Kurayami Monogatari

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Minako Kotobuki – My stride September 21, 2012

Filed under: Minako Kotobuki — solarblade @ 10:28 pm

Track Listing

  1. STRIDE
  2. Lilac
  3. Kokoro Sky
  4. Brand New World
  5. Dear my…
  6. Ivory
  7. Shiny+
  8. Colorful Diary
  9. echo hearts
  10. brilliant focus
  11. Tsuki no Hikari
  12. Startline

1. STRIDE

Opening the album, STRIDE was chosen as the song to promote the album and compared to the previous singles, STRIDE is a bit more energetic which is a nice way to kick things off.  I enjoyed Minako’s voice in the song and she has a bright tone to her voice that makes the song come to life.  It does remind me of the songs she does while in sphere, but I think this is a pretty good opening track.

2. Lilac

I’m pretty happy that Minako chose only 2 B-sides to accompany the album, the first is from her debut single, “Shiny+”.  I’m also very happy that she chose good ones to represent the album since I thought Lilac was personally much better than it’s A-side.  I like the relaxed nature of the song and Minako’s vocals sound a lot more comfortable as well.  I still ended up liking it.

3. Kokoro Sky

It’s kind of funny that we toned things down back on “Lilac” and then we get Minako’s 4th A-side and it sounds pretty similar too “STRIDE” which the pop/rock arrangement which also sounds like an opening theme.  Sadly back then, I didn’t find this intriguing and today it still doesn’t leave much of an impression on me like what the opening track did.

4. Brand New World

I was kind of curious to what Minako had in store with her album tracks and the second, Brand New World somehow easily impressed me since she traded the pop/rock style for something more peppy and danceable.  I like the synths and sparkly stuff for some reason…even though I get a Hannah Montana feel through it.  At least Minako’s vocals are at their strongest here so far.  It’s cute and not at all offensive ^_^

5. Dear my…

Lord this song has to come up.  It’s the slowest song so far and still remains the longest song Minako has done yet.  Taking the pop/rock arrangements and slowing it down and stretching it at 6 minutes is just a little too much for me.  The song isn’t really even that remarkable to begin with.  Too long and too boring basically…and this was her 3rd A-side? Yeesh…

6. Ivory

Makes sense that Ivory would basically be “Dear my…” but shorter and a little more lively of a song which does make it better than the previous track.  However, that’s only a small upgrade because the song doesn’t do much for me otherwise and just sails by with no impression.

7. Shiny+

Moving onto Minako’s debut, Shiny+ is like the other pop/rock songs on the album which at this point is making me just a little disappointed.  Then again, Minako started with this song so I can’t put too much blame here.  I like the little Western sounds in the song and Minako doesn’t sound totally bad (but not as good as she sounds today oddly enough).  It’s a fair song overall at least.

8. Colorful Diary

At least something that’s really good ended up on the album.  As the other B-side (this one from “Dear my…”).  I kind of find it ironic and humorous that the intro is a lot like the intro for “STRIDE” where it’s just Minako and guitar.  As it was one of my favorite B-sides of 2011, I’m so happy that Minako chose this to be on the album because it’s still as strong and fun to listen to just as it was last year.  One of the album’s best tracks!

9. echo hearts

At least the next three tracks are brand new and we get a break from the old stuff.  echo hearts comes first and like “Brand New World”, it has a bit more synths involved which is something I was hoping more for from Minako.  I liked the song up to the chorus because the chorus just felt uninspired and forgetful to me. 

10. brilliant focus

So we have synth horns to kind of back up on the acoustic guitar arrangement for brilliant focus?  I kind of enjoyed the song even if it’s a lot like the other tracks on the album.  I think maybe it’s the flow or Minako’s lovely vocals that made me enjoy it a lot more than the others but this was pretty good!

11. Tsuki no Hikari

I kind of figured that the last of the new songs would be a ballad.  At least this one isn’t as redundant and bland like “Dear my…”.  Actually I think this track showcased Minako’s vocals the best since the arrangement isn’t loud or wanting to take over.  Just a simple piano and string assemble.  I was quite pleasantly surprised with this track.

12. Startline

Strange that “Tsuki no Hikari” didn’t close things out since it’s a MUCH better choice than Minako’s 2nd A-side, Startline.  I mean I used to really enjoy the song a lot but on the album it just kind of sounds forgetful and bland against the tracks and it’s hard to remember the melody as well. 

Tracks Recommended

  • Colorful Diary
  • Brand New World
  • STRIDE
  • Tsuki no Hikari
  • Lilac

Song of Avoidance

  • Dear my…

For a debut album, I was kind of disappointed with Minako.  I mean I knew her singles have been around the same style and such, but I didn’t think the album would also carry that torch which made most of the songs quite forgettable and even made the singles look bad too.  Seriously the five I chose are the ones that you should really listen to because the rest are clones basically…Meh release!

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Minako Kotobuki – Kokoro Sky April 15, 2012

Filed under: Minako Kotobuki — solarblade @ 6:50 am

Track Listing

  1. Kokoro Sky
  2. Like a super woman
  3. Kokoro Sky (Instrumental)

1. Kokoro Sky

I was hoping that Minako would kick things up for Kokoro Sky and she kind of did.  However, the song has a very anime opening-like sound to it and it kind of depressed me.  It’s not a terrible song though and Minako sounds pretty good for the most part but I just felt it wasn’t really remarkable (in comparison to “Dear my…”).

2. Like a super woman

It seems that ever since Minako debuted, it always seem that her B-sides seem to impress me leagues more than the leading tracks and I don’t know why that is.  Like a super woman is pretty much more energetic and stronger to her pop/rock vibes than anything before and I’m really enjoying this side to her. 

 

 

Her 4th and possibly final single for the era, Kokoro Sky isn’t quite up to snuff to “Dear my…” in presentation but it doesn’t seem to find many faults to bring it down under the other singles. The leading song is a bit mundane for me and too “to the book” in anime openings which comes off as bland but she picked up with Like a super woman with much better energy and an overall fun feeling.  I know it won’t happen but I’d choose all 5 B-sides over the A-sides for the album lmao.

 

Minako Kotobuki – Dear my… September 13, 2011

Filed under: Minako Kotobuki — solarblade @ 5:56 pm

Track Listing

  1. Dear my…
  2. Colorful Diary
  3. Dear my… (Instrumental)

1. Dear my…

A six minute guitar-based ballad?  I really don’t know about this because Minako hasn’t been that great since she debuted and her A-sides haven’t been able to capture my interest fully and while this is her first ballad A-side I can’t deny the fact that it’s a bit long-winded but has nice vocals.  In this song Minako comes off as another YUI, Maria, Shion Tsuji, Maika wannabe and while she has the better vocals than most of those artists listed, she doesn’t have the emotional feel for which bothers me the most out of this song besides its length.  Yeah, it isn’t a step up after “Startline” after all.

2. Colorful Diary

Then comes in Colorful Diary and my first thoughts were *WHY WASN’T THIS THE A-SIDE????*  Unlike the boring “Dear my…” this has energy and it’s fast-paced like what I was hoping she’d pull off and she did it in flying colors.  It does sound like a typical anime ending, but there’s something amazing about Minako in this song and this is quickly becoming a favorite for me!

 

 

While it’s her third single, Dear my… doesn’t really surpass “Startline” but that’s because I couldn’t take the A-side very well.  It just was boring and stale for me while Colorful Diary is the best song she’s done since debuting so it’s in a strange place XD.  Still I can’t wait to hear an album from Minako and Ayahi now since they’re saving their best singers for last with albums lol.

 

Minako Kotobuki – Startline November 23, 2010

Filed under: Minako Kotobuki — solarblade @ 6:53 am

Track Listing

  1. Startline
  2. metamorphose
  3. Startline (Instrumental)

1. Startline

When I first started Startline, I was pleasantly surprised that the song was pretty much more exciting and vocally more together than “Shiny+” was altogether.  Of course it’s a little bit like her debut in the way it’s a poppish rock tune, but otherwise I felt much more emotions coming from this song and there were no vocal issues.

2. metamorphose

I’ll admit though that metamorphose was a bit more of a surprise from Minako simply because it’s kind of like a mix of a ballad and a light LIGHT dance style.  Of course there’s still acoustic guitar present, but with the strings and beats playing a more major role, I thought it was a stronger presentation.  Even Minako’s vocals sound a bit more open and willing to move around notes.

For Minako’s second single, I thought she did much better than she did with “Shiny+” since both the title track and metamorphose ended being two strong pop songs from a seiyuu.  If she keeps this up, I’d say she might be on par with Ayahi as best singer.

 

Minako Kotobuki – Shiny+ October 26, 2010

Filed under: Minako Kotobuki — solarblade @ 3:22 am

Track Listing

  1. Shiny+
  2. Lilac
  3. Hajimari no Basho
  4. Shiny+ (Instrumental)

1. Shiny+

Hey something that actually doesn’t really sound cutesy and whatever.  Shiny+ actually is a nice kind pop/rock tune with acoustics throughout and it was definitely sweet.  That is until she started to sing in a squeaky tone that kind of sound like the other sphere girls.  I guess it’s a nice listen since it isn’t totally bad, but at least the harmonizations with the backups are nicely done!

2. Lilac

The first B-side off the single, Lilac was definitely much more sweeter and better for Minako’s vocals since they’re deeper and in better control.  I like the breezy feel of the song and with the extra strings, it fits in quite nicely.  Easily could’ve been the A-side since it was so much stronger and did a better job showing off Minako’s non-seiyuu vocals.

3. Hajimari no Basho

For the other B-side on the single, Hajimari no Basho is a bit more like “Shiny+” in the way there’s acoustic and electric guitars.  It’s a bit slower than said A-side so it’s a bit more comfortable.  I once again found myself enjoying Minako’s vocals in this and later in the song it does add in some cute sounds, but it’s not overbearing and it doesn’t change the way she sings so that’s good. 

So I think Minako probably has the nicest vocals out of sphere (but I still have to review Ayahi first) simply because she can hold a tune the best.  While Shiny+ isn’t the best A-side to begin with both Lilac and Hajimari no Basho are better suited songs for her.  Let’s hope her next single is done better.