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Nana Mizuki – SMASHING ANTHEMS November 17, 2015

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 6:57 am

smashinganthems

Track Listing

  1. Glorious Break
  2. Never Let Go
  3. SUPER☆MAN
  4. Angel Blossom
  5. BRACELET
  6. Lazy Syndrome
  7. Koi Uta.
  8. Kindan no Resistance -Extended Mix-
  9. The NEW STAR
  10. Clutch!!
  11. Netsujou no Maria
  12. Ego Ideal
  13. Eden
  14. Ambivalence
  15. Exterminate

1. Glorious Break

Nana hardly ever disappoints when it comes to the opening track and Glorious Break is no exception to that rule fortunately!  It kicks off with this synth/orchestral intro that builds itself for a whole minute before Nana enters the song and the synths back off and the orchestra takes a punch, but then things take an unusual turn inserting some dubstep behind the horns and strings (what an odd mix though).  I do like how Nana still sounds epic with the arrangement switching back and forth.  It’s still no “Avalon no Oukan”, but that’s asking for a lot xD.  Still for the first track, this is really different but really epic!

2. Never Let Go

The album continues on with Never Let Go and I already knew that I was going to love this song with its emphasis on the punches of percussion and neat pop/rock sound!  While I didn’t expect the song to keep at the same time and not be overbearing on the heavy rock song, this was a solid track and Nana gave a powerful performance.  This is already becoming a quick favorite for me on the album and I haven’t even started on the rest XD.

3. SUPER☆MAN

Chosen as the album’s promotional track, SUPER☆MAN I thought was going to be a cutesy, upbeat track and while it does retain a little bit of that charm, the arrangement is a bit mixed with disco and techno beats and some violins too.  I do think it’s a bit slow for a song, but I do like the direction it wanted to take so I appreciate that about this one.  Also the PV…what? XD

4. Angel Blossom

Then we come to our first A-side on the album (specifically, the leading 3rd single).  Back on the single review, I thought Angel Blossom was OK, but quite generic as Nana songs go regardless.  On the album, it is the first of the anison-like songs though so it’s kind of nice to hear, but I still can’t really shake off that feeling that we’ve heard this before.  Though the chords and Nana’s vocals are surprisingly pleasant though so I would say the song is still continuing to grow on me.

5. BRACELET

I love the introduction to our next track, very mysterious and light!  Though once the remaining arrangement enters the song, yeah it’s another one of those songs that remind me of stuff like “PHANTOM MINDS” and “Silent Bible”, but I actually enjoy those songs immensely so this song fits right at home.  The guitarwork is a nice touch to the song and adds to the strings and piano that also accompany the song.  I would say this is a better “Angel Blossom” if it was handled differently.

6. Lazy Syndrome

As the B-side chosen to be added to the album (this one coming from “Angel Blossom”, Lazy Syndrome wouldn’t have been my choice to include (would’ve rather chosen “BLUE” or “No Limit” here).  It’s still a solid choice regardless because it would’ve been my 3rd pick.  I thought the intro reminded me of something from school food punishment, but it lays off that idea once the main focus of the song is introduced.  I enjoy the overall rock content of the song, but there’s something a bit flat in this song when compared to other songs on the album.  Though the rapping section was interesting hahah!

7. Koi Uta.

As the album’s ballad?  Koi Uta. is something else and nothing strong like “BLUE” was.  I think the acoustic/electric guitar mix and stringwork didn’t seem to work very well together and Nana vocally wasn’t all quite there and I felt things was just not connecting for me.  This track just felt draggy the entire time and I couldn’t even remember how it went after just one listen.

8. Kindan no Resistance -Extended Mix-

As the first single released for the album, Kindan no Resistance is the lone song to get some kind of edit on the album and it’s taken from one of her recent tours.  Opening with a really nice orchestral intro and Nana singing some new lyrics, I really love the addition and her emotion is carried out quite nicely before entering the main course.  I still love the embrace of Celtic sounds and her synth/rock style (that’s become a favorite of styles Nana tackles), Kindan no Resistance is still a favorite of mine and with the new intro, the song is that much better!

9. The NEW STAR

Back to new songs, The NEW STAR begins in some odd chords, but then it’s led to an even stranger direction.  Becoming this kind of funky, bass-heavy song.  I also noticed that Nana is singing in a lower register and I welcome the change since she can pull off songs in a deep tone.  I overall feel like the song could also use a speed boost, but this is pretty cool and just stuck out to me on the album with weird things like some ad-libbing during the dubstepp-y bridge.

10. Clutch!!

I would’ve expected a song like Clutch!! to be the promotional song because it’s a more upbeat and pop/rock sound that’s akin to some of the more cuter songs in Nana’s repertoire.  I think it’s OK, but there’s just something lacking in this one for some reason, but it’s not short of energy and spice, but there’s once again that feeling of I’ve heard this before like with “Angel Blossom”.

11. Netsujou no Maria

Seems like return to the anison songs with Netsujou no Maria and really there’s not much to differentiate it from other songs of similar variety.  Once again though, Nana’s lower register is very pleasant and the chorus does save it from sheer mediocrity, but mostly, it’s more of the same as I’ve heard from previous releases.

12. Ego Ideal

Oh!  The piano intro for our next track is really bouncy and upbeat for a song title like this lol.  I wasn’t surprised that the song quickly fizzled out as quickly as it did because almost immediately after the intro, Ego Ideal just kind of became another typical song.  I suppose I do like the piano taking precedence over the arrangement, but it’s like another anison track waiting to be filled up with the typical stylings.

13. Eden

Which kills me further that my least favorite of the A-sides, Eden is up next.  While it does to me strike me as the hardest hitting song with the overabundance of percussion, without it, the song just would’ve fell to the wayside even moreso than it should.  I do also like the chorale in the background in some specific parts of the track giving it this rather haunting kind of feel.  It still doesn’t rank high with me sadly…

14. Ambivalence

The last of the new songs, I thought we were going to get another “Ego Ideal”, but I’m happy we’re getting this light funky song as it shows a little more variation than the album has been giving out.  The groove of the song is really unique and Nana sounds wonderful and the whole laidback feeling I get from this song is really nice and breaks the monotony before the finale.

15. Exterminate

I found it surprising that Nana would end the album with Exterminate and not a ballad (it’s been a while since this has been a case).  Being released as the 4th single, Exterminate is definitely in the same vein as “Synchrogazer” and “Vitalization” which is always a plus to the song itself.  Being very aggressive and full of striking sections, this song is up there with “Kindan no Resistance” as best songs, but this still might make 2nd place.  I still find it strange that it’s the album’s closer, but still a cool song.

Tracks Recommended

  • Kindan no Resistance -Extended Mix-
  • Exterminate
  • Never Let Go
  • BRACELET
  • Glorious Break

Song of Avoidance

  • Koi Uta.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of SMASHING ANTHEMS, but it seems to have affected me the same way “SUPERNAL LIBERTY” had which was that it started out pretty strong, but then faded out to essentially boredom during the second half (with some exceptions both ways).  I also felt like half of the A-sides were pretty bland too which is odd, but oh well.  Not bad, but she’s had much better.

 

Nana Mizuki – Exterminate July 26, 2015

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 6:46 pm

exterminate

Track Listing

  1. Exterminate
  2. Bramble
  3. It’s Only Brave

1. Exterminate

I was surprised that Nana would open this A-side by singing alone with no arrangement before the song actually kicks in.  Once things start to fill the speakers, there’s a lot of electronic beats (ala in similar fashion to “Synchrogazer” and “Vitalization” so this kind of familiarity was happily expected this time around!  While it might not be as heavy or punch-worthy as the aforementioned songs, it oddly fits amongst them and feels like a superb trilogy of this fusion of electronic and her anison sound.

2. Bramble

I wasn’t sure what to expect with a song titled as Bramble, but it’s like the focus is more along the anison/strings side of Nana’s repertoire of songs in the style.  Actually if I had known better, I would’ve said it’s a song that was from the “HYBRID UNIVERSE” or “GREAT ACTIVITY” era of songs.  On here, the song does sound a bit generic and lacks a little energy for me where “Exterminate” managed to pull off better.  I do love the melody of the strings, but not enough to save it.

3. It’s Only Brave

Hmmmm, what I thought would be a ballad, It’s Only Brave is pretty much an anison song down to its core.  Funny enough, some of the chord progression reminds me of “COSMiC LOVE” but without the sawtooth synths found throughout.  The chorus of the track is probably the best part of the song as it’s high-energy and Nana sounds amazing through it.  Overall, it’s still a little basic, but I kind of dig it.

As the 4th of the era, I feel like Exterminate is the kind of normal single I would expect her to release (not so much like the last couple).  The leading song is a pretty familiar setting with the synth beats and serious tone, which is something I do love…not as amazing as the others but still good.  It’s Only Brave was surprisingly good and despite the slightly cutesy sound…probably my favorite off the single.  Bramble though felt uninspired to me and just lacked interest…I sense an album soon!

 

Nana Mizuki – Angel Blossom May 13, 2015

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 1:53 am

angelblossom

Track Listing

  1. Angel Blossom
  2. Lazy Syndrome
  3. Ashita graffiti

1. Angel Blossom

Wow, not even a few seconds and it feels like things were already moving on with Angel Blossom.  Listening onwards, the song does sound like something that we’ve heard from Nana multiple times before with such dramatic strings and bright vocals.  With the sheer amount of similar songs of this nature, it was hard to find myself remembering the melody out of this one.  At least it’s an easier listen than “Eden” was so I guess you can say it was an upgrade.

2. Lazy Syndrome

Let’s hope the B-sides are better!  Starting with Lazy Syndrome, the tune has a more rock-laced arrangement that almost made me think of Stereopony for some reason which is great because I also tend to enjoy Nana’s rock tunes.  It’s a very intricate tune and Nana.  This was definitely the preferred song off the single, how odd.

3. Ashita graffiti

I was thinking the 2nd B-side would’ve been a ballad considering the tune translated is “Tomorrow graffiti”, though I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually the opposite.  It’s a fusion of rock and synths together and would’ve fit back on “SUPERNAL LIBERTY”.   Though the chorus kind of became a strange mix of typical anison chords and bright happy sounds.  Overall, the song is OK, still not as exciting as “Lazy Syndrome” however.

As Nana’s 3rd single of the era, Angel Blossom is a slightly better single than “Eden” was, but not by too much.  Angel Blossom is more of the familiar same that we’ve known Nana to do for so long so it’s OK, very safe of a song.  At least both of the B-sides were a lot more memorable and not as generic as the last singles were.  Is it album time yet?

 

Nana Mizuki – Eden February 19, 2015

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 6:35 pm

eden

Track Listing

  1. Eden
  2. No Limit
  3. Shuumatsu no Love Song
  4. Necessary

1. Eden

After all the epic songs she’s released in the last couple of years, I was expecting one to pop up where I just didn’t get interested in and that would be in Eden.  I do get a clear feeling that it’s like “SCARLET KNIGHT” with a more dramatic arrangement.  With out the percussion, this song would’ve just been a ballad and is it bad that I would’ve had had that be the case because I come off annoyed with the drums here (and less the guitars).  I don’t know, maybe I’ll get used to it, but as of right now Eden seems a bit overdone for me.

2. No Limit

Then comes No Limit which I personally would’ve rather had be the A-side because it shows off her vocals better and the arrangement sounds amazing here for some reason.  It definitely fits her style that she had in “Vitalization” mixing in some strings and letting up slightly on the synths.  Yeah I’m definitely digging this track for sure!

3. Shuumatsu no Love Song

Our next B-side is well…more of the same to be honest.  I mean Shuumatsu no Love Song has a stronger guitar feel to it, but beyond that it might as well been something akin to “No Limit” lol.  I’m here nor there with it, it’s a B-side lol.

4. Necessary

Of course we can’t have a Nana single without a ballad closing it out.  Necessary is one of those songs that tries to make itself try to surpass “Ai no Hoshi” and doesn’t come very close to pulling that off.  I will say as usual Nana sounds good regardless and she’s hitting some high notes for sure!  Not bad overall, but she’s done better.

 

 

Maybe it’s just me and the fact that I’ve been loving her futuristic powerhouse songs so much, but I came off Eden feeling slightly disappointed.  Eden has the workings of an awesome ballad, but she needs to get rid of the drums and guitars and it’d have been perfect!  Which means the best song of the single was No Limit, but it’s not saying too much since it runs with her other good anison tunes.  Necessary is a nice listen and Shuumatsu no Love Song just came off as a generic clone of a song that’s already on the single.  Hoping she bounces back with her next one!

 

Nana Mizuki – Kindan no Resistance October 12, 2014

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 3:44 pm

kindannoresistance

Track Listing

  1. Kindan no Resistance
  2. BLUE
  3. Dream Rider

1. Kindan no Resistance

I really love the Celtic intro of Kindan no Resistance and then it blows up to this interesting mix of that and rock!  Something about the mix of that and pan flute just seems so epic!  Add on Nana’s already stellar vocals and this song just wrapped up in this pretty awesome song that breaks away from her synth-anison songs (like her last single “Vitalization”).  It’s been a long while since I’ve loved something that wasn’t so synth-dependent and I’m happy it’s this song!  Great A-side!

2. BLUE

Next up is the ballad, BLUE.  Now after being spoiled by “Ai no Hoshi”, BLUE just kind of comes in to bring a ballad onto the single so I was curious if she was going to sound good here.  For the most part, Nana sounds great and surprises me how she can so good with not much of an arrangement (which consists of light orchestration, but mostly piano for the first half).  After that, the song just builds with more instruments and a much stronger foundation.  It’s a pretty good ballad, still not as perfect as the aforementioned, but definitely another winner!

3. Dream Rider

If I had learned anything, usually the 2nd B-side turns out to be the -fun- song of the single and it definitely suits Dream Rider as it’s poppy and has a lot of 90s nostalgia throughout.  At some points it made me wonder if I was listening to Koda Kumi or GIRL NEXT DOOR given the atmosphere and arrangement.  It’s not as memorable like the previous two tracks, but I suppose it’s one of her better cute songs out there.

 

 

After “SUPERNAL LIBERTY”, I was kind of expecting her to take a break and come back next year, but nope she released this single and really this was some good stuff.  Breaking away from the synths for a bit, Kindan no Resistance is a pretty powerful song from her A-sides and I just loved every minute of it!  BLUE also did well as the single’s ballad and proves that she has the chops for it down-pat.  Dream Rider while my least favorite on the single, managed to sound nostalgic and fun, but doesn’t leave an impression on me as I wished it did.

 

Nana Mizuki – SUPERNAL LIBERTY April 16, 2014

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 1:04 am

supernalliberty

Track Listing

  1. VIRGIN CODE
  2. GUILTY
  3. Apassionato
  4. Egao no Yukue
  5. Antique Nachtmusik
  6. Fun Fun★People
  7. FATE
  8. Vitalization -Aufwachen Form-
  9. Aishuu Twilight
  10. Setsuna Capacity
  11. Ladyspiker
  12. Rock you baby!
  13. Million Ways=One Destination
  14. Bokura no Mirai
  15. Ai no Hoshi -two hearts-

1. VIRGIN CODE

Nana always has such interesting opening songs and VIRGIN CODE is nothing different.  It isn’t as grand as “Avalon no Oukan” from her previous album, but it gives a strong showing.  I love her mix of anison and rock and she just kicks down the wall for this one.  Nana’s vocals are always on point and she just powerfully goes through the song easily.  Very good opening track and hopefully it gets way cooler from here on out!

2. GUILTY

I’m probably the only one who thought this but I thought of U-KISS when GUILTY started because of the beats initially.  The male voice was cool and then Nana came in along with some strings and I was surprised this was our Nana was trying to do something like this.  It’s pretty funky but I was quite shocked but ended up loving the turnout.  Different, but definitely growing on me immensely.

3. Apassionato

Chosen as the promotional song for the album, Apassionato begins with a rather Celtic tone and I thought that’s what it’d be but I was SOOO wrong when the song fully comes in as a very heavy rock track (like a less Japanese “Etsuraku Camellia”).  You know, I’m kind of split on this song because I REALLY like the the slow parts and the fast parts…but they don’t seem to click together for me…Maybe it’s just me, but they should’ve kept the two apart and create two seperate tracks.  Though I just love the power of this song and Nana kept up with it all…I’m so impressed but stretched on the overall presentation.

4. Egao no Yukue

I didn’t think she’d actually cover a song, but she covered a classic DREAMS COME TRUE song.  I was pretty surprised that she’d do a cover song, but a DCT track.  Seeing as the arrangement is almost like the original, Nana’s voice takes on a whole new light for the song in a great way.  I thought she did an amazing job vocally, but the arrangement is meh xD.  Good job overall!

5. Antique Nachtmusik

It sounds depressing starting the next track as it has that muffled feel.  Though once the music begins, it kind of reminds me of Legend of Zelda’s Temple stage from Smash Bros.  It’s an interesting sounding song with some slow parts and some faster parts.  It’s quite dramatic and then the uber low voice in the mid8 section is so unnerving lol.  Still this is a pretty fancy song and I would’ve said this made for a better intro than “VIRGIN CODE”.  Oh and Nana throwing that French around….so cool!

6. Fun Fun★People

Oh hey a switch of attitudes huh?  Fun Fun★People has a much lighter approach by including some funky chords and some staccato notes from the saxes.  It’s got a lot of energy behind it but it kind of reminds me of “Lovely Fruit” from her previous album.  It’s that cute song, but luckily it’s a WHOLE LOT more funky which I love about it.  Great song!

7. FATE

Well that was shortlived because we move into one of the ballads from the album, FATE.  I was wondering if she was going to throw something epic for this song because of the title, but FATE is a straight-up J-pop ballad.  It’s a shock because of how general it’s genre is.  Nana of course is pulling out her vocals here, but the arrangement and the rest of the song didn’t connect with me (minus the acoustic guitar solos).  I’m surprised but I don’t think much of this one 0.o

8. Vitalization -Aufwachen Form-

Like on her last album, Nana made Vitalization special.  As the only single released for the era, Vitalization gained a minute long intro for the album to kind of bridge from “FATE”.  To me, like I said with “Synchrogazer” getting the same treatment, that it really wasn’t needed but it’s whatever.  Vitalization is still a pretty kickass song and Nana blew it out of the park the same way she did with the aforementioned track so I was still in love with her wild vocals and powerful force she brought with the song.  It’s soooo goood!!!

9. Aishuu Twilight

After the excitement of “Vitalization” faded away, we move back to new tracks with Aishuu Twilight.  I was liking the kind of more jazzier (but not straight up) tone the song had and Nana of course gave a nice vocal performance.  It is a big dropoff given the previous track’s energy, so this might throw some people off.  It’s OK, but could’ve been placed somewhere else on the album.

10. Setsuna Capacity

I thought it was going to be another epic song, but Setsuna Capacity turned out to be the one of the more anison-heavy songs and I was happy that there was less genericness going on, but Setsuna Capacity brought us back to that sound.  There’s just something about the song that does work, but amongst the other songs on the album, it is pretty weak.

11. Ladyspiker

Moving on, Ladyspiker was a song I was looking forward to from the name and we get a pretty cool track.  It’s got some good guitar melodies and Nana is singing in a much deeper tone than other songs and it really worked!  It just sounds gritty and so badass for her…yeah this is a pretty bangin’ song!

12. Rock you baby!

~LOCK YOU!….BABY!!!~  Yeah Nana, figured you’d do that with this song.  As a song that’s a bit more upbeat but retains the cool guitar, Rock you baby! is a song that’s better for live performances more than its studio version, but it’s not to say this wasnt bad.  Nana gave a lot of energy here and the song was well done.  Good track overall.

13. Million Ways=One Destination

Opening with a lone piano, it made me curious to what this song is about and is another staple of Nana’s.  Though I was pretty happy when she started the verses by herself basically.  With the instrumentation going in and out makes me enjoy it, but the chorus kind of fell flat for me.  It didn’t have enough oomph behind it whereas the verses felt more interesting.  Meh.

14. Bokura no Mirai

As we near the end, I was surprised we’d get another synth driven track with Bokura no Mirai.  The song isn’t the most exciting track, but I’m loving the melody of the song and Nana of course is giving her all here and I love hearing that.  Though once again, the chorus could’ve had better transitions and more force behind it, but it’s alright.

15. Ai no Hoshi -two hearts-

Ending the album is a new version of the B-side from “Vitalization”.  I LOVE the original version so I was worried that the new take would be not-as-good.  Well, in the end, the original was still way better but the two hearts version makes it more of a ballad by taking some stuff out and putting in some harp.  At least Nana sounds amazing still, but stick with the original version.

Tracks Recommended

  • Vitalization -Aufwachen Form-
  • GUILTY
  • Ladyspiker
  • VIRGIN CODE
  • Antique Nachtmusik

Song of Avoidance

  • FATE

Wow I thought this era would’ve gone on longer than it did with just only one single preceding the release (and the two singles she did with T.M.Revolution).  SUPERNAL LIBERTY to me wasn’t as jaw-dropping as “ROCKBOUND NEIGHBORS” was which is disappointing a little bit, but there were some standouts.  Thing is, SUPERNAL LIBERTY was pretty good in the first half and then started waning in the 2nd half.  I guess it might need to grow on me, but I think on initial listen, it was OK overall.

 

Nana Mizuki – Vitalization July 29, 2013

Filed under: Nana Mizuki — solarblade @ 11:50 pm

vitalization

Track Listing

  1. Vitalization
  2. Ai no Hoshi
  3. Dramatic Love

1. Vitalization

It seems Nana wanted to replicate the epicness from “Synchrogazer” and so she released Vitalization.  There’s so many similarities going on between the two, but I feel like the arrangement here is a bit rambunctious because there’s some vocal dabbling in the computers (especially the pre-chorus).  Nana still sounds grandiose and powerful which is an amazing feat for a song like this.  I still do prefer the aforementioned track more, but this song is not far behind…pretty chaotic, but fantastic track!

2. Ai no Hoshi

Once “Vitalization” ends, we come to a halting stop for Ai no Hoshi.  Reason being is that this song is a straight up piano/strings ballad which might throw some people off if they’re listening to the single fully.  I actually really like Nana’s vocal performance because she brings a lot of power to fill in the gaps of the slow arrangement.  This is definitely one of her best ballads, if not the best she’s had in her career to be quite honest.

3. Dramatic Love

I wasn’t expecting the other B-side would’ve taken the lighter pop route.  I feel like this song oddly reminds me of a more synth-friendly take of “Lovely Fruit” but there’s something about this song that also says it should’ve been a Character song.  Even though her vocals aren’t as impressive like in either of the previous tracks, the cute form does kind of work well on me. 

 

 

Starting a new era off, Vitalization was a pretty awesome single to start things off.  Vitalization might be a more crazier, insane, and loud version of “Synchrogazer” but this style of music really brings Nana to the front of the anison world, because she just has this AMAZING and boisterous tone that makes songs like those two SO DAMN EPIC!  Ai no Hoshi also is added to this regard, but this was a ballad but she ran through that almost perfectly!  As for Dramatic Love, she was having a bit of fun and that’s always a plus too…I almost could say it was perfect but that’s tough to do…but *RECOMMENDED* for sure!!!