Kurayami Monogatari

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Shoko Nakagawa – Dori Dori August 18, 2015

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 6:41 am

doridori

Track Listing

  1. Dori Dori
  2. Candy Girl (Regular & Limited only)
  3. KISEKI (Pokémon Edition only)
  4. Dori Dori -Instrumental-
  5. Candy Girl -Instrumental-
  6. KISEKI -Instrumental-

1. Dori Dori

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve got a strong upbeat song from Shokotan and Dori Dori is a pretty good tune to show off Shoko’s energetic pop/rock side.  It does have a cuter spark to it and Shoko’s voice is up in the squeakier range.  It’s a catchy tune and I kind of enjoy this side of her music a lot more than past singles.

2. Candy Girl

The main versions of the single comes with Candy Girl which unsurprisingly caked on the cuteness by a good 50%.  It’s kind of hokey and somewhat bouncy and very poppy.  I do like how refreshing it sounds though and Shokotan sounds a bit better here as she isn’t trying as hard on her vocals.  I kind of liked it more than “Dori Dori”.

3. KISEKI

At first I didn’t recognize the melody, but after listening to it a bit over and over, KISEKI is actually the ending theme for Pokémon X/Y!  Though if you didn’t know it’s a kind of happy ballad for Shokotan and she does ballads quite well (especially in recent times).  Not a bad song overall and is probably my favorite here.

Shokotan has slowed down a bit it seems in releases and Dori Dori was the kind of last thing she released (well she does have a collaboration single, but I’m more than likely now reviewing that).  This single is actually quite nice altogether.  Dori Dori is cute and upbeat and rockin’ while Candy Girl was sugary goodness and then there’s the nice ballad in KISEKI to close things off…good single, but I do miss her!

 

Shoko Nakagawa – 9lives May 16, 2014

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 6:00 am

9lives

Track Listing

  1. Miracle a Go! Go!
  2. 9lives
  3. Sakasama Sekai
  4. Zoku Konton
  5. Shiroi Chou no Yume
  6. Ii yo ne
  7. Seven Seas Romance
  8. millefeuille nights
  9. Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato
  10. chocolate chaud
  11. Nuigulumar Z
  12. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-
  13. Ai Ippai, Sei Ippai
  14. Last Wish -Onaji Iro no Christmas-

1. Miracle a Go! Go!

Usually, Shokotan has good openings and Miracle a Go! Go! might not be as one would’ve liked but she starts with something upbeat and fun to listen to.  I can say that this song really sounds like an anime intro with this kind of cutesy sound and Shoko’s voice is up there in pitch too.  For a song to kick things off, it’s average to me.

2. 9lives

Already on the title track?  Being the promotional track, 9lives was a surprise to me as we go from something cute and pop/rock to something heavier and more cooler from Shokotan.  I love her using a more deeper tone with her voice because she just summons a stronger force in her voice and she sounds perfect!  This definitely ranks up there with the best songs she’s done since her debut!

3. Sakasama Sekai

Then we get into the first half of her second single released for the era with Sakasama Sekai and I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it when it was released.  I’m sensing that this album is going for this anime-esque pop/rock feel.  On this album, the track still has problems fitting in and trying not to sound bland.  I still think parts with the synths stood out more than the rest of the track…that’s not good is it?

4. Zoku Konton

As she took a little of a hiatus after her best album, Zoku Konton was a pretty ballsy way to return by giving us a more darker side to her music.  While it still has its anime sound, Shokotan really gave her all here and while the chorus sounds lacking, it’s a cool track and Shoko gave a great vocal performance and the harpischord/strings sections are nice and gothic!  Cool cool.

5. Shiroi Chou no Yume

We finally get a pretty lengthy amount of new songs starting with Shiroi Chou no Yume.  As the first ballad from the album, Shoko tried to do a more dramatic tune here and in some places, I really liked it, but the song sounds almost too familiar to my ears…like the melodies sound done before.  It’s not bad though so that should be good right.

6. Ii yo ne

Kind of a sudden twist moving from something like “Shiroi Chou no Yume” to Ii yo ne which has a cutesy tone.  At first it was quirky and silly but the chorus was loud and a bit in your face XD.  Honestly, the song annoyed me more than anything else really…Just seemed like something that should’ve been a B-side.

7. Seven Seas Romance

Getting out of that sugar fest, Seven Seas Romance brings us back to something like “Sakasama Sekai” with a definite anime intro groove to it.  At least I enjoyed this one a lot more since the tune has a nice progressive sound and Shoko’s voice isn’t trying to be overly girly.  The tune is good, but doesn’t quite reach to the same levels as “9lives”.

8. millefeuille nights

Our next track was released as a “TV” version so here we get the full version!  I was surprised with the quick-paced sound that really sounds anime-heavy (for good reason).  I think of the cutesy stuff, I found myself bouncing around with this track and Shoko gave the tune life (even though the kind of denpa arrangement is already working).  Fun song for the album!

9. Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato

Hmmm, a song that mixes the previous track with the album’s overall rock sound?  Yep, that’s the case for Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato and it actually works alongside Shoko’s rock vocals and the energy is once again much appreciated!  It did feel rather short, but it’s still a pretty great song nonetheless!

10. chocolate chaud

I didn’t think our next new track would begin with such a dark and spooky intro…I have to give props to Shoko for that one  As the song kicks in, it follows the spooky feel with a gritty rock sound.  I liked the sound of the tune and the background vocalists added a nice touch to the track.  It might not have the power like other tracks, but it definitely ranks up there!

11. Nuigulumar Z

Released as a collaborated single, Nuigulumar Z was a surprise to see on the album (especially over some other digital singles).  Of course Shokotan is singing the lyrics for the most part while Tokusatsu provide the music and background chants.  It’s an interesting inclusion and one of the better songs on the album surprisingly!

12. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-

Taking a chill pill after “Nuigulumar Z”, Once Upon a Time was also an A-side from the single preceding the album and I wasn’t interested with it at first release.  At first, the song sounded mysterious with that strings melody and deep vocals from Shoko which I loved, but then it opens to such a forgettable chorus…at least the song kind of tries to make amends with some different directions (like the 2nd verse being a bit brighter and nice).  Actually this song really grew on me and is now prolly my favorite A-side she’s released since returning.  Even though the emotions are quite bipolar for me XD.

13. Ai Ippai, Sei Ippai

As what most people thought was going to end the album (Shokotan hid the last track til the last minute).  Ai Ippai, Sei Ippai is a mid-tempo track from her and as such it does sound like a final tune since it has a sullen feel to it, but Shoko sounds solid here as well.  Even though it isn’t one of the bangers, I can say this song is one to listen to.

14. Last Wish -Onaji Iro no Christmas-

The actual final track is a rather special track for Shoko.  If you didn’t know, this is a cover of her late father, Katsuhiko Nakagawa’s 1986 single of the same name.  For covering such an important song to her, Last Wish was of course updated to fit Shoko’s voice and she sounds really pretty here making the song a bit more Wintry than the original.  She definitely honored her father in a really nice way and a great song chosen.

Tracks Recommended

  • 9lives
  • millefeuille nights
  • Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-
  • Last Wish -Onaji Iro no Christmas-
  • Dare ni mo Ienai Kiss no Ato

Song of Avoidance

  • Ii yo ne

It felt like forever since Shokotan released a studio album that wasn’t full of covers.  As her 4th album, it started off not-so-good with the first half (cept for 9lives and Zoku Konton) but then it started accelerating in the later half and really it got pretty good.  Better than “Cosmic ♬ Inflation”?, I’d say by a bit yes!  Though the first half of it might take some time to stick.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – Sakasama Sekai/Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta- December 15, 2013

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 8:14 pm

sakasamasekai

Track Listing

  1. Sakasama Sekai
  2. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-
  3. Satelite Girl
  4. Sakasama Sekai (Instrumental)
  5. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta- (Instrumental)
  6. Satelite Girl (Instrumental)

1. Sakasama Sekai

I kind of thought of “Tsuzuku Sekai” there for a second too xD.  I really liked that intro for this song funny enough.  Though after that cool-sounding intro, the song kind of pulls back and gives up a pop/rock track and Shokotan just kind of shows how great a singer she is here.  I kind of wish she stuck with the synths for the song to be honest, because otherwise it’s just not very memorable.

2. Once Upon a Time -Kibou no Uta-

I have to say that this song kind of fits that Christmas vibe because Once Upon a Time starts off with such a great strings riff and Shokotan sounded great and added a bit of that winter mystery.  Though the chorus comes in and that feeling just goes away instantly and we’re given another “Sakurairo” and I just lost all my interest in the song haha.

3. Satelite Girl

Released as a digital single back in July, I thought including this song was such an odd decision and really doesn’t fit the single.  Shokotan’s are in the cutesy vibe and placed with pop song which doesn’t seem to seperate itself from any of her other songs.  It just didn’t work out for me.

 

 

Wow, as the 2nd single for the era, I felt like Shokotan had great ideas going for her, but she didn’t stick to them since the songs all kind of became rather bland songs without those different things going on (and Satelite Girl was just pretty much bland all-around!  After “Zoku Konton”, this is a big disappointing single for me.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – Zoku Konton November 22, 2013

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 6:18 am

zokukonton

Track Listing

  1. Zoku Konton
  2. Guren Doku Nisshoku
  3. Zoku Konton (instrumental)
  4. Guren Doku Nisshoku (instrumental)
  5. Kabukichou no Joou -2011-12-20.Nakano Sun Plaza Ver.-

1. Zoku Konton

I was wondering what Shokotan would do after well two not-so-good mini-albums, but one look at the revealing cover art showed a TOTALLY different side to Shoko.  Zoku Konton doesn’t take the cute route, but has a more darker feel (Halloween release) and then it mixes different ideas like rock and a little synth-pop, but the best thing is Shokotan’s rock vocals which always impress me more than her poppier stuff.  I really was surprised at this and is one of the more impressive releases this year!

2. Guren Doku Nisshoku

Then again, I was more perplexed with how the B-side would sound because it basically comes in English as “Raspberry Eclipse” with a title like that, how could you not be curious?  To be honest, I did not expect the B-side to be almost heavy metal in style which blew me away.  That said, Shokotan is singing in her deep vocals and I’ve already talked about that.  This single is powerful and has a very cool dramatic V-kei feel to it…I feel like this blew “Zoku Konton” out of the water…just badass!!

3. Kabukichou no Joou -2011-12-20.Nakano Sun Plaza Ver.-

After the instrumentals of the two tracks beforehand, we get a live version of a song that I’ve never heard of that is until I researched and found out that it’s a Shokotan cover of a Shiina Ringo tune!  It’s a short tune being over slightly 2 minutes.  Being as this was a performance almost 2 years ago, Shokotan did some good justice here.  Her voice did seem a bit too leveled on one note, but overall it was a good performance.

 

 

After releasing those two meh minis, “nsum” and “UCHI-SHIGOTO”, it was definitely nice for Shokotan to regroup and return with such a badass single with Zoku Konton.  I think this is one of her better A-sides she’s released but it’s so over-shadowed with Guren Doku Nisshoku which was just all kinds of badass…why it wasn’t the A-side shocks me.  Plus the live version of Kabukichou no Jouu was nice, but short.  I just can’t wait for her next single.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – UCHI-SHIGOTO, SOTO-SHIGOTO!! February 9, 2013

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 2:44 pm

uchishigoto

Track Listing

  1. Rolling star
  2. Amayadori feat. Shoko Nakagawa / DECO*27
  3. RAINBOW -Namida no Ato de- starring Shoko Nakagawa / RAM RIDER
  4. Pegasus Gensou ver.Ω / MAKE-UP feat. Shoko Nakagawa
  5. Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa
  6. Arukou
  7. Pegasus Gensou ver.Ω TV-EDIT
  8. Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa TV-EDIT
  9. Arukou TV-EDIT

1. Rolling star

Starting up this mini-album is are a couple of songs that her fans have seen before but aren’t a part of her discography.  The only one I notice is this track which is actually a cover of YUI’s most well-known hit and was featured on her tribute album, “SHE LOVES YOU”.  Shokotan’s take is actually quite faithful to the original and strangely enough better than YUI’s just because Shoko has such good vocals here!  I think it’s great that she included this song and let it be the first track!

2. Amayadori feat. Shoko Nakagawa / DECO*27

The next three tracks are ones that I am not certain where they came from, but know they are found somewhere.  Though I will say that DECO*27 is a known name in the VOCALOID fandom.  Hearing that Shokotan got this chance is pretty good because she sounds quite good.  However, coming after “Rolling star” makes this a bit disappointing as the track is just kind of finding itself remaining plain most of the time.  Not too impressed with this one.

3. RAINBOW -Namida no Ato de- starring Shoko Nakagawa / RAM RIDER

When I saw RAM RIDER’s name involved, I knew this track was definitely going to go down electronic lane.  Though I kind of thought the song was going to be a little edgier, but what we ended up was true to RAM RIDER’s sound and it’s that funky electro.  It’s a bright and sparkly tune for Shoko and once again her voice is fitting!  I liked it quite a bit for being more of that cutesy sound!

4. Pegasus Gensou ver.Ω / MAKE-UP feat. Shoko Nakagawa

I will admit, I’ve seen this because it was a character single for Shokotan.  I wasn’t sure what we were coming to with Pegasus Gensou, but I felt like it was a pretty awesome anison track!  At first it started slow and then it started to become this mid-tempo but edgy rock track and MAKE-UP is the actual artist so I hear a lot more of their lead singer, but Shoko is there quite a lot as well and both of them compliment each other very well!  Not bad of a song, but I still prefer “Rolling star” as the GOOD rock track.

5. Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa

The final tracks on the mini-album are brand new Shokotan songs and at one point were supposed to be her new single but considering what happened that didn’t happen.  The first track, Hitori no Kimi ga Umareta to sa is kind of strange to me because it kind of reminds me of a Lion King song with the way it flows.  I just didn’t think a song like this would even be considered as an A-side because it just doesn’t make sense.  Shokotan sounds nice if not a bit cutesy.  It’s OK, but nothing I would put on repeat.

6. Arukou

The other song that was supposed to be the secondary A-side but was cancelled, Arukou closes the mini-album out with a ballad and Arukou has a much orchestrated arrangement which actually sounds pretty and with Shoko singing lightly, it’s a soft and non-offensive track and definitely closed the mini out on a good note.

To me I felt like UCHI-SHIGOTO, SOTO-SHIGOTO!! was kind of a rushed deal because 4/6 of the tracklist is older stuff that was released elsewhere while the remaining tracks were initially supposed to be their own single (though if it was a single, neither song would’ve really made sense as A-sides).  It’s alright for what it is, but I just can’t shake off that this was a bit of a thin idea of a release.  At least I can say that this was better than “nsum”.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – nsum ~Nakagawa Shoko ga Utatte Mita!~ September 2, 2012

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 7:13 am

Track Listing

  1. Dream Diver
  2. GAME
  3. Discovery
  4. Tokimeki☆Dreamer
  5. Works×Works
  6. Uchuu de Propose

1. Dream Diver

Kicking off this rather short mini, Dream Diver (lol KH reference implemented here) Dream Diver kind of follows Shokotan’s recent explorations in rock music and it sounds powerful and would’ve fit almost perfectly on “Cosmic Inflation”.  It’s nothing totally new to her, but she tackled it very well…A good way to start things off.

2. GAME

I don’t get the keyboard typing that opens up GAME but the song is another rock-themed single but has a little more fire in it when compared to “Dream Diver”.  Otherwise, they are kind of similar with a little more synth here…nothing too amazing but I think it’s one of the better rock songs she’s done.

3. Discovery

After the rock songs pass by, Discovery comes in and it’s funny enough the mini’s lone ballad song which is a bit flow crushing after “GAME” but this is rather pleasant and bridges into the second half nicely.  Actually it’s not a ballad since it paces itself faster at the chorus.  It still does bridge things which is nice and that’s all it really does.  I don’t really remember the song otherwise.

4. Tokimeki☆Dreamer

Now we get into Shokotan’s more cuter, anison stuff with Tokimeki☆Dreamer which sounds pleasant because it has a lit of twinkly synths playing around. I like the happy atmosphere and all and the song is quite catchy but damn she kind of does that chorus bad.  The last ~motto~ was pretty sharp and kind of making her push her vocals.  I still enjoyed the song and I felt it was shorter than it actually was XD

5. Works×Works

I would consider Works×Works to be a little more playful of a song since it’s got more of an interesting arrangement and Shokotan’s vocals are bit more in her seiyuu range.  At first I wasn’t a fan of first half of the song because it did quickly became stale for me.  Once the jazzy middle interlude came in, the song decided to pick up the beat and it felt more alive…I just wish it had that beat throughout the song IMO.

6. Uchuu de Propose

The final song was oddly chosen as the promo song and it’s definitely the cutest of the six.  There’s a little of cute pop going on and a little of that 50’s pop with the ~sha-la-la-las~ going on behind her.  I also like the echo effect on the song as well filling out the what-could’ve-been empty spaces.  It wasn’t a bad choice but it doesn’t really stand out to me.

 

 

I don’t exactly know what happened but I kind of fell out of the fandom for Shokotan after “Cosmic Inflation” the singles she’s done since haven’t been too good (maybe “Horoscope”) and the fact she released two mini cover albums and a best-of after her last studio album haven’t really done anything for me either.  nsum is alright at best, but I feel like she doesn’t have the spark on this mini like she did on her last album and that made the six songs here come up short.  Though I’d say Tokimeki☆Dreamer did the best here.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – Horoscope January 10, 2012

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 11:25 pm

Track Listing

  1. Horoscope
  2. Bokura no Mirai
  3. snow tears -Mitchie M Remix-
  4. Horoscope -Instrumental-
  5. Bokura no Mirai -Instrumental-

1. Horoscope

I wonder why Shokotan is on this guitar-laced outlook as of recently because it’s starting to wear thin on me.  Luckily, things in Horoscope is a bit more of a ballad type which is a good thing because “Sakurairo” bored me while “Tsuyogari” was mire cutesy so this kind of fits in between and it was a good middle as well.  Shoko’s vocals are quite strong and the chorus brings out the best of her which is good!  Her best A-side yet in the era!

2. Bokura no Mirai

The B-side of the single kind of ties in with this whole wintry theme and is one of the more softer (if not softest song of the era so far).  I mean to be honest it sounds like it would’ve fit nicely on her single “snow tears” (how ironic since the next track is a new take).  However, the song is just one big blur to me since it doesn’t sound like she’s really into it and it’s kind of plain for her. 

3. snow tears -Mitchie M Remix-

Closing the single is a remix of snow tears and I actually was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the song since it turned a wintry ballad into more of a dance song.  The synths IMO were quite pretty to hear and mixing up with Shokotan’s vocals was a plus.  Hearing bubbles popping in the arrangement is also a sweet touch and just sticks out to me!  She doesn’t have very many good remixes but this is a good one from her.

 

 

I don’t know why Shokotan has taken up a guitar-laced era but at least Horoscope is one of the better songs she’s done in this era.  It’s just a powerful ballad and like I’ve said before, she accels in ballads more than anything else.  However, Bokura no Mirai is a ballad that isn’t very good since it lacked a spark and my interest was lying someplace else.  The remix though was the clear winner of the single though since it’s electronic and memorable and treated snow tears just right.  Is the era over yet? XD

 

Shoko Nakagawa – Tsuyogari June 16, 2011

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 4:20 am

Track Listing

  1. Tsuyogari
  2. Hoshikuzu Romance
  3. Dangerous wild, you are!
  4. Tsuyogari (TV Edit)
  5. Tsuyogari -Instrumental-
  6. Hoshikuzu Romance -Instrumental-
  7. Dangerous wild, you are! -Instrumental-
  8. Tsuyogari (TV Edit) -Instrumental-

1. Tsuyogari

I’m a little disappointed once again that Tsuyogari continues the tradition of rock songs in her repertoire, but this one feels more cuter and livelier than “Sakurairo” was to be honest.  I’m finding myself enjoying Shokotan’s vocals a little more as well since it’s upbeat and energetic like it should be.  It isn’t as serious as other rock songs she has and this fits with them quite well.

2. Hoshikuzu Romance

I think the first B-side is an interesting tune from Shokotan for some reason.  It’s not like previous B-sides at all because it’s more poppish than her stuff recently.  I like Shoko’s relaxed vocals here as well since she sounds a lot better to me than in “Tsuyogari”.  It does remind me of something in her debut era but I think that’s good thing. 

3. Dangerous wild, you are!

Besides the title being a little Yoda-like, Dangerous wild, you are! is probably the biggest surprise.  To me it’s like one of her songs off her last album….”TYRANT too young” but it’s a lot more epic and badass of a song from Shokotan.  I love the mix of hard guitars and synths with a little touch of anime thrown in for the complete kickassness of it all.  Even Shoko is singing in a much deeper tone and I always approve of this vocal style of hers.  SWEEEEEET!

 

 

I gotta say, after “Sakurairo” I was starting to lose my fandomness with Shokotan, but she pulled me right back with Tsuyogari for sure.  I might be biased to why I liked the title track…but it’s pretty good.  I do prefer Dangerous wild, you are! more than Hoshikuzu Romance but that’s not to say I like both…cuz they are pretty good….hmmmm…

 

Shoko Nakagawa – Sakurairo April 7, 2011

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 1:50 am

Track Listing

  1. Sakurairo
  2. Marshmallow
  3. Lavender
  4. Sakurairo -Instrumental-
  5. Marshmallow -Instrumental-
  6. Lavender -Instrumental-

1. Sakurairo

Bah, another rock track from Shokotan?  I mean I know I’ve wished more of those songs in the last few eras, but it seems its what all we’ve got since…”RAY OF LIGHT” and the whole era as a whole had many many rock tracks so with Sakurairo, it kind of disappoints me that it just seems like a repeat after a lot of stuff.  I mean it’s upbeat and Shoko’s vocals sound pretty good, but I wished the song was a little different after “Cosmic Inflation”.

2. Marshmallow

Sadly, my opinion doesn’t sway much when Marshmallow opens up which is unfortunately like a less-controlled “Sakurairo” with more yelling from Shokotan and more guitars.  I’d say it’s a bit more memorable than the A-side, but only because Shokotan’s vocals are more squeaky and the guitars have more punch, otherwise forgettable.

3. Lavender

Luckily, Lavender comes and changes the formula up a bit from just being a pure rock track to being a bit more like a cutesy pop/rock kind of song.  Add in some background vocals and synths and Lavender comes together.  I felt it was a lot more memorable than the other two songs for sure and I wanted this to have been an A-side.

As Shokotan begins her fourth era, she begins things off with well…a not so strong single.  I know that I’ve wanted more rock songs from Shoko during her sophomore days and she answered that nicely with “Cosmic Inflation”.  Sadly, there was too many rock songs there and I got tired quickly of that album and Sakurairo doesn’t really phase me.  All three songs have such strong rock influences that could’ve easily fit on her album so it felt like leftovers.  Lavender was the best the single had to offer but Sakurairo and Marshmallow….forgettable IMO.

 

Shoko Nakagawa – Cosmic Inflation October 8, 2010

Filed under: Shoko Nakagawa — solarblade @ 8:39 am

Track Listing

  1. Flying Humanoid
  2. Gozen Rokuji
  3. Namidaboshi
  4. Kokoro no Antenna
  5. rainbow forecast
  6. shortcake adventure
  7. Jewelry heart
  8. lemonade
  9. “Arigatou no Egao”
  10. RAY OF LIGHT
  11. Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana
  12. TYRANT too young
  13. Sen no Kotoba to Futari no Himitsu

1. Flying Humanoid

Beginning the album with the final single released for the era, Flying Humanoid isn’t much of a surprise since there was quite a bit of rock songs found in the Cosmic Inflation era.  I don’t think it’s as memorable as “RAY OF LIGHT”, but it’s a nice try and the mid-temponess of this song starts the album up nicely.

2. Gozen Rokuji

Each album we see Shoko choose 1 B-side to make the album cut, Gozen Rokuji (originally from “Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana”) continues this rock-side of the album.  I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the song since she could’ve chose something else to have taken its place “Moe yo Gizamimi Pichu!” anyone?  It’s alright and I do think it’s better than the opening track, but it’s still not the B-side I would’ve personally chosen.

3. Namidaboshi

Being the 1st of five new tracks on the album, Namidaboshi changes the rock style for a more synthy pop sound for only like 10 seconds before it turns into another rock styled song.  Now I know I’ve said I wanted more rock tracks since it suits her quite nicely, but I’m even starting to feel bored (especially this early in the album), still it’s not bad, just needs to be different .

4. Kokoro no Antenna

At least we leave that part of the album and get into the more poppier songs from the album starting with Kokoro no Antenna which was tied to Pokemon.  I still kind of prefer the original version of the song a bit more than the light pop/rock arrangement here.  It’s alright, but it’s not my favorite A-side of the era.

5. rainbow forecast

Oh wait…she included more than one B-side on the album?  I guess this is a special case because it was supposed to be the A-side, but instead it was moved when she announced that “Arigatou no Egao” was going to be that instead.  Anywho, rainbow forecast isn’t bad for a cutesy pop song from Shokotan.  I found it funny that there wasn’t enough of this going on in the era and rainbow forecast filled up that space kind of quickly.  Much better choice for B-side addition IMHO.

6. shortcake adventure

Luckily the next three songs are brand new tunes starting with shortcake adventure.  Basically, this song says let’s get amazingly super-cute for this song.  Luckily, there wasn’t a lot of that in the era and I was pleasantly happy to see a song like this pop up and even though it’s not my cup of tea, I love the energy from Shokotan here and since the arrangement might be still full of rock, it’s not bad at all.

7. Jewelry heart

One if not the cutest songs off the album, Jewelry heart just does nothing for me even though it does kind of goes back to when she debuted and her music was more pop-fronted than anything else today.  It’s definitely not a bad song and it seems she’s working on making cute songs more tolerable than stuff like “Garasu no Prism” or even “Shiny GATE” for that matter.

8. lemonade

What’s up with Shokotan in this album it’s like all but one or two songs on the album so far have been rock songs and lemonade kind of just feels boring and useless on the album.  I’ll admit that her vocals sound much better suited here than in like “Flying Humanoid”.  Otherwise the song doesn’t really do much for me and just flies over my head.

9. “Arigatou no Egao”

Being the 3rd A-side of the era, “Arigatou no Egao” isn’t the first ballad of the era, but it still doesn’t really leave a big impression on me like the other ballad A-sides.  I’m not sure why I’m not fond of it because of the fact it’s what she does best…but at the same time, it feels like she kind of dragged this song into the ground. 

10. RAY OF LIGHT

To me, Shoko’s most important A-side was her 4th because it was tied to FMA.  While I’m happy it’s one of the more calmer songs from the album RAY OF LIGHT somehow surpasses a bunch of A-sides with it’s anime-ish flow and relaxing vocals from Shokotan.  It still stands as one of the best A-sides from the era and that’s a good thing.

11. Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana

Since this was the first A-side of the era, Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana is one of the best ballads she released for the entire era and fights with “Sen no Kotoba to Futari no Himitsu” for THE best of the album.  While it does sort of streams away from being a ballad for the chorus, it’s one powerful song and I don’t mind the rock-style here.  I actually think it sounds more anime-like than “RAY OF LIGHT”…strange right?  Great song!

12. TYRANT too young

As the final new song off the album, TYRANT too young disappointed me with the fact that it’s another rock song.  However, it does a great job seperating itself from the others because it sounds like a V-kei kind of rock song with gritty guitars and very quick-paced drums.  I was surprised that Shokotan held her own with this one and sounds great throughout.  Energetic and brought my attention to full light with this one!

13. Sen no Kotoba to Futari no Himitsu

I thought it was cool that they made “Flying Humanoid” the opening for the album and the other A-side as the ending.  However, coming after “TYRANT too young” is a bit abrasive and breaks the flow in a harsh way.  Now since “Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana” is more of a pseudo-ballad, Sen no Kotoba to Futari no Himitsu is a straight-up ballad from Ms. Shokotan and it’s definitely a lot more appropriate and fitting to listen to than “Arigatou no Egao”.  Shoko’s vocals are just right and while the music isn’t totally fresh, I think it was memorable in the long run and made for a great closing, but once again out of left field because of the previous song.

Tracks Recommended

  • Namida no Tane, Egao no Hana
  • TYRANT too young
  • Sen no Kotoba to Futari no Himitsu
  • rainbow forecast

Song of Avoidance

  • lemonade

Wow, we’re already at Shoko’s 3rd album?  For me Cosmic Inflation kind of ended up at the same feelings I had with “Magic Time” but maybe I liked this one a bit more.  There wasn’t any real “bad” songs on the album, but my problem was that this album stuck to rock-styled songs for a good portion of the album (the middle being the cutesy songs and Sen no Kotoba to Futari no Himitsu).  I know I should’ve loved this seeing as I love Shoko’s rock songs…but for the most part they were a bit plain here…and only 5 new songs?  Yikes…  At least I can tolerate all the songs on the album so that’s a good thing right?