Kurayami Monogatari

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Up Up Girls – Upper Disco/FOREVER YOUNG June 24, 2017

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 5:11 pm

upperdisco

Track Listing

  1. Upper Disco
  2. YOUNG FOREVER
  3. FLASH (Reg A only)
  4. Show Time (Reg B only)
  5. FOREVER YOUNG (Up Up Girls (2) Ver.) (Reg C only)
  6. Upper Disco (Instrumental)
  7. FOREVER YOUNG (Instrumental)

1. Upper Disco

I feel like the group could get tired of calling everything Upper ____ eventually right?  Anyways, Upper Disco is definitely set in its upbeat style and I think after their last couple of singles, this straightforward song is pretty nice and the girls aren’t quite as bombastic and loud as something like “Party People Alien” and “!!!!!!!!” were.  The song does remind me of a couple H!P songs, but I’m not terribly complaining as I really like this fun and catchy songs.  Decent A-side overall!

2. FOREVER YOUNG

The other A-side, FOREVER YOUNG takes the group in a somewhat ska direction and I also liked the energy behind it and it goes back to some of their previous efforts from their first album.  The solo lines are nice and it really showed the girls are improving and they come together for the chorus and it’s just great to listen to.  Definitely an idol song to its core!

3. FLASH

Of course it isn’t a UUG single without edition specific songs!  FLASH was funny enough the first song the group performed before the single’s announcement so many thought it was going to be an A-side (didn’t we learn from “YOLO” that it wasn’t the case?).  Unlike the previous two tracks, FLASH has more of a electronic vibe in comparison and it’s quite heavy and honestly would’ve suited on their last single more than here, but it’s a cool track still.

4. Show Time

I think the one that stuck out to me is Show Time because once again, I hear only one girl singing throughout the track and I wonder who could it be.  Well, I’m not surprised that I was correct on the assumption because it’s another Akari Saho solo.  Her voice has gotten quite nice (versus her Shugo Chara Egg! days) and she can handle this nicely.  The beat is a lot lighter and spaced out, but it has this sort of R&B groove going.  Decent song overall.

5. FOREVER YOUNG (Up Up Girls (2) Ver.)

Though I think most UUG fans were curious about this track in particular.  Though it’s FOREVER YOUNG again, it’s sung by 5 new girls that were introduced earlier in the year; Riko Hashimura, Aya Kajishima, Mayu Yoshikawa, Chinatsu Takahagi, and Rin Nakaoki to become a secondary group to UUG.  I don’t have much to say on their appearance other than it’s apparent the voices are a smidge younger sounding in comparison.  Though I do have to say, Aya’s deep voice is a nice change of pace with the other 4 having more higher idol-like voices.

 

 

I’m starting to think T-Palette is just slowing down on releases to get more songs out in one package (good idea).  Either way, I thought Upper Disco/FOREVER YOUNG was a pretty good single for the most part.  No complaints on either of the leading tracks, FLASH was a little more of what we saw off their previous single and Show Time was another decent offering from Akari!  We also got a nice sample of what’s to come with this new UUG (2) group as well.

Though I’m not sure yet if this is the case but Minami Sengoku & Ayano Sato are graduating in the summer, so I can’t tell if this is their final single or if there’ll be one more by then…but I’m curious to see what 5-nin UUG will be like.

 

Up Up Girls – !!!!!!!!/Kimi to Iu Kasetsu October 14, 2016

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 4:50 am

banbanban

Track Listing

  1. !!!!!!!!
  2. Kimi to Iu Kasetsu
  3. YOLO (Regular A only)
  4. Future&Past! (Regular B only)
  5. Ran Ran Ran (Limited only)
  6. Abyssal Drop (Akari Saho Vocal Ver.) (Limited only)
  7. Party People Alien (DJ WILDPARTY Remix) (Limited only)
  8. Barebare I LOVE YOU ∞ Remix (Limited only)
  9. !!!!!!!! (Instrumental)
  10. Kimi to Iu Kasetsu (Instrumental)
  11. YOLO (Instrumental)
  12. Future&Past! (Instrumental)
  13. Ran Ran Ran (Instrumental)

1. !!!!!!!!

Titled as Ban Ban Ban as well, our first track opens with a pleasant solo from Akari with some light acoustic guitar which was surprising which carries a lot through the song.  Though after the introduction, the track really takes off as more of a pop/rock track and while Akari is still lead vocalist, it’s a pretty cool song that just is fun and rocks out!  Really though, the song is energetic and a goo way to kick things off for the single!

2. Kimi to Iu Kasetsu

The other A-side of the single, is a bit more lighter in sound taking in a mix of some oriental strings and some EDM, but a much poppier side to it.  Unlike “!!!!!!!!”, it feels like this song has a bit more equality in line distribution amongst the 7.  I also am really liking the voices in the song and they’ve grown a LOT since debut.  There’s a bit of some sentimentality about this song as it sounds really happy, but grateful too maybe?  It could just be the PV it got.  It’s a decent song that’s for sure!

3. YOLO

As the first track that was performed from the single, why am I surprised by the title lol.  Also, it’s going to be a bit bumpy because different editions include different tracks.  Regular A got YOLO of course while B got “Future&Past!”.  While it’s not as silly fun as “!!!!!!!!”, I do like the more down to earth lyrics and mix of pop/rock here.  Though I can also see why it was merely a B-side because it doesn’t quite stand out as much as the other songs from the single.

4. Future&Past!

The other song (found on Regular B editions) is a bit harder of a listen IMO.  At first, the arrangement was pretty smooth with the EDM (reminded me of stuff like “Cyalume” and “Beautiful Days” with the more ethereal flow of the track.  Then it kind of goes into this breakdown which ruined a bit of the song for me personally…it was a bit much of a shift.  Not exactly my favorite from the single…

5. Ran Ran Ran

I think most fans will end up getting the Limited edition because there’s a lot more songs in it than any of the regular editions.  Not to be confused by the leading A-side, Ran Ran Ran is probably my favorite track off the single because it’s catchy and the arrangement is really cool and the members sound great.  It’s a little more progressive in its EDM feels and I think it’s a style that works well with them.  An actual club-banger!

6. Abyssal Drop (Akari Saho Vocal Ver.)

So the story behind this is that Abyssal Drop is actually a fu_mou song that Akari participated in the PV for so interestingly enough, she got to cover the song for the single.  I have to say, I really love the arrangement from fu_mou as it has a stronger electro beat and futuristic vibe to it.  While I don’t think Akari is the best singer in UUG, she managed to handle this song quite well!  A great inclusion to the single!

7. Party People Alien (DJ WILDPARTY Remix)

So we get a remix for Party People Alien (one of the A-side of their last single) and I actually had to go back and listen to the original lol!  The remix itself strips a lot of the originals arrangement out for a more club sound and honestly it doesn’t do much for me as it becomes more annoying and rough sticking to the vocal melody too.  It just was a poor remix for me.

8. Barebare I LOVE YOU ∞ Remix

So the last song from the single is another remix, this time of their 2nd single they released as a group.  What a stretch of time to be now putting out a remix for such a song.  The remix does begin with the original opening which is one of the coolest intros!  Though it cuts out for this remix which is steady and cool (and every member getting a line).  Though when the remix only consists of ~barebare i love you, sokubare want you~ for a good 6:30…that’s not a good sign, but I mostly like the track due to its PV.  Goofy and funy as hell!

 

 

It feels like its been forever since UUG released a single (though I had been accustomed to the 8 singles a year thing xD).  This was actually a pretty heavy single and I quite liked that about since most of the songs here were decent.  The best ones were definitely Ran Ran Ran, Kimi to Iu Kasetsu, Abyssal Drop, and !!!!!!!!.  Those 4 tracks were pretty good showcasing the group in a great way.  Though I think YOLO & Future&Past! could’ve been left behind as they were a bit messy or forgetful.  The other two tracks (the remixes) were eh…I think Barebare I LOVE YOU’s remix only works in the form of its PV.  Still, overall a good single, but I hope an album is sometime soon!

 

Up Up Girls – Party People Alien/Seven☆Piece April 12, 2016

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 2:02 am

partypeoplealien

Track Listing

  1. Party People Alien
  2. Seven☆Piece
  3. Appare (Regular only)
  4. Shout!!!!!!! (Limited A only)
  5. Seishun no Namida (Limited B only)

1. Party People Alien

Opening with a decent solo line from Akari Saho, Party People Alien is more of a continuation of the group’s strong push for the idol style to be more electro and club-friendly.  I do like the fact that the group sounds a bit more confident and not as dependent on the vocal manipulations (though that is still present).  I also love that all the members have solos throughout as they’re quite exciting about the track.  I will say lyrically it’s pretty absurd, but it’s a catchy song at the end of the day!

2. Seven☆Piece

As the other A-side of the single, Seven☆Piece takes things to a lighter place, but it does remind me of various songs of theirs from previous album eras.  The chorus of the track does make the pace a bit quicker and I do think it’s a good song to use for lives because of the chanting feel that I get, even if the song gets really repetitive towards the end of the track.  Still, compared to “Party People Alien”, this is the weaker song.

3. Appare

The rest of the tracks are split between versions of the single and first up is Appare which technically came out last year as an exclusively bought track from the Live DVD the group released.  I didn’t see what was the big deal about it being a one-song track on a DVD,but it’s nice to see it finally make it onto a single.  Appare has a quirky intro and the fact that synthed brass makes an appearance is interesting.  There’s a really interesting part where there’s very quick lyrics and it kind of worked…pretty interesting song and I kind of enjoyed it!

4. Shout!!!!!!!

The other two tracks were songs that the group have been performing a bit before this single was announced an I thought that was cool they’d bring them up.  Shout!!!!!!! does follow more along their dance tracks, but it’s not overarranged like some other tracks of theirs.  It does seem like it’s a crowd pumping song and I’m OK with that and the heavy beats are nice to hear from them too.  Great B-side!

5. Seishun no Namida

Finally, we have Seishun no Namida and I was expecting the song to be a ballad because of the title roughly translated as “Tears of Youth”, but was not expecting this track to be another EDM-centric track.  I do like that the lyrics are a bit more sad but are covered by the strong arrangement which is cool and polarizing.  Interesting track and even moreso that it was released with a PV.

 

 

It feels like it’s been forever since UUG has released a single (last release was their 3rd album a year ago).  Party People Alien/Seven☆Piece is an alright single and kind of packing when compared to their past releases.  I feel like the group has gotten quite comfortable with EDM being their shtick and Party People Alien, Seishun no Namida, and Shout!!!!!!! are great examples of that.  Appare and Seven☆Piece feels like it catered more to their past works where it wasn’t a dance beat that overtook the song and I enjoyed that too.  Definitely a single to check out if you’re a curious wonder.

 

Up Up Girls – Third Album (Kakko Kari) April 25, 2015

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 8:48 pm

thirdalbum

Track Listing

  1. Beautiful Dreamer
  2. Kirakira Mirai
  3. Up&Up!
  4. ENJOY!! ENJO(Y)!!
  5. Nijiiro Mosaic
  6. Zenryoku! Pump Up!!
  7. Itadaki wo Mesazu!
  8. (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul
  9. Bijo no Yajuu
  10. Jumper!
  11. Runway
  12. Kono Melody wo Kimi to
  13. Party! Party!
  14. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-
  15. Starry Night (y0c1e Remix)

1. Beautiful Dreamer

As part of the 4th and final A-side released for the album, we kicks things off with Beautiful Dreamer.  It’s an interesting choice to say the least.  I do love that we get a lot of Manami Arai here because I felt she was one of the back members.  Alongside the other leads: Sengoku, Furukawa, and Saho, the song is a nice start as it isn’t hardcore but not too slow (plus it’s at the peak where the group has adopted a more EDM-sound than their pop/rock roots.  I still think the rap section is a little out of place, but the song itself is not all that bad.

2. Kirakira Mirai

As the first of four new tracks on the album, Kirakira Mirai surprisingly brings back the group to their rock roots which is surprising with the lack of them in the era.  Though, this song is pretty loud and furious with its arrangement.  While the PV only had three of the members present, the song is all 7 of them.  Overall, this is a very speedy track and even has some odd moments (makes me think of BABYMETAL but not overly dramatic).

3. Up&Up!

The next track is also a new one for this album and I definitely figured this one was going to be more towards the group’s overall sound.  I will say the intro fizzling out to that bouncy piano melody was slightly misleading there XD.  The chorus adds back the heavy beat, but at that point the song seems a little dragging for me.  Not too big of a fan of this one.

4. ENJOY!! ENJO(Y)!!

The next two tracks are from the first single of the era (ironically enough the only single that came out before their sophomore album was released).  I did like the introduction of the song with the fade-in, but re-listening to the song after how long it’s been out, it really hasn’t grown on me because of the reliance on auto-tune here (plus the speak-singing wasn’t cutting it for me).  Definitely my least favorite of the A-sides.

5. Nijiiro Mosaic

As least there was the other A-side to impress me from the single.  As both tracks were winter-themed tunes, Nijiiro Mosaic took to drum n’ bass for this song and I thought it was rather refreshing to listen to (especially with how much EDM they would be releasing).  I do like it a lot more than “ENJOY!! ENJO(Y)!!” but it does have its share of issues.  I couldn’t care less about the ~kimi ni, kimi ni, kimi ni~ repetition.  Still not bad.

6. Zenryoku! Pump Up!!

Though the song that really caught my attention in this era, was this A-side from their 3rd single of the era.  From the shimasen intro to the club-banging arrangement, Zenryoku! Pump Up!! was a fun track to listen to that’s for sure.  It really gets you energized and all of the members get a line to their own which is quite awesome!  Definitely the best of the album!

7. Itadaki wo Mesazu!

Another song that made me happy to see appear, Itadaki wo Mesazu! comes next and is somewhat like “Beautiful Dreamer” but has a bit more oomph to it.  Add in that there’s quite a bit of Ayano (who’s another member that doesn’t get to shine in songs as much as the main members.  I kind of feel like this is a Zedd arranged song because of the way it flows and the descending synth notes.  It’s still a pretty cool song though!

8. (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul

Of course they have to have that one really in-your-face kind of track and (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul fits the bill similarly to “UPPER ROCK” and “SAMURAI GIRLS” before this.  It’s pretty loud and quick with a whole lot of punch to it.  Though I can’t help but feel they kind of overdid it here with the arrangement.  It’s alright overall, but a bit messy.

9. Bijo no Yajuu

~I am a beassst~ is all can think of when this song comes up because it’s chanted a lot during the tune.  The next new track, Bijo no Yajuu is definitely a song best performed live because of the punch and the chanting plus the power of most of the arrangement.  Not really a fan of the auto-tune on the group here (except the really low parts).  Though in the later half, I feel like the song turns into a club-thumper and to the end is just badass…I can see myself really getting into this one.

10. Jumper!

Going back a bit to Jumper!, this song is also lyrically presented fast which is pretty hard to keep up, but the tune jumps in with the bouncy beat and some cut n’ pastin vocals which is eh.  To be honest, compared to the other A-sides, this one felt like it was just padding to the album…there’s nothing totally special about this one that couldn’t be found on any of their previous works.

11. Runway

The last of the new songs, Runway makes me think of songs like “Rainbow” & “Cyalume” with the floaty arrangement and smooth synth arrangement.  That being said, it gives me a kind-of 80’s vibe to it as well (actually it reminds me of Aira Mitsuki’s stuff).  I like the track being something that doesn’t try too hard to get things through.  Also, it’s not a Sengoku solo despite her being the only one in the PV.  Overall nice!

12. Kono Melody wo Kimi to

That being said, putting our next track next to “Runway” didn’t change too much beyond adding a stronger beat and some piano to the arrangement.  Though this song also reminds me of “Beautiful Dreamer” as well with it’s upbeat and happy nature.  Funny enough this song came out before the two so there’s that.  Overall, Kono Melody wo Kimi to is OK, grown less one me as time went by…but I can tolerate it.

13. Party! Party!

Maybe it’s me, but at this point of the album, I was starting to get bored and by the time Party! Party! came up I was kind of falling behind.  This song does include some actual guitar and bass alongside the happy-go-lucky vocals.  It’s OK and it does try to deviate from the excess of EDM on the album.

14. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-

I still don’t even know why the group had to add this song to the tracklist because like I’ve said on the single review, it really just dulls the song more than it needs.  I mean the energy is a bit higher, but the song’s twists and turns really throw me off and there’s not a lot of song to be had either.  It’s alright, but pales in comparison to the original.

15. Starry Night (y0c1e Remix)

The album ends off with a new remix of Starry Night (a song from their “Second Album” era).  I do love how it begins like a simple club remix and grows into a rather interesting remix.  It lets off the beats to let the chorus begin (which is really high XD) then enters back into its club beats which is really cool funny enough.  Makes 2 for 2 because I loved their last remix of “Widol Seven” so this was just as good!

Tracks Recommended

  • Zenryoku! Pump Up!!
  • Starry Night (y0c1e Remix)
  • Itadaki wo Mesazu!
  • Bijo no Yajuu

Song of Avoidance

  • ENJOY!! ENJO(Y)!!

I was pretty surprised that the group slightly slowed down their releases from 8 singles a year to 4 this time around.  Also, this 3rd album actually looks like a studio album and less a best-of (still a bit short on new songs, but it’s baby steps).  Third Album though didn’t have too many standout songs that their previous two did which is slightly unfortunate, but their sound is quite strong.  Let’s just go back to exciting songs for the next release!

 

Up Up Girls – Beautiful Dreamer/Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-/Itadaki wo Mezasu! February 19, 2015

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 8:44 pm

beautifuldreamer

Track Listing

  1. Beautiful Dreamer
  2. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-
  3. Itadaki wo Mesazu!
  4. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix- DJ WILD PARTY REMIX (Limited B only)
  5. Beautiful Dreamer (instrumental)
  6. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix- (instrumental)
  7. Itadaki wo Mesazu! (instrumental)

1. Beautiful Dreamer

The first song from the single, Beautiful Dreamer is more of what we’ve come to know from UUG and I’m used to that, but I’m not used to hearing Manami Arai actually having the first solo lines in the song xD.  She’s really getting popular for some strange reason but I love it, means some of the back girls are getting importance!  The song itself is pretty much a synth-heavy idol track so it might not impress, but I do enjoy the arrangement xD.  Though I will say that rap section between Arai, Saho, and Sengoku is a bit awkward…still not a bad song, but nothing like “Zenryoku! Pump Up!!”…

2. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix-

About that, we get a remix of the song as an A-side?  Ok, weird.  I LOVE the original so I was a little worried with a remix, but it just adds a lot more synths and some of the areas are done differently.  It still carries the energy and some of the song remained untouched so it wasn’t a mind-blowing remix but more of a simple edit…not bad and I still love the energy!

3. Itadaki wo Mesazu!

Happy to see Ayano Sato get some love in this song as she gets a solo within it!  The song itself is definitely in a strong EDM fashion (like a lot of their songs recently) but it sounds kind of Western which is something new for them.  Overall the song is quite nice and probably my favorite (“Zenryoku! Pump Up!!” doesn’t count here).

4. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! -ULTRA Mix- DJ WILD PARTY REMIX

Wait, a remix of a remix?!?  This sounds bizarre already XD.  What can I say about this one?  It sounds nice but the synths are well…wild and I couldn’t fully keep up with everything it had to offer.  Yeah it still is a punching song and everything but damn it couldn’t be more messy overall…bleh xD

 

 

Wow UUG actually made it through 2014 without bombarding us with singles (usually they release 8 singles, but this one is the 3rd one of 2014).  I’ve noticed that the group has been moving away from their pop/rock sound to a more EDM sound which might become a nuisance since H!P has been doing that all year.  Though I have to say that at least Itadaki wo Mesazu! sounds a bit like Western club hits so I quite enjoyed it over Beautiful Dreamer.  The new mix for Zenryoku! Pump Up!! is not bad, but unnecessary to me.  With their 3rd album announced, one can wonder what’ll be on it!

 

Up Up Girls – Zenryoku! Pump Up!/Kono Melody wo Kimi to August 2, 2014

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 2:40 am

TPRC-0091_マキシ2折表_15

Track Listing

  1. Zenryoku! Pump Up!!
  2. Kono Melody wo Kimi to
  3. Zenryoku! Pump Up!! (Inst)
  4. Kono Melody wo Kimi to (Inst)

1. Zenryoku! Pump Up!!

I enjoyed the opening of UUG’s first A-side with the shimasen that transitions into another one of their EDM tracks.  It’s not as wild and crazy like their other heavy tracks of the same genre and I can enjoy that since sometimes it’s better to be more safe than sorry.  The group is singing in unison majority of the time, but they all have lines when the dubstep/rap sections kicks in.  It’s a pretty good song from the group and I would definitely recommened it.

2. Kono Melody wo Kimi to

The other A-side is a bit more brighter (kind of like the “End Of The Season” single) where it’s got dance beats but has a lighter feel.  It’s kind of cute for what it is and I love that each member has some time to shine as well but after “Zenryoku! Pump Up!!” I was kind of hoping for more.  Still I do love that it reminds of songs like “End Of The Season”, “Cyalume”, and “Beautiful Days!”.  It’s basically a really nice technopop song with pleasant vocals!

 

 

Wow, UUG’s newest single impressed me quite a bit!  As the group’s 3rd single for their 3rd era, they impressed me with this one.  They are just getting better songs and I loved Zenryoku! Pump Up!! a lot and it’s one of their bests in their discography.  Kono Melody wo Kimi to is also pleasant to listen with sweet vocals and a nice arrangement.  They are just at that point that anything they’ll release I’ll enjoy (single-wise at least) lol.

 

Up Up Girls – (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul/Party! Party!/Jumper! May 1, 2014

Filed under: Up Up Girls — solarblade @ 10:41 am

kakkokariwakaesuze

Track Listing

  1. (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul
  2. Party! Party!
  3. Jumper!
  4. (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul (Instrumental)
  5. Party! Party! (Instrumental)
  6. Jumper! (Instrumental)

1. (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul

As the first song on this triple A-side, (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul is a lot like past edgy songs like “SAMURAI GIRLS” and “UPPER ROCK” so I’m kind of used to seeing at least one cool song in the era from the group.  There’s pounding beats and some dirty and gritty synths playing as well!  Granted it doesn’t feel like it’s been forever since the group did something cool, but this is one of their more cleaner songs too…throw in some auto-tune and some spoken quips and you got this song.  It’s a bit random and all over the place, but I kind of enjoyed this track haha.

2. Party! Party!

The other 2 A-sides take a slight chill pill starting with Party! Party! which is kind of like the grou’s atypical poppy song which is nice to hear as the ladies sound really pleasant and they all have solos.  It’s a rather nice and simple song for the group, but quite bouncy and cute to listen too.  Great track!

3. Jumper!

Oh boy, the fast sung lyrics make their way into Jumper! and the opening lines are a mouthful to listen to.  It’s kind of a mix of the previous two tracks by being hyper but definitely screams idols.  I have to give props to the group for being able to keep up with a track like this lyrically and while their voices are slightly auto-tuned, it wasn’t too distracting and is probably….I don’t know, my 2nd favorite track perhaps?

 

 

As the 2nd single for their 3rd era, UUG’s triple A-side actually worked for them!  Plus, I love the sheer fact all three songs got PVs to go along with it so it’s definitely cool to see the group moving forward.  (Kakko Kari) wa Kaesuze☆be your soul is a long title, but the song was the given cool song and I loved the hell out of it.  Jumper! was also quite fast, but was also more idol-like in the run and I found it catchy as hell too.  Party! Party! might not have the longevity the other two have, but it was pretty nice to get a pop song from them…Woo!!!