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.  Though I guess one good thing that sets these apart from the original is the fact there’s solo lines through each group’s version so I suppose there’s a plus right?

 

 

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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Tsubaki Factory – Date no Hi wa Nido Kurai Shower Shite Dekaketai/Junjou cm/Kon’ya Dake Ukaretakatta July 6, 2018

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 3:47 pm

datenohiwa

Track Listing

  1. Date no Hi wa Nido Kurai Shower Shite Dekaketai
  2. Junjou cm
  3. Kon’ya Dake Ukaretakatta
  4. Date no Hi wa Nido Kurai Shower Shite Dekaketai (Instrumental)
  5. Junjou cm (Instrumental)
  6. Kon’ya Dake Ukaretakatta (Instrumental)

1. Date no Hi wa Nido Kurai Shower Shite Dekaketai

Oi, long title again lol.  Anyways the first of the three A-sides, Date no Hi wa Nido Kurai Shower Shite Dekaketai definitely feels like more of the same style that Tsubaki has been under, but slightly somewhat somber sounding?  With the focus mostly on Risa, Yumeno, and Kiki…it was a decent song, but I feel like the lack of energy is sticking out for some reason.  It’s OK for the most part, just not quite up there with their bests.

2. Junjou cm

Second A-side comes up and strings & piano are added to the synth arrangement to make it sound like something from Morning Musume circa Platinum era.  The familiar vibes I get here are nice.  A little bummed that there’s very little in the way of solos (most of them are at the end of the chorus where the members get like one or two words at best).  Still, the song is a bit more memorable than the previous track.

3. Kon’ya Dake Ukaretakatta

As the 3rd A-side, I wasn’t expecting the song to be the happiest one off the single and I liked the bouncy nature of it!  There’s something about the song that reminds me of anison music, but it’s definitely refreshing after two of the more serious songs in their discography.  For that reason, I ended up really loving the song and there’s solos everywhere! WOO!

 

 

Tsubaki’s 2nd single of the year and while I do think it did better than their previous single, “Teion Yakedo/Shunrenka/I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~”. it still doesn’t quite grab me as much as their first two major singles.  I think both Date no Hi wa… and Junjou cm are OK serious songs, but neither are quite that memorable to me…but at least Kon’ya Dake Ukaretakatta was upbeat and catchy.  Curious when an album will appear (they have two unreleased songs, so I assume it’s coming soon).

 

Tsubaki Factory – Teion Yakedo/Shunrenka/I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~ February 9, 2018

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 6:28 pm

teionyakedosingle

Track Listing

  1. Teion Yakedo
  2. Shunrenka
  3. I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~
  4. Teion Yakedo (Instrumental)
  5. Shunrenka (Instrumental)
  6. I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~ (Instrumental)

1. Teion Yakedo

As the first song of the single, we had our actual first taste of it back in 2017 when it was released digitally as a preview!  I have to say, it was surprisingly nice and suited the wintry feeling during the time.  It is surprising that it is the one with the cool dance beats and strong vocals.  It also tends to remind me of anison themes which is pretty neat for a H!P song.  All the girls have at least one solo in the track, but a LOT of it is pretty much duo/group lines which is OK.  Neat song for the group!

2. Shunrenka

Which is funny that Shunrenka is kind of being touted as a Spring song!  This is pretty much the group’s cute song for the single and it sounds a bit more organic than what “Waratte” was but I have to say, this one didn’t really stick out for me.  It does remind of H!P songs in the past like some S/mileage songs.  Overall, it’s OK but nothing I’ll remember at the year’s end.

3. I Need You ~Yozora no Kanransha~

Last, but not least, we get the group’s mid-tempo ballad and it’s nice that the song is a lot more memorable and cute as a song for the group!  I’m loving that members get solos and it’s vocally adept and shows that the can handle slower songs, especially since we get to hear Ami & Saori a lot in this song!…I will say that it does grow into an upbeat, electro track (which would’ve been nice without) because the electro bridge just doesn’t fit at ALL in this song.  Decent song, could’ve lived without the electronics though.

 

 

As the group’s 3rd major single, I kind of was disappointed in comparison to the previous single.  I felt like Teion Yakedo was decent, but not quite a standout in comparison to both “Hatsukoi Sunrise” and “Shuukatsu Sensation”.  Unfortunately Shunrenka was a song that just passed over my head an I didn’t think too much of it while I Need You is the standout track, but it has its own issues as well.  I’m sure next single, they’ll do better.

 

Tsubaki Factory – Shuukatsu Sensation/Waratte/Hana Moyou July 19, 2017

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 4:35 am

shuukatsusensation

Track Listing

  1. Shuukatsu Sensation
  2. Waratte
  3. Hana Moyou
  4. Shuukatsu Sensation (Instrumental)
  5. Waratte (Instrumental)
  6. Hana Moyou (Instrumental)

1. Shuukatsu Sensation

I was curious to see what a title like Shuukatsu Sensation would bring us for Tsubaki and I was immediately caught to the song’s main hook of ~yoroshiku onegai itashimasu~ and just the whole groove of it all.  It’s got a lot of funk thanks to both Takui & DANCE MAN and the whole thing just stood out to me.  I really love the chorus too and working in tangent with the hook, it’s just an entertaining track.  Surprised that only Yumeno & Mizuho got the only solos, but I’m quite content with it.  Overall, this is a fantastic song and is right up there with “Hatsukoi Sunrise” in favorites from the group.

2. Waratte

The 2nd A-side to be revealed, Waratte chooses the path towards being a funky 80’s-esque kind of track.  I do feel like Waratte in comparison to “Shuukatsu Sensation” is a lot more brighter and poppy to fit the group’s more cute side.  It also helps that all the members get a solo somewhere in the song.  It’s a pretty decent song and I like its upbeat tempo and funky sound as well!

3. Hana Moyou

Not strange that Hana Moyou would be the last to be revealed, but it had been under wraps until a couple weeks before the single’s release.  Of the three songs, I’m somewhat conflicted with this the most.  I do love that of the three tracks, this one goes straight up EDM with the sawtooth synths almost giving it a Momusu feel of recent times and the guitars helped that feeling for sure.  Though my only bother is the chorus because mainly of the first half of it, being spoken dialogue to a moment of segment finishing that feels a little jagged and absurd.  Otherwise, I really do enjoy this one and I’m loving that all the girls are getting lines throughout!

 

 

I didn’t know if they could 1-up their debut single, but hell Tsubaki Factory managed to do it pretty swiftly with their second major offering!  I definitely felt they found a sweet spot in what they wanted music-wise and it worked.  Shuukatsu Senastion & Waratte are just great H!P songs and it suits them quite well.  Hana Moyou while good does have that kink I mentioned but I don’t think it was enough to deter my enjoyment of it otherwise.  With Kiki currently on hiatus (due back hernia), I am wondering what’s next for the group because they’ve been getting steadily better and better with each new release!

 

Tsubaki Factory – Hatsukoi Sunrise/Just Try!/Uruwashi no Camellia February 18, 2017

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 5:41 am

hatsukoisunrise

Track Listing

  1. Hatsukoi Sunrise
  2. Just Try!
  3. Uruwashi no Camellia
  4. Hatsukoi Sunrise (Instrumental)
  5. Just Try! (Instrumental)
  6. Uruwashi no Camellia (Instrumental)

1. Hatsukoi Sunrise

Ah, opening the single up, we have Hatsukoi Sunrise (which ironically was the last of the 3 songs revealed, yet first to have its PV released hm..).  I will say of the three songs on the single, this one actually impressed me the most because it was a strong song and the fire of the arrangement and power of some of the vocalists was more impressive.  While it does show that Kiki is a prominent member here in the track we got to hear a lot of the other members and the three newbies (Mao, Saori, and Mizuho) definitely joined with a punch as well especially Mizuho who had a pretty awesome solo!  Though Saorin and Maopin also had strong lines too.  If you like some high-speed EDM dance tracks, I’d say this is one of the better ones out there!

2. Just Try!

Moving to the first A-side revealed back in November, Just Try! is a little more of what we’ve been getting from the group during their indies run.  Though as the song is from Tsunku, the EDM is a bit more contrived and simple though at the same time, it does struggle with some other songs by sounding like 3-4 songs pasted together in random ala songs like “Brainstorming” and “Aitte Motto Zanshin” from the other H!P groups.  I thought we had moved on from that, but seems not.  I do like the opening sections with the focus on the beat, but the robotic verses to the kind of chintzy chorus just made it feel a bit sloppy.  It’s my least favorite from the single, but there’s been worse.

3. Uruwashi no Camellia

Last, but not least, Uruwashi no Camellia closes the single out in a rather unique and new style for the group to try out.  I wasn’t expecting ragtime to be the style of one of their A-sides, but hey it’s a thing.  I do like how cute and upbeat the track is, but I definitely was thrown off by the song being filtered to sound like it was being played via a phonograph.  Though once the chorus kicks in, the filter drops and the tune clears up and it sounds playful and adorable.  Add in that the solos in the 2nd set of verses is cute and happy to see Riko, Ami, Kisora, and Risa get them lines is awesome (actually all 9 members get a decent line so that’s great!).  Though it’s strange that because of the filtered part in the first verse of the song, the rest of the track feels oddly short…am I the only one who feels this way?

 

 

Long time coming, but we finally have a major label debut from Tsubaki Factory!  Though since the last review (“Hitorijime/Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo”), the group had added three new members into the mix.  What I can say is that I feel like Saori & Mizuho will be more fortification to the vocals as both members seem to have lower tones than majority of the rest of the group while Mao is more for visuals (she accels at dancing, but her voice isn’t quite at the levels that other members like Yumeno, Risa, and Kiki have).  As for the single, I liked Hatsukoi Sunrise the most as it’s powerful and just showcases a lot of cool from the girls like “Kedakaku Sakihokore!” did.  Uruwashi no Camellia is a unique song for the group and it’s cute, but I think the filtered section could’ve been lessened or personally left out.  As for Just Try!, it’s a messy song…feels like a 2013-15 song from Tsunku and just felt like it was a shelved song from then brought back to life.  Overall, great major debut and I pretty excited to see where things go for the group!

 

Tsubaki Factory – Hitorijime/Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo August 12, 2016

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 6:13 am

hitorijimetsu

Track Listing

  1. Hitorijime
  2. Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo
  3. Hitorijime (Instrumental)
  4. Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo (Instrumental)

1. Hitorijime

I was surprised that Tsubaki’s 3rd single begins with a song that definitely calls up the Platinum era of Momusu almost too smoothly!  There’s something about that intro that was pretty cool and then the piano comes into the track and the girls start to sing.  I did notice that Yumeno and Kisora do get a bit of focus over the remaining ladies, but that’s OK…I’m believing that Yumeno is probably the group’s best asset currently.  I do think it’s up there with “Kedakaku Sakihokore!” as a favorite.

2. Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo

Another Moritaka cover?  Strange that it’s the other big song that H!P loves to cover.  Unlike the futuristic vibes I got from “17sai”, this is pretty much standard EDM stuff from the company which is nice as it gives the song an updated feel.  Tsubaki themselves sound fine if not a little bit shouty, but the verses are pretty sweet (especially with piano being in the forefront above the synths).  It’s a decent cover at least and a nice opposite to “Hitorijime”.

As the group’s 3rd single, I feel like Hitorijime is a pretty strong song from them as it shows a bit more liveliness from the members (especially Kishimon, who just keeps getting better).  I feel like Watashi ga Obasan ni Nattemo was a bit of a rushed song (ironic because it is the older of the two).  Good single overall, but when are they debuting?

 

Tsubaki Factory – Engeki Joshi-bu Musical “Thank you Very Berry” Original Soundtrack (FULL) May 26, 2016

Filed under: Tsubaki Factory — solarblade @ 4:15 am

1bTGCS8954_FH1A_H1-4_prep.pdf

Track Listing

  1. Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda
  2. Wasuremono
  3. Itami wo Close
  4. Kaijuu no Ballad
  5. Itsumo Miru Yume
  6. Onaka Pekoemon
  7. Kyoshitsu ni wa Nani mo Nai wa
  8. Yumemiru Kodomo wa Itsuka Shiru 2
  9. Roku Nichi Bozu no Koi
  10. Oden no Uta 2
  11. Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido
  12. Thank You Very Berry

1. Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda

Opening the DVD+CD release, is a song that I reviewed last year.  I will say that of the three songs of the single, I was pleasantly enjoying the song.  I was actually surprised to see that Maasa had the first lines and then the rest of the Tsubaki Factory joined in.  It reminds of “Triangle Alpha” with its breezy atmosphere, but regardless, it’s a nice tune and great opening for the album.

2. Wasuremono

It’s a little disappointing that most of the new tracks are only about a minute in length so it was hard to think I would have many thoughts.  Wasuremono is a simple ballad with piano and strings with Kiki being the only one singing here.  Since Tsubaki hasn’t really had the spotlight of showing the new girls their vocals, I have to say that Kiki’s voice is bright and quite nice to hear.  Despite the length, it’s a nice little ballad and a good way for Kiki to show off her talents.  Also, Ayasa Onoda and Anna Ishii appear at the last bits (they’re Engeki Joshi-bu members under Maasa).

3. Itami wo Close

So we follow things up with another ballad, this time focused on Yumeno.  Well, I thought it was going to be a full ballad, but after the opening, the tune switches gears to something more upbeat and playful.  Considering that this transitions happens midway through the song (which is only a minute in length), both parts just seem odd smushed together.  Though it does show versatility with Kishimon and I liked that quite a bit!

4. Kaijuu no Ballad

I definitely remember this song from the single a lot because it had the loudest arrangement and came off more as an idol song and has such a fun and summery vibe to it which impressed me.  I really wasn’t sure at the time who was singing but apparantly after watching the play, it ends up being Kisora, Ami, and Risa together…surprising as the vocals are on the cuter side of things.  It was especially nice to see Niinu leading the song though.  Still one of the more memorable songs of the album, despite the length again.

5. Itsumo Miru Yume

Next up is another ballad, this time circulated around Riko.  Now I’m not used to Riko’s voice quite yet, but there’s a sense of innocence and light freshness that she brought to the piano/strings arrangement.  I do love how low she gets on her notes, but it’s a short song once again so it quickly passes by without much of an impression.

6. Onaka Pekoemon

I do feel like the album does pick up with the next track which takes the more funky route with sax lines and genki lyrical content.  It does seem like the trio of Kisora, Ami, and Risa return as the only singers involved and it’s a bizarre song for the trio as it’s portrayed as a silly song with catchy lyrics (and an odd dance to go with it).  It’s like “Urayameshi Gari ya no Dice” basically.

7. Kyoshitsu ni wa Nani mo Nai wa

Going from a funky song to a lightly march styled track is a little odd out of context, Kyoshitsu ni wa Nani mo Nai wa is in a different part of the the play where Kiki and Yumeno are back in focus.  Like “Wasuremono” the simple arrangement makes the push for both ladies to show off more of their vocal talents and I really liked it even with the sad undertone it has.

8. Yumemiru Kodomo wa Itsuka Shiru 2

Continuing on this sad train, the next track opens up with a nice mix of acoustic guitar and bongos to kind of switch the mood a little bit.  I was surprised that Maasa has lines throughout most of the song before Kishimon takes over the last half of this 1:11 track.  Maasa, I have to say impressed me with her vocals as her deeper tone suited the melancholic feel of the track.  Yumeno’s vocals though are brighter, but that’s only because she’s the younger member and all.  Nice little song.

9. Roku Nichi Bozu no Koi

An all Maasa track?  I have to say that I’ve been missing her a lot since she graduated from H!P, but her current position as Theater leader recently has impressed and she’s gotten better singing and emoting.  Hell, in the play she’s having fun videotaping the audience and herself as she performs.  While, I’m not sure how this song fits in and the arrangement could’ve used actual guitars, it’s a great song for her!

10. Oden no Uta 2

Weird to hear accordion for our next track which is a 2nd version because I heard this earlier in the play where Riko performed it.  Well she’s at it again in the album cut and having a kind of French cuteness to it, the 30 second length really doesn’t do anything for the tune and I kind of forget it.

11. Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido

Considering I know this is a cover, this track sung by Kisora, Ami, and Risa definitely has a lot of interesting parts going and the harmonizations here are quite impressive for the three that’s for sure.  It’s not a shock that Kisora is once again leading the crusade, but the other two aren’t slacking for sure.  I also love that it’s a bit over 2 minutes unike majority of the songs.  Very pretty track.

12. Thank You Very Berry

Finally, we hit the finale and of course it’s the theme of the stageplay.  Considering that this is a cover of what Berryz Kobo had (and they recently updated it before they disbanded), Thank You Very Berry is the longest track here.  I still do like Tsubaki’s version as it’s a little more youthful and such, I think I was more surprised that Anna Ishii was alongside this ride (she played a character that ex-Berryz member Saki Shimuzu, performed as in the original play).  It’s a twist, but she sounded nice too.  Overall, a nice solid track here!

Tracks Recommended

  • Kaijuu no Ballad
  • Thank You Very Berry
  • Roku Nichi Bozu no Koi
  • Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido
  • Ano Ko ga Utau no wo Mitanda

Song of Avoidance

  • Oden no Uta 2

I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when I see H!P’s stageplays get re-released with the DVD of the play included, but it does mean more songs.  From this play, I kind of was surprised at how short the OST was (at least in comparison to most of the previous Engeki entries out there).  There wasn’t too many song hooking on to, but I do feel like Tsubaki was showing a little more color and vibancy to fans (who have been negative since their conception).  This does shine a light for Kiki, Kisora, Riko, and Yumeno’s vocals here, but Risamaru and Tanichan is doing just fine themselves here.  Overall, cute play and a cute OST to boot.