Kurayami Monogatari

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Vanilla Beans – Muscat Slope Love March 4, 2016

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 3:08 am

muscatslopelove

Track Listing

  1. Muscat Slope Love
  2. Jewel Memories
  3. Muscat Slope Love (instrumental)
  4. Jewel Memories (instrumental)

1. Muscat Slope Love

I’m not sure what I was thinking of Vanilla Beans’ sound would be going into their 4th era, but Muscat Slope Love is really interesting and I enjoyed they went upbeat for the song even if its really odd and yet hokey at the same time.  There’s a lot of twists and turns when it comes to its composition and I pretty much enjoyed that aspect and the duo sounds to be more interested and going for a more genki vibe.  Definitey a strong A-side for the two gals!

2. Jewel Memories

As for the B-side this is a bit more of a throwback than what Muscat Slope Love was capable of.  I will say that I’m loving both Risa and Rena vocals tons here as they blend so smoothly with this kind of sound.  Though I guess the bad thing is that it carries the same general feel the last two albums produced which might not be of anyone’s interest.

 

 

As the duo begins their 4th era, the first single, Muscat Slope Love is actually pretty decent.  The A-side is pretty different and I love the transitions all over the place and the duo sounds great and more exciting!  Jewel Memories might be more of the same throwback genre that they’ve been under since debut, but it’s a decent track otherwise and might impress!  I’m curious to see where this era goes.

 

Vanilla Beans – Vanilla Beans III July 9, 2014

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 12:32 pm

vanillabeans3

Track Listing

  1. Scone no Hana ga Saiteiru
  2. Subcall Girl Madoka
  3. Killer Queen
  4. Next Step Up
  5. Choco Mint Flavor Time (album ver.)
  6. Mousou Cafeteria
  7. Non-Section (abum ver.)
  8. Very Very Blueberry
  9. Toki no Kakera (album ver.)
  10. Mou Sugu Triangle feat. TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE (Regular only)
  11. Akiho (Regular only)
  12. Kimi no Love Song (Regular only)
  13. Sekai no Owari

1. Scone no Hana ga Saiteiru

Opening the album is a rather light and quick-paced first song Scone no Hana ga Saiteiru is surprising of a song to start it off with because it’s just so fast and breezy  That being said, I was rather surprised that Rena and Risa are rather quiet in this song mostly covered by the arrangement.  I mean, it’s just a weird track to open with and at some points, I’m not enthusiastic about this track…

2. Subcall Girl Madoka

It does seem to ease up a bit on our next song from the duo.  There’s something really familiar about this track like it should’ve been on their last album funny enough.  At least I enjoyed this song a bit more than “Scone no Hana ga Saiteiru”.  Definitely idol sounding for sure!

3. Killer Queen

As the song chosen to promote the album, Killer Queen is a lot of the same we’ve been hearing so far but has a lot more leveled out and softer so we can actually hear the members singing a bit more.  I do like that it’s more acoustically based and the duo sounds more into this one.  Otherwise, I don’t remember it much beyond those things.

4. Next Step Up

I’m not sure what’s up with this album and having mostly acoustic-sounding songs.  I mean it feels like I’m just listening through “Vanilla Beans II” now.  The thing is that this song really sounds like something I would’ve heard in the Katamari games with his bright atmosphere and cutesy vocals.  Overall, it’s just really run-of-the-mill.

5. Choco Mint Flavor Time (album ver.)

So the A-sides released in the era make it, but they all have been edited here.  Choco Mint Flavor Time is about 20 seconds shorter but the tune was changed a lot from its original sound to a more bossa nova/ragtime-ish arrangement and I thought it was a pretty different edit.  The song sounds better and both members sound pleasant (albeit once again quiet).

6. Mousou Cafeteria

Hm, our next new song is continues this rather cutesy feel that include some fiddle to go along with the arrangement.  Sadly at this point it’s starting to feel more hokey and rather unimpressive to me which is where this song is at.  It just didn’t work for me this time.

7. Non-Section (album ver.)

Non-Section comes next and the edits really ruined the song.  I mean I really enjoyed the original’s guitar-based arrangement but for the album, it’s more to suit the album’s atmosphere and I just was over it.  Add on that the girls resung this as well is just rather unimpressive because it sounds exactly like they have been in the last 6 tracks >.>…seriously?

8. Very Very Blueberry

When I listen to this song, Very Very Blueberry also seems to have taken that 60s pop feel which is very evident back in their last album.  I do enjoy that it at least tries to stand out because I really liked the chorus of this song despite that it’s not an original tone on the album.  Maybe I’m just used to it from Vanilla Beans at this point.  I will say it’s one of the better songs off the album but, not amongst the best from the duo.

9. Toki no Kakera (album ver.)

Yup, the other A-side got switched up as well and with Toki no Kakera, it’s basically switched to a more generic take of the original (which is also 20 seconds shorter too).  Like I said with “Non-Section”, the changes were definitely unnecessary here and I just feel that it pales strongly to the original.  Though it really kind of just blows over my head because there’s a couple of similar songs on this album already like “Killer Queen”.  Meh overall.

10. Mou Sugu Triangle feat. TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE

Now if you’ve paid attention, Vanilla Beans was a featured artist on TGS’ album, “Limited addiction” and I suppose the group decided to pay back by being back up.  Now this is also where we get the three Regular edition only tracks.  Mou Sugu Triangle is actually one of the nicer songs on the album even though it is one of the lighter tracks.  If you were wondering, TGS are acting as the background melody.  I kind of like this setting…just the fact is one of the better songs is rather sad lol.

12. Akiho

Our next exclusive, plays a bit more lightly than most songs on the album and in some ways it kind of reminds me of a lighter-paced “Choco Mint Flavor Time”.  The duo’s vocals are a bit louder here which is nice, but there’s not much to this song and sometimes it also tends to remind me of “Mousou Cafeteria” with it’s cheesyeness and well that harmonica? mid8 section that reminds me of Yoshi’s Island.  Odd song though.

13. Kimi no Love Song

It even continues onto our next track, Kimi no Love Song.  I was kind of disappointed because it’s just a more simplistic “Akiho” Replace the harmonica with a recorder solo and you basically get this track.  Yeah, this was just a repeated track and I couldn’t care much for it.

14. Sekai no Owari

So both editions end with this song which is actually a THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT cover.  Of course it’s a song that begins with acoustic guitar.  Being the longest track, Sekai no Owari sounds a bit more serious and sentimental of a song than every other track on the album!  It does drag throughout and with the duo not being the best vocalists, kind of makes the song more boring.  Still I’d take over other songs.

Tracks Recommended

  • Mou Sugu Triangle feat. TOKYO GIRLS’ STYLE
  • Choco Mint Flavor Time (album ver.)
  • Very Very Blueberry
  • Subcall Girl Madoka

Song of Avoidance

  • Non-Section (album ver.)

Alright, getting into the duo’s 3rd album, I was sorely disappointed with Vanilla Beans III.  I mean there just wasn’t a whole lot this album did for me.  I sensed their last album was starting to make them almost boring, but this one did much worse for me.  A lot of the songs just felt lacking and even worse when 2/3 of the A-sides got disasterous album version results.  Meh >.<

 

Vanilla Beans – Non-Section September 3, 2012

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 5:10 am

Track Listing

  1. Non-Section
  2. Himitsu
  3. Kimi ga Boku wo Shiteru (Limited only)
  4. Non-Section (Instrumental)
  5. Himitsu (Instrumental)

1. Non-Section

I wasn’t sure what we were getting next after “Choco Mint Flavor Time” but it seems Vanilla Beans has decided to go more for a pop/rock route with Non-Section.  The first thing I noticed was that their vocals were a bit more cuter vibed which is a bit surprise to me.  I don’t know this song has a good arrangement and melody, but those vocals have got to go!

2. Himitsu

At least they fixed that up with Himitsu which might be their most impressive song since they joined T.Palette.  Unlike the pop/rock vibes out of the A-side, Himitsu is jazzy and light and OH SO PERFECT for their light vocals.  This is just so unique and fun to listen to…yeah, I LOVE IT!

3. Kimi ga Boku wo Shiteru

The we get the limited exclusive with Kimi ga Boku wo Shiteru and it kind reminds me of “Toki no Kakera” but with electric guitars in use.  I feel like it’s a bit of a sentimental kind of song because of the way it flows and how the duo are singing it which by the way lies in between the previous two.  It’s light but not eerily high-pitched either.  I like it, but it’s not as jaw-dropping good like “Himitsu”.

 

 

I’m not sure what happened, but I don’t find myself enjoying Non-Section as much as I did with their last A-side.  The vocals are a bit too tight and they sound squeaky like crazy.  At least they fixed that quite nicely with Himitsu which is their best song since they switched labels.  Kimi ga Boku wo Shiteru kind of lies in the middle, nat bad, but not great either.  I wonder if an album is in the works now…

 

Vanilla Beans – Choco Mint Flavor Time

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 4:38 am

Track Listing

  1. Choco Mint Flavor Time
  2. Hitotsu no Uta
  3. 1969nen no Drag Race (Limited only)
  4. Toki no Kakera -Midnight flavor remix- (Limited only)
  5. Choco Mint Flavor Time (Instrumental)
  6. Hitotsu no Uta (Instrumental)

1. Choco Mint Flavor Time

Beyond the silly title (which is funny since they’re eating Baskin Robbins in the PV), Choco Mint Flavor Time kind of reminds me of the songs from “Vanilla Beans II” since it’s peppy and kind of random at the same time.  I kind of enjoy the song and even better is that guitar solo which makes it sound old and classic which is always good to hear!  Definitely a better track than “Toki no Kakera”. 

2. Hitotsu no Uta

The B-side though is a bit surprising and kind of out of nowhere, especially that buzzing synth intro haha.  I kind of like the ladies’ vocals in the song since it gives a little bit of cute excitement in the song but keeping with their light pop vibes.  I do think the synth solo is a bit overbearing, but overall this song is GOOD!

3. 1969nen no Drag Race

As the extra song from the limited edition, 1969nen no Drag Race is keeping up with the duo’s premise of the olden times which is pretty awesome because this song kind of fill my mind with those old pop songs that would be heard around race tracks.  I don’t know how to feel about the ladies in the song because I actually paid attention WAY more to the music than the vocals which were kind of there but nothing that stood out.

4. Toki no Kakera -Midnight flavor remix-

Then they close it out with a remix of Toki no Kakera and I am already finding myself enjoying the remix MUCH more than the original version because the synths are an interesting twist as well as the sitar!  Their light vocals give this air of mystery and the added auto-tune was a nice touch as well!  Definitely awesome!

 

 

As their 2nd single after “Vanilla Beans II”, I think they did a much better job with this single than they did with “Toki no Kakera”.  Choco Mint Flavor Time and it’s strange ice cream-ness actually sounds solid and pretty memorable for them.  Hitotsu no Uta sounds good too but that snyth line is a bit harsh on the ears and 1969nen no Drag Race while the worst of the three…sounds good if it had an instrumental.  The remix of Toki no Kakera though was the best thing…kind of sets them back to “D&D” and the electro songs.  Good single overall!

 

Vanilla Beans – Toki no Kakera March 12, 2012

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 11:36 pm

Track Listing

  1. Toki no Kakera
  2. Yes? No?
  3. Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll (Rena ver. only)
  4. Hoshi ni Natta Uso (Risa ver. only)
  5. Toki no Kakera (Instrumental)
  6. Yes? No? (Innstrumental)

1. Toki no Kakera

As the leading A-side, I actually thought Toki no Kakera was a rather simple but effective track.  Taking a more acoustic direction and mixing with the duo’s soft vocals to make a rather safe and retro sounding track.  It doesn’t seem to really get out and surprise me like the last few A-sides have but this is kind of nice.

2. Yes? No?

If you thought “Toki no Kakera” was a bit too relaxing, the main B-side might do a good job waking you up.  Instead of keeping at the same pace, this song introduces more synths and builds upon its acoustic arrangement.  I found this to be better than the leading song for some reason…one of their better songs since the label change.

3. Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll

Then splitting the single off into it’s respective versions, the first is Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll from the Rena version.  I love that it’s even more happier and quicker-paced than the previous two tracks.  Add in that it’s a lot cuter and kind of has this diner feeling and I’m just enjoying this song all over.  The thing though is that both ladies are singing in their cute vocals which is a little odd to me but doesn’t take away my enjoyment of the song.  Interesting song.

4. Hoshi ni Natta Uso

Oh Risa’s version, Hoshi ni Natta Uso (which I heard is a cover but not entirely sure) is a much lighter and different assault on the ears.  I’m surprised that while “Stop Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll” is peppy and cute, this song is laidback and that is for the vocals as well.  It’s kind of like “Toki no Kakera” but has electric guitar in it…meh.

 

 

Starting their 3rd era, Toki no Kakera is kind of unmemorable for me oddly enough.  Toki no Kakera isn’t a bad A-side but they’ve had so much better IMHO.  Most of the B-sides aren’t very memorable either because it sounds a lot like leftover “Vanilla Beans II” stuff that just happened to find their way on this single.  I will say that Yes? No? is the best song but once again not their best haha.  Hopefully their next single will be better.

 

Vanilla Beans – Vanilla Beans II

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 8:52 pm

Track Listing

  1. VanillaBeans
  2. Älskar Dig
  3. Nakaji Time
  4. Doctor, Onegai
  5. Summer vacation
  6. ?
  7. Oosumi Time
  8. Musunde Hiraite
  9. C Ba-san no Uta
  10. Oppai
  11. Takami Time
  12. Södermalm
  13. Yumemiru Shippo
  14. Oyasumi
  15. Tengoku e no Kaidan

1. VanillaBeans

Opening the album, VanillaBeans is essentially the introduction to the album but all it is is the girls spelling their name out repeatedly against a happy arrangement and in the later half gets another melody added across.  It’s definitely the duo’s sound so it’s pretty cool!

2. Älskar Dig

Our first full vocal track, Älskar Dig is interesting because it has a lot of strings present in it.  It kind of harkens back to their first era since it has that old nostalgic sound going on.  Light and bright but flows so nicely along the song that it doesn’t feel like it gets too boring.  Though I will say that there is a lot of other better VB songs.

3. Nakaji Time

So the songs that have a ____ Time to their title are actually interludes for the album which is kind of meh for me.  Only being 30 seconds long, Nakaji Time really doesn’t do a lot for the album but the electric guitar addition kind of bridges the gap in between “Älskar Dig” and “Doctor, Onegai”. 

4. Doctor, Onegai

Makes sense that it moves into this song which ups on the excitement by feeling like those old Beatles songs/hippie music xD.  Of course after the interlude, Doctor, Onegai has a lot more electric guitar and some solo lines between Rena and Risa and they sound different from what I’m used to…it’s like they went for more of a cuter tone than their normal laidback sound.  While I do have to get used to the vocals, it’s a pretty good song overall haha.

5. Summer vacation

I really like the next song though because it suits the summer feel and kind of has this relaxing jazzy vibe to it which surprises me since I don’t think they’ve done this kind of style yet.  Add in the small quirks with the arrangement like like the glockenspiel and it’s like gloriously pretty and it definitely worked for their advantage.  Great song here!

6. ?

So we have a song titled ? huh?  Besides the rather unusual title of the song, this song kind of meshes the previous two tracks into one since it has the whole summer vibe but with a lot of electric guitar present as well so likewise it is the two tracks mixed together.  It’s fun and kind of just gives me this good feeling inside ^_^

7. Oosumi Time

Our next interlude isn’t as exciting as “Takaji Time” since this one is a lot slower, the ladies vocals are muffled, and sounds like a slow cowboyish kind of song.  Not really making sense to me at the moment but I’m sure it will eventually XD.

8. Musunde Hiraite

Well the interlude didn’t really mean anything except our next song is more relaxing and a bit more dependent on the synthetic sounds.  Musunde Hiraite definitely would’ve fit nicely on their first album since it’s cute and retro but not overly so on either side of the spectrum.  It kind of feels like a normal idol song but with the soft vocals from the two ladies. 

9. C Ba-san no Uta

Now this one is definitely a song that reminds me of their first album but less focused on their regular sound.  Like “Musunde Hiraite”, this has a cutesy sound to it and it’s pretty much obvious with how the ladies are singing the song.  It kind of makes me confused because I’m usually assuming they would sing with their kind of emotion-less tone but hear it’s a different story.  It’s likeable but I consider the previous song much better.

10. Oppai

Breasts?  Oh that’s kind of shady and double meaning (perhaps?).  I will say the arrangement kind of made me giggle because it has some interesting chords and notes like the song is inducing a little bit of a stoned feeling LOL.  The ladies are back to their droning and light vocals and it kind of works in the setting.  It’s so laidback and oddball…but I kind of liked this track.

11. Takami Time

The last interlude of the album is 20 second longer than the previous interludes but this one is unusual.  It’s like “VanillaBeans” in the fact that they’re back to spelling their names out but with light percussion/tambourine and harmonica.  Interesting but I don’t think it’s useful here either.

12. Södermalm

Kind of like “Älskar Dig”, Sodermalm focuses on strings leading the song but it interesting that Sodermalm is a part of Stockholm which is also nothing new to Vanilla Beans because they also have a song called “Gamla stan” which is also a section of Stockholm.  Makes me curious to why they have such a connection to the city.  As for the song, it’s pretty pleasant and and moves smoothly…to be honest I think this might be my favorite from the album.

13. Yumemiru Shippo

After the last track, I wasn’t expecting a sort of folkish song (at least I feel like it sounds like that…or just a basic acoustic ballad), Yumemiru Shippo is surprisingly quiet and relaxed when compared to the rest of the album.  At first I thought it was a solo because I hear only one voice through the first part but it could be that the two girls sung apart which makes a bit more sense.  Not bad, but I felt like there could be more to it.

14. Oyasumi

I would’ve thought Oyasumi would’ve closed the album because of the way it’s represented here.  I mean it’s even softer than “Yumemiru Shippo” and has less of an arrangement.  The rather sparse sound makes the song feel sleepy and lullaby-like.  I think it works for them as a ballad but I still feel that when it comes to this song, I’m ending up dozing off.

15. Tengoku e no Kaidan

However since “Oyasumi” doesn’t close the album I was wondering what would and then I saw the final track and was rather not surprised they’d go out with a bang.  The only A-side for the era, Tengoku e no Kaidan (a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” decides to show up and close).  Now this song is pretty damn long at a little over 8 minutes.  Now I haven’t gotten used to it since I found it not that long ago but I still kind of find this cover a bit humorous.  Of course it’s also the only English track on the album but it’s pretty difficult to figure what both Rena and Risa are actually saying…but this is kind of cute in a very freaky way.

Tracks Recommended

  • Södermalm
  • Oppai
  • Summer vacation
  • Musunde Hiraite
  • Tengoku e no Kaidan

Song of Avoidance

  • Yumemiru Shippo

Finally at the duo’s sophomore album, I have to say overall I did like it…but it doesn’t have the uber memorable songs that their debut album did so I felt like it wasn’t as amazing but still very nice.  I think it could’ve benefitted having “LOVE & HATE” and “D&D” on it without having the best-of album being released but it’s whatever.  Still not bad of a album overall.

 

Vanilla Beans – Tengoku e no Kaidan March 8, 2012

Filed under: Vanilla Beans — solarblade @ 3:48 am

Track Listing

  1. Tengoku e no Kaidan
  2. Baby Portable Rock
  3. Nicola
  4. a little crying

1. Tengoku e no Kaidan

If the you look at the title and translate it actually is Stairway to Heaven and YES it is a cover of that Led Zeppelin song.  I found this to be shocking the system and quite sacriligious for sure.  Add the fact that Rena and Risa are singing it in Engrish and you got a potential hot trainwreck which is true.  Unlike the original’s rock format, it’s turned into this sort of folkish atmospheric version which is interesting but ODD.  Also it’s the full song so it’s pretty damn long past 8 minutes XD.  It’s an interesting cover no doubt but as an A-side?  Strange.

3. Nicola

As this was a special limited release, the second half of the single features two old songs first is Nicola which was the duo’s second A-side.  I used to think it was boring as hell and while it’s still not amongst their best songs, it’s got charm and the acoustic guitar arrangement has got me smiling.  Sweet song.

4. a little crying

I’m surprised they put the B-side from the duo’s first single, “U ♡ Me” on here and I’m not sure if it’s the original or the new version (the original had original member Rika and not Risa).  It’s a bit more relaxing than “Nicola” that’s for sure and they keep with the acoustic guitar as well.  Breezy song overall and it moves smoothly but it’s good background music nothing above that though.

 

 

FINALLY and will review the missing cover track as well.  While this is the only single that represents the “Vanilla Beans II” era, Tengoku e no Kaidan is a very oddball single.  I mean the A-side is a cover of Led Zeppelin’s biggest song word by word!  Also the first B-side is a cover of Pizzicato Five’s recognizable song.  Then the second half is songs the duo have already released.  I just didn’t understand this single at all!