Kurayami Monogatari

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Hello Pro All Stars – YEAH YEAH YEAH/Akogare no Stress-free/Hana, Takenawa no Toki September 18, 2018

yeahyeahyeah

Track Listing

  1. YEAH YEAH YEAH
  2. Akogare no Stress-free
  3. Hana, Takenawa no Toki
  4. Hello! History
  5. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.) (Regular A only)
  6. YEAH YEAH YEAH (ANGERME Ver.) (Regular B only)
  7. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Juice=Juice Ver.) (Regular C only)
  8. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Country Girls Ver.) (Regular D only)
  9. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Kobushi Factory Ver.) (Regular E only)
  10. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Tsubaki Factory Ver.) (Regular F only)
  11. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Instrumental)
  12. Akogare no Stress-free (Instrumental)
  13. Hana, Takenawa no Toki (Instrumental)
  14. Hello! History (Instrumental)

1. YEAH YEAH YEAH

As the leading A-side of the single, I was kind of expecting a bombastic dance track with such a title, but instead it’s quite the opposite taking more of a mid-tempo piano ballad that actually is structured a bit more as a dance number.  I mean the song sounds a little bit like previous Hello! Project songs and it just doesn’t really put a spark in me (doesn’t help there’s no solos either).  Even the dance breakdown is eerily similar to Momusu’s “Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi” & “The Vision”. I don’t know, but the song comes off generic and forgettable.

2. Akogare no Stress-free

At least the 2nd A-side kind of fixes that mess with more of an interesting sound and it’s actually upbeat!  I like the surfers rock sound I get from it and the song just has a bit more oomph to it since it is a bit more of a cooler song for them.  Though the only solos here are actually between Ayacho & Fukuchan (leader and sub-leader of H!P).  It’s a pretty cool song, probably the favorite of the single though.

3. Hana, Takenawa no Toki

I was surprised we were getting this song on the single considering I thought it was more of an Up-Front song than anything (because it was performed first at HinaFest earlier in the year).  That said, seeing the H!P girls get this song is kind of interesting.  The song is a full chorale of a song to a simple piano arrangement.  While I like the togetherness of the track, didn’t we technically get that in “YEAH YEAH YEAH”?  I don’t know, this one is pretty much eh as well, but I suppose it’s clean and simple.

4. Hello! History

Honestly, this should’ve EASILY been the lead song as it really showcases H!P up to date!  It’s funky and the singing is pretty upbeat and kind of quite unique because it mentions a lot of big songs that involve the current groups.  Hell, the leaders of H!P get a solo too (even Reina Ichioka!).  Might look like a bigger “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari” but I dig this quite a bit, why is it a B-side???

5. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Morning Musume ’18 Ver.) (Regular A only)
6. YEAH YEAH YEAH (ANGERME Ver.) (Regular B only)
7. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Juice=Juice Ver.) (Regular C only)
8. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Country Girls Ver.) (Regular D only)
9. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Kobushi Factory Ver.) (Regular E only)
10. YEAH YEAH YEAH (Tsubaki Factory Ver.) (Regular F only)

Each Regular version of the single does come with a 5th track depending on which version you get (obvious which group you want).  Though I kind of wish it wasn’t YEAH YEAH YEAH as the chosen track though.  Really not much to say here sadly because I’m still not that much of a fan of the song.

 

 

Compared to “ALL FOR ONE & ONE FOR ALL!” and “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku”, this is by far the weakest (get all of H!P together) single to date.  I don’t who thought YEAH YEAH YEAH would make for a decent showing of the company because it kind of brought the generic stuff that H!P has done together in one song.  Probably would’ve better had Akogare no Stress-free or Hello! History as the leading songs because both those tracks are great!  Hana, Takenawa no Toki is simple and nice, but maybe not for this single.  I don’t know this 20th anniversary thing hasn’t really celebrated a lot music-wise IMO…disappointing…

 

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ANGERME – Nakanai ze…Kyoukan Sagi/Uraha=Lover/Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends (2018 Acoustic Ver.) April 26, 2018

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:22 am

nakanaize

Track Listing

  1. Nakanai ze…Kyoukan Sagi
  2. Uraha=Lover
  3. Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends (2018 Acoustic Ver.)
  4. Nakanai ze…Kyoukan Sagi (Instrumental)
  5. Uraha=Lover (Instrumental)
  6. Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends (2018 Acousic Ver.) (Instrumental)

1. Nakanai ze…Kyoukan Sagi

As the primary A-side for the single, we get Nakanai ze…Kyoukan Sagi first and it’s quite the familiar territory for the group as the song has the upbeat electro sound that ANGERME has been tackling for a little while with songs like “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku” and “Ai no Tame…” but this one mixes those two aforementioned tracks to become a futuristic bop for the group.  I do like hearing the group starting to even out their line distribution more and more, but knowing Murotan, Kamiko, and a couple of the newer members getting more time to shine!  It’s a pretty decent track and my favorite from the single!

2. Uraha=Lover

As for the 2nd A-side, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than a cuter song in comparison to the other two tracks.  Right from the start, I was kind of thrown off by the vocal filter thrown on Rikako & Murotan in the intro lines.  Though it does clear up once Funakki kicks the verses off.  There’s something odd to the song and I’m not quite as interested with the disjointed guitar in the chorus (though the melody does remind me of something, but not quite sure what).  It does try to push itself as a pop/rock track…it’s coming off a smidge messy in places.

3. Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends (2018 Acoustic Ver.)

I really wasn’t too thrilled to have found out they would make this song even more of a ballad than its original take.  I never found the original with Murotan, Kawamuu, and Kamiko to be that great and the song was just kind of floating there on that single.  Granted, this time around, I do like the arrangement here with mostly acoustic guitar at its base.  Add on that all the members get a nice line in the song and I think it did a little better than the original.  Still not quite into the full-ballad mode it has and wasn’t expecting to be shorter by doing only two choruses.

 

 

ANGERME finally brings their first release for the year!  After the announcement officially saying that Maho left the group, I think the group just kind of shrugged it off and moved forward to release this single (which funny enough stated that their previous release, “Manner Mode / Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku / Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends” wasn’t considered an official single for the group), but to be fair I won’t say this is Kawamura & Funaki’s first single in ANGERME.

So the single itself is kind of a hodge-podge in my opinion.  I have to say that Nakanai ze…Kyoukan Sagi is a pretty cool song and fits in their repertoire of other EDM-flourished songs in their discography pretty nicely and Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends’ updated sound did the song a bit better than the original.  I think the only song that bothers me is Uraha=Lover just from the arrangement being a bit too rough on the edges IMO.  With the recent announcement of Ayacho graduating we have a decent amount of time to get ready for it (she’s planning for next year).  So what could be next for the group has got me curious!

 

ANGERME – Manner Mode/Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku/Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends December 14, 2017

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 3:02 am

mannermode

Track Listing

  1. Manner Mode
  2. Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku
  3. Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends
  4. Manner Mode (Instrumental)
  5. Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku (Instrumental)
  6. Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends (Instrumental)

1. Manner Mode

As the main A-side promoted, Manner Mode kicks the single off with an upbeat, sort-a rockin’ song.  I have to say, the song is pretty cool and hearing Rikako, Ayacho, and Momona having leads is pretty interesting to say the least.  The other members seem to also get lines here and there (but not quite the frequency the 3 mentioned have).  Kind of gives me slight “Umaku Ienai” and some early S/mileage feels here and I dug that about this song…not bad!

2. Kisoku Tadashiku Utsukushiku

Hold on, what’s this??? Is this the second coming of “Otome no Gyakushuu” here?  Quite possibly considering both tracks have this dramatic, gothic-like atmosphere about them.  I am a little confused about the 20 second intro…seemed so random and unusual, but it restarts and we get Funakki & Takechan solos and later Kanana & Rinapuu!  I have to say, this dark setting always seems to impress me when it comes from ANGERME and I always like the whole ~danger of my love~ line too.  It’s pretty neat!  Kind of the star song here and interestingly was initially going to be the primary A-side, but was switched with “Manner Mode”.

3. Kimi Dake ja nai sa…friends

Last, but not least is the song that focuses around the remaining members; Murotan, Kawamuu, and Kamiko!  It definitely feels like the “Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe” or “The Vision” for ANGERME because of the mellow sound and the arrangement having some similarities to those songs (well, at least up to the chorus because the tune gets more upbeat and hopeful).  There’s a whole lot of Murotan in the song which is awesome…as for the totally new member, Ayano, she’s got a high voice which might rival Ayacho’s!  It’s nice for the most part, but not quite as good as the previous two tracks!

 

 

Is it time for a new album yet?  Seriously though ANGERME, stop adding so many members in such a short period of time lawd!  Now we have two more new members, (Funaki who was basically sent there because Country Girls is in a weird hiatus and brand new member Ayano Kawamura.  Funaki brings in her voice and she stands out with her lower timbre and sounds like she’ll fit in fine while Kawamuu will take a while to get used to because of her higher register.  The single itself is pretty good for the most part, no actual complaints beyond that I’m missing Maho still, but all three songs showcase the best of them!  Just, no more DVD single please…

 

ANGERME – Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai/Namida Iro no Ketsui/Majokko Megu-chan June 16, 2017

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 8:48 pm

aisaearebanannimoiranai

Track Listing

  1. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai
  2. Namida Iro no Ketsui
  3. Majokko Megu-chan
  4. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai (Instrumental)
  5. Namida Iro no Ketsui (Instrumental)
  6. Majokko Megu-chan (Instrumental)

1. Ai Sae Areba Nanni mo Iranai

As the first A-side of the single, I was curious to what the group would put out.  This does feel like a song that could’ve been released when they first changed their name to ANGERME.  The song itself seems to focus solely on Ayacho, Rinapuu, Kanana, and Takechan and they all sound pretty awesome to be fair and I’m kind of liking the slight neo-classical feel about it, but it does sound like a 2013 H!P track where it feels like 3 separate songs stapled together to try to make a full one.  I do like majority of it (the verses & chorus) but when it comes to its prechorus, the shift to a waltz-like style is a bit sudden and out of place.  It’s a good track, but not quite at the level of any of the previous A-sides of their last single.

2. Namida Iro no Ketsui

Has there ever been a ballad released as an A-side for ANGERME (or S/mileage for that matter?) that’s this slow paced?  Either way, like the previous track, it seems like this one focuses solely on Rikako, Murotan, and Kamiko (I’m sure Maho would be here, but since she’s absent in the single, it had to be this way).  As a ballad, it’s a bit to the book, but I do enjoy the effort in making some nice chords to make things pop more.  I will say Moe and Mizuki sound great and while Rikako has a squeaky tone, she still manages to sound decent.  Interesting as an A-side

3. Majokko Megu-chan

Like with their previous A-side, “Mahou Tsukai Sally”, Majokko Megu-chan is a cover of a well-known anime theme.  Though it does have equal line distribution, it does seem to focus a lot on Kassa which makes sense.  Somehow this song reminds me of tracks W used to cover and how the covers has a lot of brass and energy put into it.  It’s a decent cover, I’m not sure if it’ll last long in my memory though.

 

 

Another single that features a member missing in action?  Seems like UFP needs to take care of their girls more it seems like.  Anyway, ANGERME’s newest single is definitely not where I thought it’d be after the glorious “Umaku Ienai / Ai no Tame… / Wasurete Ageru”.  None of the songs really seem to go places for me.  I do like the ballad, Namida Iro no Ketsui the most from the single as it’s something different from the group and there was some efforts compared to previous ballads of theirs.  Ai Sae Areba is decent, but I thought we had left the “Brainstorming”, “Help me!!”, “Aitte Motto Zanshin” mistakes behind.  I’m sure it’ll grow on me in due time though.  Majokko Megu-chan is nice, but it seems a bit standard for me…With all the H!P changes, I kind of wonder what’s going to happen with ANGERME (will Maho leave, will we get new members? etc.).

 

ANGERME – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Mode” Original Soundtrack November 10, 2016

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 5:54 am

mode

Track Listing

  1. MODE
  2. Sakura no Uta
  3. Hanako no Uta
  4. Aiko no Uta
  5. Kayo no Uta
  6. Michiko no Uta
  7. Believe in Me
  8. Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku
  9. Fashion Magazine

1. MODE

Opening the play is the main theme of the play and it’s quite a nice change of pace, giving more of a happy-go-lucky arrangement.  I do like Ayacho & Kamiko having the opening lines then the rest of the group (and other members involved in the play) kind of going between lines and being back-up.  Decent track and a nice main theme!

2. Sakura no Uta

It seems majority of the release is solos starting with one from Kanana.  Unlike the breezy feels I got from the theme, Kana’s solo track has much of a more lighthearted, but silly arrangement, though it is weird mixing it with Kana’s more mature vocals which surprise me a lot here!  It is pretty short though barely going over a minute in length, but it’s quirky I suppose.

3. Hanako no Uta

Next up is Rikako’s solo song for the play and she gets a song that feels like a Venetian Waltz, but that’s actually pretty cool meaning that the OST has variety going on!  That said, while Rikako isn’t the best singer in ANGERME, her higher tone has a nice light flair that accentuates the song itself and she adds some cool things like rolling her notes here and there and going into a chest tone.  Interesting track, but one that worked for Rikako.

4. Aiko no Uta

It is strange we get two waltz tracks, but this one is a Rinapuu solo!  Coming after Rikako’s track, Aiko no Uta in comparison is a little more youthful sounding and it helps that Rina’s vocals are also light and bright.  It feels like she’s getting so much better in line delivery and her high note at the end was very nice (almost reminding me of her high note in “Umaku Ienai”).  I do think it doesn’t really set itself too far apart from the previous track, but I enjoyed it just for Rina.

5. Kayo no Uta

I was surprised that Momona even got a solo track here as she was just added to the group quite shortly before the stageplay happened.  Her song changes things up and gives a bit of a bossa nova vibe here.  While she’s probably the greenest of the group and has a bit of a long road to catching up, it’s an OK track for her and doesn’t ask too much from her.

6. Michiko no Uta

The last of the ___Uta songs, we finally end up with a solo from Moe.  Surprised that of them songs, this is the only ballad amongst them.  I have to say ever since she joined ANGERME, Kamiko is a strong singer and one of the most impressive voices at the start!  The tune might not be in the original side of things, but it definitely showcased Moe’s great vocals!

7. Believe in Me

Next is a track that featured Ayaka on her own!  I kind of liked that the song moved into something like that could be easily chantable in performances with the beat as punched up as it is.  I do still think Ayacho’s voice is shaky and somewhat struggles with longer notes, but I do like its upbeat lyrics and sound.

8. Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku

The other song that features everyone, Oshare wa Onna no Sentoufuku initially reminds me of “MODE” because of the similar upbeat sound, but it does stick out a little bit.  Though this definitely feels like a musical track because the arrangement almost sounds cheap to me with the sort-a 90’s-esque CASIO-pop feel.  There is a whole lot of Ayacho in this as well so that’s here nor there for me.  Overall, it’s ok but nothing too special.

9. Fashion Magazine

Then we have our final track (which, random fact, was the initial name for the stageplay before they settled into Mode).  The song is sung by Ayacho, Kanana, and Takechan!  I’m not sure what genre this would be under, but it has a bit more of a pop/rock/synth feel.  It is a pretty quirky song and the trio sound great together even if Ayaka has most lines (as usual).  OK song, but once again could’ve been more memorable?

 

 

As the preview release before the DVD+CD drops, ANGERME’s Mode stageplay OST does seem like a little more effort was put into it (at least more than I thought originally) and for the most part was a nice release.  Of course there are songs that I could live without, but there wasn’t as many complaints here as there were with “Higashi no Chihei, Nishi no Towa”.  I just hope the rerelease will include solo tracks for the remaining ANGERME members.

 

ANGERME – Umaku Ienai/Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen/Wasurete Ageru October 10, 2016

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 3:17 pm

umakuienai

Track Listing

  1. Umaku Ienai
  2. Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen
  3. Wasurete Ageru
  4. Umaku Ienai (Instrumental)
  5. Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen (Instrumental)
  6. Wasurete Ageru (Instrumental)

1. Umaku Ienai

As the first A-side of the single, Umaku Ienai is pretty interesting of a song as its done by Takui Nakajima (same guy who did “Taikibansei”).  So it’s no surprise that the song is just as funky and full of sass.  Actually it is pretty catchy for the first half and brings back the same unbridled energy that the aforementioned song brought.  HOWEVER, once the 2nd verses start, the song move into a very weird position with a totally different arrangement and melody which throws me off and doesn’t make too much sense.  I do like all the members got a line in that part, but it’s still such an awkward inclusion.  It does clean itself up for the final run through the chorus (where there’s a great Rinapuu high note).  Still most of the song is great, it’s just that middle section that I’m not so sure about…

2. Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite Kita Ningen

Probably the longest H!P title yet, what was initially the leading track became the 2nd A-side of the single.  I can see it was chosen to lead first since this is the introduction to new member, Momona Kasahara.  The song itself sticks itself to the recent EDM style that ANGERME had adopted and the song and lyrics come off pretty futuristic.  These kind of songs really catch me eye and it’s just a pretty cool song.  As for Momona, she had the first lines and she handled them well but there’s something missing in her voice whereas Kamiko really powered through.  Great A-side!

3. Wasurete Ageru

Rounding the single out, we have Wasurete Ageru and at first listen, it reminded me of “Itoshima Distance” with less saxes.  I don’t know what it is with this group in particular, but with 9 members, I find it great that they get to showcase all the members in some fashion, even the newer members!  I’m actually surprised with how much Rina is in this song (and for the rest of the single at that).  I do like the song, maybe not quite as much as the previous two tracks, but it sticks out.

 

 

Wow, I still am kind of surprised ANGERME had added another new member after Moe with Momona (to take up the space that Meimi left behind).  For the most part, Umaku Ienai/Ai no Tame…/Wasurete Ageru is a pretty strong single for the group and I would say better than “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku/Itoshima Distance/Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru” just from how catchy all three songs were.  I do think Umaku Ienai was good, but that middle section was a bit absurd to me.  Luckily Ai no Tame Kyou Made Shinkashite Kita Ningen, Ai no Tame Subete Taikashite  Kita Ningen came in and brought us some strong EDM and Wasurete Ageru was a nice serious sounding song…Overall a great single!

 

ANGERME – Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku/Itoshima Distance/Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru April 25, 2016

Filed under: S/mileage — solarblade @ 6:54 pm

tsugitsugi

Track Listing

  1. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku
  2. Itoshima Distance
  3. Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru
  4. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku (SWG REMIX) (Vinyl edition only)
  5. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku (Instrumental)
  6. Itoshima Distance (Instrumental)
  7. Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru (Instrumental)

1. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku

Kicking off the single, we have Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku and just from going by the title, I knew this song was going to be something unexpected.  Why I’m not surprised that it would become one of the more exciting and epic songs (seems like ANGERME has been getting such strong tracks since their rebranding) the the group would release.  Carrying on their strong hitting EDM sound, Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku is pretty damn cool for the group to tackle.  Going from quickly paced lyrics to rapping sections, it’s a surprisingly filled track.  Also it seems all the girls got a lot of lines with focus on Takechan, Meimi, Kanana, and Ayacho.  Even new member Moe seems to fit in the group just so smoothly!  Damn good song here!

2. Itoshima Distance

Moving to the 2nd A-side, Itoshima Distance takes on a more latin-like vibe with some sexy saxophones thrown in for the win :D.  It seems like there’s a lot more focus on Murotan, Rikako, Aiai, and Kamiko (Moe) in this track especially in the chorus which is nice to hear and while I’m still trying to get used to Maho’s vocals, I think everyone does fine in the track (well Ayacho still can’t do high notes very well).  Overall, it’s a decent track for the new members to tackle and the arrangement stuck to me pretty quickly.

3. Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru

The last A-side, Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru begins with a monologue from Meimi (as she’s graduating after this single).  While this song feels like EDM done back a couple years ago because this is the first Tsunku-produced track since the group rebranded.  The focus here is definitely on Takechan, Rinapuu, Meimi, Kanana, and Ayacho here and it makes sense with “Itoshima Distance” being largely focused on the new members.  I do like the song, but there’s a part in the chorus where they smush lyrics together and that’s a bit distracting, but overall it’s nice.

4. Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku (SWG REMIX)

With C-ute and Momusu also doing vinyls, ANGERME comes in with their own with a bonus remix.  Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku was just fine as it was so I was kind of worried for the remix and for good reason because this doesn’t come close to really impressing me.  It stripped away a lot of what made it good and gave us this lowbrow synth/guitar riff that feels well…empty.  Blech remix!

 

 

ANGERME begins the new year on some weird footing as the first single without Kanon, the first for 4th Gen member, Moe, and being Meimi’s last single before graduation, I feel like as if this is a transitioning single.  Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku is such a great song for the group and just shows us a cool ANGERME that we’ve had with a bunch of songs previous though I would stay away from the remix.  Itoshima Distance is classy and has a nice arrangement though the vocals could be strange if you’re not used to the 4 new members.  Koi Nara Tokku ni Hajimatteru though feels dated to me, but this is the first Tsunku-produced song for the group so I’m just not sure how to feel about this one yet.  Overall, a decent single it’ll be sad seeing Meimi gone, but with Moe in the group…she’s already sounding GORGEOUS!