Single review: “This game” by Konomi Suzuki

Konomi Suzuki is a Japanese singer who won the 4th Animax All-Japan Anison Grand Prix in 2011 at the age of 14. This game is her 6th single.

Release date: 21st of May, 2014

Track List:
1. This game
2. Delighting
3. Cyber Thunder Cider
4. This game (Instrumental)
5. Delighting (Instrumental)

1. This game
An enchanting piano melody starts off the song, quickly creating a cheerful and lively aura. Although, it doesn’t stay peaceful for long, it’s soon joined by aggressive bass lines and energy-filled vocals which is done impressively. The bridges are done extremely well, they transition without losing speed or impact. Konomi delivered confident and powerful throughout the song, keeping the whole track solid. The instrumentals were elaborate and captivating to the fullest. Yup, a great way to start off this single!

2. Delighting
A more simple version of This game, but has more of a techno edge to it. Delighting is delivered fairly quickly thanks to the fast electronic beats and Konomi’s swift singing. But other than that, there’s not much to point out due to it being a toned down version of the previous track.

3. Cyber Thunder Cider
Cyber Thunder Cider added another side of the single which is needed since Delighting was a simplified version of This game. A short track filled with synths and filtered vocals. It starts off with fast, filtered chanting until Konomi’s vocals blitz through with a very memorable chorus. Konomi is able to maintain her vocals and keep up with the complex instrumentals, despite the increasing speed from verse to chorus. Yup, great way to finish the single too!

This game is a great single with two outstanding songs. Konomi Suzuki managed to deliver such powerful tracks that must be listened to multiple times!

Rating: 4/5

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Ahaha, I think I’ve lost my ability to write reviews Moira! I’m no good at writing stuff.

Single review: “Tokohana” by Nagi Yanagi

Nagi Yanagi is a Japanese singer-songwriter from Kansai, Japan and is signed to Geneon. She is known for performing as a guest singer for the band supercell from 2009-2011. Tokohana is her 8th single.

Release date: 4th of June, 2014

Track list:
1. Tokohana
2. Wasurenai Tame ni
3. Crossroad
4. Tokohana (instrumental)
5. Wasurenai Tame ni (instrumental)
6. Cross Road (instrumental)

1. Tokohana
Other-worldly chanting is laid against the background of melancholic strings, forming a sort of eerie veil before this quiet, reflective sadness shatters into pieces with the forceful sound of insistent electric guitar strumming, steady drumming and beautiful violin melodies. As Nagi begins to sing the first verse, I feel quite disappointed to hear that she’s sounding rather monotone, despite her being totally capable of properly conveying the appropriate emotions that this song holds within. The arrangement is stripped down for the pre-chorus in order to maximise the dramatic increase in energy that the chorus presents, beginning with a heavy drop of rock-based instruments, and, unfortunately, more of Nagi’s vocals which lack a certain emotional spark. Don’t get me wrong though, I can acknowledge Nagi’s technical prowess and her ability to hit notes seamlessly, but she does not seem to be invested in this song as much as I’d like her to be. The chorus following the bridge seems to be slightly intensified in nature to function as the climax of the song, but it might have been due to Nagi’s rise in pitch at the end of the bridge that could have created that illusion. Not too sure. To conclude, Tokohana is an example of both great things and missed opportunities, but it contains the flickering sparks of what could have made it better.

2. Wasurenai Tame ni
A slow, simple yet tasteful piano melody begins to play, stopping at intervals to welcome the distant echoes of light, ambient, new age-esque sounds. Nagi begins to sing softly, using her talents to evoke a sense of being delicate and fragile on the exterior, but very much full of promise underneath. Her voice is muffled at times, which contributes a sort of call-and-response effect when juxtaposed and followed with her regular, melodic singing. Once the chorus rolls around, percussion is added to the mix, and Nagi’s vocals are exceptionally touching and sweet, further enhanced by layers of background harmonies. A single synthy line floats along the surface and makes its way across as Nagi begins to sings the second verse, which contains a noteworthy feature of an accompanying marching beat that is oddly still low-key enough to keep the peace. Towards the end of the song, the vocals and arrangement are given equal spotlight; neither are above the other, but rather, they are alongside each other in perfect unison. It is true that Wasurenai Tame ni is somewhat plain of a track, but simplicity can sometimes be quite pleasant.

3. Crossroad
The last track begins with a quick intro of a lively piano melody and acoustic guitar plucking, and with a single breath and a deep rushing sound, Nagi’s familiar vocals enter, sounding slightly airy and gentle in nature. The introduction of percussion allows things to pick up, and suddenly, her vocals become clearer, confident and more pronounced. The simultaneous halt of both the singing and the instrumental during the pre-chorus is interesting in an upbeat song such as this, as listeners might find themselves waiting attentively for just that moment to hear the song continue on. The chorus arrives just before you know it, giving the song a celebratory sort of vibe with its bright, uplifting quality. Honestly, there isn’t much to say about this song besides what has just been mentioned, since much of it screams “average pop song”, even if it’s sung by Nagi.

For the sake of comparison to Nagi’s two other rock-based A-sides, Zoetrope seems to be the perpetual topper, followed by the school food punishment-esque Laterality, and Tokohana in third place at the moment. That being said, the A-side is still quite good, but it’s lacking in some areas, which stops it from being of the same quality as its predecessors. Wasurenai Tame ni is a simple and decent track and happens to be the better B-side because Crossroad is way too poppy and ordinary for me. This single is a satisfactory effort overall for me, nothing more.

Rating: 3/5

 

A playlist for everything/everyone (vol.1)

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 11.40.30 am

This was just something I decided to do on a whim, and I did it really quickly, so don’t judge!

These playlists are based around the general sound and vibe of the songs, so it’s unlikely that I took the lyrics into account. The point is to feel the music! Furthermore, music is definitely a subjective experience, so what I included in this was based on my opinion and my experiences. Feel free to add your picks in the comment section below!

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Continue reading

Single review: “Rising Hope” by LiSA

LiSA is a Japanese pop-rock singer signed to Sony Music Entertainment. Rising Hope is her 5th single.

Release date: 7th of May, 2014

Track list:
1. Rising Hope
2. Poker Face
3. Ameagari no Sora to Kimi [Anime Edition]
3. Ashiato Compass [Regular and Limited Edition]
4. Rising Hope (TV Size) [Anime Edition]
4. Rising Hope (Instrumental) [Regular and Limited Edition]

1. Rising Hope
Rising Hope starts off with a small piano solo, then there’s a sudden burst of vocals, guitars and drums. Pumping, energy-injected verses’ gets us ready for the fast-paced chorus with edgy vocals from LiSA. Rising Hope has the same aura that is normally associated with LiSA, upbeat rock music with belted out lyrics. It sounds very similar to other tracks such as crossing field and traumerei, just slightly faster. Rising Hope is a catchy A-Side to the single which sets up the mood for the rest of the remainder of the single.

2. Poker Face
A touch down compared to Rising Hope, that is until you get to the chorus. The beginning starts off slow, only for a few seconds though. Then the whole atmosphere changes, revealing the song to be another upbeat addition to the single. LiSA’s peppy vocals take over the chorus, accompainied with guitars, drums and some synths too. It doesn’t sound that different to the previous track, but it’s an okay track with a few listens.

3. Ameagari no Sora to Kimi
Completely different from the first two tracks. LiSA is paired up with a simple arrangement involving mellow beats and soft notes. Heavenly vocals from LiSA makes this song so relaxing to listen to. (Ahah, I’m actually finding it really hard to write something about this) Its calming tone provides a stark contrast to her previous songs.

I enjoyed this release, well, I’m always happy to listen to LiSA. Rising Hope and Poker Face are filled with energy and upbeat moments, but sound to similar. While Ameagari no Sora to Kimi is a completely different side to the single, which was simple yet stellar.

Rating: 3.5/5

Well, time to get ready for the mid-year exams!!
Also, this review will be updated once I have the second B-side from the regular/limited edition.

Single review: “black bullet” by fripSide

fripSide is a Japanese pop and trance duo signed to Geneon Entertainment. black bullet is their 8th single.

Release date: 14th of May, 2014

Track list:
1. black bullet
2. pico scope -SACLA-
3. black bullet (Instrumental)
4. pico scope -SACLA- (Instrumental)

1. black bullet
The latest A-side from fripSide opens with a dance beat bouncing alongside layers of synth, and within barely a number of seconds, an eruption of Guren no Yumiya-esque chanting suddenly appears, stirring up an ominous, almost menacing atmosphere. The built-up passion is stripped away to reveal a somewhat calm section of the first verse, with Yoshino steadily singing parallel to a beat and a piano melody. Trademark fripSide synths smoothly transition into the established arrangement, and their consistent pulsating are in perfect time with the vocal melody. The verse escalates into the high-spirited chorus, filled to the brim with catchy melodies wonderfully handled by Yoshino, as well as vibrant synths á la sister’s noise and LEVEL5 -judgelight-. This pattern is repeated until the bridge, in which the beginning segment of a dance beat, synths and chanting is intermingled with an electric guitar solo, giving rise to a much welcomed surge of energy. But again, this is taken away in favor of Yoshino’s clear, now insistent vocals, this time accompanied by strings and hi-hats. Soon after, the arrangement is rightfully intensified once again in time for the final chorus, as Yoshino finishes on an extended high note, and the instrumentation comes full circle.

2. pico scope -SACLA-
Tied to an anime short, the accompanying B-side starts off with a palpitating synthesizer, somewhat similar to the kind of sound that would accompany a tense moment in an action/sci-fi movie. As this lone sound thins out, a happycore instrumentation breaks out of the blue, and Yoshino’s higher, juvenile tone emerges to match the mood. Beginning the first verse is the simple combination of the faint sound of the palpitating synthesizer and the ever-present, forceful dance beat. As the arrangement increases in tempo, it is enhanced with a plethora of synths reminiscent to those heard in only my railgun, only much quicker. Oddly, this song doesn’t feature the escalating to a chorus, but rather, the verses almost blend into the chorus, as both sections seem like they are on the same level (intensity and tempo-wise). An entertaining electro/techno breakdown is what characterises the bridge, and just like in black bullet, much energy is present in this section. The track ends with a repetition of the chorus, soon brought to a halt in a similar fashion to the Gokukoku no Brynhildr opening theme.

I have been eagerly anticipating this single for a while now; partly because I’m a fan of fripSide, and also because I heard the TV size of black bullet several times while keeping up with the anime of the same name. Either way, I knew this was going to be good, and the duo did not disappoint. The A-side is basically anison done well, creatively incorporating chanting with the standard fripSide style we know and love. pico scope -SACLA- is probably the fastest I’ve heard from them as of yet, and even though it’s quite short and relatively straightforward, it’s an entertaining tune to hear. Overall, a commendable effort!

Rating: 4/5

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On a side note:

The Limit Break review is taking a bit longer than we thought for a few reasons, so I decided to post this in advance :)