Kurayami Monogatari

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You Kikkawa – Sayonara, Standard June 14, 2017

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 6:34 am

sayonarastand

Track Listing

  1. Sayonara, Standard
  2. Unbalance Unbalance
  3. Sayonara, Standard (Instrumental)
  4. Unbalance Unbalance (Instrumental)

1. Sayonara, Standard

I was wondering what Yuu would bring us for her next A-side after the odd “Ha wo Kuishibare!” and considering the same person wrote her next A-side, I was expecting the tune to be more strange, but Sayonara, Standard is a bit more normal, but I wasn’t expecting Yuu to sound so different than she has before.  Almost squeakier and nasally than before which is unusual.  Plus the arrangement is a bit kooky and cutesy too.  It’s definitely a Seiko Oomori song and it’s different enough to stick out, but I’m not quite sure if it reaches levels of Kikka’s older works.

2. Unbalance Unbalance

As the lone B-side, Unbalance Unbalance follows behind “Charming Shoubu Sedai” by having more of a pop/rock vibe, but like “Sayonara, Standard”, it comes off a bit cuter due to Kikka’s cutesy vocals and some of the arrangement choices made here.  It’s pretty simple and it works as a B-side I feel like.

 

 

Not sure why Kikka keeps moving away from her EDM works because I keep thinking that’s her bread and butter so once again I feel a bit bummed from this single.  Sayonara, Standard is strange, not as much as the previous Oomori produced song, but absurd from making Kikka not sound like herself.  Unbalance Unbalance is OK, nothing special…I feel this single could’ve used another B-side, but this single is just kind of meh for me.

 

 

You Kikkawa – Ha wo Kuishibare!/Charming Shoubu Sedai June 8, 2016

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 6:42 am

hawakuishibare

Track Listing

  1. Ha wo Kuishibare!
  2. Charming Shoubu Sedai
  3. Maneiro! (Limited B only)
  4. Ha wo Kuishibare! (Instrumental)
  5. Charming Shoubu Sedai (Instrumental)
  6. Maneiro! (Instrumental)

1. Ha wo Kuishibare!

I couldn’t really understand what transpired from this song.  Kikka sounds like she’s bring nervous and shy in the introduction, but then the song just goes on this weird route with the lyrics and the cutesy arrangement.  I just don’t understand what’s happening here.  Then I found out Seiko Oomori had a hand in this and while that makes a little more sense, it doesn’t make up for how nonsensical the track comes off.  Like ~have a nice mouth~ as its hook…it’s a bit out there.

2. Charming Shoubu Sedai

At least the other A-side made a lot more sense lyrically than it’s sister A-side.  Charming Shoubu Sedai has a much stronger pop/rock kind of groove in it and reminds me of some earlier Kikka songs from her first era.  I like Kikka’s cute vocals and she has a girly personality for the track that’s for sure.  Definitely the better leading track here!

3. Maneiro!

As the only B-side of the single (and found on one edition of the single, I wasn’t sure what there was to this track, but it’s definitely a summer-themed track as it has some tropical sounds and reminds me of Up Up Girls’ “Up Up Typhoon” with the energetic dance beats and aggressive bongos. The song brings out the bright vocals and it’s just nice to dance with.

 

 

After her “WILDFLOWER” album, I’m surprised that Kikka would ditch her electronic style and go for something a little more from her first album.  Ha wo Kuishibare! doesn’t quite fit the mold and honestly it is such a bizarre song that it really doesn’t connect with me.  At least there’s Charming Shoubu Sedai to remedy that with its pop/rock sound and bright sound.  Maneiro! is a pretty good (albeit familiar sounding) summer track…though it’s a B-side?

 

You Kikkawa – YOU the 3rd. ~WILDFLOWER~ October 20, 2015

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 6:42 pm

youthe3rd

Track Listing

  1. URAHARA Temptation
  2. Akane Disco
  3. “Suki” no Kazoekata
  4. Amai Melody
  5. Planetarium
  6. Ii jan
  7. Konna Aishicha
  8. Hana
  9. WILDSTRAWBERRY
  10. Stairways

1. URAHARA Temptation

Dang, what a way to open up Yuu’s 3rd album!  I’ve already boasted enough on how much I love this song because it really shows off a stronger sound for Kikka as well as giving us hard-hitting dance track.  I guess the things that I didn’t care for too much are the opening (with footsteps and a door shutting, but that’s more fitting to the PV) and the weird rapping section (Yuu’s vocals seem a bit too girly to tackle that lol).  Beyond that, the song is a club-banger and might be my favorite song (even topping “Konna Watashi de Yokattara”).  Great way to kick things off!

2. Akane Disco

Our next track is the first of the new songs and with the opening I was curious to what it’d be like because of its light opening but it seems like Akane Disco is a quick-paced funk/disco-ish song which is something she hasn’t pulled off quite yet.  I like the speed and Yuu’s vocals are pretty solid and she kept up with the pace of the tempo.  I will say it’s a lot more cuter than I expected, but it’s rather catchy!

3. “Suki” no Kazoekata

Moving to the 2nd single she released prior to the album, this was the secondary A-side and while I wasn’t surprised this was placed as such (as both leading A-side of the doubles were of her more electronic side.  “Suki” no Kazoekata is rather cute just like the previous song, but lacks the punch of the latter.  I do like the dance beats mixing up with acoustic guitar for sure and Yuu’s bright energy gives a lot to the song, still better than the next track albeit not by a whole lot.

4. Amai Melody

Seeing as this was our electro song given to us for her second single, Amai Melody starts off slowly with piano and Yuu’s light vocals before it starts to gradually pick the pace up and gets a lot more forceful.  There’s some really good parts though and it really makes the song pop out from the other dance tracks, though I do still think it’s lacking something about it but I can’t put a finger on it.

5. Planetarium

Things slow down even further when our next album track pops up.  I was surprised how bareboned of a song it is to kind of thrown in the middle of the album.  What I mean is that the song is an acoustic guitar-led ballad which might come to a surprise to many as she’s been just releasing busy arranged songs.  The simplicity of the song might not be for many, but it’s a nice and laidback tune with no tricks up its sleeves.

6. Ii jan

“Planetarium” makes it even stranger because Ii jan comes right after with its pop/rock cuteness.  Like I’ve said on the single review, this song feels like a leftover from “Two YOU” with the emphasis on the guitarwork.  I’m still not too keen on this song due to Yuu’s choice of singing here and I’m thrown off with how weird it is on the album.  My least favorite amongst the A-side (if we aren’t counting “Hana’s” movements separately).

7. Konna Aishicha

The next new track, Konna Aishicha is another ballad (the flow of this album right now…) sounds a bit more up to date with the sound by having a mixture of guitar and piano and some underlying synths.  I also feel like Yuu sung this track a little better which stuck to me a little more but I get this feeling it reminds me of something from “One for YOU!”.  Not bad overall!

8. Hana

I’m still surprised that Hana wasn’t split into three songs for the album (because honestly I would’ve loved a separate version of Cosmos e no Inori).  I do love the opening for the track before it leads into Hinegeshi no You ni but this section (or first song) is really in your face and leads to really random sections.  I mean the upbeat, percussion-heavy start is fun and sounds like Kikka is having fun and all.  Then the whole “Bohemian Rhapsody” area was humorous and I thought Kikka had fun there, but it’s shortlived because we move back into the upbeat stuff.  To really know when the song changes it’s preceded by spoken dialogue from Kikka (and it really ties the whole ~flower~ thing here).  I still think Anemone no ne is the weakest part of this song because it focuses on a ballad and technically is a Xmas song lyrically.  I don’t think it really suited things in the big picture and while Kikka sung this pretty well, I wasn’t into this one (it’s like the piano take of “Planetarium”).  After that bit of boredom, we get more exposition and we’re led to Cosmos e no Inori and of the three tracks featured, I was loving this one due to the familiar electronic beats, good voice, and strong chorus.  Throwing in acoustic guitar also made it stick out amongst the other dance track and like “URAHARA Temptation”, it’s a banger totally!  Overall, this 17 and a half minute journey was OK overall, like I said, it’d be better if Yuu had just split the song into three because I can never sit through that ballad middle.

9. WILDSTRAWBERRY

Moving to the promotional track on the album, with a title like that I was expecting something cute, but damn I was wrong.  With a marching drum intro, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but hearing Yuu building the song up until the beat kicks in, I was an IMMEDIATE fan of this song.  Fitting smoothly next to “URAHARA Temptation” and “Cosmos e no Inori” with its heavier EDM sound, it just kicked ass and Yuu knew this was a good trump card!  Definitely my favorite amongst the new tracks and might fight with “URAHARA Temptation” as favorite Kikka song!!!

10. Stairways

Ending the album, Stairways sounds like something H!P would’ve done for some reason with it’s upbeat, bright nature.  It’s basically “Ii jan” with piano included which might be good for fans that enjoyed that song.  I could see this as a last track because of certain chords in the chorus and I kind of liked it a lot.  Though I think one of the ballads would’ve worked too lol.

Tracks Recommended

  • WILDSTRAWBERRY
  • URAHARA Temptation
  • Cosmos e no Inori (from Hana)
  • Akane Disco
  • Konna Aishicha

Song of Avoidance

  • Planetarium

It’s been a while since Kikka released an album and her 3rd album is definitely her best yet!  I don’t know what happened when “Two YOU” released but a lot of that EDM back then didn’t work for me and the album had some boring songs.  Luckily with YOU the 3rd. ~WILDFLOWER~ the EDM is amazing and really suits her perfectly!  The new songs on this one were good for the most part, but Planetarium didn’t fit at all and Hana should’ve been split (12 songs wouldn’t hurt would it?).  Still a surprisingly well done album!

 

You Kikkawa – Hana May 13, 2015

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 2:18 am

hana

Track Listing

  1. Hana
  2. Hana (Instrumental)

1. Hana

Lord Kikka!!, why would you go and make a 17 minute song and proclaim it’s the longest idol song out there?!?  Yeah, 17 minutes, but split into 3 parts.  It begins with the 1st movement, “Hinageshi no You ni” which has a pretty cool opening but turns into a happier pop tune before going into an interesting “Bohemian Rhapsody”-like section which was pretty humourous yet fun to listen to before jumping back into its poppy nature.  Then we get some spoken dialogue before we enter the ballad of the tune, “Anemone no ne”. I do think it’s the weakest area of the song, but it’s also the nicest her voice sounds.  I don’t seem to recall much of this section though so oh well.  Finally after another round of dialogue, we enter the final movement, “Cosmos e no Inori” and this is the area where a lot of Kikka’s current sound lies so it’s more familiar than the other two.  Giving it the electro boost is pretty cool and really suits amongst her other A-sides she released so far in the era.  I’m loving the part where acoustic guitar joins alongside the blazing synths as well.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting Kikka to even announce something like this but it felt like a 3-song single because of how different each movement sound.  I personally love Cosmos e no Inori a lot because it continues her streak of really great sounding electro songs.  Hinageshi no You ni is pretty neat to and throwing so many ideas caught my attention early on.  Though I have to say, Anemone no ne was kind of the weak link since I barely remembered that…Interesting single, though I hope by album’s release these 3 songs split and become their own track.

 

You Kikkawa – Amai Melody/”Suki” no Kazoekata March 5, 2015

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 8:58 pm

amaimelody

Track Listing

  1. Amai Melody
  2. “Suki” no Kazoekata
  3. Amai Melody (Instrumental)
  4. “Suki” no Kazoekata (Instrumental)

1. Amai Melody

You know, with Kikka going into electro and such since her first album, I was curious to what she would come up with after “URAHARA Temptation” and while Amai Melody isn’t as aggressive and epic like the aforementioned song, it’s a pretty tune that has a lot of piano and dance beats fused into each other.  I do love that she’s dropped the auto-tune though and the song is pretty much straightforward.  Overall, not as risky, but still a pretty solid track!

2. “Suki” no Kazoekata

It also seems that Kikka has also made the 2nd A-side be more of that cuter side, but this time she actually kind of took a lot of the synths and placed them here as well.  It’s upbeat and happy-go-lucky and it’s one of the cuter songs that she’s tackled without it being too much and she sounds so adorable!!!  Definitely the better of the two songs.

 

 

As the 2nd single, Amai Melody/”Suki” no Kazoekata was a bit more safe of a single than her previous one for sure, but that being said, I still quite liked this single.  Amai Melody is pretty light, yet easy to tap your feet to and that’s a good thing.  Also, “Suki” no Kazoekata was the cuter song, but it had ncie depth to it and it’s just a sweet listen.  Knowing that she’s announced her next single being the ~longest~ idol song….it makes me worried…

 

You Kikkawa – URAHARA Temptation/Ii jan July 2, 2014

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 3:10 am

uraharatemptation

Track Listing

  1. URAHARA Temptation
  2. Ii jan
  3. URAHARA Temptation (Instrumental)
  4. Ii jan (Instrumental)

1. URAHARA Temptation

At first, when I first started Yuu’s URAHARA Temptation, it kind of threw me back to Maki Goto’s “SOME BOYS! TOUCH” with the sexual sound and low club feel.  It sounded pretty cool and familiar and sometimes Yuu really sounded like Gocchin, but the song grows into this powerhouse dance track and I’m just losing myself to the chorus.  Add on a fun rapping section and some slow sung moments and I’m just swepped in by everything (plus it’s produced by michitomo, same guy that does a lot of UUG songs) and it’s just so awesome!!!  Way to pick me up after the last couple of releases.

2. Ii jan

The other A-side is a bit of a 180 from the leading track by being more sugary and more like her songs that were released from “Two YOU”.  Add some underlying guitars and less auto-tune and you got this track.  Yuu’s voice is a bit more cutesy and genki but I think it’s alright since this song is supposed to be the opposite to “URAHARA Temptation”…Amongst her discography however, this song might not make a big impression on me.

 

 

After releasing a cover album and a best-of…I was wondering what the hell was UNI-J doing to Yuu but at least she came strong with this single.  URAHARA Temptation is a tune that will definitely rise to the top of the year…it’s just a great song to dance to and brought my interest back into her.  Ii jan while not the most outstanding song is still a worthy cute song from her…shows her idol roots so to speak…still overall a great single!

 

You Kikkawa – Two YOU June 17, 2014

Filed under: You Kikkawa — solarblade @ 4:30 am

twoyou

Track Listing

  1. Dramatic
  2. Darling to Madonna
  3. Zutto Zutto Zutto Kimi ga Suki da
  4. Ren’ai Enbo
  5. Sekaijuu ni Kimi wa Hitori Dake
  6. Koko Kara Hajimarunda!
  7. TO BE…
  8. Kaze no You na Melody
  9. Unmei
  10. Twinkle Days
  11. Sayonara Namida (Acoustic Version)
  12. Kikkake wa YOU! (Acoustic Version)

1. Dramatic

If the era hasn’t told me enough, I wasn’t surprised Yuu would open her sophomore with a kind of electropop song like Dramatic.  Though I am happily taken that Yuu’s vocals are clean and not synthesized like it has been with many other songs in the era.  Yuu’s vocals are clean cut and matches with the dance beats and glossy sound.  A pretty opening track for sure!

2. Darling to Madonna

Moving onto the 2nd A-side she released for this album, Darling to Madonna had a little deja vu moment to “Dramatic” with the electro vocal bits.  However, the song stood out from the previous track with a more powerful arrangement than basically had more guitars included.  I think without that important addition, it would’ve just been a clone to other songs she’s released.

3. Zutto Zutto Zutto Kimi ga Suki da

Onto our next new song, Zutto Zutto Zutto Kimi ga Suki da feels like it’s trying to be “Darling to Madonna” without the glossy synths and left the guitars.  I do like some of the track luckily, but the chorus felt weaker than the rest of the tune IMO.  I don’t know it just didn’t do much for me in the long run.

4. Ren’ai Enbo

Though I have to say, if she were to have a song that was more pop/rock to work, Ren’ai Enbo is that song.  The intro was hard-hitting and quick and then lets up to a pretty funky track as Yuu sings.  If there was any qualms, it’s that Yuu’s voice doesn’t have that rock voice so it’s kind of shaky to me and her voice could’ve been way powerful in the chorus.  Otherwise, this song is definitely my favorite of the new tracks on the album.

5. Sekaijuu ni Kimi wa Hitori Dake

I had totally forgot this was an A-side XD.  As the album’s first ballad, Sekaijuu ni Kimi wa Hitori Dake never really impressed me (simply because the other A-sides from that single were leagues better overall).  I mean it’s nice that Yuu kind of ditched the synthpop for a bit with this song.  Her voice doesn’t seem to emote well for me but I suppose it’s something she could work on.

6. Koko Kara Hajimarunda!

Moving to the 1st A-side of the era, Koko Kara Hajimarunda! was the first single that really had to glossy synthpop sound that kind of pushed me away from her music for a while.  I am a bit happy that it is seperated from tracks like “Dramatic” and “Darling to Madonna” or it would’ve been overload for me.  Coming back to this song does sound like it’s in its own area because it’s not a bad song, but Yuu’s deadpan voice doesn’t really help me enjoy the song and while it sounds better than it did when the single released, it’s not that far up.

7. TO BE…

Our next ballad, TO BE… is a bit more thought out of a piece than “Sekaijuu ni Kimi wa Hitori Dake” because she actually put a little more effort in the song and she actually sounds a LOT better and less nasally as well.  Plus, the song sounds really good overall with the arrangement being more engaging by mixing the dance beats with strings and piano…it was a surprising new song and it’s up there with “Ren’ai Enbo”.

8. Kaze no You na Melody

Funny how Yuu included all the original B-sides (but left off the songs she covered from the album).  Kaze no You na Melody was the B-side from “Koko Kara Hajimarunda!” and honestly it’s a lot like “Darling to Madonna” by mixing that synthpop with guitars.  The tune has slightly grown on me since the single review, but I still can’t shake the unoriginality here and Yuu’s high notes are a bit meh.

9. Unmei

Another ballad on the album…seems weird to have gone back and forth between them.  Unmei doesn’t have the right markings like “TO BE…” had so it’s a lot more downtempo.  Sadly due to that, the song just kind of goes over my head as the melody is forgetful and Yuu’s vocals aren’t nothing to write home about.  Just wasn’t good here.

10. Twinkle Days

As the last original song off the album, Twinkle Days slides in as the final track and it was also the B-side from “Darling to Madonna” and funny enough after “Unmei” going back to the synthpop stuff was a bit jagged.  I will say that of the other synthpop tracks, this is the most beat-heavy but it includes many of the same techniques and tricks as those songs.  Not bad, and it’s better than a lot of songs on the album.

11. Sayonara Namida (Acoustic Version)

The album ends off with two acoustic tracks of songs from her debut album, “One for YOU!”.  Sayonara Namida got simpler by going down to just acoustic guitar and piano and it sounds rather present.  Her voice has a little more life in it.  I quite like this version, but the original is still better to my ears.  Not bad though!

12. Kikkake wa YOU! (Acoustic Version)

The other song is of her debut A-side and it’s great that this acoustic kept up with a more upbeat pace than “Sayonara Namida”.  I’ve said in the past that I didn’t like Kikkake wa YOU! all that much, but the acoustic version gave us a different approach and it’s gotten me to appreciate the tune a bit more, but the original still is a hard listen.

Tracks Recommended

  • Ren’ai Enbo
  • TO BE…
  • Dramatic
  • Kikkake wa YOU! (Acoustic Version)
  • Twinkle Days

Song of Avoidance

  • Sekaijuu ni Kimi wa Hitori Dake

Honestly, coming into Kikka’s sophomore album, it really is a sophomore slump more than anything else.  On the album there wasn’t as much variety like there was in “One for YOU!” and the songs on the album were either synthpop tunes or really generic sounding tracks with some exceptions.  Though I’m all for Kikka doing an acoustic album.  Also after this album she released a best album…necessary???  Meh, this album just didn’t do good for me.