Kurayami Monogatari

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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!

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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;

 

Rina Aiuchi – LAST SCENE September 16, 2010

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

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. GOOD DAYS
  3. Sing a Song
  4. MERRY-GO-ROUND
  5. Love me
  6. TIME
  7. Priority
  8. HANABI
  9. IN MY SHOES
  10.  37°C
  11. LAST SCENE
  12. C・LOVE・R
  13. “Untitled Track” (bonus track)

1. Prologue

I’m surprised that the album begins with an intro track since she hasn’t done that before.  Prologue has a muffled kind of sound going but most of the track is piano and strings playing together with no lyrical content.  At least for the first half, the second half clears up the fuzz and Rina starts to sing.  I thought Rina sounded amazing with such a simple arrangement and being just an intro, it was nice.

2. GOOD DAYS

Being the first of three digital singles released in the era, GOOD DAYS felt like it was trying to continue the whole acoustic pop style she carried when she released “STORY/SUMMER LIGHT” & “MAGIC”.  I’m not complaining since there is strings in the song and some electric guitar parts as well.  It’s still kind of bland since I liked her double A-side moreso.  Still, not a bad song.

3. Sing a Song

Moving on to the 2nd digital single released, Sing a Song is clearly a lot better than the last song.  I like the upbeat style coming from this and I’m suddenly finding myself enjoying Rina’s vocals quite a bit since she’s hitting notes stronger.  Add the fun atmosphere and summery feel and we end up with this tune.  I like this song a lot!

4. MERRY-GO-ROUND

Getting into a bunch of new tracks, MERRY-GO-ROUND starts off like something I would’ve heard off her last album, “THANX”.  I mean it has that pop/rock feel going on and such.  Though it’s a bit more of a mellow song, but I think she got it right since it’s not boring and the light riffs and vocals fit together.  It’s a nice tune though overall.

5. Love me

Getting into our first ballad of the album, Love me kind of falls into the whole unmemorable side of Rina’s ballads which are mostly that anyways.  It’s not that she can’t pull them off, it’s just they lack something to make them strong.  Though there’s a small amount of BKGD vocals too so that’s kind of cool.  Still, not much to write home about.

6. TIME

Unlike “Love me’s” more typical ballad track, TIME is more like her recent rock ballads and I liked this track a whole lot more since the arrangement felt more heartfelt and the chorus exploded with those guitars and it gave the song much needed color.  Maybe this song is one of her top ballads.  I mean ending the song with the clock ticking was pretty awesome too.

7. Priority

Did you miss Rina from her “PLAYGIRL” days?  Well, the closest thing you’ll get is Priority which is straight up, a mid-tempo rock tune.  Rina and rock songs never really meshed together as well I thought it would, but Priority isn’t so bad, it just needs more bang to it. 

8. HANABI

Being the only song off the album that was released as a full-on single, HANABI is definitely the ballad to listen to from the album.  I’m not sure why, but the way it flowed, to the way Rina sang it.  I really don’t know how she pulled such a song off, but the flowing arrangement and strong verses and chorus really helped out.  Even though it’s the only “actual single” of the era, it’s very well made and marks as one of Rina’s best ballads through her career.

9. IN MY SHOES

Starting with Rina under a muffled voice begins the song with chorus and I thought it was going to be a more interesting track, but it kind of flops (especially coming after “HANABI”).  This kind of brings back what “GOOD DAYS” sounded like and I have a hard time telling the two songs apart really. 

10. 37°C

Not sure of the importance of said title, but 37 Degrees Celsius is another ballad coming from Rina and I’m noticing at the point of the album is that it’s very ballad-heavy and soft.  Once again, it uses the same set of instruments that were used in “HANABI” and a few others, but I’m kind of getting deja vu from this song.  The melody in the chorus reminds me of another song, but I can’t think of it at the top of my head. 

11. LAST SCENE

Besides “A.I.R”, LAST SCENE is the only other album to not have two title tracks and unfortunately at this point of the album and getting ANOTHER ballad, I’m starting to drift into sleep-land.  It’s hard to really say a lot that I haven’t said already about most of the other ballads.  It does kind of come off as a wintery ballad, but otherwise it’s not as good as previous title tracks.

12. C・LOVE・R

Ending the album off is the third digital single released prior to the album.  I’m a bit happy that it kind of pulls us out of the drowsy-inducing ballads for a bit of something that once again parallels “GOOD DAYS” and “IN MY SHOES”.  It still kind of sounds rather plain, but what can you do?

13. “Untitled Track”

After 27 tracks of silence, a hidden track appears and I actually ended up liking this tune more than the other ballads, but that’s because this once sounded hopeful and positive for one.  I found it sad that there’s not title, but I’m guessing by chance it’s called “Beautiful Days” since it’s the only English words spoken in the song and it kind of stands out louder than the other lyrics.  It’s another strong song and closes the album on a good note.  Once the song finishes, what seems like the studio, I think was the call that the album was completed and a celebration and Rina (with her quite strange high-pitched talking voice thanking them).  Cute!

Track Recommended

  • HANABI
  • Sing a Song
  • “Untitled Track”
  • TIME
  • MERRY-GO-ROUND

Song of Avoidance

  • C・LOVE・R

Wow, it has been 10 (almost 11 years) since Rina Aiuchi began her career and to be honest she’s been through a lot of style changes even moreso recently and even though I came in right about when she released “Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru” she’s kept up a good amount of energy, so to see her retire from music is a bit hard since I’ve liked a good portion of her discography. 

LAST SCENE as Rina’s final album is definitely by far her lightest in arrangement and style.  When most of the album is filled with ballads however, it becomes kind of tough to keep attention to.  I mean it doesn’t feel rushed like “THANX” did and that’s a good sign, but I mean when “Sing a Song” is basically the song that’s the most fun it’s a bit disheartening.  It’s not her best, but it’s does give a finality to Rina’s career so it fits the bill….still sad that this is the last of her….x.x;

 

Rina Aiuchi – DELIGHT August 24, 2010

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 7:17 am

Track Listing

  1. DELIGHT
  2. GLORIOUS
  3. PRECIOUS PLACE
  4. Believe your Bravery
  5. LOVE OR BE LOVED
  6. Akaku Atsui Kodou
  7. MIRACLE
  8. REASON
  9. Shirushi
  10. WE♥SUMMER
  11. Morning Yell
  12. ORANGE★NIGHT -La La La Lovin’ you Mix-
  13. SET YOU FREE
  14. I’ll be delighted

1. DELIGHT

Starting off the album, DELIGHT is a treat for me since it returns us to her early beginnings of her career that were more based off her euro-dance style.  I love this song a lot from Rina since it has a pretty epic opening and Rina’s vocals are together even after the beats and synths arrive.  I love the positive light for the song and it’s just a treat to listen to.

2. GLORIOUS

I thought the slide into the 2nd single next was an easy one since GLORIOUS retains the synth style we began the album with.  However, I didn’t think this was as memorable as it’s sister A-side just because some of the harmonization was rough and the way she kept saying ~glorious~ was bothersome and kind of annoying after a while. 

3. PRECIOUS PLACE

I guess that’s why we have the other A-side from the single right after (once again).  I definitely think either this or “ORANGE★NIGHT” were the best released in the era.  It has synths of course to keep the flow going in the album, but you start hearing guitars as well which makes this another transitional song, but Rina definitely pulled this song off.

4. Believe your Bravery

The first thing that popped in my mind when I first heard Believe your Bravery was that this was very Mai-K like but with more guitars present and a tad bit more importance to the synths.  Unlike “PRECIOUS PLACE” where it sounded so together, this one slipped just a little bit.  It could be Rina’s singing here is a tad off and the synth interludes were more than just a little random here.  I’m not sure where I exactly stand with the song but it’s another transitional song as well (actually being more focused on the guitar than the synths this time though).

5. LOVE OR BE LOVED

When I first downloaded the album (alongside her discography) this was one of the first songs that really stuck to me (besides the songs I knew before doing it).  LOVE OR BE LOVED nowadays kind of seems weak of a song simply because there’s not really much of a hook except the guitar solo that does the descending lines within it.  The rest of it just seems rather plain and dull after a while and just passes over my head.

6. Akaku Atsui Kodou

As we enter our first A-side released in the era, Akaku Atsui Kodou still doesn’t really stand out for me, but at least Rina’s singing is more lively and actually shows power and emotion where “LOVE OR BE LOVED” lacked in that department.  I still don’t know exactly why it doesn’t pop out at me, but I now think that on the album it’s kind of like we’ve heard it earlier and back an album as well. 

7. MIRACLE

I guess Rina wants to get her A-sides out of the way pretty quickly huh?  Being the final A-side released in the era, I wasn’t fully expecting MIRACLE to be as pop as I thought it would, even after “Akaku Atsui Kodou”.  This time, I’m starting to feel like there’s not a lot to the song and needs a bit more sound for it because for the most part it feels somewhat empty.  I liked the fact she tried to do a summery pop sound and for a first try it’s not that bad, just needs some extra things.

8. REASON

Since most of the remaining tracks are now, REASON really pulls that idea that the rest of the album is going to be different.  The biggest thing about this song that seperates it from the others is the rather different approach.  It’s set in the style of R&B and a little bit of urban here.  I thought this rather startling transition is different but nice. 

9. Shirushi

As one of two ballads on this album, Shirushi isn’t all that bad here.  I love how the song begins with keyboard and marching drums before the latter disappears when Rina starts to sing with the song.  Now I haven’t really paid attention to Rina’s vocals much since I know what we’re dealing with, her vocals sound quite sweet and right.  It’s a passable song for sure and one of her better ballads in recent times.

10. WE♥SUMMER

Getting into the summer song, WE♥SUMMER tries to be good and all, but the fact that the arrangement was so bare and Rina giving a rather poor vocal performance really hurt the song altogether.  It’s also a 5 minute dealer so you’ll have to listen to it for a while.  I think it could be actually worse than “MIRACLE” since they both have rather empty arrangements.

11. Morning Yell

See now this is a song that feels filled up with good sounds and actually sounds good too.  Though the thing I would’ve been happy without would be that damn alarm clock going off right in the beginning.  It’s got a good upbeat rhythm also going for it and there’s even a male background singer to spice things up in the song.  The other thing that got me was that this song was a little over 3 minutes…c’mon…”WE♥SUMMER” was torture and then this little sunshine was short…

12. ORANGE★NIGHT -La La La Lovin’ you Mix-

If the single version of ORANGE★NIGHT was placed on the album, it would’ve been the only upbeat rock song on the album and being placed near the end would’ve made it stand out in not such a good way.  I guess GIZA/Rina saw this and decided a remix was best.  Besides the “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” lines, the remix felt a little uninspired and felt like just replace rock with synths.  I mean the arrangement melody and vocal melody just felt rather odd together and didn’t work for me.  I mean it’s one of the album’s standout tracks and that’s good…but still not for me.

13. SET YOU FREE

It seems that Rina just isn’t having her day on this album.  Besides that really cool synth opening and the first verse of the song, the rest just felt so lifeless.  It was like “LOVE OR BE LOVED”, but lighter and a bit more blah.  Maybe if there was a little more action going on it wouldn’t have ended up like this but w/e.

14. I’ll be delighted

So, as the second title track, I’ll be delighted is actually a much better ballad than “Shirushi” was.  I mean I noticed her good vocals immediately in this tune.  It’s great to hear some strings and piano together for this song and since there’s some additional backup vocals, it flowed quite nicely as a closing.

Tracks Recommended

  • Morning Yell
  • DELIGHT
  • PRECIOUS PLACE
  • I’ll be delighted
  • Shirushi

Song of Avoidance

  • WE♥SUMMER

I still don’t know how to rank DELIGHT between her albums.  I mean it does fix up most of the issues from “PLAYGIRL” and that’s good, but it seems I’m having a harder time remembering most of the songs off this album.  It’s like a sequel to “A.I.R”.  I like the fact she was returning more to her original style but keeping in touch with her recent style. 

I am a bit saddened to see Rina announce that she was retiring from music because of health reasons but she deserves it since she’s really had no break since her debut.  She was one of the original artists that introduced me into J-pop.  I’ll def miss her, but I’m also excited to review her final album.

 

Rina Aiuchi – HANABI July 26, 2010

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 11:09 pm

Track Listing

  1. HANABI
  2. Garden
  3. HANABI -instrumental-
  4. Garden -instrumental-

1. HANABI

While it hasn’t been too long since we’ve seen a ballad A-side from Rina, HANABI actually sounds relatively good (especially given her last few albums been sounding).  The arrangement sounds amazingly powerful that has a mix of guitars, piano, and strings.  It’s always a great thing to see and Rina’s vocals don’t sound thin as they usually are which is another plus.  Could it be Rina’s best ballad since “Nemurenu You ni”?  I think so.

2. Garden

The B-side is also a ballad which isn’t as surprising I guess, but it kind of sounds like a nostalgic run-through to her other ballad that’s well known, “Kaze no Nai Umi de Dakishimete”.  It’s alright, but it doesn’t hold as strong of a candle as “HANABI” did, but I did like the music box segments. 

 

 

After having such a bad single with “MAGIC”, I think she came back quite nicely with HANABI which is a pretty strong ballad from her (and that’s saying a lot because her ballads aren’t at this calibur).  That’s why we have Garden which just comes off as a bit plain, but still a nice listen.  Let’s hope she doesn’t rush this era like she did with “THANX”.

 

Rina Aiuchi – MIRACLE July 17, 2010

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 9:06 pm

Track Listing

  1. MIRACLE
  2. Especial thanks
  3. MIRACLE -Allegro vivace.mix-

1. MIRACLE

I’m not sure why this era has been all over the place for Rina.  I mean each single has been a different sound and feel and with MIRACLE it’s like she went for uber pop and for the most part it came off quite nicely, but it’s so unorthodox for her to become smily poppy that it’s just a little strange for me to listen to Rina that way.

2. Especial thanks

For the B-side, Especial thanks is probably her song for her fans which I guess is nice to have and of course it’s a ballad.  I think Rina’s vocals have gotten a bit stronger for this song and I love how the song builds to the chorus.  It’s definitely got A-side quality written all over it (then again, what B-side of hers isn’t?

3. MIRACLE -Allegro vivace.mix-

So of course we get a remix of the A-sid and in my opinion it sounds a bit more like the usual Rina I’m used to because it’s more like a dance song than just a cute pop song.  I mean it’s still pretty much sunshine and rainbows, but I think it sounds better off this way. 

 

 

Rina finishes off the “DELIGHT” era with the happiest A-side released and MIRACLE really didn’t leave much of an impression on me (the remix did though).  Especial thanks continues this whole (B-side > A-side) ordeal that’s been hitting her ever since she debuted and yes, I know she released “COLORS” there’s still a lot of B-sides she hasn’t put on albums yet and I wonder if there’ll be another one haha.

 

Rina Aiuchi – GLORIOUS/PRECIOUS PLACE April 16, 2010

Filed under: Rina Aiuchi — solarblade @ 5:56 am

Track Listing

  1. GLORIOUS
  2. PRECIOUS PLACE
  3. GLORIOUS -A.C.E.2 ver.-
  4. GLORIOUS -A.C.E.2 BATTLE MODE ver.-
  5. PRECIOUS PLACE -A.C.E.2 BATTLE MODE ver.-
  6. GLORIOUS -Another Composite Edition-

1. GLORIOUS

After some rather odd experimentation within the singles beforehand, GLORIOUS sounds like we’re back to the more synthy side of Rina that I’m used to.  While it’s not at the tempo I would’ve like to hear this in the dance-ish tune, it’s not too bad.  I think Rina sounds quite good here and a lot better overall than in some past songs.  Good tune.

2. PRECIOUS PLACE

Now this is where things get better.  PRECIOUS PLACE is actually at a very energetic pace and mix in the amount of synths with guitars was a great idea.  It feels like she put effort in the song where it was needed.  It kind of has this epic feel like she did with “CODE CRUSH”.  Oh the piano after the choruses were nice too…Damn I definitely prefer this over “GLORIOUS”.

3. GLORIOUS -A.C.E.2 ver.-

Trying to redeem itself, GLORIOUS actually did hahaha.  The A.C.E.2 version of the song sounds more fulfilled with a new arrangement and some epic placement of various sections of the song.  I still dislike the way she pronounces the title in the chorus and that still doesn’t fit in the song really.  Ok, the game version of the song totally beats the original version by a wide margin.

6. GLORIOUS -Another Composite Edition-

After going through the games instrumentals of both A-sides, we’re treated to another version of the primary A-side.  This version of GLORIOUS does make the whole ~glorious line~ stand out while the arrangement changes into a eurobeat song but not the energetic kind.  It’s not too bad and gives the song a much lighter feel and yet it’s still danceable.  Not too bad.

 

 

GLORIOUS/PRECIOUS PLACE actually surprised me because it’s her best single she’s had since “START”.  I’m happy she’s back to dance music since it’s her calling moreso than this rock and ballad stuff.  While the main GLORIOUS was overshadowed by both remixes, PRECIOUS PLACE was good on its own.  Awesome single from Rina.