Kurayami Monogatari

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HALLOWEEN JUNKY ORCHESTRA – HALLOWEEN PARTY October 15, 2012

Track Listing

  1. HALLOWEEN PARTY
  2. Penalty Waltz

1. HALLOWEEN PARTY

Wow, what a cast of people chosen for this song!  I mean you have both members of VAMPS, Anna Tsuchiya, Kanon Wakeshima, Tomoko Kawase in both her solo monikers, yasu, DAIGO, KYO, Tatsurou, Aoki and various other musicians (which I’ll talk about in the next track).  This track is just dark and fitting for the occasion for sure.  A lot of different vocals and tones that it is messy but in the way that only Halloween would deem it perfectly fitting.  Now seeing as hyde has the most vocals, it was great hearing familiar voices as well like all of the above (especially the female singers).  The hook/chorus of the song eerily sounds like Tomoko’s own “Lollipop Candy♥BAD♥girl” but still this song is a great song and everyone that took part (even the secondary guys in the PV should get a pat on their back for this awesomeness). 

2. Penalty Waltz

So for K.A.Z, Hitsugi, RINA, Aki, and whoever else plays instruments in the group, they get their own instrumental track and it’s a pretty interesting waltz.  It’s funny to see how it moves and then get interrupted by sounds of monsters breaking things and making sounds.  I mean it doesn’t stick as strong as “HALLOWEEN PARTY” did, but I guess it was to make up for the people that didn’t sing on the main track so I can understand why this is here.

 

 

Wow, HALLOWEEN JUNKY ORCHESTRA is a unique and quite awesome of a group filled with known stars in the rock field.  This single was pretty awesome and definitely is colorful and bizarre and just all kinds of random.  I think another song would’ve been a lot better than Penelty Waltz, but I understand why it’s there….I hope they can do something in the future and not be a one-time thing.

 

SCANDAL – Queens are trumps -Kirifuda wa Queen- September 28, 2012

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 7:33 am

Track Listing

  1. Queens are trumps
  2. Taiyou Scandalous
  3. Pin Heel Surfer
  4. Rock’n Roll
  5. Bitter Chocolate
  6. Kill the virgin
  7. Koe
  8. Rising Star
  9. Bright
  10. Welcome home
  11. HARUKAZE
  12. Right Here

1. Queens are trumps

I didn’t think that SCANDAL was going to open the album up with such a badass song in the title track because I seriously am loving that epic intro from HARUNA and MAMI…I was just loving everything about the song from HARUNA’s ~oh shit!~ line to the TOMOMI’s verses and even the auto-tuned part.  I was just loving the energy and power of the song.  It’s definitely their most hard-hitting song in their discography and I LOVED IT!

2. Taiyou Scandalous

Moving to the second A-side released, Taiyou Scandalous does bring us down from the high from “Queens are trumps” but I think the tune is still pretty much high quality SCANDAL.  It’s not as good as their last summer song, “LOVE SURVIVE” but the song works for some reason.  I still do love hearing HARUNA and MAMI in the song and while TOMOMI is a lead as well, her voice is kind of grating in the song…I was wondering where RINA was but she was prolly busy drumming away.  Not a bad track though.

3. Pin Heel Surfer

SCANDAL decided to close out the era with the 3rd A-side Pin Heel Surfer and it hasn’t even been that long since the single came out so my thoughts haven’r really wavered much from the single review.  It’s definitely the lightest of the 3 A-sides, but it also just doesn’t work for me and would’ve worked better on “BABY ACTION” if anything.  Just a weak track IMO.

4. Rock’n Roll

I guess to break back into edgier songs, Rock’n Roll begins with glass breaking and the arrangement comes barreling through (not as powerful as “Queens are trumps” but this reminds me of “Shoujo S” with it’s progressive sound.  I love that HARUNA and MAMI take lead roles again and they sound so good together.  Definitely one of the catchier songs here!

5. Bitter Chocolate

Taking things slower again, Bitter Chocolate comes in and I definitely feel like it belongs on “BABY ACTION”.  I think I hear TOMOMI and MAMI take the song entirely (mostly TOMOMI though) and I kind of dislike her as a singer and hearing her take lead is just a little painful since it doesn’t really work.  MAMI (if that’s who it is or is it HARUNA?), sounds great though and I would’ve preferred her to carry the song honestly. 

6. Kill the virgin

If you remember “Koi no Hajimaru wa Diet”, that synthy track, then Kill the virgin might sound familiar but it at least the band is playing instruments this time which is really awesome.  I don’t know why but the main vocals don’t sound like TOMOMI but is that RINA?  If it is, then her voice is just as tragic in this tune.  The only thing I felt was cool was the guitar riffs and the whispering parts (and the repeating of ~kill the virgin~.  Beyond that, this song was a trainwreck.

7. Koe

To make up for that hot mess, Koe comes up and I’m loving the fact that I hear MAMI sing in the front (or I think so…).  She sounds a little bit winded for some reason singing Koe but she tries and I like that she fits the sound of the song.  There’s not much else to really say about the song because it’s straightforward and it’s SCANDAL’s typical rock track just predominantly sung by one of the members.

8. Rising Star

I was thinking the middle of the album was kind of used to show off the other girls.  Rising Star brought back the four of them and hearing HARUNA back in lead was pretty nice since I’ve come to really enjoy her voice the most.  TOMOMI/MAMI kind of have similar line distribution while RINA is kind of in the back.  The song is actually quite catchy and I dig this more than most of the other songs. 

9. Bright

Well, I kind of hear guitars and synths fused together for our next track Bright which is unique and has a bit of a different atmosphere than other tracks on the album.  I mean HARUNA is singing in such a breathy and light tone and then the chorus comes in and it just sounds sentimental but pleasant.  It’s surprisingly really good and is probably one my favorite slower songs from the band.

10. Welcome home

As the only B-side to make the cut (it was really either this or “OSAKA” and that song sucked).  I’m really happy they chose this because Welcome home was hard hitting and the vocals were just a whole lot of win!  While it might not be powerful as “Queens are trumps”, this followed behind with nice style.  It fits the album quite nicely and while it has the line distribution like a couple of the songs, this actually turned out better here than on the single.

11. HARUKAZE

It’s been a while since I’ve heard the BLEACH theme and HARUKAZE being placed towards the end is nice since it’s lighter and a bit brighter than most of the other songs on the album.  The chorus is catchy but that’s really about it that I remember about it since it kind of feels too safe and not really all that intriguing (plus the girls don’t emote very well here).  It might be just as blah as “Pin Heel Surfer”.

12. Right Here

Ending the album is probably the brightest song on the album and Right Here really makes up for the lack of emotion in “HARUKAZE”.  I love that all four ladies get the same time to sing but the higher pitched girls get some frown points.  It really sounds like an idol track, but Right Here is good to close things up!

Tracks Recommended

  • Queens are trumps
  • Welcome home
  • Bright
  • Rising Star
  • Rock’n Roll

Song of Avoidance

  • Kill the virgin

SCANDAL’s 4th album and sadly I don’t think it’s as good as “BABY ACTION” was.  I mean I did like a good portion of the album which means it’s up there behind it, but that album didn’t have any BIG misses.  Here, the problem came in the form of  2 of the 3 A-sides being weak and the songs that focused on TOMOMI, RINA, and to a lesser degree MAMI.  They just didn’t work and RINA’s track was just bad…WHY…Not bad, but it’s a step down from their last album.

 

SCANDAL – Pin Heel Surfer September 11, 2012

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 6:50 pm

Track Listing

  1. Pin Heel Surfer
  2. OSAKA
  3. Pin Heel Surfer (Instrumental)

1. Pin Heel Surfer

Well, I learned that PHS was produced by TRICERATOPS (who I’m rather unfamiliar with) but this song actually has a different feel when compared to the previous two singles.  It’s not as vibrant and loud like “Taiyou Scandalous” but this song isn’t really moving them in a strong direction.  It’s a mid-tempo track and it kind of does make them sound more idol-like but with instruments on the backburner.  Vocals are at their usual good and bad status with me but I really think HARUNA is getting stronger…but those high notes kind of kill her in this song IMO.  I don’t know, SCANDAL kind of just dropped the ball on this one.

2. OSAKA

LOL, they have a song called “TOKYO” and now they have this one!  I’m not sure if TRICERATOPS had a hand in this, but this feels a little more like a new sound for them when I hear synths and TOMOMI taking lead (well I hear her the most).  I like the heavier hook, but this song is lacking in speed and it comes off as a bit redundant in areas. 

 

 

Closing their 4th era, I have to say that Pin Heel Surfer might be the weakest out of the 3 (“HARUKAZE” and “Taiyou Scandalous”).  I just couldn’t get into either of the songs on here.  Pin Heel Surfer feels like it could be much louder and less sappy and it really didn’t feel like they were into it (cept HARUNA).  OSAKA just needed more speed, but we got left with an awkward song…I don’t know, I hope “Queens are trumps ~Kirifuda wa Queen~ has strong ass songs at this point.

 

SCANDAL – Taiyou Scandalous July 11, 2012

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 12:02 am

Track Listing

  1. Taiyou Scandalous
  2. Welcome home (Band Edition only)
  3. Koi no Hajimari wa Diet (Special Unit Edition A only)
  4. Cherry Jam (Special Unit Edition B only)
  5. Taiyou Scandalous (Instrumental)

1. Taiyou Scandalous

Produced by NAOTO from ORANGE RANGE, Taiyou Scandalous kind of does remind me of OR’s summer tunes but with SCANDAL at the lead which is pretty rad!  It’s energetic and has good flow throughout, especially since HARUNA and TOMOMI sounds actually quite nice in the song.  I think it’s also the fact I like that synths were used in the song that made it stand out to me even more.  Great A-side from them!

2. Welcome home

The B-side on the band edition of the release is a bit more edgier than “Taiyou Scandalous” which is for sure and to be honest, I’ve been wanting SCANDAL to tackle something a lot more harder.  I’m not sure who leads in the song but I hear more than the two primary singers here and that’s awesome!  Definitely one of the strongest B-sides I’ve heard from them ever!

3. Koi no Hajimari wa Diet

The rest of the single is split into duo units of the 4 of them and one song is found on each edition.  HARUNA & RINA combine to form Almond Crush (strange name) and sung our first track Koi no Hajimari wa Diet.  It’s such a departure from the SCANDAL we know because this song is very electro-pop…I mean synths galore and nothing of band instruments present.  Both vocalists are kind of singing in a cute style which is interesting but I don’t know I’m not used it it…the spoken dialogue was too strange too.  I can get into this track I think.

4. Cherry Jam

TOMOMI & MAMI make up the other unit, Degree Of Bond Bond (strange name too) and with their tune, Cherry Jam, they also make a GIANT departure from the norm by giving the listeners a strange hip-hop song…yes you heard me, a hip-hop tune!  I can’t really take this song seriously because it’s just too damn strange and hilarious.  TOMOMI rapping is just funny to listen to but MAMI has good flow oddly enough.  Strange song here…

 

 

SCANDAL opens up a new era with a good A-side in Taiyou Scandalous (they’ve been getting so much better with their lead songs and working with NAOTO worked out well for them).  Welcome home is also quite awesome and ranks up there with their better B-sides!  However, things get a bit strange with the units since they switched to two different style for them.  I do like Almost Crush’s tune more than Degree Of Bond Bond’s tune but they give a different flavor for the members to deal with and I can dig that.  Good single overall!

 

SCANDAL – HARUKAZE February 25, 2012

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 8:44 am

Track Listing

  1. HARUKAZE
  2. ALONES (Limited A only)
  3. *~Asterisk~ (Limited B only)
  4. HARUKAZE (Instrumental)

1. HARUKAZE

As the only original song on the single, HARUKAZE is actually tied to the Bleach series so it was known I was thinking it was going to have an anime-ish feel to it.  I’m not sure but it feel like a whole new voice I’m listening to during the first set of verses…but I’m sure it’s just HARUNA singing along.  From that point to the second verses it’s really good.  TOMOMI though is still vocally way high and still doesn’t fit SCANDAL very much and I just didn’t like her vocals in this song as I would in songs from “BABY ACTION”.  Besides that blip, the rest of the song is actually nice and fits the series quite well…not my favorite Bleach song but it’s good nonetheless.

2. ALONES

The rest of the single contains covers of other Bleach-related songs starting with ALONES which is originally a song done by Aqua Timez.  Funny enough, I never liked ALONES because I didn’t enjoy the band’s vocalist very well and kind of gave me a headache.  SCANDAL’s version seems to alleviate the problem and I hear MAMI singing as well which gives a bit more movement.  This was a good cover here!

3. *~Asterisk

The other song they chose to cover is one of ORANGE RANGE’s more well-known songs in the West and that’s *~Asterisk which is based off the single version of course.  Sadly, I don’t think SCANDAL should have covered this song because there’s a lot of rapping in the songs and quite frankly, the girls sound awkward and messy doing those parts.  I’ll give them props for trying though because it is a tough song to cover.

 

 

As the lead-in single into their first best-of album, “SCANDAL SHOW”, HARUKAZE is an odd single for me.  The A-side is pretty good, though has flaws but it’s a strong enough song to stand on its own, it’s just that there’s a couple A-sides that are way better lol.  The covers were half & half for me.  ALONES being the stronger cover while *~Asterisk was kind of weak and very messy for me.  At least it’s an intersting idea to make the single all about Bleach right?

 

SCANDAL – BABY ACTION August 19, 2011

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 5:34 am

Track Listing

  1. GLAMOROUS YOU
  2. Sono Toki, Sekai wa Kimi Dareke no Lane
  3. LOVE SURVIVE
  4. Sparkling
  5. BURN
  6. Appletachi no Dengon
  7. Tokyo Skyscraper
  8. Pride
  9. Haruka
  10. SCANDAL Nanka Buttobase
  11. Very Special
  12. one piece

1. GLAMOROUS YOU

Kickstarting the album, GLAMOROUS YOU brings the energy in straight in right from the get-go.  Well, OK I lie, it’s not as brightly energetic like some of the A-sides but it’s great to hear this tune since it’s light and HARUNA and TOMOMI take vocals together and once again they sound amazing together but oddly enough I like them in their solos as well which is straight up awesome.  I found this to be quite catchy and made for a good opening song.

2. Sono Toki, Sekai wa Kimi Dareke no Lane

Second song in and I’m once again thinking this lighter side to the band is a good move.  HARUNA leads the verses while the other three girls provide backup and then MAMI takes the bridge while TOMOMI takes up the chorus.  It’s an interesting mixture of three of the members singing the track and it’s an interesting move.  It’s another good tune from them and TOMOMI stood out in a good way for the chorus…catchy!

3. LOVE SURVIVE

Unfortunately there’s a limit to how TOMOMI sounds and she kind of slipped with the era’s fourth A-side.  I will say the sudden urge of energy for the song is quite awesome and hearing synths in a SCANDAL song is always a surprising element.  Still, this song is pretty damn awesome since it was what I was hoping to hear from the band at one point.  I’d say it’s their best A-side but it keeps switching between “Pride” and “SCANDAL Nanka Buttobase” for sure.

4. Sparkling

It’s no surprise that SCANDAL would include a cute song on their album and Sparkling sounds like a mixture of the first two tracks with the synths from “LOVE SURVIVE”.  With TOMOMI leading the song she does kind of rub me the wrong way deeper the song goes but she gets help from HARUNA, but the high-pitched gal is still the lead vocals on this one.  Still, I’m not really a big fan of this one.

5. BURN

I like that guitar intro for BURN for some reason.  Unlike the tracks I’ve heard prior to this, BURN marks the first rather slow rock track from the quartet and it has this American-rock feel to it that I kind of enjoyed.  Sadly, I don’t find the track to be very memorable and just drags the entire way…even if it’s only HARUNA present while the other three gals act as support.  I will say that the ending area was a tad bizarre and kind of destroyed the emotion of the song…but I guess since it was destructive it fits with BURNing…get it?

6. Appletachi no Dengon

Hey, is that brass I hear in Appletachi no Dengon?!?  Hey, if it’s gonna add spice to the song I’d say let them at it and I found myself jamming along to the song because it’s cute and fun to listen to.  I feel they wanted to bring a little nostalgia because this song like it’d fit “BEST★SCANDAL” because of its upbeat and free-spirited nature.  I liked this.

7. Tokyo Skyscraper

It was a little strange to hear brass once again in the next song but they aren’t the focus luckily stay as just an extra punch to the arrangement.  To me this song doesn’t do much for me until it gets to the chorus.  It just sounds like the synth addition in the chorus gave the song a space-ish feel and that caught me off guard.  Then again hearing the girls singing the title is LULZY.  Altogether, it’s not too memorable for me but it’s good for a listen or two.

8. Pride

I do question why the band crammed 3 of the 4 A-sides towards the end one right after another but I can’t fathom a reason why really.  As the second A-side released, Pride was the first track that actually caught my attention since the song felt like a Stereopony song with the hooks and catchy riffs.  Even listening to HARUNA was really nice since she sounded comfortable. 

9. Haruka

At first I thought Haruka was going to be one of the group’s quieter songs and well it’s one of the more lighter ones for sure since it is the slowest in tempo between the four.  After time had passed Haruka doesn’t really seem to fit on the album for me but it could be because the piano is featured and the band took things in a slower pace.  Ok, since the single review, I kind of started to not really care for it anymore…yeah it’s my least favorite of the A-sides.

10. SCANDAL Nanka Buttobase

It seemed such a long time has passed since this was released and was the only single before they released “R-GIRL’s ROCK!”.  I didn’t think the single would’ve made the cut seeing as it was a one-song track but it’s great since it’s one the group’s more edgier tunes on the album and all the members are involved and sound amazing singing.  Even RINA gets solos…omg and the melodic parts are great.  Yeah, I love this track for sure and happy to see this especially after the disappointing “Haruka”.

11. Very Special

Getting near to the end of the album, we get two more new tracks starting with Very Special and it seems to be the feelgood summery track (but guessing with the arrangement with a LOT of tambourine).  I don’t find it memorable really.  I mean this is one of the more wary tunes for me because TOMOMI doesn’t sound particularly good.  It does have interesting things like sitar and HARUNA’s parts. 

12. one piece

I’m not surprised that the album closes out with a slower song with one piece (which isn’t about the manga/anime).  Like “BURN” it doesn’t seem to really strike as anything special but the piano here sounds fitting than it did on “Haruka” and all the members sound rather good.  I mean cut the band’s instruments and it feels like a typical idol ballad…yeah that’s not good…

Tracks Recommended

  • SCANDAL Nanka Buttobase
  • LOVE SURVIVE
  • Appletachi no Dengon
  • Sono Toki, Sekai wa Kimi Dareke no Lane
  • Pride 

Song of Avoidance

  • one piece

I’ll be straight up, TEMPTATION BOX really didn’t do much for me and over time I started to dislike it even more than their debut album.  The curse of SCANDAL is still there were majority of the A-sides beat out the album songs but somehow on BABY ACTION, the album tracks actually don’t sound half bad really.  It did start to lose steam at the end, but still overall I’d say this is a great jump after their sophomore album!

 

SCANDAL – LOVE SURVIVE August 1, 2011

Filed under: SCANDAL — solarblade @ 6:29 pm

Track Listing

  1. LOVE SURVIVE
  2. Kimi ni Shittochuu
  3. Hikare
  4. LOVE SURVIVE (Instrumental)

1. LOVE SURVIVE

I’m surprised that LOVE SURVIVE is one of the groups more energetic and speedy tracks in their collection and the fact that it combines synths and their rock style was an epic way to deal with things.  Even though HARUNA and TOMOMI are leading the track they both pull the song off quite well even though there’s times that TOMOMI sounds pitchy and kind of like a sore thumb, but it’s still a great track from them for sure, even the hardcore interlude before the final chorus was unexpected but cool!

2. Kimi ni Shittochuu

This is kind of the norm for SCANDAL to release or what I was expecting the A-side to come off as.  I will say that there’s more gals singing here, but I think it’s just MAMI included with the other two mains.  I mean it’s catchy in the long run and has fun clapping parts and TOMOMI sounds better here than in “LOVE SURVIVE” so that should say something.  I like the the later half of the song where there’s a guitar solo and more catchy stuff goin on.

3. Hikare

The second B-side of the single Hikare, is probably the most toned-down song of the single and unfortunately it’s led by TOMOMI.  There’s just times where I just want to shut her off since her voice isn’t totally suited to the rock style and yet she sounds great when she sings with others and HARUNA does come in after a while.  It’s alright, but I can barely remember the song after a while.

 

 

SCANDAL’s 4th and final single of the “BABY ACTION” era, LOVE SURVIVE is actually mostly a fun single from the band.  I was surprised at the overall feel of the main track since it was fast and synthy so it was pretty much unexpected.  Kimi ni Shittochuu sounds more like typical SCANDAL-fare but that’s alright since it was handled quite nicely, but Hikare was kind of meh and just kind of poor.  Either way, it’s nice that the era is ending since the singles have been all been strong in their own ways!