Kurayami Monogatari

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VIXX – Hana Kaze July 11, 2016

Filed under: VIXX — solarblade @ 2:21 am

hanakaze

Track Listing

  1. Hana Kaze
  2. MOONLIGHT
  3. Hana Kaze (Instrumental)
  4. MOONLIGHT (Instrumental)

1. Hana Kaze

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting VIXX to release a ballad as an A-side this early in their Japanese careers.  Though this does means that the group gets to showcase their vocals in a much more broader light in a song like this.  The song’s arrangement though is pretty basic as things go with piano/strings/percussion.  Though I’m noticing a pattern with the group where Leo & Ken sing mostly in choruses as N, Hyuk, and Hong Bin sing the verses.  Actually, I’m a little surprised there’s no Ravi involved here (and if he is, his voice blends to other voices).  Still, I’m not quite as impressed with this when compared to both of their previous A-sides.

2. MOONLIGHT

Though not much could be really said for the B-side.  I will say, that the song has a little more pop vibes than “Hana Kaze” to say the least.  I’m really liking the vocals here a bit more as well hearing N and Hyuk flow so smoothly and then the chorus with Leo & Ken is also quite moving and even Ravi has a rap section in the track!  This actually the preferred song from the single!

I wasn’t expecting VIXX to come back and release more Japanese singles after their “Depend on me” album but here we are with Hana Kaze.  Honestly, I really wasn’t expecting a ballad (since the group excels at dark and edgy motifs) and in the end I found the leading track to be almost generic in many ways.  Though I would give credit to MOONLIGHT for at least trying to do something different and ending up being the better song…wonder what’ll be next…

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VIXX – Depend on me February 15, 2016

Filed under: VIXX — solarblade @ 4:56 am

dependonme

Track Listing

  1. Depend on me
  2. ECHO
  3. Goodbye your love
  4. Chained up -Japanese ver.-
  5. Error -Japanese ver.-
  6. Love Letter -Japanese ver.-
  7. Can’t say
  8. Spider (KOR)
  9. Hot Enough (KOR)
  10. Stop it girl (KOR)
  11. Heaven (KOR)
  12. Shadow (Limited Edition A bonus track)
  13. With Me (Limited Edition B bonus track)
  14. Can’t say (Korean ver.) (Regular Edition bonus track)

1. Depend on me

Not surprising that the group would open their album with the title track and at the same time, the promotional song!  Now VIXX and their leading songs are quite something and usually is the best part about their releases.  With Depend on me, I wasn’t expecting the song to have strings backing it up.  It’s a pretty strong arrangement and the group themselves sound just as great as they normally are.  I really do like N and Hyuk’s lines a lot but everyone sounds so good.  Another strong song in VIXX’s discography that’s for sure!

2. ECHO

Now, I can’t lie and say I’m slightly disappointed that there’s only 3 brand new tracks for the album, but it’s more than what “DARKEST ANGELS” provided (which was none).  ECHO begins with a kind of ethereal intro and smooth intro with the members before it opens to a more kind of funky dance track (a little similar to “Mukae ni Ikou”).  It’s a fun track for the group and the strings and bass are really reminding for past things.  Though while it’s something VIXX doesn’t do too much of, this song is pretty much sticking out in a nice way!

3. Goodbye your love

I was expecting a ballad to pop up as the last new track, but alas the tune is a bit more upbeat and positive than the previous two tracks.  Actually, there’s some pats that make me think of “Depend on me” but this has a lot more peppy feels and the vocals are also just a bit more bright. Of the 3 new tracks though, this one does feel out of place, but I’m not sure why.

4. Chained up -Japanese ver.-

So it’s no surprise that they would add songs from their most recent Korean album of the same name, but it’s shocking that they would make a Japanese version so soon of Chained up.  It’s not surprise that I LOVE this song so I was curious to what to expect in a different language and while the smoothness of the original is somewhat lost, it’s still a pretty epic song and a lot of the chorus remains just as hard and punchy too!  Yeah, loved this!

5. Error -Japanese ver.-

As the group’s first A-side in Japan, Error was a smart choice simply because how good it was in Korea and just mysterious and cool it was.  Like with “Chained up”, a lot of what made the original Korean version so amazing is somewhat muddled in the transition over (especially since more English is found alongside extra vocal stacking all over.  I mean beyond that it’s still Error at the end of the day and it was decent but I’d keep the original.

6. Love Letter -Japanese ver.-

The other transitioned track from Korea to Japan, Love Letter is a bit of an older song from the guys (coming from their “hyde” mini-album).  Though it seems like this takes the route as ballad of the album as it’s full of piano and strings.  Of all the newly translated songs, I think Love Letter had the smoothest change between the 3, but this song is a by-the-books ballad with some cheesy electric guitar moments thrown in.  It’s a good song though and while its representation is strange here, it did its job rather nicely and YES, this is the first time it has appeared because the version on “DARKEST ANGELS” is still in Korean.

7. Can’t say

Then we get the 2nd A-side released (which was an original track for the group, luckily).  I still wasn’t totally sold on the song because it was a bit different from what I was expecting from VIXX.  The song itself does remind me of “Goodbye your love” with the brighter atmosphere but this includes more natural instruments (especially drums).  I do love the vocals a lot more than I did.  A different approach from VIXX and I ended up liking it more and more even if it sounds almost like some older J-pop songs.

8. Spider (KOR)

The next four songs are ripped straight from their “Chained up” album in Korea without making a language transition.  I really like the introduction as it gives a darker vibe as most of VIXX’s best songs turn out to be.  I do love the bass lines here and the group is just sounding good together.  I actually ended up loving the song and while the boys have a certain placement in songs, I don’t mind at all.  It was a standout on the album (although a LOT of that album was pretty much stand out).

9. Hot Enough (KOR)

The next song up takes things in a more R&B kind of setting with that laidback focus and smooth vocals going on all around.  While I’m not into the genre as much anymore, there’s something so sensual about the song and I’m loving the sections with Ravi as there’s just a low-lying string going around.  While I wasn’t impressed with this as much as “Spider” or “Chained up” it still was a nice surprise…for this album, it is strange.

10. Stop it girl (KOR)

Next up, we slow things down a smidge more with Stop it girl which is also like “Hot Enough” in the sense that it’s also R&B.  This sounds very Western though and while I don’t have anything wrong with the vocals, I feel like I’ve heard this ind of song numerous times before so it kind of just goes over my head.

11. Heaven (KOR)

I’m surprised to hear Ravi open up the next track, but the song is definitely in a much upbeat form than the previous tracks.  It kind of gives me the same vibe that “G.R.8.U” did with the kind of silly, but cute vibe the song gives off alongside the shared mood from the members (plus hearing Ravi spell out the title is kind of catchy).  Even though this is near the end of the album, I kind of enjoyed it.

12. Shadow

So at the end of the album, depending on what version you buy, you end up with a different closing track.  However, the limited editions end with a track composed between Leo and Ravi.  First is the song from Leo and while he is also essentially the voice of the group (or sometimes looked as the leader), Shadow is at least not a ballad luckily (which is something Leo ends up releasing as it is).  It does begin with a short excerpt from Ravi (who raps on later on).  It’s a rather cool song despite being a solo track, but won me over quickly.

13. With Me

With Ravi’s composed song, With Me also begins with some Ravi, but quickly is joined by what I think is Hong Bin, N, and Leo although I can’t be too sure.  Still, it’s a pretty cool chill track and kind of gives me this somber, but sad track which is pretty cool and nice of the group.  While I do enjoy “Shadow” a bit more, this is quite nice as well!

14. Can’t say (Korean ver.)

On Regular editions though, things end with a Korean take of their 2nd single and it already made an appearance on their “Chained up” album.  Nothing has changed in arrangement, but the song is a little more smoother and fitting for the group which is rather no surprise there.  I guess since its turned into a lead track, I feel like this song doesn’t quite stack up against the greats from VIXX, but it’s not poor.

Tracks Recommended

  • Depend on me
  • Shadow
  • Spider (KOR)
  • Chained up -Japanese ver.-
  • With Me

Song of Avoidance

  • Stop it girl (KOR)

So here we are with VIXX’s actual debut album in Japan (I personally don’t count “DARKEST ANGELS” as it was just a best album of their Korean works).  Depend on me even though isn’t what I’d either call a full-on debut as there’s only 3 new songs, the majority of this release was actually quite well-produced and showcases the strengths between the 6 members!  I hope we get to see more VIXX in Japan as the K-pop wave is in a really slow place currently.

 

VIXX – Can’t say September 17, 2015

Filed under: VIXX — solarblade @ 5:26 am

cantsay

Track Listing

  1. Can’t say
  2. Mukae ni Ikou
  3. Can’t say (Instrumental)
  4. Mukae ni Ikou (Instrumental)

1. Can’t say

I wasn’t expecting VIXX to release a lighter pop song (as they’re kind of well-known for their more angsty and edgier concepts in Korea) though I guess you can say “Love Equation” was too since that was their last release as the 6 members.  Can’t say is pretty poppy almost a little 90’s nostalgia behind it with the drum beats and style.  All 6 members do get a good enough set of lines spread between them and I really like hearing Leo and Hyuk’s vocals a lot.  Ravi is here and there with his parts as he has a rather unique voice…overall decent as their first original Japanese track.

2. Mukae ni Ikou

I was kind of expecting a ballad to come out from a title like this, but Mukae ni Ikou is kind of a funkier song for the group!  Though due to that, the Japanese does get slightly muddled due to the accents the guys have.  Though I do think this song is a bit better than “Can’t say” as the group sounds like they’re having a little more fun and the energy is raised by quite a bit too.  I suppose it’s got the better turnout.

VIXX’s 2nd single and I’m happy both songs are of original arrangements this time (not to call out “Error” because it’s such a good song regardless).  Can’t say was an interesting song for them as they kind of rarely do these lighter pop songs.  Though I would say Mukae ni Ikou is a little more towards their style but they haven’t done anything funky since their early days so it’s nice to see a song like this in their collection.  Overall a decent single, but I hope their next one brings out their firepower.

 

VIXX – Error September 6, 2015

Filed under: VIXX — solarblade @ 6:16 am

error

Track Listing

  1. Error -Japanese ver.-
  2. Seishun Datte
  3. Error -Japanese ver.- (Instrumental)
  4. Seishun Datte (Instrumental)

1. Error -Japanese ver.-

When it comes to songs like this, VIXX seem to be kind of behind on the times nowadays and seldom are simple J-pop redubs of Korean songs done well enough and this is kind of no different.  I thought the original was flawless (and trust me VIXX has been really hitting some good marks in their homeland with stuff like “VOODOO DOLL” and “ETERNITY” showcasing greatness.  Error is still a pretty damn amazing song for the group although it did lose a lot of the cold smoothness on the transition to Japan.  I’m still surprised that Hong Bin gets to use such a baritone sounding solo line (pretty lengthy too!).  Definitely a great song, but take a listen to the original because I personally think it’s better than this (and the Chinese version).

2. Seishun Datte

Also a self-redub of their song “Cheongchuni Apa” from their “Error” mini-album, Seishun Datte falls in the normal K-pop stereotype as the ballad B-side.  I do like the acoustics of the song and while the group has some accent quirks, they do a fine job with a slower song just as much as the dramatic A-side.  Even Ravi sounds nice kind of throwing raps here and there too.  Not bad.

As the group’s official debut here in Japan, Error was a solid choice due to how good the song was in Korea and while it might not flow as well as the originl, it’s the song itself that really sticks out!  Seishun Datte is pretty good as the slow song of the single, but I hope their next one comes off a little better with original material.