Kurayami Monogatari

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sphere – Pride on Everyday November 18, 2012

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 4:18 am

Track Listing

  1. Pride on Everyday
  2. Watashi♪NOTE to#Pencil
  3. Pride on Everyday (Off Vocal)
  4. Watashi♪NOTE to#Pencil (Off Vocal)

1. Pride on Everyday

With sphere I’ve kind of gotten used to the songs they were releasing, but with Pride on Everyday it’s like they took their usual formula and just bombarded it with sugary cuteness!  Add in that it feels like the girls are shouting the lyrics and it kind of just turned into this generic idol song which really made me frown.  I’m just not really into this song for some reason.

2. Watashi♪NOTE to#Pencil

The B-side (with the symbol hax) in my mind sounded like it was going to be 100x more cuter and I was almost correct.  The vocals for this song are a bit higher pitched and there’s some trouble harmonizing but this song is kind of charming and cute in its own way.  I’ve noticed that I haven’t heard the girls individually here (nor in the A-side really) and I’m kind of wanting solo lines.  I will say the song’s arrangement kind of gives me H!P feels and I’m not sure if I like it or not.

 

 

Starting their 4th era together, sphere kicks things off on a low note with Pride on Everyday.  I think for me, the single comes off as more idolly and less anison than their previous singles and the fact that solo lines were few and far apart here…it just felt off for the quartet.  I will say the B-side stands out much better than Pride of Everyday, but not by much.

 

sphere – Third Planet August 6, 2012

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 8:44 am

Track Listing

  1. LET・ME・DO!!
  2. Hazy
  3. Planet Freedom
  4. Hello, my love
  5. Non stop road
  6. Stop Motion
  7. Neo Eden
  8. HIGH POWERED
  9. Feathering me, Y/N?
  10. Niji’iro no Yakusoku
  11. Ashita e no Kaerimichi
  12. GO AHEAD!!

1. LET・ME・DO!!

I’m a little surprised they would start out with their second A-side but in my opinion still, I’m still not the biggest fan of the song primarily because it sounds like “Spring is here” leftovers.  I will say that the synths and energy of the song are nice but it just doesn’t really work with me (and it kind of is strange as the album’s first song).

2. Hazy

Moving onto the first A-side for the album, Hazy is one of the lighter tunes found on the album and I found myself wondering why “LET・ME・DO!!” was the first song because this feels like a great intro song.  The main reason I loved it is because of its chorus which is surprisingly energetic and together.  Plus the verses also were nicely done and hides some of the weaknesses of the vocalists.  It’s a really solid tune and pretty much was one of my favorite.

3. Planet Freedom

The first of four new tracks (really?!?), Planet Freedom kind of brings the energy back up but not over-doing it.  I kind of like the arrangement out of this because it has this space-y feel but doesn’t find itself becoming cheesy.  I’m surprised Aki is the first singer in the song but she actually tackles her line well.  It’s another good track ^_^.

4. Hello, my love

It seems they chose the B-side from “HIGH POWERED” to come next and it seems that Aki once again kicking things off.  To me it’s a more relaxed version of “Planet Freedom” without the power behind it.  It’s basically cuter and to be honest, I rather listen to the previous song a bit more because it has a stronger kick to it.

5. Non stop road

It seems to be workin’ because this song and the last two tracks kind of have a similar mood going.  I still think Non stop road is the best of the three because it has good flow and the chords are pretty impressive.  Of course the biggest thing to note, it seems like there’s not a lot of solo when compared to the amount in the previous tracks to this album.  It sends me back to their debut album and I really enjoyed that about this song.

6. Stop Motion

Things start to shift into a different direction as we enter our second new song.  First off, Stop Motiom has more of a focus on the synths than than they idol stuff so we get this pretty cool and anison mixture which makes a good bridge into our next tracks.  Now for this song, Stop Motion is pretty cool and gives out the fantasy-esque sound that’s so pretty to hear.  I really like Minako and Ayahi’s vocals in this song but it’s not to say Haruka and Aki did bad, they just didn’t stand out as well as the other two did.  I like it oddly enough. 

7. Neo Eden

If you needed to dance then the next couple of songs might fill that voice because Neo Eden (B-side from “Hazy) is so far their fastest song on the album.  I love the wild atmosphere and the arrangement keeps things busy which is good.  I don’t hear solos either so that’s also a surprising first as well.  It might not be everyone’s favorite but it’s upbeat and guitar-heavy arrangement might interest some people.

8. HIGH POWERED

I just find it ironic that HIGH POWERED is less energetic than “Neo Eden” because to be honest, this song kind of reminds me of “LET・ME・DO!!” because they both have a certain summery feel to them and the only difference is that one has solo lines and the other doesn’t.  At the time I said this was my favorite, but since then I kind of got tired of this one too.

9. Feathering me, Y/N?

Though I have to say my favorite of this entire era has to be the B-side from “LET・ME・DO!!”.  It could mainly because I really like the fact that there’s a lot of synths and the quartet sound REALLY good in this song.  I like the chorus and it just has this fun and fantasy-esque sound like “Stop Motion”.  It’s a really impressive song and one of my favorite sphere songs out there.

10. Niji’iro no Yakusoku

Back to another cute song, Niji’iro no Yakusoku kind of lightens the instrumentation up and it kind of sounds like your typical idol song.  I mean it’s mid-tempo and synth horns galore.  It’s kind of cheesy on execution but it also brings a stronger show in the vocal department which is a surprise given the cutesy arrangement.

11. Ashita e no Kaerimichi

As we near the end of the album, we get another ballad in Ashita e no Kaerimichi and I’m kind of indifferent with this song because while I do think it fits in the first half of the album, it also sounds like it would’ve been a great closer.  To me, it still has its yawn-producing qualities but it’s not a bad song, but I like some of their previous efforts quite a bit more.

12. GO AHEAD!!

What actually closed the group’s third outing is like their debut album’s track…with a bang!  GO AHEAD!! really reminds me of “A.T.M.O.S.P.H.E.R.E” because it has that rockin’ energy and it’s seriously a fun song to listen to because the power and the growth of the vocalists is really impressive.  I think they wanted to recreate that same blowout feel and they succeeded big time because I really like this song!

Tracks Recommended

  • Feathering me, Y/N?
  • GO AHEAD!!
  • Non stop road
  • Planet Freedom
  • Stop Motion

Song of Avoidance

  • LET・ME・DO!!

I find it surprising to say but Third Planet is sphere’s best album to date!  The strange thing though this is their smallest album as well with 12 tracks (8 of them already known songs) so this really felt like a pushed release.  However, all but two tracks actually were good here and that’s a nice feat for this quartet.  I wish there was more new material but this was nice I guess.

 

sphere – Non stop road/Ashita e no Kaerimichi April 22, 2012

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 6:55 am

Track Listing

  1. Non stop road
  2. Ashita e no Kaerimichi
  3. Non stop road (Off Vocal)
  4. Ashita e no Kaerimichi (Off Vocal)

1. Non stop road

When I first turned on Non stop road, I kind of felt this was going back to their first era with a breezy atmosphere (oh the puns)…I actually really like this song because it isn’t rough round the edges and it has a great feel.  Even the 4 ladies sounds great together from Aki’s weaker vocals to the pretty ones from Ayahi and spaces filled in between by Minako and Haruka.  It’s definitely my favorite A-side of the era.

2. Ashita e no Kaerimichi

The other A-side of the single is the ballad to seperate itself from the other ones (besides “Hazy”).  While I don’t find this as great as “Non stop road”, it’s a pleasant enough song for me to be lulled by with the ladies more softer vocals.  It’s a bit of a sleep-inducing song though but still pretty to hear.

 

 

It’s a little surprising that they’d wait as long as they to release this single after “HIGH POWERED” but it’s the fourth single of the era and it passes over it with a little hop.  Non stop road is pretty good and is my favorite of the A-sides hands down and while Ashita e no Kaerimichi is a little zzz…it isn’t bad at all just demands a fully awake person lol.  So, this was a solid single ^_^

 

sphere – HIGH POWERED October 26, 2011

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 12:22 am

Track Listing

  1. HIGH POWERED
  2. Hello, my love
  3. HIGH POWERED (Off Vocal)
  4. Hello, my love (Off Vocal)

1. HIGH POWERED

For something titled HIGH POWERED, this was anything but hardcore and energetic as I initially thought.  It is less rockish than their previous A-side and a bit more cuter which is a bit like some of the songs in their last era and that’s quite good.  There’s not a lot of solos in the song which surprised me, but all of the members (including Aki) sound really nice.  I think it might be my favorite A-side so far in this era!

2. Hello, my love

Hello, my love continues to carry the cuteness along with the B-side but marks as a lighter tune with acoustic guitar leading things along.  It’s interesting to see that there’s solo lines in this one and interesting they chose Aki to start things off.  All four do get their solo lines and they all passed and it all sounds just right!  I actually think this would’ve fit their debut album hahaha.

 

 

As HIGH POWERED is the group’s third single in the era, it’s probably my favorite so far but both songs aren’t as good as “Feathering me, Y/N?”.  Both songs on this single were more on the cute side but that’s good.  HIGH POWERED is fun and sugary but since there’s a lack of solo lines, it’s a great group melody song.  Hello, my love was softer but still cute and this time the solos were here and they sound great as well.  Another single perhaps?

 

sphere – LET・ME・DO!! August 1, 2011

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 11:46 am

Track Listing

  1. LET・ME・DO!!
  2. Feathering me, Y/N?
  3. LET・ME・DO!! (Off Vocal)
  4. Feathering me, Y/N? (Off Vocal)

1. LET・ME・DO!!

Is this our annoying happy pop/rock Buono!-like song we get from sphere?  It sort of seems like it because LET ME DO!! is just that which isn’t surprising since it’s supposed to fit the season theme so I guess I can see where it’s coming from, but it feels unpolished for some reason and just kind of passes by without leaving much of a mark.  Sounds like something that should’ve been somewhere on “Spring is here”.

2. Feathering me, Y/N?

Why does it seem like their B-sides have been becoming better than the main tracks themselves?  Feathering me, Y/N? (despite the way goofy ass title) is actually a lot more to what I wanted from them and that’s a synth-based track and it’s not cheesy as I thought it’d get.  I love the melodies the girls give out and it’s catchy and the space-theme is refreshing (at least to me).

 

 

sphere’s second single doesn’t persay surpass “Hazy” but it’s a worthy try I guess.  If it wasn’t for Feathering me, Y/N?, I think it could’ve been a lot worse.  LET・ME・DO!! isn’t totally bad, but it’s something we had gotten a lot of in the last era and I rather move away from that for a while longer to be honest.  I like the more poppy and fun side to the group and now more of the experimental side too.  Who knows what the third single will be like, but I hope it’s good!

 

sphere – Hazy May 10, 2011

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 6:13 am

Track Listing

  1. Hazy
  2. Neo Eden
  3. Hazy (Off Vocal)
  4. Neo Eden (Off Vocal)

1. Hazy

It’s a little surprising that sphere would kick things off on the single with a slow song rather than keep up with the upbeat and energetic A-sides that filled out the previous era.  Since Aki, Minako, and Ayahi do these kind of lighthearted slower songs, it was going to be tough enjoying this song since they kind of bore me.  Though together and with Haruka in the song, it’s not as bad as I initially thought since the chorus sounds pretty good but the verses are a bit eh.  Truly, it’s alright and a lot better than most of these girls’ solo works.

2. Neo Eden

I was happy to see that Neo Eden actually ended up being the upbeat track on the single and it has a lot of synths (still nothing to the effect of “Future Stream”).  It seems the cuter vocals take the spotlight this time (Aki and Haruka) but it’s not so bad and the song is fun to listen to for sure but there’s not really any solos to be found here.  It’s not bad either and I do hope it makes it on their 3rd album.

sphere really jumped into their next era quickly with this single.  Hazy is a bit different than their previous singles by being more subtle and slower and trying to make that bridge across the solo careers of the members (which are just as much like this song).  Neo Eden did pick up the slack quite a bit and it sounds as animeish as their debut single which is great and all.  It’s an alright start to an era so I’m sure things’ll pick up on the next one for sure.

 

sphere – Spring is here March 22, 2011

Filed under: sphere — solarblade @ 10:06 pm

Track Listing

  1. Spring is here
  2. Now loading…SKY!!
  3. Kimi ga Taiyou
  4. REALOVE:REALIFE
  5. Congratulations!!
  6. Tenohira ni Yume
  7. Kaze wo Atsumete
  8. Katte na Seichouki
  9. MOON SIGNAL
  10. By MY PACE!!
  11. Brave my heart
  12. Climax Whistle
  13. Musou Record
  14. Niji wo Kakeru Senritsu

1. Spring is here

Opening up the Spring album lol, the title track comes first and it sounds quite fitting for the season with piano and flowing synths.  Of course the girls have solos, but I still can’t tell them apart really since they have somewhat similar vocals.  It’s a pretty good breezy song to listen to and very poppy and fitting for the quartet.  I must say it’s a good opening.  The random cymbal parts are funny, but still a good song to open the album with.

2. Now loading…SKY!!

As the era’s 3rd A-side in the era, Now loading…SKY!! still impresses me even being somewhat similar to some of their songs off their debut album.  To me, this song has a much more upbeat and fun atmosphere with the synths and brass being put together and all.  It’s one of the era’s best A-sides and it’s great hearing it once again on the album ^_^

3. Kimi ga Taiyou

Taking out the brass and replacing that with an acoustic guitar for our next new song, Kimi ga Taiyou might’ve sounded like a good idea on paper, but this song does nothing for me.  I mean it does get somewhat better when the guitar solo pops up, but other than that, it just kind of flys over my head.

4. REALOVE:REALIFE

I still am surprised I didn’t hear about this release until the day it was released xD.  As it’s the era’s 2nd A-side released, I was so very surprised by this song because it wasn’t like the other one’s released having a more heavier pop/rock sound that oddly reminds me of something SCANDAL would’ve released.  I love the vocals in the song from all four minus Aki Toyosaki’s vocals…they were way too pitchy here.  Still another one of my favorite A-sides released.

5. Congratulations!!

Things flow-wise aren’t really making this album a smooth listen since our next song Congratulations!! makes a change from rock to jazz-pop.  It seems that the gals for the most part went for a more cutesy side for their vocals and while I don’t approve and half the girls are doing it, it’s an odd listen for me.  I guess it’s a nice listen and smooth oddly enough, but strange coming after “REALOVE:REALIFE”.

6. Tenohira ni Yume

Getting into some old tracks starting with Tenohira ni Yume (B-side to “REALOVE:REALIFE”, it’s the softest song yet on the album with actual good vocals that aren’t too awkward to listen to.  The slower ballad form also make it interesting as well giving a new side to the album.  It’s nicely done for a ballad with 4 singers…and there’s no solos to be featured as well so that’s a good sign too.

7. Kaze wo Atsumete

Being the primary A-side of what started the era (also only single that was released before their debut album, “A.T.M.O.S.P.H.E.R.E”) I think Kaze wo Atsumete definitely fits on this album a whole lot more here than if it was on their debut.  It definitely has this clear-cut spring feeling and almost is as upbeat and positive like “Spring is here” is as well.  I actually think I like this more than I did when it was just an A-side xD

8. Katte na Seichouki

As the B-side off of their “Now loading…SKY!!” single, Katte na Seichouki like I said when I reviewed on the single isn’t as strong as its A-side and that’s partly because the vocals are quite offkey in a lot of the song.  I do however enjoyed the arrangement being lighter and filled with more synths and strings.  I just didn’t like them yelling in the chorus either…ehhh If there was one B-side I could’ve lived without on the album, this would be that song.

9. MOON SIGNAL

If you remember how much I’ve said I loved their first single, “Future Stream”, I was hoping more songs like that from them, but we didn’t get our next awesome synth-based song from the quartet until the 4th A-side of the era with MOON SIGNAL.  While the vocals are a bit questionable and their yelling hasn’t ceased yet, the arrangement and catchy chorus made up for it.  I think Aki failed this song as well….*sigh*  Still, amazing song from the group.

10. By MY PACE!!

Yay, another new song!  By MY PACE!! calms things down quite a bit after the last song and sadly this song doesn’t do much for me since it’s more in the veins of genki seiyuu songs.  While they sound great together in seiyuu land, alone they are a mixed bunch to be honest.  I don’t think I like this song as much as I did with most of the other songs, but it’s ok.

11. Brave my heart

We get the secondary A-side that began the era and Brave my heart basically takes “By MY PACE!!” and increases it’s pace and adds guitar to the idea.  I also like that the gals don’t use the seiyuu vocals here and that makes the song a bit more of a hitter in a sense.  I still don’t think of the song much since it’s not that memorable IMO.

12. Climax Whistle

I found it pretty cool that “MOON SIGNAL’s” B-side made the cut as well since it follow more into what “REALOVE:REALIFE” sounded like but a little more genki.  I actually started to enjoy it more after the single review because it’s got a lot of punch to it and the girls actually doesn’t sound too bad. 

13. Musou Record

As the album’s longest song (at 5:45), Musou Record feels like another “Spring is here” because of the acoustic and cute synthy feel it has and it’s almost as breezy as said song.  Also it’s kind of slow almost as slow as “Tenohira ni Yume”.  The difference though is the song has a more positive outlook and cute side.  Sadly, it’s too long for its good and I feel myself drowning the song out after a while.

14. Niji wo Kakeru Senritsu

It’s kind of funny seeing as the album didn’t have an intro and has an outro however.  I found it kind of odd actually since it’s an acapella song with chanting and lyrics.  It’s kind of cute and they have a really sweet sound when their vocals mesh together.  After the gals solo lines, a piano comes in for the finale…Random outro, but pretty!

Tracks Recommended

  • REALOVE:REALIFE
  • Now loading…SKY!!
  • Kaze wo Atsumete
  • MOON SIGNAL
  • Congratulations!!

Song of Avoidance

  • Katte na Seichouki

So we’re at sphere’s sophomore effort and I must say…I was slightly disappointed.  It kind depended on the A-sides to keep it afloat in my opinion which in all honesty the best things the group has done so far were the A-side of the era.  The new songs felt like they were missing a certain togetherness and boldness the pre-released stuff had which kind of made it more eh.  Still, it’s a good effort and with a new era already announced, I can only hope they’ll do better for their third album.