Kurayami Monogatari

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Namie Amuro – Just You and I June 12, 2017

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 4:20 pm

justyouandi

Track Listing

  1. Just You and I
  2. Strike A Pose
  3. Just You and I -Instrumental-
  4. Strike A Pose -Instrumental-

1. Just You and I

It didn’t take too much for me to guess that Just You and I would be more of a softer effort from Namie this time around.  Of course she wouldn’t abandon her R&B beats here and I feel like the beat is a little distracting, but the song otherwise has a romantic & sentimental feel to it and it’s nice that she releases these tracks once in a while to keep her grounded.  Nice track, not exactly the best this era has seen, but it’s nice enough to last a while.

2. Strike A Pose

The B-side of the single actually has been known for quite a while (being around when her last single, “Dear Diary / Fighter” dropped almost).  When people were saying it was a bop, I was expecting something like “Show Me What You’ve Got”, but I get a mix of Katy Perry & poppy Nicki Minaj in this song.  I do get that the song makes for a good summer track, but I feel like she’s done better tracks that holds the summer jam down.

 

 

I feel like Namie is holding back an album because let’s be honest, she’s due for one at this point.  I do think this single is kind of the weakest of the 5 singles she’s released in the era (not counting some of the singles prior to her “_genic” album.  Either way, Just You and I is nice and all but she’s done this before alongside Strike A Pose which does cater to more of a Western pop song (seriously, it reminds me of Nicki’s “Starships”).  I hope there’s an album on the way, if not a best album to chronicle the singles.

 

Namie Amuro – Dear Diary/Fighter November 1, 2016

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 4:23 am

deardiary

Track Listing

  1. Dear Diary
  2. Fighter
  3. Dear Diary -Instrumental-
  4. Fighter -Instrumental-

1. Dear Diary

It feels like its been a while sine we’ve gotten a straight-up ballad (“HERO” was close, but it was more upbeat the longer it went).  That said, Dear Diary is a surprisingly grand sounding ballad with a lot of strings and piano strung throughout its arrangement.  It is pretty much to the books as far as ballads go and it’s a little bit like something she’s done before, but it’s nice to see this kind of song return!

2. Fighter

I was happy to see that Namie is still sticking to her upbeat style of recent because Fighter is actually more of the exciting dance/EDM drive that she had back in “_genic”.  Though the song is entirely sung in English so there’s the little bit with the accent going on, but it doesn’t drive me away from this edgy dance track!

Seeing as both songs are tied to the Death Note movie that came out in Japan, I felt this was a suitable single but not quite on the level that “HERO” is on.  Both songs to me feel like they’re staples to Namie’s current sound and while we haven’t had a song like Dear Diary in a while, it still felt like more of the same we’ve been getting.  Overall, not bad, but not groundbreaking.

 

Namie Amuro – Hero August 12, 2016

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 4:52 am

hero

Track Listing

  1. Hero
  2. Show Me What You’ve Got
  3. Hero -Instrumental-
  4. Show Me What You’ve Got -Instrumental-

1. Hero

Chosen to be the NHK theme for the Rio Olympics, Hero is a pretty goddamn interesting song for Namie.  It opens up feeling like a ballad and after the first run-in with the chorus opens further into a dance track!  I really love how radiant this song is and Namie just won me over with her vocals here!  Am a little surprised that it’s almost 6 minutes long, but it’s definitely worth the time spent here!

2. Show Me What You’ve Got

Initially was going to be the B-side for “Mint” but for some reason was swapped out with “Chit Chat” in the end (plus it actually got a PV too!).  I’m a bit surprised with this song as unlike the grandiose “Hero”, this song is written with fun in mind and there’s just a lot of interesting sections (even the chorus has a bit of a fanfare-like sound).  It’s an exciting song in itself and really feels like an A-side to me.

 

 

As the 3rd single for the era, Hero is actually my favorite single between them all right now!  Hero just feels like a feelgood Olympic song and has a nice, powerful message while Show Me What You’ve Got is fun and a party in a track!  This is going to become such a strong album whenever she announces one!

 

Namie Amuro – Mint May 26, 2016

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 6:46 am

Track Listing

  1. Mint
  2. Chit Chat
  3. Mint -Instrumental-
  4. Chit Chat -Instrumental-

1. Mint

Whenever I think of Mint, I have to say that what doesn’t come to mind is a rockin’ dance track to bring Namie back to speed.  I’m loving the guitar licks of the arrangement and the sexy glow she brings to songs and it just works together so smoothly.  It’s a strong track and all, but there’s something that reminds me of some songs from her last albun “_genic” which is not bad because I enjoyed that album, but damn!  This is a strong A-side for her and in a string of them, that’s always great to see!

2. Chit Chat

~did I tell you about yesterday?~ opens up the B-side of the single and Chit Chat carries on with the guitars acting in the song to a more dance-centric track.  Though the feeling of this song and “Mint” couldn’t be any further apart.  I get the sounds of summer in this track and I like that and Namie sounds alive and happy to be performing the song.  Overall, decent B-side and works coinciding with the leading track.

 

 

As the 2nd single after “_genic”, I feel that this single and “Red Carpet” have been pretty top notch stuff and shows she isn’t quite done yet with enjoying her career.  Mint is aggressive and hot to listen to and Chit Chat gives me a nice summer breeze kind of feel which is fitting for the season.  I have to say, she’s on a roll!

 

Namie Amuro – Red Carpet December 3, 2015

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 5:18 am

redcarpet

Track Listing

  1. Red Carpet
  2. Black Make Up
  3. Red Carpet -Instrumental-
  4. Black Make Up -Instrumental-

1. Red Carpet

I was curious to see what Namie would release next and Red Carpet returns us back to her kind of brand of R&B.  I’m liking it but why does this sound like Kuu’s “HOTEL” just a bit slower?  At least that’s what the chorus is coming off as.  The song doesn’t really do much for me, but it’s a nice return to form if you fans wanted something pre-“PAST>FUTURE”.

2. Black Make Up

The B-side of the single brings us a more dancable track that seems more familar for fans that really enjoyed her last album.  There seems to be more abundance of English as well which kind of surprised me, but at the same time not.  Though I really love the whole ~get your ass outta my life~ line.  Talk about having punch…definitely preferred this song for sure!

 

 

As Namie releases a single before the end of 2015, Red Carpet was interesting to say the least.  While I feel like Red Carpet was nostalgic and such, I couldn’t help but think of “HOTEL” for some strange reason, still it’s not the best song she’s done, but I’ll take it.  Black Make Up though was the highlight with the sass and energy behind it.  I just hope it won’t be forgotten on her next album (whenever that’ll happen).

 

Namie Amuro – _genic June 29, 2015

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 6:44 pm

genic

Track Listing

  1. Photogenic
  2. Time Has Come
  3. Golden Touch
  4. Birthday
  5. It
  6. Scream
  7. Fashionista
  8. Fly
  9. B Who I Want 2 B (feat. Miku Hatsune)
  10. Stranger
  11. Every Woman
  12. Space Invader
  13. Anything
  14. What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro) (bonus track)

1. Photogenic

Opening the album with the sort-of title track, Photogenic opens with a funky guitar riff and some sexy stuff from Namie which is what I would expect from her.  I also noticed it seems we’re still going to use English for songs which is not surprising in the least.  After being spoiled by her last introduction song, “Alive”, Photogenic just doesn’t do anything much for me, honestly, it belonged more towards the middle (sounds kind of like a interlude), just very lowkey and straightforward.

2. Time Has Come

Then we get into Time Has Come which begins with a 8bit section, to a chanting moment, to a slower and light beat.  Talk about throwing emotions everywhere right?  Though I’m loving this energetic track especially the chorus whch has guitars and some cool beats, but the verses are more reserved and the beat and piano was really cool too.  Maybe there’s some hope for this album, but I’m noticing Namie’s Engrish is not that good here either…

3. Golden Touch

Our next song sounds like something really grand and loud (reminds me of stuff from “PAST<FUTURE”) though Namie sounds slightly different here, a higher tone I think.  I’m loving the groove of the song and just has a good pulse to it.  There’s just so much touching going on LOL.

4. Birthday

Wow, I wasn’t expecting an upbeat happy song from Namie with Birthday but damn does it sound like a Katy Perry song (though she has a song also titled that, but neither are related otherwise).  I’m liking the arrangement because of the funky bass lines and the synth lines too.  Namie isn’t so much singing as much talk/singing except in the after-chorus which is pretty eh.  That muted trumpet bridge was odd to say the least, but I did enjoy this song quite a bit!

5. It

Shocked to say the least when the next pop up.  It begins with a playful whistling melody before going into Namie’s lines and she sounds good and quick alongside the bouncy piano lines.  I can actually understand what she’s saying in this song which is a godsend at this point.  Very snappy and fun song to listen to, one of the album’s gems.

6. Scream

I had high hopes for a song with a strong dance beat, after “FEEL” and everything.  The beat has a nice drive and Namie sounds good, but the Engrish loses me about halfway in because she’s also layered and electronic so it’s kind of just all over the place.  Simple song overall (though I kind of feel it would’ve suited her previous album than on here).

7. Fashionista

What an odd song we have next with Fashionista which slightly reminds me of “FAST CAR” and “Sit!Stay!Wait!Down!” mixed in with some electronics.  I have to say, this mixture is kind of cool and the chorus is pretty awesome to say the least.  Once again the Engrish is distracting at points, but with such an energetic song like this, I was still pleased and would come back to this many times!

8. Fly

Why do I feel like Namie almost wants to try to do dubstep?  At least I thought that in the beginning, but once the song kicks into gear, the song smooths out to this delightful track which is pretty nice that it’s one of the more safer sounding tracks the album has to offer…sort of reminds me of “Alive” and “Come” with the smoother drive and catchy chorus.  Not bad overall.

9. B Who I Want 2 B feat. Miku Hatsune

Boy did anyone see this coming?  Namie actually using a VOCALOID, thank god this didn’t get a PV.  I thought the weird synth melody actually worked, but I couldn’t wrap my head around this song (especially since Miku was pulling off more Japanese here).  There’s just something a bit strange going on here and I think it just didn’t work with the album either.

10. Stranger

After the emptiness that came from the previous track, Stranger fills up the speakers and I’m loving the beat and tribal drums throughout.  I was surprised how much sound was going through my headphones, I had a problem just following the lyrics because I was more entranced from the arrangement.  It’s a good song though and really gets my feet tapping, though it seems this one isn’t a favorite to many people.  Hmmm strange.

11. Every Woman

Moving on, Every Woman happens and there’s something familiar about this song (like it belongs from “PLAY” or “Queen of Hip-Pop”).  Like “Stranger” the arrangement fills out the headphones nicely, but I feel like this was a bit of a throwaway song because it just led to simple places and the lyrics could be found on other songs which is not good to me.  Forgettable.

12. Space Invader

I was slightly expecting an electro song in the same vein like “Scream” but Space Invader sounds more like urban-pop with some tendencies of dubstep and a mid-tempo (strange right?).  I don’t know why, but I also seem to forget how this one goes after listening to it.  It just seems to kind of zoom by with little to no reason to come back to it…meh.

13. Anything

Oh hey, acoustic guitar opening up Anything!  That’s actually rather refreshing on an album that depended on so much synth.  Namie sounds heavenly if not a little Engrishy here.  It actually sounds rather American to my ears, but I think it’s the chorus and the addition echo effect on her voice…though about that chorus…it does sounds VERY similar to TLC’s “Unpretty”…flattery huh.

14. What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro)

Hm, a bonus track?  That’s rather unheard of for Namie’s main albums, but the fact that it’s not Namie’s song but David Guetta (if you don’t know who he is in this day…shame on you!).  I really like the piano-led arrangement at the beginning and I can tell what Namie is saying which is awesome.  Of course being a Guetta song, the tune does go from a ballad-setting to a dance track that’s very him.  It’s not bad, short though.

Tracks Recommended

  • It
  • Stranger
  • Time Has Come
  • Birthday
  • Fashionista

Song of Avoidance

  • B Who I Want 2 B feat. Miku Hatsune

Surprising that Namie would put out an album excluding the two singles that came before it, but honestly, after “FEEL”, _genic was a step down from it.  I mean I do love that she went back to different sounds, but a lot of the songs had some issues and the Engrish was back to “Uncontrolled” levels of bad…what the hell happened Namie?  If you are a great singer, stick to what makes you great, don’t try to make English a thing (to be honest, let’s go back to “PAST>FUTURE”-esque stuff and leave the English behind, you are so much better than that!

 

Namie Amuro – BRIGHTER DAY November 19, 2014

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 5:02 am

brighterday

Track Listing

  1. BRIGHTER DAY
  2. SWEET KISSES
  3. Still Lovin’ You
  4. BRIGHTER DAY (Instrumental)
  5. SWEET KISSES (Instrumental)
  6. Still Lovin’ You (Instrumental)

1. BRIGHTER DAY

Hmm, I really liked the way BRIGHTER DAY started with some fade-in strings before turning into this synth-heavy/string fusion of a mid-tempo track.  I can also tell that Namies English has gotten somewhat better from her last single which is a pretty good sign!  There’s something so bright and positive about the song and it’s really winning me over.  Namie of course sounds great so altogether it’s a pleasant-sounding track, definitely worth being an A-side.

2. SWEET KISSES

Then the first B-side comes up and it quickly gave me some “STYLE” and “PLAY” vibes with it’s boom-clap arrangement.  I wasn’t expecting Namie to have made this one all English, but like I said above, she’s worked a lot since “Uncontrolled” and “FEEL”.  I’m finding myself instantly tapping my feet with the song and there’s just something so sassy and right with the tune.  Definitely an impressive song, short but left a great impression.

3. Still Lovin’ You

What, not in all caps?  Unlike the other two tracks, this one takes a more pop ballad feel which is nice and kind of has elements from the previous songs (at least that’s how I felt at least).  Yeah, her accent is probably the most evident here, but there’s something so sentimental on how she performed that really stuck to me.  Though I do prefer the previous tracks to this one, it closes the single out on a nice note.

 

 

It feels like it’s been forever since Namie released a single (though “TSUKI” wasn’t that long ago).  I have to say, Namie outdoes herself with her singles and BRIGHTER DAY is no different.  I really found myself loving the leading song and SWEET KISSES was that kick in the butt I needed.  Still Lovin’ You is pretty good too, but isn’t my taste persay, but it’s a nice tune.  Can’t wait for what’s next!

 

Namie Amuro – TSUKI January 26, 2014

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 1:06 pm

tsuki

Track Listing

  1. TSUKI
  2. Neonlight Lipstick
  3. Ballerina
  4. TSUKI (Instrumental)
  5. Neonlight Lipstick (Instrumental)
  6. Ballerina (Instrumental)

1. TSUKI

I love the fact that Namie kind of made TSUKI sound like what the art cover kind of portrays.  Being something that sounds non-conventional from the last couple ballads Namie released, TSUKI is really nice to listen to and Namie doesn’t try to belt the song so it’s a surprisingly good track and I feel she should do more of them!

2. Neonlight Lipstick

The B-sides were both released digitally back in October of 2013 and seeing them being put here is a bit lazy but made sense I suppose.  It’s strikingly even more odd that it’s resorted as a B-side because it definitely feels like the strongest track off this single with its pounding beats and strong lyrics sung from Namie.  I was wondering when she was going to bring something edgy like this and was happy with this, despite that it’s a bit older than the A-side.

3. Ballerina

The other digital single song as the B-side, Ballerina is also a beat-driven tune but it doesn’t come as intense as “Neonlight Lipstick” did.  For being a 3 minute song, it sure made an impact and has a lot of interesting moments throughout the tune (mostly the arrangement which is pretty badass).  Though with the focus on the arrangement, the song seems a LOT shorter than 3 minutes and I was left wanting a bit more from this song than what we got.

 

 

Namie kicks 2014 off with the first single of a new era in TSUKI.  I do feel like it might’ve been rushed but the time between this and “FEEL”, kind of says she had enough time but avex must’ve gotten lazy because they put two digital singles that were released months ago on here.  Didn’t help that both of those outshined the leading song.  It’s not a bad single, but it was a really random decision made to throw something like this.

 

Namie Amuro – FEEL July 12, 2013

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 12:42 am

feel

Track Listing

  1. Alive
  2. Rainbow
  3. Can You Feel This Love
  4. Big Boys Cry
  5. Hands On Me
  6. Heaven
  7. Poison
  8. La La La
  9. Supernatural Love
  10. Let Me Let You Go
  11. Contrail
  12. Stardust In My Eyes

1. Alive

Wow, the opening to the album is just nothing short of being badass because this is a banging song and it’s just the first track!  I know back on “Uncontrolled” I was constantly bagging her Engrish, but it seems she’s gotten some work done.  It’s just such a powerful track and the lyrics are quite something!  Definitely an amazing way to kick things off!

2. Rainbow

Onto the next track, Namie brings Rainbow which has kind of an 8bit sound in the intro before adding some extra beats to the arrangement.  I feel like Namie has a much better vocal performance and the song itself is quite different from what I’ve come to expect from her.  I seem to love the hooks ~I’ll be waiting for the rainbow~….it’s a pretty nifty track!

3. Can You Feel This Love

This could be considered the title track but Can You Feel This Love does kind of run like some of her older songs…with that feel of R&B but a lot more modern.  There’s not much I can really about the track since it doesn’t really interest me (plus the chorus it kind of annoying to me).  I don’t know why I’m just not into this track very much.

4. Big Boys Cry

I was surprised that she included this A-side but not “Beautiful”.  Big Boys Cry though was the more optimal choice as it does fit the album quite stronger.  I love the beats and the flute melody and Namie sounds quite lovely as well!  I was just a bit surprised it wasn’t a banger when compared to other songs on the album.  This is still a pretty strong song even if it’s not a heavy one!

5. Hands On Me

Oh dang, Namie is getting a bit more ethnic with Hands On Me because you can sense there’s a good tribal thing going here.  Add in that the track is definitely one of those party songs because it’s heavy with the beats and there’s shouting and breakdowns about!  I really enjoyed the feel of this song and it’s definitely one that I remember fondly from the album.

6. Heaven

Moving away from the heavier beats, we go into Heaven which does sound a bit like something I would expect in America with the synth/electro pop songs, but these kind of songs are actually one of my favorite styles.  Add in that some of the song has a similar punch to “Hands On Me” but also adding some Namie raps!  Definitely another amazing track!

7. Poison

It doesn’t seem like Namie is slowing down anytime soon because our next track Poison kind of harkens back to her last couple album with a much forceful sound and cool arrangement.  The descending screech down the melody does kind of get annoying, but overall the song has a lot of attitude and Namie is having fun (even though her voice is auto-tuned)…this is a club banger!

8. La La La

I love that synth opening for our next track!  I’m loving the reggaeton sound that’s in this one, but if it wasn’t for that, I’d feel like this is “Heaven”2 because of the similar airy nature about them.  Her accent does come through a lot more this time around than the previous tracks, but this song is a simple happy-go-lucky track.  Not bad here!

9. Supernatural Love

I thought we were slowing down, but seems like Namie woke us up again with Supernatural Love.  I was surprised that she’s singing in a slightly higher tone than in other songs.  I feel like this and “Alive” could’ve been a continuation from “Dr.” and “Defend Love”.  It’s got a cool futuristic tone and the chorus sounds badass!  What a cool song on the album as well!  Yeah this is pretty nice!

10. Let Me Let You Go

For an album of all upbeat tracks, Let Me Let You Go is quite the brick on the album because this is the album’s lone ballad.  Even though she could’ve added “Beautiful” to make this less strange, she did put out a new ballad in place.  I do think the Engrish is more apparent unfortunately and as simple as this song is, it’s just not as good as the aforementioned track.

11. Contrail

As the digital single released back in April (makes me wonder why “Damage” wasn’t included).  Now Contrail sounds a lot like “Heaven” with the floaty synth melodies and the flow of it, but it does sound quite refreshing almost!  There’s just something about Namie in the song that worked and I actually think some of it reminds me of the verses from “Fight Together”.

12. Stardust In My Eyes

Ending the album, Stardust In My Eyes kind of reminded me of some Owl City for a second there!  As the final track on the album, this is kind of as mid-tempo as it gets but that’s alright.  I mean the track didn’t leave too much of an impression besides the “Galaxies” sound-a-like, but it made for a good ending to a wonderful album!

Tracks Recommended

  • Alive
  • Contrail
  • Rainbow
  • Supernatural Love
  • Heaven

Song of Avoidance

  • Let Me Let You Go

First off, I wasn’t expecting an album so soon (considering how long it took “Uncontrolled” to come out), but FEEL is actually THE ALBUM she needed to get back on my radar for half-assing her last one (let’s be honest, she did).  FEEL might have been more experimenting for Namie as she honed her English, but the songs she was given all had something strong about it!  My only complaint is something Namie does often and that’s having an album full of upbeat tracks and throws ONE ballad…I’m kind of not liking that and she could’ve fixed it with adding “Beautiful” but whatever.  Still *RECOMMENDED*, one of the strongest albums I’ve heard this year!

 

Namie Amuro – Big Boys Cry/Beautiful March 10, 2013

Filed under: Namie Amuro — solarblade @ 12:59 am

bigboyscry

Track Listing

  1. Big Boys Cry
  2. Beautiful
  3. Big Boys Cry (Instrumental)
  4. Beautiful (Instrumental)

1. Big Boys Cry

Ok this song has such a cute melody with the flutes…I just had to say that because it just made the song for me because it has a certain spring flair to it.  Big Boys Cry is a speedy song lyrically with Namie floating in the chorus after all that.  It’s not heavy like her past songs, but I kind of like this playful atmosphere for some reason, it’s amusing in a good way.  I don’t know if it is A-side material, but I did quite like this track.

2. Beautiful

I was expecting Namie to leave the Engrish back on “Uncontrolled” but she brings it for the ballad A-side for Beautiful.  Not gonna lie, the song is actually not bad either because her pronunciation has gotten a LOT better in my opinion.  Of course she throws in Japanese so it’s not a total language bomb (even if she’s like ~even it’s no supplies, even it’s no supplies~).  Minus that slip-up, this song has a great tone and really makes up for some of the slower tracks that I really couldn’t get behind in her last album…great ballad!

After “Uncontrolled”, I wasn’t sure of where Namie was really heading but this single is a good sign for me at least.  Big Boys Cry is quite quirky and playful, but I do feel as if it needed more backbone?  I don’t know like there’s just something that doesn’t feel complete about it.  At least Beautiful was there to really bring it up because it was just a great ballad for Namie (except the supplies line).  Overall, definitely good, slightly under “Go Round/YEAH-OH” but better than a couple others.