zutto
  4. Nakitaku Naru Kedo
  5. Hare Tokidoki Ame
  6. Let it go
  7. Breathe In Love
  8. Be My Hero
  9. ONEWAY Exp.
  10. Butterfly
  11. My Style
  12. Little Mary
  13. Someday
  14. Mimi Moto ni Iru yo… ~Ring the Bells REPRISE~ (First Press Limited)

1. Always Love

Opening with a short opening, Always Love is a pure accappella track that has Mao singing by herself and some BKGD vocalists.  It’s short, sweet and vocally nice.  Still a little shorter than I thought it would be.

2. Bitter Sweet

So it’s obvious that Mao would begin the album with the first A-side released in the era.  I really enjoyed the mix of a ballad and R&B track because it shows off Mao’s vocals quite nicely.  Her voice is just heavenly and the chorus is quite catchy and cool.  It’s one of the cooler songs I’ve heard this year, so it’s at the top.

3. Zutto

We get into our first new track off the album and it’s a really interesting.  The beginning makes you think it was going to be somewhat of a ballad, but it quickly turns into a sexual-sounding dance track.  It’s definitely following “My Style’s” dance style.  I love Mao’s whispering vocals and it just is smooth and catchy.  One of the better songs off the album.

4. Nakitaku Naru Kedo

Being the 2nd A-side released in the era, Nakitaku Naru Kedo is prolly me least favorite, but it’s not bad, it’s still a pretty good song.  The only reason that the song is the lowest is that her high notes were really off and made me wince quite a bit.  It’s good, but it’s just too much like “Bitter Sweet”.

5. Hare Tokidoki Ame

Being the lone B-side to make it on the album, Hare Tokidoki Ame would probably not have been the choice to make putting it on here.  It’s catchy though so it’s not too bad but seriously, “Lights and Shades” and “Mata Aeru Kana” would’ve been better choices.  On the album, Hare Tokidoki Ame sounds like some AYUSE KOZUE stuff so I found it a bit enjoyable.

6. Let it go

So Let it go, another song that borderlines between a ballad and an R&B track, I kind of like the sexier and smoother vocals from Mao here.  Sadly, it doesn’t really stem out to be that memorable, but the chorus is cute IMO

7. Breathe In Love

Marking as the first ballad off the album, Breathe In Love does a great job showing off Mao’s vocals.  Her vocals are straightforward and really good and strong.  However, the music does seem a little bit easy to read since after a while it gains a beat to make things more catchy.  It’s alright, but there’s just not enough to make it grand.

8. Be My Hero

I’m starting to get somewhat bored with the R&B stuff she’s putting out on the album and Be My Hero is a great example of something that just feels tacked on the album with little or no thought going into it.  The deeper bass synths were interesting, but otherwise it’s another track to just simply pass up.

9. ONEWAY Exp.

Thank god that ONEWAY Exp. came after the last song.  I really love the electro sound going on at the beginning and Mao saying ~love train~.  There’s a little mix of R&B, funk, and disco.  I really enjoyed this mixture altogether.  Definitely brought me back into the album.

10. Butterfly

While I was expecting something cute, it just another lackluster R&B track from here.  She does bring back the whispering vocals that really sound amazing in this song.  If the arrangement of the song wasn’t so dry and if Mao’s vocals in the chorus weren’t so thin, this would’ve been a much better track.

11. My Style

Clearly, My Style is just an amazing track.  Mao is definitely giving emotion through the song.  Add on the fact that the arrangement of the song has a lot of synths and it’s just full of life.  It’s one of the best songs off the album for sure.

12. Little Mary

I’m not sure what to think of Little Mary.  It’s for sure a ballad of course, but there’s just something about the song that feels like a gospel song.  Thank god the song picks up right at the chorus because Mao was starting to bore me with this song.  The chorus feature, I think her strongest and nicest vocals in a ballad so far. 

13. Someday

Ending off the album, Someday tries to be somewhat better altogeher, but it feels rather unfinished as a song.  It’s pretty short since it’s the album ender, but Someday would’ve been better with more music, than the very sparse shakers…Not the most impressive but I guess it’s alright.

14. Mimi Moto ni Iru yo… ~Ring the Bells REPRISE~

Released as a digital single before “My Style’s” release, Mimi Moto ni Iru yo was Mao’s debut single back in 2000.  So I guess it was fitting to reprise the song almost 10 years later.  I’ve never gotten to hear the original, but I do like this version since there’s strings and piano here.

Tracks Recommended

  • My Style
  • Zutto
  • Bitter Sweet
  • ONEWAY Exp.
  • Mimi Moto ni Iru yo… ~Ring the Bells REPRISE~

Song of Avoidance

  • Be My Hero

So it’s been exactly 9 years since her last full length album and surprisingly it wasn’t that bad of an album.  There were a few problems where the arrangements became a little too stale, but the singles and a few new tracks made up for that.  I hope it doesn’t take another 9 years for her next one…

 

Mao Denda – My Style November 27, 2009

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 6:50 pm

Track Listing

  1. My Style
  2. Mata Aeru Kana
  3. Nakitaku Naru Kedo ~Q;indivi-Yusuke Tanaka Remix~

1. My Style

After the A-sides that were ballads, we finally get something that’s upbeat and fun to listen to.  My Style has its fair share of synths and beats like with any other R&B song as of recent, but I have to say that Mao made this so catchy and with the random inserts of English, I was happy with what we got with this track.  It’s the right length too, so I definitely was repeating this track a lot.

2. Mata Aeru Kana

The B-side makes up for the A-side not being a ballad.  Mata Aeru Kana seems to be an acoustic-based ballad, but there’s added things that make it stem away from it quite nicely.  I’m loving Mao’s vocals in this track so much.  It’s heavenly and she controls it really well.  Definitely impressed with this as well.

3. Nakitaku Naru Kedo ~Q;indivi-Yusuke Tanaka Remix~

Wow, Yusuke Tanaka has been around everywhere doing remixes…Anyway, guessing from the past remixes, the song changes the song around to be more dance-like, but have piano and strings involved as well.  It’s a great mixture and definitely made Nakitaku Naru Kedo a whole lot memorable and IMO, better than the original.

 

 

Wow, I didn’t think My Style was going to be memorable, but damn this single is the best thing she released in the entire era.  Not only that, she was able to make one of her past songs better than the original!  While it is the final single of the “I AM” era, this definitely got me wanting to listen to the album.

 

Mao Denda – Nakitaku Naru Kedo July 1, 2009

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 4:40 am
Tags: , , ,

nakitakunarukedo

Track Listing

  1. Nakitaku Naru Kedo
  2. Lights and Shades
  3. Bitter Sweet -Bedtime Version-

1. Nakitaku Naru Kedo

A beautiful piano melody opens up Nakitaku Naru Kedo, the song sounds quite smooth and very in her zone especially after her last A-side which was a ballad.  Mao’s voice is alright, not as soothing as it was in “Bitter Sweet”, but that’s because the song is more upbeat for her and makes her go into high notes in a very thin fashion.  Other than the chorus finisher, the rest of the song flows quite nicely and is another good track from her.

2. Lights and Shades

Our B-side is actually a little more urban and a bit more upbeat as well and sounds kind of like something that would’ve been released in the 90’s with all the beats and keyboarded sounds.  It’s better than the A-side because she is more together vocally and her sweet vocals make the song sound so good and quite sexy at points.  YAY!

3. Bitter Sweet -Bedtime Version-

So we get another remix, but this time in the form of her last A-side.  Now this time, Bitter Sweet actually has a lighter feel to it.  There’s not a lot of heavy percussion present and the song’s strings and piano line is brought forward.  Otherwise it’s basically the same song at hand.  I continue to like her vocals in this song, so I can’t complain too much.

 

 

Mao actually did better on this single clearly because all the songs were nice tracks and shows her genre off fine.  Nakitaku Naru Kedo is the only to really have a fault and that was the vocals weren’t exactly making her sound that good.  Lights and Shades and the Bitter Sweet remix though were all-around good.

 

Mao Denda – Bitter Sweet March 22, 2009

Filed under: Mao Denda — solarblade @ 6:40 am
Tags: , , ,

bittersweet

Track Listing

  1. Bitter Sweet
  2. Hare Tokidoki Ame
  3. Bitter Sweet -Jazztronik Remix-

1. Bitter Sweet

From the look of the cover of the single, I thought Bitter Sweet would’ve been a dance track, but what we end up with isn’t too bad at all.  It’s a ballad, but it’s also R&B as which is a nice mix of sounds.  Mao’s voice sounds really smooth and perfect for this kind of sound.  It’s a pretty nice song otherwise and her voice is great.

2. Hare Tokidoki Ame

This is the song I would set myself to link the covers to the song.  Unlike the melancholic A-side, Hare Tokidoki Ame is more along the lines of dance and I love the classy feel to it.  What I compare it is with Janet Jackson’s light pop tracks, like you can feel the beat and just sail and groove to it.  I notice her high notes are a little shaky, but her English is pretty good so it middles out in the end.  Nice B-side.

3. Bitter Sweet -Jazztronik Remix-

Our remix track comes into a form from Jazztronik who isn’t new to me.  Of course ballads turned into remixes usually come out pretty poorly because well that feeling from the original just disappears.  Bitter Sweet’s remix is just like that.  Being a minute longer, I thought that things didn’t really start up until about 2:15 in the song.  Very meh and boring.

 

 

Mao Denda is one of two artists debuting under UNIVERAL-J this week.  I did recognize her as MAO/d, but her actual debut under her penname was a pretty solid start.  Bitter Sweet’s sad tones and overall smooth performance mixed with Hare Tokidoki Ame’s fun party atmosphere mixed well together and is a strong single in itself.  The remix though was a bit on the bad side and it’s the only thing bringing the single down.