Kurayami Monogatari

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Tohoshinki – Sweat/Answer June 16, 2014

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 2:40 am

sweatanswer

Track Listing

  1. Sweat
  2. Answer
  3. Sweat -Boogie-Woogie Version- (CD only)
  4. Sweat -Less Vocal-
  5. Answer -Less Vocal-

1. Sweat

I was happy the duo kind of followed their recent sound from Korea, you know that sound from “Something”.  Their kind of jazzy and groovy sound has been impressing me and Sweat kind of mixes it with their more sexual side and I was impressed with all of what’s going on.  Yunho’s rapping and Changmin’s vocals overall gave me such a solid impression that their are going to try to change their K-pop sound to something more unique to them.  While “Something” and “Spellbound” still are better, this was a good way to kick a new era off.

2. Answer

If you were looking for more of that sound that Tohoshinki has been aceing at recently then Answer is definitely where it is.  The tune has a darker flow and Changmin’s vocals has got that edgier feel.  I am starting to feel like he’s taking more of a lead vocal role than Yunho or that Yunho just comes second in the duo which I suppose has been working.  It does remind me of a couple songs from “TREE” but this song is cool nonetheless.

3. Sweat -Boogie-Woogie Version-

Of course we have our remix on CD only and like the title suggests, the tune has more of a Boogie-Woogie feel and also a Big Band style as well and I liked the slickness of the arrangement here more than the original surprisingly…almost mirroring how I felt about “Something”.  Even throwing a drum solo during Yunho’s rap section…such classiness.  I’m liking this remix a LOT!

 

 

Their first single after “TREE”, Sweat/Answer is overall a nice follow-up and start on their 4th era as a duo.  Sweat calls forth a style the guys have been utilizing in Korea recently and it works just fine, though its remix does sound more suitable funny enough.  Answer takes the more Japanese sound approach and it’s nice and dark and easily danceable, still could’ve done without the rap drum kit but still good single overall!

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Tohoshinki – TREE March 18, 2014

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 7:33 am

tree

Track Listing

  1. I love you -Introduction-
  2. Champion
  3. Breeding Poison
  4. Ai wo Motto
  5. Cheering
  6. Something
  7. Good Days
  8. Hide & Seek
  9. Shinjiru Mama
  10. SCREAM
  11. Crazy Crazy Crazy
  12. OCEAN
  13. TREE OF LIFE
  14. Good-bye for Now
  15. I love you -Full Version- (CD only bonus track)
  16. Very Merry Xmas (CD only bonus track)

1. I love you -Introduction-

Opening the album is of course a simple introduction.  I like that it begins with a lone piano and it sounds pretty enough too.  Yunho is the first to sing and he sounds so pleasant to listen to here.  It’s like a very heartfelt ballad.  Changmin though is more in the back as a melodic boost.  I felt as if the tune should’ve been longer because it was sung so beautifully.  Though luckily for us, we’re gifted with a full version later on in the album.

2. Champion

It just seems so strange to move from an intro like we have and move into a hard-hitting track like Champion.  At least we get a song that seems to give us a bit of a Western / Korean sound to it and I’m not sure where I stand with the song.  With Changmin taking the reins while Yunho lays back a bit, the tune eerily reminds me of a song from their last album, “Y3K” with a MESSY mid-8 section for sure.  Nah, I’m just not into this track at all!

3. Breeding Poison

Moving on from the atrocity, Breeding Poison seemed to try to repeat history again with the same tin beat, but has a more underground hip-hop arrangement.  I do like that it doesn’t turn into a tragic mess and the slower parts sound really nice and the duo has a pretty cool chorus because it starts slow and then grows in speed to the bridge.  Still, I hate that this song shares that hip-hop drum beat…cheap move guys.  Otherwise this is pretty good and pretty short in comparison to most songs on the album.

4. Ai wo Motto

From their last album, my biggest complaint was that their mid-tempo songs were mostly generic and annoying.  It seems they fixed that up as Ai wo Motto comes up.  The duo sound great together and the mix of piano and R&B beats gave the song a nice touch.  With a lack of ballads this era threw out, this was nice to see!  Though I don’t know if it’ll rank high with the group’s best ballads.

5. Cheering

I instantly liked the flow of Cheering when it begun because it has a little guitar riff and a nice pounding beat.  I actually quite enjoyed the tune as a straight up dance/pop track from the duo.  There were times where I felt they were going to make the song hard-hitting, but turns out that it just stayed on a nice medium.  Though, I think I hear Changmin a lot more than I heard Yunho…to be honest, this might’ve just been a solo but Yunho is in the back of Changmin’s singing.  Either way, this song is pretty awesome and one of my early favorites!

6. Something

We finally hit out first old track, which was the secondary A-side of their 4th single released for this album.  Also to note is that Something is Japanese re-edit of the same titled song from “TENSE”.  Like I said in the single review, this track surprised the hell out of me by being something different and as a big band song, I just fell in love with it because it’s fun and it shows with the guys as well.  It’s definitely my favorite amongst the A-sides all-around.  Just a great song for them, even that freeform jazz section was cool!

7. Good Days

Moving on, another change of pace happens and leaving the big band sound to Yunho and acoustic guitar for Good Days.  Of course Changmin is here too, I think…hard to tell.  The song does grow into a sort of mid-tempo rock track but the guitars sound so computerized that it kind of ruins this big moment the chorus is trying to put out.  It’s also a bit long at over 6 minutes as well…Yeah, wasn’t too keen on this one.

8. Hide & Seek

Seemed so random to have thrown “Good Days” in between the A-sides doesn’t it?  When it came out, Hide & Seek was just energy all over and I was kind of surprised but at the same time relieved because it did come out after the mediocre “Very Merry Xmas”.  It’s a pretty cool song on its own merits and definitely stands out on the album.

9. Shinjiru Mama

Oh man, Yunho and Changmin opening our next new track is just sexy and I like how it builds itself starting with a clapping beat and then adding more.  It’s definitely like another “Breeding Poison” with the beats and grittier flow but I’m loving the melodies and the mysterious flow as well…mmph this is a cool song from the group and the duo is just chilling.  Great song!

10. SCREAM

Moving to the 2nd A-side released, SCREAM like the previous track is also a gritty song to its core, but I don’t think it was handled as smoothly as it could have.  I initially liked the song, but the song didn’t feel like much of a song since there was a lot of shouting and not really much singing here.  I don’t know…this was a mess too.

11. Crazy Crazy Crazy

Oh hey a cool funky EDM song next!  It’s got that same funky and cool glow like “Something” had but has more of today’s instrumentation which is pretty cool.  Though my problem is that the pre-chorus to chorus is more than jagged because the tempo instantly changes into a much quicker pace.  I still like the song regardless and the chorus is fun to listen too even if its repetitive lol.  Still an interesting song from the duo.

12. OCEAN

For a song that I definitely didn’t think was going to be as EDM as it was (honestly I was thinking it’d be more like “We Are!” or “Box in the ship”).  Though the song does bring summer vibes but has a more electro-vibe to it and I like the sound of it.  It’s a little basic, but I really did end up loving the song and is great for the season!

13. TREE OF LIFE

As the promotional track for the album, TREE OF LIFE was screaming ballad before the PV came out.  It starts off with a fade-in of orchestral instrumentals and some other sounds before piano and a cello join in the fray.  With me being already impressed by “I love you” I was curious to how this could work itself up and this song is another great track for Yunho lol.  Changmin and ballads don’t seem to gel well, but you can tell he’s trying to impress.  I really liked how this ballad turned out and definitely didn’t feel lacking at all.  Great choice as a lead-in!

14. Good-bye for Now

As the final track for most editions, Good-bye for Now closes things up in a rather happy-go-lucky way.  It does come off as a tad bit cheesy as the mood is poppy and the ad-libbing is just wrong to listen to XD.  I kind of figured they’d close it out, but after “TREE OF LIFE” it is a little too silly to be plugging this at the end of the album (maybe after “OCEAN”).

15. I love you -Full Version-

As bonuses we get two extra songs.  The first is just an extended version of the introduction and thank god they were smart enough to throw this on because that was a pretty sweet intro.  Of course it’s the same but with Changmin on the second verse…so now it feels complete and a total winner.  Not as extravagant as “TREE OF LIFE” but it’s another strong ballad!

16. Very Merry Xmas

Just like how “TIME” made “Winter Rose” a bonus track, TREE makes the ubiquitous Winter single the bonus track once again.  Sadly, unlike the aforementioned tune, Very Merry Xmas was so boring and generic, the sheer fact it made the album cut baffles me.  I mean it’s a mid-tempo so it’s not as heart-warming nor it did leave much emotional value towards it…phoned it in almost lol.

Track Listing

  • OCEAN
  • TREE OF LIFE
  • Cheering
  • Something
  • Shinjiru Mama

Song of Avoidance

  • Champion

After being slighlty disappointed in TIME, I wasn’t exactly the most enthusiastic getting into TREE (and 3rd album with a 4-lettered T-word….what’s next TAKE….TACO….TUNA???  Yeah, I don’t know but TREE was a pretty damn good album and fixed a lot of the problems I had dealing with their previous album.  Though there are some stinkers here…overall I was pleased with this album!

 

Tohoshinki – Hide & Seek/Something February 4, 2014

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 11:57 am

hideandseektvxq

Track Listing

  1. Hide & Seek
  2. Something
  3. Hide & Seek -Marcus Bogelund’s Audio Ninja Remix- (CD only)
  4. Hide & Seek -Less Vocal-
  5. Something -Less Vocal-

1. Hide & Seek

At least the group is quickly back on their feet after “Very Merry Xmas” with a dance track in Hide & Seek.  Unlike the K-pop heavy songs, this track has a sound on its own and it sounds mysterious and gritty which is so much looove and a lot better than “SCREAM” was.  This was the kind of song I was hoping the duo would release since “TONE”, actually it’s on par with “Disvelocity” for best dance track of the era  Not bad at all!

2. Something

I kind of thought the other A-side was going to be slow, but nope Something is well…something else.  It’s got this big band kind of groove.  I will have to say that Changmin sounded fierce and so did Yunho…hmm.  Though I love how unique this song is for the duo since they’ve been regulated to dance songs and ballads, so this is really exciting!  Then again learning that this is just a Japanese cover of their song from their Korean album, “TENSE” makes it a little disappointing, but still a great song nonetheless!

3. Hide & Seek -Markus Bogelund’s Audio Ninja Remix-

Seems like we get another remix from Bogelund with Hide & Seek being the victim.  I’m happy it’s for a track that could work for a remix and this time it worked!  The song isn’t as energetic like the original, but it sounds unique and I felt that it was actually cleaner and better as well.  I love the chords of the song and the tune really gives me that edge that I was wanting!

 

 

After the disappointing “Very Merry Xmas” single, the duo closes the “TREE” era (yeah, that’s the album title >.>), Hide & Seek/Something really left the album wide open for surprises!  I actually would say it’s the best single they’ve released for the era as all three tracks are very well done!  Hide & Seek was gritty and edgy and its remix cleaned the grit and made it straightforward as a dance track while Something was classy and catchy as all hell, despite being a JPN clone of its Korean original.  I wonder how the album will be like…hm…

 

Tohoshinki – Very Merry Xmas December 2, 2013

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 4:44 pm

verymerryxmas

Track Listing

  1. Very Merry Xmas
  2. White
  3. Very Merry Xmas -Markus Bogelund’s Audio Ninja Remix- (CD only)
  4. Very Merry Xmas -Less Vocal-
  5. White -Less Vocal-

1. Very Merry Xmas

MEHHH, they typical winter song ahead it seems.  Of course I already came in with low expectations and boy is this song just kind of cheesy and bland to listen.  I think maybe the only time I found something really interesting is the afterchorus haha.  I wasn’t surprised Yunho led most of the song with Changmin taking a lot of the chorus.  Yeah, this song was just not that good.

2. White

I thought we were going to get a ballad from White, but it turns out to be a tune that actually has a solid beat going.  I will say that I like this song a lot more than the A-side and the vocals sound less tense than they were in “Very Merry Xmas”.  Still cheesy, but nice of a song nonetheless.

3. Very Merry Xmas -Markus Bogelund’s Audio Ninja Remix-

A remix of a winter song…that’s acting a bit shady no?  Unlike the jingle bells of the original, the tune gets a lowkey sound mixing with some synths and it blows out in the chorus (to be honest, I was expecting some dubstep here LOL).  I mean it’s less cheesy, but it’s a bit more messy overall.  Just not an exciting remix.

 

 

*sigh* I figured that Tohoshinki would put out such a typical single for the season and honestly, they’ve done it before with “Winter” and that was overall a nice single, but they went the wrong way with Very Merry Xmas.  White is the only redeeming song but even then it’s a little cheesy.  The A-side and its remix were just not that good and I would hope it doesn’t touch their next album (if it does, hope it’s a bonus track).

 

Tohoshinki – SCREAM November 25, 2013

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 4:16 am

screamtoho

Track Listing

  1. SCREAM
  2. Disvelocity
  3. SCREAM -the other side mix- (CD only)
  4. SCREAM -Less Vocal-
  5. Disvelocity -Less Vocal-

1. SCREAM

With a title like SCREAM, at least it wasn’t a big surprise like “OCEAN” was so I expected a more grittier and emotional ride.  Actually this song really kind of reminded me of a more cohesice “Fated”.  I’m a sucker for when Tohoshinki gets all angry and angsty and it feels like it totally worked for them in the long run.  It might not have a strong melody like their previous A-side didn’t but the track was impressive nonetheless.

2. Disvelocity

The electro side of THSK follows to the B-side of the single and this kind of felt like it’d be perfect if it was on the “ANDROID” single because they all share this cool, funky, electronic style that seems to be the duo’s strongest asset as a duo.  I actually liked this a lot more than the lead track, but it’s no surprise there since I’m a sucker for this kind of songs.

3. SCREAM -the other side mix-

The remix on the single seems to lighten up the gritty arrangement of the original and gives it more of a hip-hop kind of groove.  It does sound a lot more empty than I though it’d be which is quite weak IMO.  I don’t know but the direction of the remix just felt like it had none and it didn’t suit with the vocal melodies (even though the song didn’t really have a strong one to begin with)…meh.

 

 

SCREAM is a nice step-up from “OCEAN” because the both tracks really gave a cool and edgy sound that well together was just better together.  I will say Disvelocity is the best track off the single because it’s more of what I’ve enjoyed from the duo since they well…started as a duo.  The remix is meh and can be passed up entirely.  Much better, but I hope they keep this up!

 

Tohoshinki – OCEAN

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 3:57 am

ocean

Track Listing

  1. OCEAN
  2. Wedding Dress
  3. OCEAN -Rising Starr Remix- (CD only)
  4. OCEAN -Less Vocal-
  5. Wedding Dress -Less Vocal-

1. OCEAN

I was expecting THSK to release a summery pop song with OCEAN (because the cover art kind of showed it) but it seems they released another electro dance track and I couldn’t believe they surprised with this one.  It’s a pretty solid song from them and I love hearing Changmin throughout the track, especially when he growls in the prechorus!  Overall not bad!

2. Wedding Dress

As for the B-side, Wedding Dress takes things to a more slower tempo kind of track.  I do like the mix of synths and piano together here and it keeps to the duo’s R&B style in a nice way, but it reminds me of many songs from “TIME” in where it’s poppy, but a bit serious in and around.  I will say finally Changmin sounded good in the setting, but once again, it’s not a song I’ll probably return to (well unless it’s on a future album).

3. OCEAN -Rising Starr Remix-

The CD only of course brings a remix of the A-side and it actually made the track even more electro than the original version which could only mean that I would end up paying more attention here and I like the changes the remixer did here. It gave the song a much darker tone and the beat is siiiick!!!  It’s definitely a strong remix for the group and I kind of prefer it more LOL.

 

 

Ahhh the first single after “TIME” and OCEAN turned out nicely.  The leading track was a surprise in comparison with its title and art covers, but it seemed to fit the duo’s energetic routines, but the remix definitely sounded SO much better.  Wedding Dress is kind of your run-of-the-mill mid-tempo song from Tohoshinki so it kind of went by without much of an effect on me.  Overall it’s a good start.

 

Tohoshinki – TIME

Filed under: Tohoshinki — solarblade @ 3:06 am

time

Track Listing

  1. Fated
  2. Catch Me -If you wanna-
  3. Aitakute Aitakute Tamaranai
  4. One More Thing
  5. STILL
  6. I Know
  7. Y3K
  8. BLINK
  9. Humanoids
  10. ANDROID
  11. One and Only One
  12. In Our Time
  13. Rat Tat Tat (CD only)
  14. Winter Rose (CD only)

1. Fated

Opening Tohoshinki’s album, Fated starts off with a muffled voice under a darker setting with guitars and dramatic strings playing.  It’s a pretty cool song to listen to and hearing Yunho and Changmin singing in a quieter tone to fit the mysterious sound of the tune is quite an effect.  Though I’m so bothered when they say the title…it’s just so lulzy to me XD.  The song seems to have different phases which does keep me on my toes…overall it’s a rather good way to start things off!

2. Catch Me -If you wanna-

Released as the 4th A-side for the album, I was totally expecting the group to make a Japanese self-cover of this track because it was a pretty damn good song when the Korean version was released!  I was still surprised the group did wait quite a while before releasing it and while I’m still so used to the Korean, the Japanese version is quite solid and I love that intro so damn much XD.  If “Fated” was the rock intro, Catch Me is the K-pop/Electronic intro and to be honest, I can really grow to love this a lot as much as the Korean take….oh yeah Changmin, you really pushed yourself hard in this song and I LOVED IT!

3. Aitakute Aitakute Tamaranai

Well I felt like this was a giant 180 from the previous tracks to something more poppy and relaxed.  Though I will say that I do enjoy this kind of boyband pop track and both guys sound really nice, though hearing ~aitakute aitakute~ over and over again does make me annoyed of this track, but the verses are so pretty to listen to.  I will say that Yunho definitely made this song though, Changmin kind of ruined since he gets all the repetitive lines in the chorus and I was over it quickly XD.

4. One More Thing

As the B-side to “STILL” (was an A-side originally, but was switched last minute).  To me, it’s like another “Aitakute Aitakute Tamaranai” but without the grievances of said track, even to the point where Changmin leads most of the track while Yunho takes the verses up which is nice I suppose.  I still kind of lulz with the ~one more ding~ but overall it’s a much pleasant track than the last tune

5. STILL

Funny that the A-side would come next.  We’re basically at a ballad with STILL and while I feel like the cheesy 80’s keyboard with the pounding beat seems a bit farfetched to mix things up, but I actually think it was one of their better ballads since becoming a duo.  Yunho sounds better than his counterpart in this song once again, but I think I’ve come to grips with that fact XD.  I don’t think it reigns over the other ballad A-side that came out, but it’s a good ballad.

6. I Know

Then we come into the B-side from “Catch Me -If you wanna-” and I still stand by my thoughts on it sounding like a mix of the previous two songs on the album.  At this point, I’m starting to lose my concentration for the album because these laidback R&B songs just don’t do anything for me.  I suppose the added strings add a nice touch, but I can honestly not remember anything from this song after the single review and I probably won’t remember after the album review either LOL.

7. Y3K

~Warning, everything you thought you knew will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1~  Yeah this is how they were going to segue from “I Know” into this kind of aggressive jam.  I will say, I was surprised at how much Changmin was in this song (actually was Yunho even here? XD).  I kind of like this chanting and forceful beat, but the chorus I think was dragging it a little bit.  It’s a nifty song and really showed off all the attitude the guys have (if not it was obviously from when they were 5-nin).

8. BLINK

Moving onwards to the B-side from “ANDROID”, BLINK is another slick and sly track from the duo and while it’s hard to not say any of the guys’ upbeat songs and filled to the brim with their personalities, BLINK actually toned it down a little bit and I think that’s why I ended up enjoying this song so much because it felt like they were acting as one and I loved it!  Though hearing them saying ~brink, brink~ once again just is lulzy….maybe they should’ve called it that since it sounds fitting, since it sounds as edgy as it is.

9. Humanoids

So we have another self-cover but this time of Humanoids (which was the lead song for their repackaged “Catch Me”).  It’s a lot like the mentioned song being powerful and in your face, but not in the same fantastic force.  I can see why this is found in more of other dance tracks.  I actually like the Japanese take a LOT more than the Korean version which is a bit strange, then again there’s a lot of Engrish here as well but this song was another that really caught my attention with chorus and badass afterchorus as well!  Great choice to have chose to bring into Japan!

10. ANDROID

Ah, moving to the 3rd A-side released, ANDROID doesn’t pack as much of an impact like many of the other upbeat songs on the album, but it definitely was an impressive choice to have chosen for an A-side.  Though I’m starting to get tired of using dubstep t oget buy in songs so the breakdown in ANDROID isn’t exaclty the best thing to hear to be honest.  Other than that, the rest of the tune went really well!

11. One and Only One

Once again stopping the flow of the album suddenly, One and Only One comes next and this time I feel like I hear tons of Yunho (maybe the opposite to “Y3K”.  Unfortunately, the song isn’t really all that memorable for me since it’s kind of that typical J-pop ballad and all that.  I guess it was great to showcase Yunho in all his glory, but the song just kind fell flat.

12. In Our Time

As the final song on most editions, In Our Time closes things out with a 6 minute mid-tempo track.  I’m not exactly sure what to think of the song because it’s just another “One More Thing” and “Aitakute Aitakute Tamaranai” and there’s a lot of ~la-la-la-ing~ going on in the song which totally wasn’t necessary to stretch the song as long as it was.  After a while, the song begun to drag a lot and I just was forgetting a lot of the track xD.  Fitting to end, but as a standalone, was very vanilla!

13. Rat Tat Tat

The album though doesn’t end there, the CD only has two extra tracks on them (in comparsion to “TONE’s” 3 bonus tracks.  Rat Tat Tat at first started off with a sort of hip-hop feel and the pre-chorus has a little rock thrown in and then the chorus gets all poppy and the vocals become lighter than the arrangement.  I’m kind of unsure how to take the song, but the song wasn’t a good incentive for the album…not that memorable.

14. Winter Rose

The other bonus track is the first single released for the era (though it’s a bonus track which is kind of shady xD).  I have to say, Winter Rose was the best ballad the duo released from their singles and I thought this was a good way to close the album altogether.  Though I can understand that the feeling of the album doesn’t seem to be not in the right holiday time (when this was released).  I just love the vocal perfomances of both members and the melody is very sweet to listen to.  Great ballad!

Tracks Recommended

  • BLINK
  • Winter Rose
  • Humanoids
  • Catch Me -If you wanna-
  • One More Thing

Song of Avoidance

  • Aitakute Aitakute Tamaranai

Getting into Tohoshinki’s 2nd album as a duo, TIME is slightly better than “TONE” was, but still overall not too great of an album, I would say average.  Only a few new tracks caught my eye but mostly were really mediocre and forgetful.  It seems like the effort was mostly in the singles and self-covers.  I think they could put out a great album, but they should cut back on the cheesy pop songs, they just don’t work them well as they were when they were a 5-nin group.