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!!!!

 

Hitomi Shimatani – papillon June 6, 2009

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 10:51 am
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COVER

Track Listing

  1. papillon
  2. Boys don’t cry
  3. papillon (instrumental)
  4. Boys don’t cry (instrumental)

1. papillon

Does this song sound vaguely familiar to you?  It should because it’s a cover of Janet Jackson’s “Doesn’t Really Matter”.  It’s surprisingly fitting for Hitomi despite the freaky fast lyrics in the verses and chorus.  I know this is a hard track to sing along with and Hitomi actually did a superb job and it garnered Ayu to duet with Hitomi on this song HOW AMAZING.  Now if you don’t know Janet’s version both songs are definitly R&B tracks but with added synths and the like.  It’s really good and another one of those tracks that is memorable enough to tie to the artist. 

2. Boys don’t cry

I kind of got a similar feeling from Boys don’t cry except there’s a bigger influence of brass.  It’s quite interesting we went from a smooth dance track to something that sounds Ayu-ish because it’s all brass and stuff.  Problem is though is that it’s just a too boring and sameish for me.  I’d have to classify it as a pop song gone awry. 

 

 

Hitomi struck right with “papillon”.  After the disappointment of “Kaihouku” avex probably thought something along the lines of, OMG LETS CASH COW HITOMI!   They did it by releasing a cover to a pretty recent song and it sounds pretty good, not as smooth as Janet’s but still pretty good.  They were also smart enough to put the bad song as the B-side because that’s what Boys don’t cry was.  Pretty good.

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Kaihouku March 19, 2009

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 5:45 pm
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kaihouku_cover

Track Listing

  1. Kaihouku
  2. Eternity
  3. Kaihouku (instrumental)
  4. Eternity (instrumental)

1. Kaihouku

Our actual 1st single to begin “PAPILLON’s” era starts with Kaihouku which is a pretty big departure from “Osaka no Onna”.  Right from start, her vocals are pretty different sounding, like it’s filtered a lot.  That right there showed that avex didn’t exactly care because Hitomi has powerful vocals.  The other thing I noticed that it sounded pretty urban with the 90’s synth and beats.  I’m never really liked this song from her and I continue to dispise it because of all the alterations with Hitomi.

2. Eternity

I actually connected with Eternity from first listen.  It starts out with some plucked strings and keyboard notes and then this loud keyboarded sound just made the song so epic and powerful.  I’m also happy that her voice isn’t filtered here as well.  The chorus was done so amazingly and the synths don’t overtake her singing which made this song a better listen.

 

 

Honestly, Eternity should’ve been the A-side because Kaihouku downright sucks for me.  Eternity showed a lot of promise to Hitomi and is still one of my favorite B-sides from her.  Still, this was a farcry from what her last single brought which is surprising because of the genre twist from enka to pop.  It’s an ok single, but topsy-turvy.

 

Hitomi Shimatani – SMILES March 5, 2009

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 2:24 am
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smiles

Track Listing

  1. SMILES
  2. Stay with me
  3. SMILES -Instrumental-
  4. Stay with me -Instrumental-

1. SMILES

Oh good, we’ve returned back to Hitomi’s latin love or at least that’s what it seems like to me.  There’s a lot of acoustic guitar present and some brass as well.  As usual, she sounds good singing, but I miss her dance tracks so much.  So that kind of disappoints me, but going from the title I wasn’t expecting this to be it either.  It’s good for casual listening for sure.

2. Stay with me

Why are we channeling Kuu?  Instead of being a boring ballad, Hitomi has got it in an upbeat mood.  I’m not feeling much for this song because it just lacks a certain kind of punch that she usually has with her releases.  This just came out a little boring for me, but just like “SMILES”, it’s nice for casual listeners. 

 

 

At least Hitomi stepped up a little after “Flare”.  Both songs are nice upbeat songs, but maybe not enough risks taken to make them extraordinary.  I’m unsure but it this is the only single to represent her Best-of album, then this is going to be a sad single.

 

Hitomi Shimatani – Osaka no Onna February 19, 2009

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 8:58 pm
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200px-osakanoonna

Track Listing

  1. Osaka no Onna
  2. Kaze no Michi
  3. Osaka no Onna (Instrumental)
  4. Kaze no Michi (Instrumental)

1. Osaka no Onna

Yeah, hard to believe Hitomi originally started out as an Enka artist.  Even then, she’s had an amazing vocal ability.  There is some issues pertaining to the fact her vibrato was just a little bit shaky, but she has a powerful voice back then.  There’s a lot of electric guitar and strings playing which isn’t surprising and it’s reminding me of “Umiyuki” just a bit. 

2. Kaze no Michi

Kaze no Michi seems to erase the enka style.  There might be some of it in it, but it isn’t as hardcore and obvious.  As such, it’s a ballad and even though it might not be memorable as “Osaka no Onna”, it has a lullaby-like quality, but Hitomi is louuud.  I just love the guitar solo in it, it just made it a bit more powerful in meaning perhaps.

 

 

In similarites, Ayu and Hitomi had an odd choice of a debut.  Ayu with urban sounds and Hitomi with Enka.  The main difference was that Ayu was on a different label and Hitomi was with avex when this came out.  Supposedly the single won awards, but was a flop in the mainstream charts so avex decided “Hey, let’s dump this style and make her just go pop”  Look where that got her, she’s so varied in her music now!  I’m not sure Hitomi acknowledges this single either, but it has never been on an album or even a Best-of….how disappointing.

 

HANGRY & ANGRY – Kill Me Kiss Me November 20, 2008

Filed under: HANGRY & ANGRY — solarblade @ 3:48 pm
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kill_me_kiss_me_jp_cover1

Track Listing

  1. Kill Me Kiss Me
  2. Angelia
  3. GIZA GIZA
  4. Romantic ni Violence
  5. WALL FLOWER

1. Kill Me Kiss Me

Yep, you guessed title and promotional track.  We begin this mini with what I liked to call…(What the hell!) Let’s look at who we’re talking about Yossie and Rika previously in Morning Musume and ex-H!P decided to group up together and go totally goth on us.  Anyway to the song, it’s surprising that they put this out.  The song is very rock and interestingly there’s a evil to it that is so awesome.  Yossie makes this work with her more deeper voice and definitly devoid of the idol-like sound she used to have.  Rika on the other hand is still sounding very girly.  Put them together and you do get an interesting sound.  They even vocodered there voices at the end of the chorus which was strange.  Definitly one of the cooler tracks this year.

2. Angelia

Angelia is like “Kill Me Kiss Me” but more focused on the synths rather than the hard guitars.  Sadly, this does sound like what Morning Musume would do given the chance to darken their identities.  This really isn’t that bad and the darker synths give it life.  Rika though kind of ruins because of the idol voice of hers.  There’s a cool bell part that leads into an awesome guitar solo.  What does Angelia mean anyway?

3. GIZA GIZA

Kind of a hectic piano start, but there’s even more synths found here than the last two tracks.  It also seems a bit upbeat after the underlying dark stuff.  I have to say both girls really sound great here.  Sadly, the chorus was a hot mess.  Like they are singing really fast and the slow down near the end of it.  The verses however are the memorable parts of the song. 

4. Romantic ni Violence

Starts off kinda mysterious, but then it becomes a more clappier “Kill Me Kiss Me” luckily, the bass really stands out the beginning and the girls get better here as well.  The best parts are the verses because of the drum/bass moments…So awesome.  The chorus also is very catchy as well.  Even the clapping seems fun and easy to hook easily.  Best song here right now.

5. WALL FLOWER

Now this seems to be more along the lines of Morning Musume.  It does sound less aggressive as the previous tracks and is prolly the most upbeat track of the mini.  It’s another really good memorable track from them.  The only thing that I didn’t enjoy was why did it end with this track?  I would’ve put it after “GIZA GIZA” for more connections. 

 

 

I was totally surprised by this.  After seeing the PV for Kill Me Kiss Me I was doubting that the album was gonna be a flop, turns out this mini-album was really good even though it’s 5 songs.  All 5 songs that I really enjoyed and I’ve haven’t had that.  The great thing is that H!P isn’t even backing this up which is super awesome.  I hope this isn’t a one time thing because Rika and Yossie are an awesome duo…maybe Makoto Ogawa could join too.  LOVE HER!  *RECOMMENDED*

 

Hitomi Shimatani – GATE ~scena III~ November 8, 2008

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 5:23 am
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300px-gate7escena_iii1

Track Listing

  1. overture~Perseus
  2. Taiyou no Wana
  3. C’est la vie!
  4. Thrace no Onna
  5. Akai Sabaku no Densetsu (GATE Version)
  6. HARVEST MOON
  7. Mirage~BOY,I am a girl~
  8. bella flor
  9. Take me home
  10. Genki wo Dashite
  11. Tsukikage no Eden he
  12. J.U.M.P
  13. Itsu no Hi ni Ka…(GATE Version)
  14. Perseus (HEAVENS WiRE vs TRI-HEDGE RMX) (First Press Bonus Track)

1. overture~Perseus

Honestly, the opening with Hitomi at an airport probably wasn’t needed.  I guess it has to follow with the whole theme of the album.  Anyways the song enters a ehtereal area before the initial song starts.  The song itself hasn’t changed from the single which is fortunate, because this has to be her best song (next to Destiny -Taiyou no Hana-) of course.  It’s trance-like music mixed with Hitomi’s strong vocals created this awesome track.  Her English in her is alright, but isn’t too important and it only comes in one word per sentance.

2. Taiyou no Wana

Next, is our latin-influenced song.  She always excels in these tracks and this one doesn’t disappoint.  There’s a lot of energy in this song and there’s a guy saying stuff in Spanish as well, which is fine, but the main focus is on Hitomi’s sexed up vocals.  You can really hear the fun in the song and it’s good enough for me.

3. C’est la vie!

I guess I have to say this song is still carries the upbeat style still and there’s traces of brass in the song as well.  It’s a little more reserved than a lot of the other tracks.  Perfect song to hear in the Katamari series of games for sure.  It has that interesting sound all over.  It’s a pretty good song.

4. Thrace no Onna

Continuing on, another of her “Onna” songs introduces us into some traditional Japanese sounds and add it to her dance stuff, it does come out to me sounding like Hikki’s “Can You Keep A Secret?” but a slower track.  Hitomi’s soothing vocals shine through and it’s an early favorite for me. 

5. Akai Sabaku no Densetsu (GATE Version)

All this means is that the airport theme reappears, but it doesn’t change the track at hand.  Now, that being said, Akai Sabaku no Densetsu is another latin-infused or maybe arabic-infused dance track.  Sadly, her voice to me is a little strange with the music especially the first lines from her.  I do love the energy once again, but that chorus was not really good.  Everything else was cool and mysterious which is one thing I really liked about it.

6. HARVEST MOON

I wasn’t unsure, but dang she has a lot of these latin tracks, but this one is really nice to listen because of the acoustic guitar.  Other than that, there’s nothing really special about and sounds kinda filler to the album.  Definitly a forgettable song right here.

7. Mirage~BOY,I am a girl~

I hate the sounds htat start up this track.  After the intro when Hitomi comes in the song becomes almost acappella with minimal sounds helping out.  That hooting sound reappears every so often, but I love the mysteriousness of the song.  It brings new life onto the album and sounds like you can hear it on the beach. 

8. bella flor

Another latin/dance track enters in and to be honest, I’m kind of getting uninterested in the amount of latin songs on the album.  Luckily, it is one of the better ones with it’s fantastic energy and dance style.  Hitomi’s singing reminds me of “Perseus” because she’s controlling it pretty well and it’s still has the fun I want in it.

9. Take me home

The beautiful sounds of crickets and the nightlife opens up our first true ballad.  Hitomi’s vocals are very soft-spoken until she hits the chorus where she get’s loud and wow, her voice is pretty when she does ballads and it didn’t bore me to death.  A nice piano and guitar arrangement and quiet drum playing was the entire song. 

10. Genki wo Dashite

Why does this always remind me of Earthbound everytime I start this?  Anyways it’s her 2nd pop-like tracks and it was a single track as well.  Then there’s this synth line in the song which was like definitly WTF for me, but this pop song is a nice listen either way around.

11. Tsukikage no Eden e

Another track thats also reminding me of something.  The steel drum opening this time is very reminescent to “SHANTI” and c’mon it practically is the song but better and more powerful.  The chorus is definitly a high-mark for the song showing off Hitomi’s vocal range and power.  Definitly the best of the new tracks. 

12. J.U.M.P

Was this supposed to be like 50’s diner music?  I mean the energy is there all right and the rock n’ roll does count, but Japanese artists doing this is a little strange for me.  I’m surprised at how random everything is and it does come out a little too messy.  There’s also some chanting as well giving it a more wild atmosphere.  Let’s just say this was the weirdest song.

13. Itsu no Hi ni Ka…(GATE Version)

You guessed it, nothing too dramatic was changed for the song.  It still is one long track and has the longest instrumentals of the album.  I do love the feeling of Autumn that was originally intended by the song (looks at cover of single).  It’s got some dance beats, but it’s not “Perseus” by any means.  i’m also hearing traditional Japanese sounds within this one and it worked in my opinion as well.  Good way to end the album.

14. Perseus (HEAVENS WiRE vs TRI-HEDGE RMX)

The bonus track is of her most popular track at the time.  They gave it a hard trance sound to it and it was fine the way it was.  I mean this was making the song more aggressive and lifeless.  Like the beats didn’t exactly change pitches throughout which is not such a good thing.  Yea, not the best bonus track.

Tracks Recommended

  •  overture~Perseus
  • Tsukikage no Eden e
  • bella flor
  • Thrace no Onna
  • Itsu no Hi ni Ka…(GATE Version)

Song of Avoidance

  • Perseus (HEAVENS WiRE vs TRI-HEDGE RMX)

Third time’s a charm right?  Well, it holds true to the fact that this is my favorite album of Hitomi’s.  The initial thought was the Airport theme hence why most of the single tracks had added airport “moments”.  A lot of the songs were diffently worldly, like songs having latin sounds, traditional asian sounds, and then there was J.U.M.P….Still, a lot of the songs were nice songs for sure.