Kurayami Monogatari

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Hitomi Shimatani – Ichiba ni Ikou June 29, 2009

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 11:57 pm
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Ichibaniikou

Track Listing

  1. Ichiba ni Ikou
  2. SPLASH
  3. Ichiba ni Ikou (Instrumental)
  4. SPLASH (Instrumental)

1. Ichiba ni Ikou

Well, we finally get something new and original from Hitomi and it also becomes one of the styles Hitomi gets to be known for a lot.  Ichiba ni Ikou and a Spanish flavor to it and it’s quite ethnic and quite cool for her.  There could be some Asian influences as well, but this song has a nice summery feel to it that would make anyone sway their hips to it.  It’s a catchy track I’ll say and I like it.

2. SPLASH

SPLASH is also Spanish-influenced as well but features a vivid cast of brass within the songs entirety.  I actually prefer this track over “Ichiba ni Ikou” since it sounds more together and Hitomi’s vocals shine better in the song.  I don’t know why, but this song is definitly a strong ass B-side, can’t help but love it.

 

 

Oh wow avex….who knew you’d get it right on the 3rd single of the “PAPILLON” era.  Unlike the awkward “Kaihouku” or cover “papillon”, this time Hitomi went all out latin on us and I loved this single good.  Both Ichiba ni Ikou and SPLASH took the fun in latin tracks and made em her own and it worked very well.  I’m even more elated that both tracks appear on the album, that made me happy!!!!

 

Koda Kumi – Kiseki June 27, 2009

Filed under: Koda Kumi — solarblade @ 11:56 pm
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kiseki

Track Listing

  1. Kiseki
  2. LOVE HOLIC
  3. life
  4. Kiseki (Instrumental)
  5. LOVE HOLIC (Instrumental)
  6. life (Instrumental)

1. Kiseki

Kuu, oh Kuu….R&B ballads aren’t exactly your thing girl.  It does kind of fall in through her other tracks that are in the same boat.  I’ll say though that her vocals sound really nice here and the music is soothing, but I think that’s about it that’s really good about it.  It’s just a basic R&B ballad nothing more or nothing less really.

2. LOVE HOLIC

Thank god!  LOVE HOLIC is like one of Kuu’s best songs of the era simply because it’s fun, energetic, and just lively.  It’s a little bit of silly and cute rolled in one and I quite enjoyed it since she hasn’t done anything relatively close to it.  I wonder if this was a summer song.  hmmmm, sweet song.

3. life

Another R&B ballad-like track?  Yup, it’s a bit more upbeat though so it’s kind of in the middle between the other two tracks.  Luckily, I like this a lot more than Kiseki, because it keeps my interest and her vocals are a bit more interesting.  I think the bridge was my favorite part, it just seemed to flow right.  Nice pop song, another B-side I enjoyed immensely.

 

 

After the amazing “Chase” and “LOVE & HONEY”…Kiseki would be the meh single clearly just because Kiseki was just another typical Kuu R&B flavored ballad.  Definitely not her forte 4th album into her career.  LOVE HOLIC was Kuu treading on new ground with a summer track and I liked it alot.  life was also good as well, showing off her pop side.  Iono…where this era is gonna end off at lol xD

 

Ayumi Hamasaki – A Song for ××

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 3:19 pm
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asongforxx

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. A Song for ××
  3. Hana
  4. FRIEND
  5. FRIEND II
  6. poker face
  7. Wishing
  8. YOU
  9. As if…
  10. POWDER SNOW
  11. Trust
  12. Depend on you
  13. SIGNAL
  14. from your letter
  15. For My Dear…
  16. Present

1. Prologue

It’s pretty understandable to begin an album with an introduction to this album and Prologue is one of those tracks that makes you wonder what it’d be like if it was an actual vocal track because I really like the fantasy-like sounds and the piano combining together to make a soothing opening.

2. A Song for ××

Our first track is the title track for the album.  I expected the song to be a ballad of sorts and I was kind of right, but then it became a pop/rock filled with a nice arrangement and guitar riff.  The verses are the ballad-like parts of the song while the chorus is the more aggressive side of the song.  That’s actually the best part of the song IMO.  Great way to begin things.  Ayu though kind of gets worse when she starts the wailing…

3. Hana

Yikes, talk about cheesy pop in the days, Hana is like that with the funk riffs and the wild brass that’s in the song.  Ayu’s vocals sound alright, but they aren’t in good shape still, but I can’t get this song into my head, it’s just not that interesting IMO.

4. FRIEND

Meh, I would’ve rather not have seen this on the album as it still is boring as hell to listen to and there’s just nothing that exactly makes it stand out in anyway shape or form.  Then again it did come from her avex debut “poker face” which shows that it’s not that good in the first place.  PASS

5. FRIEND II

That’s where FRIEND II steps in.  Clearly this track was a bit more eventful that the previous track and there’s like somewhat of emotions written throughout.  Then again the arrangement isn’t something amazingly new which surprises me, but at the same time it’s Ayu what can ya do at this point of time?  Her vocals are a bit meh here as well, so don’t expect something extravagant, but still it’s way better than “FRIEND”

6. poker face

We get back to horrible vocals from Ayu with her debut song which nowadays sounds terribly aged and I still can’t say I enjoy it much since Ayu is just way flat and out of place here.  I can feel for her that the song is special to her, but c’mon you need to spruce this track up and badly I must say.

7. Wishing

Is this our first actual ballad?  I keep forgetting this track was on this album and not her sophomore album, “LOVEppears”.  Now at this point on the album, a ballad is kind of strange and yet makes me smile because it’s nothing cheesy.  All it is is percussion and piano which is nice.  Her vocals do sound better than it did on “poker face” which is a good sign for sure.  Pretty good ballad.

8. YOU

I’ll admit it, I fell in love with this track even though I still feel it’s ridiculously slow and awkward.  Like I said in my single review, the remixes and various touched-up versions make the original sound bad, it’s still not that bad of a song and even then there’s just a lot to like about it.  OK, her vocals hit the slumps again, but seriously, it’s not thaaat bad.

9. As if…

Did Ayu just go valley girl on us?  Anyways, the song once again fails to make an impression on me because well, it’s too basic.  I mean there’s parts I do enjoy like the low synth beats and chorus, but other than that there’s just not a lot going for it.  Typical pop song IMO

10. POWDER SNOW

Another song that’s less liked than it’s remakes and remixes.  POWDER SNOW is our next ballad, and at that a wintry-based ballad.  The first thing I noticed about the song was the a good portion was just piano and Ayu’s off vocals.  It does eventually gain some guitars and drums and that’s bad cuz it’s typical….

11. Trust

Trust also seems pretty meh, especially since it was a single…Like “YOU” it’s amazingly slow for a track that I think was meant to be a bit faster.  Remixes definitely make this song sound worse as it is….hmmm It’s luckily not the worst on the album.

12. Depend on you

I think overall, Depend on you is the best song off the album because even though it’s vocally unstable, it actually manages to keep my interest through the entire song.  It’s also more rock than any other song off the album with it’s awesome guitar riffs and synth inclusion.  It’s got a lot of energy, especially for a song on this album.  Still IMO one of her best songs.

13. SIGNAL

Just like our last track, SIGNAL is quite energetic and sort of reminds me of said track because of the similar guitar riffs in the verses and use of the synths.  I can’t say vocally if it’s any better, well she does really hit those high notes in a very nasally way.  It still is a lot more interesting than most of the tracks off the album.

14. from your letter

Of all the songs of this album, I honestly think this song has aged the worst as it sounds very 90’s-ish and I mean like early 90’s.  The beginning with the magical sparkling was just odd since the other tracks usually just got into the song right from the start.  It’s a little boring, but at least the beat is keeping it from dragging entirely.

15. For My Dear…

Ending off the era, was actually one of her worst sung songs.  First things off, her vocals are uber pinched right from the start, that just doesn’t give hope to the rest of the song.  She actually keeps it for most of the song.  I don’t know, but once again I feel like she could’ve raised the tempo a bit to have made a more cohesive track, than a borefest with bad vocals.

16. Present

Ending off the album is another wintry track?  If there was one cheesy track, it has to be this one because it’s one of those songs that make you feel giddy around the holidays, with joyous piano and brass playing.  It’s not that bad of a track actually because Ayu isn’t stressing her vocals to parts unknown unlike the other songs…Not the way I would’ve finished the album, but ok.

Tracks Recommended

  • Depend on you
  • A Song for ××
  • YOU
  • FRIEND II
  • Wishing

Song of Avoidance

  • For My Dear…

Everyone has said this, but of all her avex albums, this is her worst vocally and well it’s true.  Over time, she’s gotten more control.  Her avex debut was kind of bland overall using the same techniques with some surprises here and there to make it look more varied, but most of the time it came out way too typical and useless.  My least favorite album of hers actually.

 

Yuka Kagiyama – Love player June 25, 2009

Filed under: Yuka Kagiyama — solarblade @ 4:33 pm
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loveplayer

Track Listing

  1. Love player
  2. Akuma wo Nemurasete
  3. Love player (Instrumental)
  4. Akuma wo Nemurasete (Instrumental)

1. Love player

I’m actually happy to see someone debut with an actual hard track from avex and Yuka does this quite well.  Her vocals aren’t horribly high and she has quite a sweet control over her voice as she shows her vocals.  Now the song is pretty dark sounding with furious guitars and various quirks from the keyboard.  There’s even a sweet guitar solo in the middle of the song.  Gosh, it’s furious and in your face and I like it alot.  It’s even better that the PV was basically an homage to Resident Evil.

2. Akuma wo Nemurasete

The B-side is also just as freaky and sweet as “Love player” was and I quite like this track alot as well.  It’s a bit slower than the A-side, but it does also replace the furious guitar riffs with a more intricate arrangement with added strings.  Her vocals really sound nice here and she hits the notes pretty well.  Did want her to make this a bit more explosive like “Love player” but this was still pretty good as a B-side.

 

 

Wow, now this debut was pretty hardcore and I like it alot fur sure.  Yuka really put the evil in her debut and that’s one huge risk to take especially for a debut from avex and it worked for her.  I actually seeing this gal going far because I quite like her powerful vocals and her rock style.  *RECOMMENDED*

 

Mika Nakashima – WILL June 24, 2009

Filed under: Mika Nakashima — solarblade @ 11:38 am
Tags: , , ,

will

Track Listing

  1. WILL
  2. Just trust in our love
  3. WILL (Instrumental)
  4. Just trust in our love (Instrumental)

1. WILL

It’s been a little while since we’ve gotten a ballad from Mika and it’s about time she got out of that R&B rut.  WILL kind of has a light feel to it and it’s almost jazzy at points which is a plus for sure.  Mika this time also sings out here and I like it a lot.  It might just be a simple jazzy ballad, but she made it sound really good without making it feel like it was dragging.  What a nice sound and shows what the future holds starting from this track.

2. Just trust in our love

The following B-side also quite has a nice feel to it, but it seems like it’s more along the lines of an R&B ballad.  We learned the last few singles, that she doesn’t really do the upbeat stuff, but the slower songs worked for her and Just trust in our love is a good representation of her musical flexibility.  The odd thing about the song is that it reminds me of “1000 no Kotoba” or even “Morning Glow” from the Yuna FFX-2 single.  It’s just got that smooth feel and just flows nicely.

 

 

Ending off her debut era, WILL patched up the problems with the last single and well, ballads are her thing really.  Both tracks put Mika in a good light and both tracks, despite being ballads differentiated from each other enough that they stand out.  This is why it’s my favorite single of the era.

 

Ai Otsuka – Pocket June 23, 2009

Filed under: Ai Otsuka — solarblade @ 9:57 am
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pocket

Track Listing

  1. Pocket
  2. Ticket
  3. LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE
  4. Pocket (Instrumental)
  5. Ticket (Instrumental)

1. Pocket

Ai finally does something about holidays and Pocket was the answer.  Kickstarting the era off with a wintry ballad, is pretty risky.  I don’t think it’s one of her best ballads since it is just piano and acoustic for majority of it.  It’s pretty, but when the guitars and drums come in, it does seem to get better, but I don’t really enjoy the song much…Don’t know why, but it’s not just that good to me.

2. Ticket

Ticket luckily makes things upbeat for us which is pretty awesome.  At the same time I’m gettin that retro feeling that I got with last single “PEACH/HEART” mainly on the secondary A-side.  It easily is a better track overall than “Pocket” since it took the strings and made it’s own.  I wish Ai did put this track on “LOVE LETTER”, but then again it’s pretty rare to see a B-side making to an album.

3. LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE

Another risk Ai chose was to do a full-on English track and LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE came to be.  Her accent is pretty obvious and it’s quite obvious she hasn’t had much of learning, but it’s enough to get her by.  Like, “Ticket” it’s pretty catchy and upbeat for her which is good.  There’s a little bit of Japanese which is where the chorus ends.  For her first try in a different language, it’s actually quite good. 

 

 

Ai’s first single for the “LOVE LETTER” era was surprisngly a little safe for her (then again the whole era was just too safe).  Pocket was just a typical winter track, nothing more, nothing less.  Ticket and LIFE – LOVE CiRCLE were pretty upbeat, but it doesn’t stand out in her discography, at least IMO it doesn’t.  Still it is my least favorite single of the era.

 

misono – Tales with misono-BEST June 10, 2009

Filed under: day after tomorrow,misono — solarblade @ 8:35 pm
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tales

Track Listing

  1. Starry Heavens
  2. Soshite Boku ni Dekiru Koto
  3. VS
  4. Lovely♥Cat’s Eye
  5. Ninin Sankyaku
  6. Tales… (bonus track)

1. Starry Heavens

We begin this mini-album with a dat track which kind of beats the purpose of a “just-only misono” song.  I continue to not find anything that’s really special about this song, but I guess since it is the bands most well-known track, I can’t argue with that.  misono does sound pretty good overall and I quite like the fact that she isn’t screaming her head off.

2. Soshite Boku ni Dekiru Koto

Oddly enough this was my first song that I ever heard from day after tomorrow and misono, so I’ve easily fell in love with it.  Why it wasn’t an A-side surprises me (which by the way this was a B-side from “lost angel).  Now this is a pretty sweet track borderlining epic because misono is just right for the song and I love the guitar riffs in the verses and the after chorus.  I have to say one of my favorite songs from them.

3. VS

Then we leave dat for misono’s solo songs and VS is up first.  Everyone states that there hasn’t been anything quite that good in misono’s career since this song, which is actually false because there’s others.  VS was a pretty nice debut overall and she sang it with pretty good vocals compared to “end=START” which I’ll agree her vocals are not as good as they are here.  I really like this track and its accompanying PV.

3. Lovely♥Cat’s Eye

Whee, the cat song comes up next and I really don’t see how this track got a tie-in through the Tales series.  Like “VS”, this track has some very exciting moments and I love the chorus to death since it’s all loud and all the various cat moments made the song even better.  I do hear some guys voice in the background during the 2nd bridge…I never heard that…well whichever, this song is still good.

5. Ninin Sankyaku

The only song to actually have Tales in the PV, Ninin Sankyaku was a breath of fresh air in the second era because this was just damn good and I was happy to hear something epic.  I really love the after-chorus where she’s backed away from the microphone, that was just too cool misono!  Still, this track was just a great song to represent the games and it shows.

6. Tales…

OH!, here as a bonus is a new track from misono…Though as I listen along to the song it actually screams day after tomorrow especially comparing the arrangement against “Ninin Sankyaku”  Actually, looking at it, it might be an unused song from the group because misono does sound a bit younger and the song sounds a little aged.  The song though sounds like a mix of the mehness of “Starry Heavens” and guitar moments of “Soshite Boku ni Dekiru Koto”.  That’s not good thing either, since the track is pretty boring still.  Oh well, but I really do think it’s an unreleased dat track.

 

 

misono’s first best-of doesn’t exactly scream NEED TO BUY, but it’s a good collection of songs from the Tales series.  I do think misono’s solo stuff outshines the dat stuff and that shows that misono is doing better sounding off as a solo artist rather than being in a group….(imagine if misono was still in dat, it’d be like GND).  The new track was different, but y’know give credit where it’s due….it’s a dat track xD