Kurayami Monogatari

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R – Ring May 3, 2020

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 6:05 am

ring

Track Listing

  1. CUE!
  2. RISE
  3. NO FADE OUT
  4. WARM PRAYER (Inori ver.)
  5. Mellow
  6. KISS KISS KISS
  7. Meisai
  8. NOPE
  9. PLAY HIGH feat. TKQ
  10. Ring
  11. Mellow (Violin inst.)

1. CUE!

As the first song of the album, I was digging the funky vibes from the intro right from the beginning and it was making me think Rina was going to new styles especially once that tracks kicks in and saxophones and piano join in alongside some bass.  I really enjoyed though, but was more surprised it’s only 2:40 long making it more of a elongated intro more than anything else.  Still, nice way to open the album.

2. RISE

So it seems the album wants to get through the previously released songs before giving us more of the new tracks.  Starting with the lone A-side, I was kind of surprised that after “CUE!” things would immediately slow down for this track, but I still remember enjoying this song because it was like Rina was back in a way.  The verses are very ethereal and spacey, but the chorus was a pop/rock track in a vein to songs from her album, “PLAYGIRL”.  It’s a pretty good track still and made me wonder what she had compiled for this album.

3. NO FADE OUT

While I only got to hear the live version of this from the “RISE” single, NO FADE OUT was one of the two digital singles she released when she returned from her retirement/hiatus.  Hearing the actual studio cut of the song is a little more of the same sound she had in “RISE”, but it’s not quite as in your face as it, but features a good enough range of guitars, piano, and strings (giving it a slight anison feel too).  Not bad here either!

4. WARM PRAYER (Inori ver.)

Seeing it’s the first song she did upon returning to the music scene, WARM PRAYER wasn’t much of a memorable song for me because it was a little too light.  Seeing at it was the only one of the 3 previously released to get edited on the album, made me wonder what changed.  To be honest, the difference between the live version and this Inori take isn’t too broad, maybe added backup vocals behind Rina and some slight instrumentation changes, but it’s still the same track otherwise.  I do like the latter half of the track though since there’s more going on, but it’s nice overall.

5. Mellow

We finally get to the new tracks and I feel if there was one track that felt like it was going to be promoted, it’d be this one (because Mellow returns at the end of the album).  Having Mellow be after “WARM PRAYER” I think did a little more harm because this is more of your standard piano/strings/percussion ballad so I felt like it was a bit too plain for me and lacked the interest that the previous track had.

6. KISS KISS KISS

After zoning out from “Mellow”, KISS KISS KISS tries to wake up somehow, but sadly it kind of falls flat somewhat at doing so.  It isn’t a ballad, but more of a chilled out mid-tempo track with a melody and arrangement that kind of felt like 90’s Pop which wasn’t really all that intriguing to me.  Yeah after a while, I ended up purely zoning this one out too sadly.

7. Meisai

Our next track Meisai didn’t exactly help my boredom at first because the way she opens the track is more ballad, but it flowed a little better than the previous two tracks, but then she twists the song and turns it into this fiery & big band-like entry which REALLY caught my attention as it’s so quick-paced and Rina sounds cute but in a nice way here.  It was a total surprise me and shook the sleep off of me.  I think the intro didn’t need to happen as long as it did, but what we got was exciting and fun!

8. NOPE

Though the craziness continues into NOPE which brings Rina back to move of her past days where her music was more electronic and I instantly dug the atmosphere out of NOPE as it’s more club-like and sassy.  Though what I wasn’t expecting to hear censor bleeps in the chorus, which made me raise my eyebrows at the inclusion.  Though I think the biggest WTF is that at 2:30, the song ends, but then out pops a cutesy technopop song just finishes the rest of the song…what?  This is random at its finest and I’m not sure what she was going for between these two ideas.  That said, the two ideas are really nice…just wtf…

9. PLAY HIGH feat. TKQ

Another dance track comes next with PLAY HIGH and I was wondering what she was going to pull off.  TKQ seems to be the male vocalist that’s featured in the song and he seems to be heard in the verses (under that vocal filter, which sounds cool), but Rina somehow kind of doesn’t fit in the song since her voice isn’t as rough or exudes cool in a track like this.  I do like how Rina and TKQ play off each other in those verses, but Rina by herself in the chorus is kind of weak.  Still, I kind of like the edgier sound?

10. Ring

As the album draws closer to the end, we have the title track and I’m kind of surprised that Ring is a ballad here.  Though it does make it more sense since it is near the end.  As a simple piano ballad, Ring doesn’t bring too much to the table besides Rina’s vocals which actually sound nice here over “Mellow”.  After a bit, strings and other instrumentation makes it grow better (like “WARM PRAYER” and gives me the same good vibes out of it).

11. Mellow (Violin inst.)

Though the album actually ends with a near 3 minutes outro based on Mellow with the violin playing the melody of the track.  Not sure why the album needed this especially since “Ring” made for an appropriate conclusion to the album.  I do like the violin, but I think this could’ve been somewhere in the main version and not needed this tacked at the end.

Tracks Recommended

  • Meisai
  • NOPE
  • RISE
  • NO FADE OUT
  • PLAY HIGH feat. TKQ

Song of Avoidance

  • Mellow

Wow, it’s great to see Rina return with an album (especially since her last album “LAST SCENE” was released back in 2010, almost 10 years ago).  I will say Ring is definitely a lot more memorable than I thought her last album and “THANX” was as well.  Lot of variety here to enjoy, but there are some boring songs and her indies status is showing since some of the songs sound slightly cheap.  All I wanna know was what the hell was the idea behind NOPE…how ridiculous!

 

R – RISE June 2, 2019

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 7:56 pm

rise

Track Listing

  1. RISE
  2. RISE (instrumental)
  3. WARM PRAYER Live Ver. (181116@Shinjuku BLAZE)
  4. NO FADE OUT Live Ver. (190120@Toyosu PIT)

1. RISE

As the leading track, RISE I thought would’ve been much more of a ballad since this is Rina’s return to the music.  I do like the acoustic guitar with the synths in the background, but I really wasn’t expecting the song to have a powerful chorus with a heavy rockin’ sound to come with but I definitely enjoy this surprise a lot!  Yeah this is definitely a strong for Rina that’s for sure!

3. WARM PRAYER Live Ver. (181116@Shinjuku BLAZE)

So technically Rina announced her return last year, but she released these two tracks digitally, but these are live versions of those songs.  WARM PRAYER to be honest didn’t sound like it was live, but maybe it’s just how good the recording was.  As the ballad of the single, WARM PRAYER isn’t quite too memorable at first, saving a lot of the interesting stuff towards the end with added instrumentation.  Not bad though.

4. NO FADE OUT Live Ver. (190120@Toyosu PIT)

Now this sounds a bit more like it was performed live.  This one felt a bit more like stuff she released in the past like “Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru” and “Sugao no Mama” being a bit of a mix of rock and synth with a little splash of anison and I’ve missed this a lot from Rina (especially how her last works were super light pop tunes).  NO FADE OUT does offer a really powerful performance out of Rina and I am really happy about that!

 

 

Wow, its been essentially 9 years since Rina’s last physical release, “LAST SCENE” but she’s come out of her retirement/hiatus with a bang!  I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy both RISE and NO FADE OUT, but these are the most exciting songs she’s had at least since her “THANX” album which is good!  WARM PRAYER has to grow on me, but I do like the 2nd half of the track.  Still, what a great way to return to the music scene!  Although I’m not sure why she’s going by “R”…just seems weird considering how big her discography prior is XD.

 

Rina Aiuchi – TRIP

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 6:16 am

trip

Track Listing

  1. TRIP
  2. Harmony
  3. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~
  4. Mint
  5. PARTY TIME PARTY UP
  6. Creamy day
  7. Sakurairo
  8. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru
  9. Silent Motion
  10. Marguerite
  11. Secret Jasmine
  12. Nemurenu You ni
  13. A DAY TRIP

1. TRIP

Opening the album up with the title track, I was curious to see where TRIP’s new songs will land since most of the album is new songs and whatnot.  It starts off with a bang and a slappin’ bass before we’re introduced to the song fully which does remind me of “Harmony” of her last single.  I do like the beat of the song and Rina sounds awake and the song turned out pretty well.  Decent way to start the album.

2. Harmony

I kind of wonder if this track was connected to the “Harmony” from “I believe you ~Ai no Hana~” but maybe it doesn’t because none if sounds like that track.  This one sounds a bit more dance/pop-like with a decent beat and a lot of synths backing it.  I’m not sure why, but I feel like this song has a B-side kind of feel or maybe something from her previous album, “DELIGHT”.  Not a strong song here and kind of boring in a way (but it does give me a dream-like feel).

3. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~

Moving onto some A-sides released, we have the 4th and last A-side released and I’m still not quite the biggest fan of this track.  I mean the fact it’s the first ballad of the album should be OK, but this one just didn’t do anything for me.  Rina’s voice is light and nice and I still like the chorus the most, but like everything else just felt plain to me.

4. Mint

Then we jump back to the 2nd A-side released and Mint was a surprising change of pace for Rina as she jumped away from the upbeat, anime music to a surprisingly bubblegum pop-like track with Mint.  It also sticks out because this is when I first came into J-pop and Rina had just released Mint back in the day (despite that I was used to older songs of hers).  There’s just something nostalgic for me listening to Mint and Rina sounds happy and upbeat.  Nice and breezy song!

5. PARTY TIME PARTY UP

Then we move into one of the A-sides from her 3rd single for the album and PARTY TIME PARTY UP also doesn’t quite interest me too much despite being an upbeat song as well.  I don’t know why but I don’t think Rina’s vocals work here especially in the chorus.  Not quite the best song on the album.

6. Creamy day

Back into some new tracks, Creamy day seems to follow alongside the same veins that “TRIP” did with the kind of synthy funk/disco vibes here and honestly if it wasn’t for the more bass involved in the track, I would’ve said they’re way too similar.  However, it suffers a little bit like “Harmony” did because it doesn’t feel like it moves around in arrangement much.  Still it is at least passable with its interesting sound.

7. Sakurairo

Coming up next is another ballad with Sakurairo but unlike “I believe you”, this one has a bit more levels with piano, strings, and acoustic guitar in its arrangement.  It does give me old ballad vibes though and while Rina’s vocals pop out surprisingly a lot from the song, I wasn’t sure where it would land.  Then the chorus comes in with electric guitar added in and it’s brazen but fitting?  Maybe it’d work as an ending theme?  Either way, good song overall.

8. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru

As the first single to be released for “TRIP, Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru definitely has that anime feel to it that a lot of “DELIGHT” had.  This also has the most oomph the album has with the aggressive electric guitars and powerful chorus!  There was just something about this song that really kicked ass and makes me wonder how it’d fit on the album since a lot of it has been more toned down.

9. Silent Motion

I guess I’m fine with that since I would say Silent Motion is a close 2nd with the most aggressive track with the buzzy synths and pounding beat that fills this pop track.  Another track that makes me think of “DELIGHT” in a way.  I actually kind of enjoyed the heavier sound of this song and it gives me good early to late 2000s EDM.

10. Marguerite

It seems like these songs were paired together as the dance-like area of the album, but honestly Marguerite maybe could’ve been closer to “Mint” since this is kind of girly pop that they both kind of share.  Though I’m a little bit bummed because the chorus doesn’t really hit hard for me and doesn’t push the song further than the verses.  Not a very strong song, but I think it suits the album well enough.

11. Secret Jasmine

Starting immediately with Rina’s vocals, Secret Jasmine starts off with a buildup to me but it really doesn’t quite reach a high point because it remains at this mid-tempo R&B style until Rina starts on the verses where it’s just piano & strings.  It does feel like a song that would’ve fit more as a BoA song than a Rina Aiuchi song.  Not bad, but not great either.

12. Nemurenu You ni

Then we have the last of the A-sides with this ballad and I think of them all this one was handled the best.  There’s just something pure and innocent here and I really enjoyed the light and fluffiness of the song.  Does give me some slight nods to “Sakurairo”, but this is pretty much a good ballad for Rina so yay!

13. A DAY TRIP

Then we finally enter our last track on the album and would this count as another title track?  Well, no surprise that it’s another ballad and unlike “Nemurenu You ni”, it just kind of misses the mark for me.  If anything, it reminds me of “I believe you ~Ai no Hana~” which was already a song I wasn’t too phased by.  Kind of a dull way to end things off with.

Tracks Recommended

  • Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru
  • Mint
  • Silent Motion
  • TRIP
  • Nemurenu You ni

Song of Avoidance

  • A DAY TRIP

Yay!  Another discography completed xD.  Anyways Rina’s TRIP album maybe be kind of an average album to me.  It doesn’t feel like she took too many risks on this album and majority of the album felt a bit lighter and for that slightly forgettable minus the good hitters she brought (which is most of the A-sides and B-sides she released).  Overall not bad, but she’s had better albums!….

Wait she returned?….ohhhh!

 

Rina Aiuchi – I believe you ~Ai no Hana~ June 1, 2019

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 8:45 pm

ibelieveyou

Track Listing

  1. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~
  2. HEY!
  3. Harmony -DTS MIX- Performed by INTER-D (Limited only)
  4. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~ -Bouquet of Love version- (Limited only)
  5. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~ -instrumental-
  6. HEY! -instrumental-

1. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~

It seems like with “Nemurenu You ni”, I believe you comes in as a similar ballad but with more piano and some sparkly feelings throughout.  Unlike the aforementioned song, this song feels a bit like a typical ballad to me, but it does have some interesting parts, mostly the chorus which is pretty loud and pretty good in comparison to the rest of the track!

2. HEY!

As the B-side of the single, HEY! to me definitely screams summer song with how upbeat and pop/rock it is and Rina just has this bright style that also adds to the feeling.  For a B-side, I thought this turned out pretty well with how free-spirited it came off and Rina has another worthy coupling in her collection!

3. Harmony -DTS MIX- (Performed by INTER-D)

Then we get into the limited exclusives starting with this which started this line of INTER-D collaborations (which I still don’t know what that was all about).  I just wasn’t exactly expecting Rina to step off from the previous tracks in the era and give us this funky disco track.  Though I was pretty happy with how Rina sounded (not as squeaky as normal).  Definitely the strongest of the 3 songs on the single that’s for sure.

4. I believe you ~Ai no Hana~ -Bouquet of Love version-

The single rounds out with a different version of the A-side and this one feels a bit more simplistic with the added orchestration and overall lighter feel of this take, but I’m still not the biggest fan of the vocal melody and because of how much lighter it is, it kind of bores me a bit!

 

 

Rounding out the “TRIP” era, I believe you ~Ai no Hana~ ended up being my least favorite between the 4 singles that were released.  The leading song doesn’t quite capture my interests like the previous ones had, but HEY! and Harmony saved it from being too mediocre.  Can only wonder what the album will bring!

 

Rina Aiuchi – Nemurenu You ni/PARTY TIME PARTY UP

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 8:13 pm

nemurenuyouni

Track Listing

  1. Nemurenu You ni
  2. PARTY TIME PARTY UP
  3. Nemurenu You ni -lifeblood mix- (Nemurenu You ni edition only)
  4. PARTY TIME PARTY UP -command+s mix- (PARTY TIME PARTY UP edition only)
  5. Nemurenu You ni -instrumental-
  6. PARTY TIME PARTY UP -instrumental-

1. Nemurenu You ni

As the leading A-side, Nemurenu You ni was of course the quieter of the two tracks being a slow ballad with some nice acoustic guitar and light synths.  Rina’s vocals are really light and delicate and just kind of gives this song a lullaby-like setting.  I have to say that of the many ballads in her discography, this one was nice and I enjoyed listening to the atmosphere of the song!

2. PARTY TIME PARTY UP

So it makes sense that the other A-side of the single is more of an upbeat offering, but it doesn’t quite strike the previous A-sides, “Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru” and “Mint” in the same way.  I do like the verses, but the chorus is quite weak to me and doesn’t hit punch me in a way.  I don’t know, but the song is alright, just nothing special to me.

3. Nemurenu You ni -lifeblood mix-

So the single was released in separate editions depending on which A-side is placed first but they do come with an exclusive remix.  Changing the ballad into a chilled out remix was an interesting move.  Sadly, the arrangement really doesn’t grow or add much, but I suppose it works with the melody and Rina still makes it sound nice.  I suppose this is an OK remix, but it could’ve been better.

4. PARTY TIME PARTY UP -command+s mix-

As for the remix for PARTY TIME PARTY UP it was given a bit more of a dancing beat rather than the original’s cut.  Like with the previous remix, I was happier that it suited the new arrangement, but is it funny that I think it has a little bit more oomph and it really works better since it didn’t feel quite as lifeless and the beats and synths sound much better.  Maybe this should’ve been the one used and the original mix be the remix xD.

 

 

As the 3rd single for the “TRIP” era, this single is pretty good to say the least, but also not quite the best Rina has done.  Nemurenu You ni was pretty light, yet delicate and pretty to listen to though PARTY TIME PARTY UP wasn’t too memorable for an upbeat track.  Though the reverse effect happened with the remixes.  I guess it’s a half & half situation.

 

Rina Aiuchi – Mint November 4, 2012

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 2:15 am

Track Listing

  1. Mint
  2. yellow carpet
  3. Mint -japanative cruise mix-
  4. Mint -instrumental-
  5. yellow carpet -instrumental-

1. Mint

For as long as I’ve been listening to Rina, I never expected her to pull off a bubblegum pop that almost mirrors BoA’s “Nanairo no Ashita”.  The song is just sugary all over the place.  Sometimes, I actually really think the song is charming and Rina’s voice suits the song, other times, it’s just incredibly cheesy that I can’t help but just gag a little bit.  Not as good as “Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru” but this song is charming ~sometimes~ xD

2. yellow carpet

At least thigns are brought back to normality with the B-side which sounds like something that could be on “DELIGHT” since it’s back to that pseudo pop/rock with more emphasis on the synths.  It’s a little plain in areas and I feel as if Rina’s isn’t really into the song as well which gave it’s bored feeling.  I kind of prefer “Mint” more tbh.

3. Mint -japanative cruise mix-

So closing the single is a remix of Mint and it’s a pretty lengthy one at over 7 minutes.  Now that out of the way, the remix isn’t terrible since it’s light and breezy and there’s some acoustic guitar thrown in the mix.  It’s just that it’s too long for its own good.  Still not bad.

 

 

As the era’s 3nd single, Mint was something that was out of the norm with Rina.  Mint was just surprisingly sugary pop for me and it’s a little cheesy but sometimes I just like it for the sparkly arrangement and nice vocals.  yellow carpet is just bland “DELIGHT” songs….the remix was nice but too long….yeah she needs to bring it back!

 

Rina Aiuchi – Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru May 15, 2011

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 5:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru
  2. Powder Snow
  3. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru -Yoshito.K remix-
  4. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru -microcosmic mix-
  5. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru (instrumental)

1. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru

After the kind of interesting album we got with “DELIGHT”, I think Rina took some notes and carried that into her next A-side with Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru that actually sounds like a mixture of the dance songs she’s done and the few rock songs that she tried to pull off.  I will say that it actually worked for her because it’s one of her catchy songs and she sounds powerful with the hard arrangement.  I must say one of her best songs that was released as an A-side.

2. Powder Snow

For the B-side, I loved that interesting instrument that opens into this ballad.  For some reason this song reminds me of ballads past and while Rina’s voice is once again showing a nice amount of strength to keep it afloat, there’s just not a lot going on to really make it that memorable for some reason.

3. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru -Yoshito.K remix-

For the rest of the single, we get remixes solely of the A-side and the first one is surprising being all trance-like and all.  I kind of like the beats for some reason and the chords from all those synths actually made it work for some reason.  Ok, I think this is a great remix for the song TBQH.

4. Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru -microcosmic mix-

As for the other remix, it’s just as beat-heavy as the previous remix, but it takes a more euro feel rather than straight up trance.  Without the moving chords, this one feels rather uneventful and depended more on Rina filling those missing gaps.  It’s alright, but not better than the other remix.

Rina’s first A-side for the “TRIP” era was so much of a step up for me simply because the A-side is just that catchy and fun to listen to.  Powder Snow isn’t really that great of a song and it passes like white noise.  The remixes did a pretty good job synthing up the A-side and the first one stood out more to me than the original XD.  Sad, this is the last era I’m reviewing x.x;