Kurayami Monogatari

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Masami Okui – -Side SunRise- Sora no Uta August 19, 2012

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 8:51 pm

Track Listing

  1. Sora no Uta
  2. Aoi Namida
  3. Sora no Uta (Instrumental)
  4. Aoi Namida (Instrumental)

1. Sora no Uta

I’m kind of surprised that Makkun released a single shortly after “Love Axel”.  I’m also a bit surprised that Sora no Uta is so anime-ish and bright for her since I’m used to stuff like “Renka Tairan” and the like.  This tune is upbeat and genki which might be why I have a hard time taking it in.  She still sounds great though and fits.  Interesting A-side.

2. Aoi Namida

The B-side though is also quite interesting for Makkun because it sounds like an idol song almost but with Makkun’s vocals.  I do say that I kind of enjoy this song a little bit more than “Sora no Uta”.  I did feel though like the chorus was lacking somewhat.  Not bad, but it’s still a little lacking in areas.

 

 

If you’re curious there is a Side SunSet but that’s sung by Aira Yuuki.  Makkun’s Sora no Uta single isn’t really that great because it’s a tad bit plain in areas and a little uncharacteristic for her (though granted I haven’t heard her discography so it might actually fit to her older days *shrugs*.  I’ll just say that I prefer “Renka Tairan” over this.

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Masami Okui – Love Axel July 24, 2012

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 7:48 am

Track Listing

  1. GRATIA
  2. Good-bye crisis
  3. Dive To Future
  4. Natsuiro Love Song
  5. Sora ~Ikite Ireba~
  6. LIAR GIRL
  7. Sigh of Angel
  8. Dear
  9. Dogma
  10. BI-YA-KU
  11. Renka Tairan
  12. Migimawari Shinkakei
  13. Real☆Starter

1. GRATIA

Well, it’s interesting to see Makkun open up the album with an introductory song with GRATIA.  Adding in the fact that it’s so mysterious and sounds like some kind of traditional chanting stuff (like Akiko Shikata) and you get an odd yet interesting intro to Love Axel.  Pretty though and leads into our first track nicely.

2. Good-bye crisis

The first full song on the album and it’s Good-bye crisis which was a digital single that was released at the end of 2010.  I never got to hear the song when it was released back then so it left me to wait until this was released on the album and the song is definitely anison at its best.  I will say that I love the guitars and speed of the song alongside Makkun’s strong vocals.  It’s a powerful track and a great way to kick things off!

3. Dive To Future

I gotta say that Dive To Future kind of cheeses things up by slowing things down a tad bit and gives us this acoustic guitar anime song which I guess sounds all right but there’s something rather bland about the song that I can’t seem to shake off.  I don’t know Masami’s vocals aren’t as charged like the ones in “Good-bye crisis”.  Oh well…

4. Natsuiro Love Song

It seemed to be the same problem with this song as well but it’s a bit more lighter than the previous track with a little more focus on the piano instead.  At least Masami’s vocals sound better here which made me enjoy the song a little better but it’s still kind of bland to me.

5. Sora ~Ikite Ireba~

Things keep going with Sora which goes back to more of an acoustic guitar style but there’s something about the song that sounds a lot better than the previous two tracks at least.  The chorus does feel a bit underwhelming but this is a much more eventful track IMO which isn’t saying much as well.

6. LIAR GIRL

LIAR GIRL comes next and I kind of like the pop/rock atmosphere from it because the guitar melody sounds like it gets a lot of melodies and it sounds good and upbeat as it should along with the synth lines found all over the place.  It’s a good aggressive but poppy song and I enjoyed it a lot!

7. Sigh of Angel

Weird getting into Sigh of Angel because I wasn’t expecting a song that has R&B elements to be a song on this album.  Sadly, once the chorus kicks in it feels like a clone of “Dive To Future” and “Sora”.  In a way, I do like the song because it’s new to me from Masami, but that chorus kind of messed things up it seems.

8. Dear

With a title like Dear, I was expecting this to be a ballad of sorts and funny enough that its what we got!  It’s interesting that it took this long to get to one but it sounds pretty since the first half is just Makkun with piano.  It’s a pretty song with a simple arrangement but memorable at the same time…a standout track for sure!

9. Dogma

However, the best song on the album is interestingly enough Dogma because it doesn’t sound like ANYTHING else on this album.  Actually, it sounds like an I’ve Sound producer had something to do with this because it sounds like a KOTOKO song, “SCREW”.  It’s a really cool techno track and Masami sounds really nice under this style. 

10. BI-YA-KU

I guess I said too much because our next track is also kind of techno-y in a way but not in the I’ve Sound way.  It’s like a toned down “Good-bye crisis” but with equal amounts of synths and guitars.  It’s a cool song as well and I like the chorus quite a bit.  Good tune!

11. Renka Tairan

It’s been over two years since this A-side was released (and the only one to represent the album oddly enough) and I still enjoy listening it today!  As for being on the album, for how old it is, it really does fit and sounds just as exciting if not more than “Good-bye crisis” actually.  Makkun just blows the song away and a good portion of the album into the dust.  One of the best tracks on the album!

12. Migimawari Shinkakei

However, I didn’t expect a happycore song to pop up (especially near the end of the album) and I must say that it’s the fastest track on the album and just hops back and forth on beats and Masami is keeping up with the song but it’s got cutesy yells in the background and just very anison all-around.  I’m not too big of a fan in the song but I like that it’s very peppy and different for Masami.

13. Real☆Starter

Ending the album, Real☆Starter kind of goes back to the front of the album with the pop/rock songs but also carries the lighter side as well which is quite nice.  It kind of reminds me of sphere’s music but only sung in one voice.  It’s a good closing song and her voice just sounds really strong!

Tracks Recommended

  • Dogma
  • Renka Tairan
  • Good-bye crisis
  • Dear
  • Real☆Starter

Song of Avoidance

  • Dive To Future

I have to say, this is probably my favorite Makkun album reviewed yet!  All of the songs are actually quite good this time around and she went out of her comfort zone for a couple of songs.  Definitely one of the stronger albums of the year right here.

 

Masami Okui – Self Satisfaction II February 22, 2011

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 1:14 am

Track Listing

  1. Cosmic Dance
  2. Garden of Eden
  3. Fates
  4. Beloved
  5. Hi no Hana
  6. Still Love
  7. DEAD or ALIVE
  8. Happy Days
  9. GRADUATION
  10. Utakata
  11. KOHAKU
  12. Satisfaction

1. Cosmic Dance

Beginning Masami’s 3rd cover album, Cosmic Dance (a sort of self-cover since she’s a part of JAM PROJECT) opens the album with a nice ethereal opening with an interesting ad-lib section from Masami.  I like the ocarina insert that comes in and out.  I find the instruments that are used in the song to be so different.  I like when she does finally start to sing in the song and even though it’s more of a mid-tempo kind of song, it still is pretty damn strong.

2. Garden of Eden

Now despite never hearing ANY of these songs that Makkun is covering, it’s still a good treat.  Garden of Eden really reminds me of various GUNDAM themes and Masami sounds amazing since she transformed the song into her own.  It’s still one of the coolest tracks off the album and one of Masami’s best since joining Lantis.

3. Fates

Slowing down a bit from “Garden of Eden”, Fates is definitely reminescent of Makkun’s main stuff with the whole slow anime track that has a powerful chorus.  As much as I enjoy Masami’s songs that have this style, it just seems very boring after the first two tracks.  Sorry to say.

4. Beloved

Let’s tone things down even further with Beloved with is more of an acoustic-based song than the previous songs.  I kind of like this stripped down setting for Makkun and she of course sounds pretty strong even with the chorus adds more music to things.  It’s a pretty good ballad and I wouldn’t have expected less.

5. Hi no Hana

Makkun opening a song in acappella?  I don’t know why but I didn’t like her airy start to the song to be frank since it was just pitchy.  While not much of a ballad like “Beloved” was, it’s still soft but I don’t exactly find this song to be better than said song even though the sitar did make it slightly stand out.  I still think “Beloved” is much memorable.

6. Still Love

I’m now starting to now realize that I’m starting to feel the same way about this album against the previous “Self Satisfaction”.  Too many ballads/slow songs bunched up together.  There’s even less to remember about this cover at all since it’s kind of like an R&B ballad, but very diluted it seems.  I think right now, Still Love is the album’s worst song.

7. DEAD or ALIVE

I’m so happy to get out of the slow section of the album because DEAD or ALIVE was the boost of energy that I needed to wake up from those tracks.  With a very hard rock atmosphere (seeing as it’s a cover from The Idolm@aster, it’s just in your face and pure energy.  Masami’s vocals really just pop out at you with the guitar riffs and pounding drums.  Gotta say, it impressed me quite a bit.

8. Happy Days

I’m kind of surprised we haven’t totally had a happy pop song from Makkun on the album until now.  It might not be as happy as one might think it’d be, but Happy Days is something that stands out on it’s own.  However, it features a lot of the same instruments that were found in the beginning of the album.  It might come off as forgetful, but it does stand out.

9. GRADUATION

I thought for such a title, GRADUATION was going to end up as a ballad, but it’s actually more of another happy song (even moreso than “Happy Days”).  However, I enjoyed this much more than the last track since the arrangement was more profound and stronger overall…plus I loved Makkun’s vocals a whole lot more…it might not be the best on the album, but it’s damn close XD

10. Utakata

Of course, we have to slow down for another set of ballads starting with Utakata which has beautiful strings to open the song up.  I think of the ballads on the album, this one has a much stronger and dramatic effect partially on both the arrangement and Masami’s tone.  I have to say it’s a great ballad on the album…but still doesn’t erase the fact there still is too many.

11. KOHAKU

Of course, KOHAKU is the other ballad found here.  I kind of enjoyed the oriental-like piano melody that opens the song…but sadly it’s the only true thing that makes it stand amongst the ballads.  I also do think she gave an amazing vocal performance despite the lack of an interesting arrangement.  I’m kind of stuck whether it’s a great song or just there because of Masami’s awesome vocals.  I think it’ll grow on me since it’s getting better with each listen.

12. Satisfaction

Closing the album with a title track, Satisfaction surprised me because it sounds like a mix of “Garden of Eden” and “GRADUTATION” since it’s edgy and kind of anime-upbeat in a way.  The energy is definitely there, but there’s something about it that’s off about it.  I could totally see this performed live and with tons of enthusiasm!

Tracks Recommended

  • Garden of Eden
  • GRADUATION
  • DEAD or ALIVE
  • Cosmic Dance
  • Utakata

Song of Avoidance

  • Still Love

For being Makkun’s 3rd cover album, I once again found myself not knowing ANY of the covers (same thing happened with the first “Self Satisfaction”) so I can’t say if she did justice to the songs or not, but for the most part, this felt better than the first.  I still think she’s added too many ballads once again and they were some of the weaker entries in the album.  Hopefully she’ll start to release singles again (It’s been a while since “Renka Tairan” came out…).

 

Masami Okui – Renka Tairan April 20, 2010

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 6:53 pm

Track Listing

  1. Renka Tairan
  2. Kagen no Tsuki
  3. Renka Tairan (off vocal ver.)
  4. Kagen no Tsuki (off vocal ver.)

1. Renka Tairan

Hey finally we’re back to some energetic stuff from Masami.  I love the guitar riff of this song and while there rising and falling synths heard in the song they don’t play much of an important role unlike the edgier guitar, piano, and drums.  Even Masami sounds more alive in this song than in “Starting Over” and “Melted Snow”.  Definitely an upgrade after some meh singles. 

2. Kagen no Tsuki

I love the fact that this song opens up so nicely like it did.  As the B-side of the single, Kagen no Tsuki is unsurprisingly a ballad, but I felt this one is a really great one compared to her last few ones.  There’s a nice amount of strings present and Masami sounds pretty strong as well.  Not sure why, but I might like this more than “Renka Tairan”.

 

 

Wow, an actual strong single from Makkun.  After “i-magination” I was worried on what she’d put out next because that album felt bland and somewhat outdated.  With Renka Tairan though, I can still see the energy she has and I love the soothing quality of Kagen no Tsuki.  Best single she’s had in a while

 

Masami Okui – i-magination February 5, 2010

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 2:38 am

Track Listing

  1. Starting Over
  2. Wagamama no Chou
  3. Pure DIAMOND
  4. Jounetsu no Counter
  5. TO DIE FOR ×××
  6. Regret
  7. Good-bye Good luck
  8. Sono Toki Daremo ga Megami Tonaru
  9. PHASE
  10. Niji’iro Shooter
  11. Flower
  12. Miracle.Upper WL

1. Starting Over

Beginning the album with the era’s first A-side, Starting Over is still one of those songs that passes over my head because it seems to just a typical anime song, but I do like the synths in the song more than anything else.  It’s strange that whenever I hear the guitars used here, I hear Stereopony…it’s probably because of the grittyness of it all.  It’s not a bad song to open the album up though.

2. Wagamama no Chou

Our first new song, Wagamama no Chou doesn’t even remotely sound interesting in the beginning.  It seems too plain and not as energetic as it should be.  At least when Masami enters with the first verse, things sound great and pretty cool.  Unfortuately that’s the only memorable thing about the song.  I’m disappointed with this song.

3. Pure DIAMOND

Now, this is better.  Pure DIAMOND starts off simply enough with strings and piano before unleashing this pretty epic rock arrangement on us, with some light synths.  To be more precise, the song actually goes int between the ballad-like beginning and the more rockier sound.  I don’t know why, but Masami actually pulled this off. 

4. Jounetsu no Counter

Then again, I’m ending up liking Jounetsu no Counter a lot more than the last song because it’s a mix of latin and pop.  It’s kind of nice to hear a female BKGD singer rather than a male since it’s more appropriate in this song.  It’s lighthearted and pretty nice to listen to, but I feel there’s something missing that makes it amazing.  Still pretty good.

5. TO DIE FOR ×××

As the B-side from “Miracle. Upper WL”, I was happy to see this song make the albums tracklist.  When compared to the previous songs, this song is by far the most energetic track so far.  I’m honestly loving rocker Makkun more than anything else she’s pulled off.  Makkun is definitely showing a lot more of herself and sounding stronger as well.  Great song!

6. Regret

I guess it’s no surprise that the B-side from “Starting Over” would be a part of the album as well.  Regret is a song to relax to because of it’s slower flow and more organic arrangement.  While it doesn’t beat the last track for best B-side, it’s still pretty damn good. 

7. Good-bye Good luck

I guess it was a nice segway for getting into Good-bye Good luck because it starts out in the same slow way “Regret” overall sounded.  I think the song is still on the edge of being somewhat stale, but Makkun’s vocals are at least interesting.  Definitely a filler track, but a good one nonetheless.

8. Sono Toki Daremo ga Megami Tonaru

Hahahah, I love how Makkun yells ~ALL RIGHT!~ when the song opens.  Unfortunately, that’s all that really stands out on this tune.  The song just doesn’t excite me and it doesn’t really go nowhere, but at least it’s somewhat cute. 

9. PHASE

I’m definitely finding myself lost when the album keeps going back from pop songs to rock songs.  PHASE is definitely throwing back images to “INSANITY” off her last studio album.  Likewise, I still like this energetic side to Makkun and comes off as more epic than some of the previous songs.  Ahhhh, what a good song.

10. Niji’iro Shooter

Of all the new tracks on the album, Niji’iro Shooter is probably my favorite because while it sounds like something off of “Akasha”, this song has the most variety because it isn’t like the poppier song nor is it hard rock.  It’s just a simple dance track with fastly sung lyrics from Makkun.  While it is my favorite new, there’s still something missing to make it that amazing.

11. Flower

See what I mean?  I mean jeeze, edgy to slow and back and forth….this album just doesn’t flow good.  Flower is what it is, a ballad with a more organic arrangement.  Piano, drums and guitar.  For being close to the end of the album, it passes because it does sound like a song that would end things off on a good note. 

12. Miracle. Upper WL

Ending off the album, Masami collaborated with fellow anison single, May’n for the other A-side released in the era.  I’m still on the fence with this song because while it has been quite a while since Makkun actually collaborated, the song just doesn’t feel right.  Makkun and May’n sound great, but I don’t think having a rock arrangement for both to sing on was a great idea.  Not too bad of a song, just wanted something different.

Tracks Recommended

  • Niji’iro Shooter
  • TO DIE FOR ×××
  • PHASE
  • Regret
  • Pure DIAMOND

Song of Avoidance

  • Wagamama no Chou

So for Makkun’s 3rd album under Lantis, i-magination is a small step up than “Self Satisfaction” and “Akasha”.  There’s still some problems to attend to like, making her songs stand out more and not feeling so mundane and boring.  Though at least she isn’t playing safe like the last two, that’s a positive thing.  Not bad, but not really that great either.

 

Masami Okui feat May’n – Miracle. Upper WL August 23, 2009

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 2:36 am

miracleupperwl

Track Listing

  1. Miracle. Upper WL
  2. TO DIE FOR ×××
  3. Miracle. Upper WL (Instrumental)
  4. TO DIE FOR ××× (Instrumental)

1. Miracle. Upper WL

Ahhhh, Makkun and May’n huh?  It’s kind of weird that May’n is channeling Makkun pretty nicely, even though she is way young so you’ll hear that compared to her.  I do love the energetic performance from the ladies and I love the synth in the chorus that replaces the guitars in the verses.  It’s definitely a good A-side.

2. TO DIE FOR ×××

Surprise surprise, Makkun’s solo track is just as hard rockin’ as the previous track.  There’s just no May’n (or is that her acting as the background singer?).  Still, the riffs are a bit more constant and the rocker chick from Masami shines brightly in this song.  I think it was actually a stronger song than “Miracle. Upper WL”.

 

 

Makkun’s 2nd single of the current era, Miracle. Upper WL definitely pwned her last single “Starting Over” so much that I’m starting to get excited for her next release.  The collaboration with May’n was pretty cool since May’n rebegan her career last year.  The B-side though took the cake since it was more awesomer and full of life.  Good single.

 

Masami Okui – Self Satisfaction

Filed under: Masami Okui — solarblade @ 12:20 am

selfsatisfaction

Track Listing

  1. Divine love
  2. STRATEGY
  3. ADORATION
  4. Yuunagi
  5. Kagaribi
  6. KAKERA
  7. Time Limit
  8. HONESTY
  9. Fuyu no Himawari
  10. Float ~Sora no Kanata de~
  11. KURENAI
  12. Ienai Kara -Piano quintetto-

1. Divine love

Beginning this cover album, Divine love has a pretty hard arrangement going for it.  There’s just a lot of energy for being an otherwise rock track.  Recently, those rock tracks from Makkun haven’t really been that exciting so it’s nice to see her put some effort into this track and I kind of like it.

2. STRATEGY

Though I think she did an amazing job with STRATEGY.  Not only is the song just as catchy, she vocally sounded more powerful and stronger this time around.  The male BKGD vocalists are still there and I have no idea why they’re there in the first place, but it fills out the song nicely.

3. ADORATION

Calming thing a bit down after those two tracks, ADORATION starts off a bit clamer with some acoustic guitar and Makkun singing along.  It’s nice to hear a rock ballad from her this time and while it doesn’t bring anything new to the table from her, it’s actually quite nice.

4. Yuunagi

Yuunagi has a pretty flute opening and it’s so far this is the closest thing to a ballad I’ve heard from Makkun from this era and the last.  Her vocals sound a lot less nasally than they did back on “ADORATION”, but I feel it’s a little messy in the ballad with the BKGD vocalists and such.  It does feel a little draggy, but the song’s arrangement is really nice and pretty.

5. Kagaribi

Kagaribi goes even further with the album’s strange outlook.  I love the fact that it’s so minimal in the arrangement at first and gradually grows into a strong ballad.  It might even sound traditional to some extent that borders and brass-less enka.  I don’t know why but this was a great cover.

6. KAKERA

The only song I really noticed off the tracklist, KAKERA was also covered by dream as well.  Makkun’s version is a bit longer and well it still has a dance sound to it, I thought it did well to put some much needed energy back into the album.  It might not be that memorable, but this was a nice try and goes back into what Masami is best known for.

7. Time Limit

Ahhhh, I love Time Limit.  It’s like more emotional than anything this album has produced so far.  There seems to be a mix of strings and rock which is again a nice touch.  I think it’s one of the strongest songs off the album.  It does feel a little too short being over 3 minutes and a half…

8. HONESTY

I really like the melancholic sound that starts up HONESTY.  It even sounded interesting when Makkun was filtered as well.  She does come through in the second half of the first verse, but the song oddly becomes boring for me.  It’s nice that it’s more acoustically driven, but otherwise it doesn’t stand out for me on this album.

9. Fuyu no Himawari

What’s up with this album being prominently filled with ballads?  Unlike the previous track having a acoustic sound, Fuyu no Himawari has a more piano-ladened sound to it.  Now, this would normally spell trouble because piano-only tracks are boring as hell.  However, there’s drums that pickup in the chorus so it’s pretty nice.  This is probably the best ballad so far since it doesn’t drag itself at all and has great flow.

10. Float ~Sora no Kanata de~

Float goes back to the acoustic vibe and mixes the piano into it as well.  It seemed they took the best of both tracks and we got this.  Sadly, Float fails to make much of an impression on me nor does it really stand out on its on this album (since a good portion is ballads central).  The nicest thing is probably the xylophone melody that’s found throughout and ends the song.

11. KURENAI

Now this is the song I was waiting for.  It’s an upbeat track that’s filled with synths and guitar.  I think of the edgier songs on the album, KURENAI is one of the bests of the album because of the cool riffs and Makkun’s expressive singing.  I have to say, she should stick to this kind of tracks.

12. Ienai Kara -Piano quintetto-

Ienai Kara ends off the album in a pretty mellow and orchestral way.  It does show off Makkun’s vocal a whole lot more than a few other tracks and while she sounds beautiful with the various strings and piano melodies that are going on, the song doesn’t exactly make an effort to stand out, so it does come off stale at parts, but otherwise it’s a pretty way to end the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • KURENAI
  • Kagaribi
  • Time Limit
  • STRATEGY

Song of Avoidance

  • HONESTY

Makkun’s cover album was pretty nice, but damn were there a lot of ballads and that bothered me alot since the Makkun I know does great energetic tracks (which on this album were pretty awesome).  Still, it’s alright, but she’s definitely not at her peak anymore.  At least her singing is consistent and well.