Kurayami Monogatari

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Maria – MERCI VOX October 9, 2011

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 6:24 pm

Track Listing

  1. Deep into You
  2. Cherry
  3. Ai wo Choudai
  4. Weed Flower
  5. That LOVE
  6. Good bye Good day
  7. Never End
  8. Daily Life with you
  9. love again? feat. Dohzi-T
  10. Yuuhi
  11. Good bye Good day remix (CD only)
  12. Deep into You remix (CD only)
  13. That LOVE remix (CD only)
  14. That LOVE acoustic session (CD+DVD only)

1. Deep into You

Kicking the album off is Maria’s second A-side and it’s a nice opening track to start it with.  To me, of the singles, this tune sounds like something she was evolving from her last era. “WILL” and that might not be sounding good since I did feel a little bored with that album, but this song really showed me that she can take the light guitar pop/rock and make it interesting as in the case of Deep into You.  That being said it’s my favorite of the three A-sides to be honest.

2. Cherry

A little more acoustic and a little more synth-based, Cherry was something I wasn’t expecting from Maria but funn enough I found this tune to be quite refreshing since it mixes her stable sound with something that it more experimental and it worked since it was more acoustic-guitar than the synths.  It’s a fun and bright song and I think I’m fallin’ head over heels for it….even the guitar solo was pretty cute ^_^

3. Ai wo Choudai

Then I start to weird out with Ai wo Choudai since it’s electro/rock and a bit more sly and darker than I thought it’d be but it’s alright since it’s got a catchy sound and to me Maria sounds a bit deeper in tone which works for me since it gives a mysterious vibe to go along with the synth melody.  It’s a style that I would have also never thought would happen with her but she pulled that off quite nicely!

4. Weed Flower

After having three exciting songs previous, Weed Flower kind of just puts a stop to it in an instant.  Meaning is is that the song is a typical piano/strings ballad which I’m not totally against and doesn’t stay that way since it grows in the chorus into a rather beautiful sounding chorus.  I think it’s a really nice song and makes up for the forgetful ones back on her debut.

5. That LOVE

Her 3rd A-side comes next and while I still enjoy “Deep into You” a bit more, this was also another good song since it has an interesting melody for me plus I like Maria’s airy vocals in this one.  The thing I have a problem is with the fact that she doesn’t give the song much personality to go by and lets the melody try and that’s not really a good game plan. 

6. Good bye Good day

A little strange that the next song deviates from previous songs by being her R&B track.  Given she’s being a bit more open with her styles on this album and that’s a good sign so this tune stands out for being that way.  However, just like “That LOVE”, it kind of feels emotionless and just sung like all of the other songs but to me…the lyrical content reminds me of Kana Nishino’s “Best Friend” but that’s just me. 

7. Never End

Back to the new tracks, Never End to me sounds really nice and basic but done well enough to make an impression.  I still think that it carries this “WILL” feel also but since there isn’t that many of those kind of songs I’m kind of happy with this one…otherwise if it was on her debut album, i probably would’ve forgot what it sounds like.  That being said it’s my least favorite amongst the new songs.

8. Daily Life with You

I’m kind of disappointed she put on B-sides on this album, but it helped she put this one from “That LOVE” on here since it was my favorite of the three B-sides.  It’s light and sparkly but having a slight touch of R&B thrown in to make it pop out more and that it did.  I like the little synth touches as well and Maria sounds damn pretty in this song.  Definitely a memorable tune!

9. love again? feat. Dohzi-T

The last new song off the album is a collaboration with well-known MC, Dohzi-T.  Sadly, love again? seriously sounds like the last song almost to a T but I think Maria has even more soothing vocals to give out and then Dohzi-T kind of just ruins the song’s mood.  I’m sorry MC’s should never been allowed on slow songs.  This was a poor track…OK…this was worse than “Never End”…

10. Yuuhi

Jeeze she just fell apart at the end of the album, love again? was a poor idea and then she stuck the B-side from “Deep into You” on here and made even more harder to sit through.  This might be the final non-edited track on the album but she could’ve done better because like I said in the single review it’s a bit too much like “Wasuretakunakute”.  Acoustic guitars and slow songs have been her calling in the last album but she just stretched it a bit too far here.  I would’ve rather have had “AGAIN” on here instead!

14. That LOVE acoustic session

Closing out the CD+DVD version of the album we get an acoustic take of That LOVE which doesn’t surprise me but it sounds really impressive since it is Maria tackling the acoustic guitar.  I liked this version since she’s got talent on the guitar and she sounds pretty here.

Tracks Recommended

  • Cherry
  • Deep into You
  • Daily Life with You
  • Ai wo Choudai
  • Weed Flower

Song of Avoidance

  • love again? feat. Dohzi-T

Funny, I actually was quite impressed by Maria’s sophomore effort this time around.  Though the way the album went did turn out to be disappointing at the end while the first 5-6 songs on the album impressed me the most.  If she continues I’d say she’s got something to bring since her more open field of styles could do her good in the future…*WILL REVIEW THE REMIXES ONCE THEY LEAK*

 

Maria – That LOVE June 26, 2011

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 3:59 am

Track Listing

  1. That LOVE
  2. Daily life with you
  3. Deep into You (acoustic session)
  4. That LOVE (inst.)

1. That LOVE

I was a little surprised to hear synths open That LOVE alongside Maria’s normal acoustic sound giving a rather interesting mixture of styles.  It’s pretty light and more of a mid-tempo kind of track, but there’s something about the tune that is cute and positively adorable about it.  It could be from Maria’s light vocals and happy nature or just more of the entire package, but of the three A-sides so far, this is my favorite.

2. Daily life with you

So let’s take out the synths and replace it with strings, piano, and a light beat.  It’s pretty different from previous songs she’s done but nothing she hasn’t done in her last era.  It’s pretty simple of a song and it kind of comes off as a wintery, Kana Nishino-like tune.  I know that’s pretty low to say, but it just feels so much like something she’d do.  Either way, not a bad song either and kind of relaxing in a good way.

3. Deep into You (acoustic session)

Like the previous single, we get an acoustic cut of the last A-side and in this case it’s Deep into You that gets treated.  I’ve been loving this side of her quite lately and she pulls off this song better here than in the original version despite the loss of a lot of components of the original.  Her voice sounds more sure and pulling off the notes a lot stronger as well which was an interesting change of pace for me…SWEET!

 

 

I guess Maria is treating this era like she did in the “WILL” era.  Slow start with not the best of songs and eventually hitting great stuff and she did it quite nicely with That LOVE.  All three tracks are definitely strong tunes from her and shows a little more versatility this time around.  Could there be a fourth single on the horizon?

 

Maria – Deep into You April 14, 2011

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 2:42 am

Track Listing

  1. Deep into You
  2. Yuuhi
  3. Good bye Good day (acoustic session)
  4. Deep into You (inst.)

1. Deep into You

Getting another A-side out quickly after “Good bye Good day”, Deep into You made me wonder what was in store and for the most part she pulled off this song quite nicely and reminds me of her debut era with the guitar-based sound.  It’s pretty nice of a song with piano and synths along for the ride and Maria’s vocals do go back to being similar to YUI’s vocals, but it’s simple and sweet…so much memorable after her last A-side.

2. Yuuhi

If you remember “Wasuretakunakute”, than this song might be a little bit of a dejavu kind of moment for ya.  Then again Yuuhi sounds like many of Maria’s songs already so this doesn’t fully stand out for me as much as “Deep into You” did.  It’s slow-paced and her vocals are a bit lighter and less nasal, but it lacked personality otherwise and just kind of drifted away from my ears.

3. Good bye Good day (acoustic session)

I guess to make up for the ick factor of her last A-side it seems Maria did an acoustic version and it’s very bare with literally only acoustic guitar and light percussion but it sounds like it was done in an open room since it has that live recording kind of feel.  As bare as it sounds, it’s vocally less boring and wasn’t covered up in all that bland R&B-ness that turned me off to the original cut…it’s nice actually ^_^

As Maria’s 2nd single in the era, she definitely did a better job on this single than on “Good bye Good day”.  Both the A & B-sides sound like the normal Maria with the whole acoustic pop-rock feel to it though Yuuhi is a slight borefest.  Let’s not forget the acoustic version of her last A-side, it was better actually…there’s hope for her yet!

 

Maria – Good bye Good day January 28, 2011

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 9:55 pm

Track Listing

  1. Good bye Good day
  2. AGAIN
  3. Good bye Good day (instrumental)

1. Good bye Good day

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Maria and it seems she’s kind of found herself in a not so good area of music.  Let’s be honest, the whole R&B thing is getting old and to be honest the flow and rhythm of the song is definitely similar to some of Alicia Keys’ stuff which makes it an even more of a borefest to listen to, but I will say that Maria’s vocals sound great and her melodies actually work for the song despite the style. 

2. AGAIN

I think it’s great that the B-side covered up the mistakes the A-side had since it’s definitely more along her normal style and it sort of reminds me of her last A-side, “Wasuretakunakute”, but that’s not a bad thing since this has pretty strong vocals coming from Maria.  Definitely a much more stronger song IMO.

Beginning Maria’s sophomore era, Good bye Good day I guess is just an alright single, but the B-side kind of tops the A-side just because it was more of her style.  I really wished I didn’t get such strong Alicia Keys vibes from the A-side, but whatever…let’s see how “deep into you” does next.

 

Maria – WILL February 26, 2010

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 9:43 pm

Track Listing

  1. Wasuretakunakute
  2. Goin’ My Way
  3. Getaway
  4. D.I.T. (Album Version)
  5. Arigatou…Gomen ne.
  6. Oware Nai Natsu
  7. Ai wo Sakebou
  8. I hate you.
  9. Crazy For You
  10. Too Late
  11. Dear My Sherry
  12. Inori

1. Wasuretakunakute

Beginning the album with the final A-side released in the era, Wasuretakunakute came off pretty nicely on the single and between the singles it was taken as the normal mid-tempo guitar-based song.  I love the longing feeling of the song and whenever the guitar has it solos throughout.  Maria also sounds great here as well and her voice just radiates nicely with the song.

2. Goin’ My Way

As Maria’s 2nd A-side, this song is sort of like “Wasuretakunakute” in the way that it’s somewhat upbeat, but at the same time a little slower.  To be honest, it just screams YUI emo because of the more longing feeling here.  I don’t mind that at all, but it just feels rather mundane to listen to after listening to all of those YUI songs to begin with.  It’s alright for now.

3. Getaway

I think if this was changed a little bit for the album, I might’ve appreciated this a little more because the way song sounds is exactly YUI-like.  I mean it’s interesting that it’s a more darker song than the other 3 singles of the era.  I did like the chorus a lot more than usual since it’s so hard-hitting and such.  Good debut track if you ask me.

4. D.I.T. (Album Version)

Strange that the fun song of the era gets a tag like that!  Unlike the single cut of the song, D.I.T. opens up with people probably in the audience clapping and this epic guitar opening that follows soon after.  Though it’s not long before the main song opens up and to be honest nothing if at all anything changed besides the little introduction.  I commend Maria at trying something new and in this case it worked. 

5. Arigatou…Gomen ne.

Finally the first new song off the album, Arigatou…Gomen ne. marks the second ballad I’ve heard from her and she nailed it.  While it wasn’t particularly anything knew in the world of ballads, I liked her voice a lot in this song and it got harder and powerful in the chorus where so many instruments were included.  Definitely liking this song a lot from her.

6. Oware Nai Natsu

As the only B-side to make it on the album, Oware Nai Natsu sort of reminds me of a more relaxed version of “Wasuretakunakute” since it has this rather Western feel to it and some nice chords from the guitar.  Another ballad, it’s nice to listen, but on the album it kind of feels inferior to the last song. 

7. Ai wo Sakebou

Now the rest of the album is filled with new songs starting with Ai wo Sakebou.  Now this song does go back into the more upbeat acoustic arrangements and for right now it kind of is a little too shouty for me.  The thing that got me though was that there was a male backup singer, but for most of the song, Maria was belting a little too much and that made her sound offkey at points. 

8. I hate you.

I find that a song with such a negative title would be kind of messy.  Then again when you start the song using a fade-in is a pretty meh idea to begin with.  As such, I hate you. has a very dark atmosphere and it’s got this heavy beat.  I like whenever her vocals are muffled because it adds this pissed off atmosphere that I love.  Ok, this song definitely is one to listen to.

9. Crazy For You

Why does this song sound way too much like “Wasuretakunakute” and almost borderlining Country music at various points?  I can’t explain those, but I’m starting to think Maria wants to be a country artist especially with some of the other songs off the album.  It’s alright, but it needs time to grow on me.

10. Too Late

Going back to more laidback music, Too Late to me actually kind of too boring for me to listen to for some reason.  Like Maria’s vocals are nice, but the only redeeming quality is the keyboard found in the song.  Besides that, nothing really stood out since we’ve heard similar songs to begin with.  PASS!

11. Dear My Sherry

Finally something that got me back into finishing this review!  Dear My Sherry is probably her funnest song out of the new songs and it’s not a surprise because of the tempo and the excitement Maria has put in this song.  It might not be “D.I.T.”, but damn it’s got a live on its own and I enjoyed it very much. 

12. Inori

As the final song off the album, Inori is well a ballad of course and since it’s kind of like the other acoustic ballads, I was worried since the track record for the album is kind of not good.  Somehow though she pulls off another great ballad.  It does kind of borrows the same musical direction as “Arigatou…Gomen ne.”, but to be honest hearing the same amount of power through both songs doesn’t really bother me.  So all in all, I loved this track and did make for a good ending.

Tracks Recommended

  • I hate you.
  • Arigatou…Gomen ne.
  • Wasuretakunakute
  • Inori
  • Dear My Sherry

Song of Avoidance

  • Ai wo Sakebou

So Maria’s debut album wasn’t that bad, but I don’t think there was anything that just popped out for me like other debut albums.  I guess what I’m trying to say, she played it safe for her debut and that’s not a bad thing to do.  I can see her potentially pulling off an epic ballad since there was two here.  Something to work on I guess is to make herself stand out a little more.

 

Maria – D.I.T.

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 2:11 am

Track Listing

  1. D.I.T.
  2. Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi
  3. D.I.T. (Backing Track)
  4. Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi (Backing Track)

1. D.I.T.

If there was an A-side that made me giggle, Maria’s D.I.T. definitely did the job for sure.  Instead of the previous two songs where it was sounding maybe a little typical, this song flipped everything over and turned it funky (in a good way though).  Maria is still trying to find her voice, but she isn’t trying very hard so she’s pretty stable.  Overall, it’s a pretty good track.

2. Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi

The shortest song so far released, Kaze, Tokidoki Yorimichi is quite different from her previous B-side as it sounds rather laidback, but kind of catchy as well.  It’s got this feelgood upbeat feeling that’s going on and reminds me of those days where you’re just happy that you would end up singing along.  Nice little tune.

 

 

Maria’s 3rd single showed a lot of her colors and I was happy with what I got with this single.  She got down and funky with D.I.T. and the B-side was calm, collected, and just fun to listen to as well.  Probably the best single of the era IMO.

 

Maria – Goin’ My Way

Filed under: Maria — solarblade @ 12:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Goin’ My Way
  2. Oware Nai Natsu
  3. Goin’ My Way (Backing Track)
  4. Oware Nai Natsu (Backing Track)

1. Goin’ My Way

Compared to “Getaway”, Goin’ My Way is quite the opposite.  It’s definitely more acoustically driven.  She also has let go of her YUI vocals and sounds quite a bit better this time around.  Sadly, the chorus screams YUI since it’s a bit more mid-tempo this time around.  It’s not a bad song and I like the Americanized sound to it as well.  Pretty good…but I still prefer “Getaway”.

2. Oware Nai Natsu

While the previous B-side didn’t exactly made me excited, I think Oware Nai Natsu is pretty cool.  It’s even more slower than the A-side and has a lot more acousticness going on.  It’s mellow and it features the best vocal performance from Maria so far.  Makes a great song!

 

 

Maria’s 2nd single was definitely a step up from her debut single.  While, she doesn’t have the most strongest of arrangements, Goin’ My Way is pretty nice and is a smooth song while Oware Nai Natsu does give her a ballad under her belt and it wasn’t too bad!