Upcoming reviews!

Hey all~

I thought I should post the next set of reviews while Austin & I work on the review for Cyntia’s Limit Break. As usual, this may or may not be edited later, so feel free to check back from time to time to stay updated. Anyway, here’s what’s coming up…

My reviews include:
fripSide – black bullet [Single]
Nagi Yanagi – Tokohana [Single]

Austin’s reviews include:
Konomi Suzuki – This game [Single]
LiSA – Rising Hope [Single]

And the collaborative review will be:
Nana Mizuki – SUPERNAL LIBERTY [Album]

Those are some really good artists, I’m sure you’ll agree.

That’s all for now! Please stay tuned!
Moira~

Advertisements

Single review: “Faith” by miwa

miwa is a Japanese pop singer-songwriter. She made her major debut under Sony Music Records in 2010 and is managed by Tristone Entertaiment Inc. Faith is her 15th (overall) single.

Release date: 12th of February, 2014

Track list:
1. Faith
2. Kitto Kanau
3. It’s you!
4. Faith ~instrumental~
5. Kitto Kanau ~instrumental~
6. It’s you! ~instrumental~

1. Faith
The track Faith starts out deceptively as a calm, peaceful song featuring miwa singing while accompanied by a guitar and piano. The song starts to reveal itself in the short intro of good old J-rock, especially with miwa’s energetic and fresh vocals. Synthesized brass instruments and the mix of miwa’s lead vocals paired up with the backup vocals were perfectly harmonised throughout the song. I loved the transitions of where the song would go through energetic moments, then calm down to allow us to hear miwa’s beautiful and clear voice before picking up the rock energy again. The pauses before miwa would break out her vocals were very well paced and helped create the flow of the song. The simplicity works very well for this song!

2. Kitto Kanau
Completely different compared to Faith. A more melodic, pop song featuring the miwa that fans are used to hearing.  The start of the track is done well, but it seems to lose momentum as the song goes on, and loses the type of song it’s meant to be. It feels like a jumble of different musical pieces; ballad moments, random shifts at odd moments, changes on the instruments from section to section. This isn’t a terrible song, but it’s not very good either. It just doesn’t feel like a solid song.

3. It’s you!
A bubbly, cute and quirky song. No complex arrangement here, just a plain, simple, straightforward beat from start to finish. miwa’s  vocals flow easily from verse to verse. There’s a few guitar solos here and there, which are also not very complicated either. It’s you! is a simple, laid-back song that doesn’t exactly evoke much feelings other than it being really cute.

The single Faith is a calm yet quirky single. Kitto Kanau and It’s you! are a bit lackluster compared to the track Faith.

Rating: 3/5

Single review: “The♡World’s♡End” by Yui Horie

CD only cover

Yui Horie is a Japanese pop artist and well-known idol seiyuu. She is sometimes affectionately nicknamed “Hocchan” by her Japanese fans. The♡World’s♡End is her 19th single.

Release date: 12th of March, 2014

Track list:
1. The♡World’s♡End
2. Han’eikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡
3. The♡World’s♡End (off vocal ver.)
4. Han’eikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡ (off vocal ver.)

1. The♡World’s♡End
A gentle, almost fragile introduction comprised of vocals and a delicate xylophone tune suddenly erupts into a convulsion of la la’s, sharply-strummed strings stuck in an infinite looping melody, and a beat that’s quite quick yet quite vague at the same time. The composition is maintained while Yui sings an identical vocal melody as the very beginning of the song, and she then promptly sings a set of several lines in rapid-fire action, serving as the chorus. Unfortunately, the aforementioned part of the song is either badly mixed, or purposefully made to sound mostly like background music with understated main vocals, yet I cannot comprehend the reasons for the latter. Soon after, however, the composition is changed up with a marching band-esque beat, as well as quirky brass and woodwind instruments, but still retaining the sharply-strummed strings. From there, a playful pre-chorus leads into a now slightly jazz/swing-influenced chorus. For the bridge, it is first another set of lines sung in rapid-fire action, but then the flow of the song is slowed down and toned down with whispery background vocals behind bells and the familiar marching band-esque beat right after. Yui finishes the song by repeating the chorus twice, and the song closes with the now-recognizable combination of la la’s, strings and a beat that can be described the same way this whole song can be described: quite quick yet quick vague at the same time.

2. Han’eikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡
The B-side follows suit and opens with another (extended) gentle, almost fragile introduction comprised of vocals, only this time accompanied with piano instead of a xylophone. Almost a minute into the track, beautiful strings make their entrance to accompany the pre-existing elements, but are stopped short for a sample of Yui’s voice acting skills. Suddenly, the song bursts into a bright, high-spirited instrumental segment, and as badly transitioned it is, it’s a good change from the ballad-like nature of the passage that opened the song. Handclaps rightfully accompany an undeniably catchy verse; the chorus is made up of the same bright, high-spirited instrumental from earlier, now combined with the lines sung just before the spoken section of the song towards the beginning. Thankfully, the song does not change much as we progress through, with the exception of the bridge in which Yui sings alongside a piano accompaniment, transitioning into an odd section of echoing filtered spoken lines. The instrumental, much to my delight, crescendos into the final chorus, before ending with a few notes from a lone right-side electric guitar. Overall, I think that anything NOT sounding playful and upbeat should have been cut, and that definitely includes the opening passage of piano, strings and vocals. I think it’s best not to juxtapose two different styles in this case. Either way, however, this one is the better song of the single.

Ironically, as the follow-UP single to Golden Time, The♡World’s♡End is a step DOWN. The A-side, while being the second opening theme for the anime Golden Time, is a confusing mess of many different emotions, moods and instruments. And the B-side, tied as the second ending theme for the same anime, can be spoken of in almost the same way, but to a lesser extent. To my disdain, most of the single felt vague and had no definite sound. I mean, I know I asked for more variety in my review of her previous single, but this is just a bit ridiculous.

Rating: 2/5

Single review: “Born to be” by nano

nano is a bilingual utaite known for her strong, tomboyish voice. Born to be is her 4th single.

Release date: 19th of February, 2014

Track list:
1. Born to be
2. Happy Ending Simulator [nano ver.]
2. NEW WORLD [Mahou Sensou ver.]
3. Born to be (Instrumental ver.)
4. Happy Ending Simulator (Instrumental ver.) [nano ver.]
4. NEW WORLD (Instrumental ver.) [Mahou Sensou ver.]

1. Born to be
The start of this single opens up with a heavy and pounding bass guitar, which is soon followed by nano’s aggressive rap, but eventually reaches her normal singing vocals. Born to be has an impressive arrangement throughout the song. Her voice is paired up with multiple electric guitars which gives the lyrics an edge, mixing up the beat a few times and changing up the verses, but still keeping the whole song intact. Although the song has been changed up and provided variety, it didn’t pull me in unlike her previous titles such as Now or Never and No Pain, No Game. Although it’s not as good as her other work, it’s still decent and is one that is still quite enjoyable to take a listen to.

2. Happy Ending Simulator
A song similar to Born to be at certain parts, but also provides something new and different to taste. The vocals that introduce the song are accompanied by a simple guitar riff, but it just isn’t very exciting together. There are a few changes here and there that sound good, but it’s still not very compelling when it’s all put together. A track that is monotonous and bland even with the few changes. It’s just uninteresting.

3. NEW WORLD
Something totally new and different here. Nano starts off the song with some clean cut vocals accompanied with pianos and violins which sounds amazing with the addition of the synths and beats. nano’s raps are clean and clear and with background vocals layered with them, which just makes it even more amazing. The arrangement is bewitchingly attractive and is constructed beautifully which pulls you in. Repetitive beats and entrancing instruments paired up with captivating vocals makes this track simply awesome, which will definitely want to make you listen to it more than once.

So all in all, Born to be is a pretty good single from nano. It provides a nice change from her previous releases, but unfortunately, doesn’t live up to them. My least favourite would be Happy Ending Simulator, while NEW WORLD is my favourite from this single.

Rating: 3/5

Whew, another review done… I really got to pick up the pace. I just don’t understand why school has to be so tiring… :(

Single review: “FOOL THE WORLD” by Minori Chihara

Minori Chihara (affectionately referred to as ‘Minorin’ by her fans) is a Japanese singer and seiyuu signed to Lantis. FOOL THE WORLD is her 19th single.

Release date: 26th of February, 2014

1. FOOL THE WORLD
2. Harmonized Chaos
3. Hakanaku mo Itoshiki Sekai no Naka de

1. FOOL THE WORLD
The track begins by swelling into an introduction of a solid beat almost paralleling the impact of songs like X-DAY and IDENTITY, combined with a melodic lead guitar line atop a low, rhythmic guitar sequence. Soon enough, we promptly dive into an enigmatic segment of dramatic piano and riveting accompanying audio effects to induce a feeling of emptiness and desolation, while Minori lies in the center of it all, swaying us with distinct vocal control. The music gains tempo once again for the rest of the verses, and lead vocals are occasionally enhanced by background vocals. The chorus flaunts itself to be the most entertaining component of the song, displaying much power and attitude from both the arrangement and the singer. A typical guitar solo in the middle eight is improved with the presence of strings, shortly leading to a section of piano, audio effects and vocals similarly heard towards the beginning of the track. Unfortunately, Minori couldn’t get through the song without making a few vocal errors, and the one that most stood out to me was in the first line of the alternate chorus following the middle eight, in which she attempts to hold a high note that goes piercingly bad. She does this twice actually, and I openly cringed during both times. Criticisms aside, this is undeniably a strong A-side from Minori, and the force in this was just what I needed after the cheesy material from her latest album.

2. Harmonized Chaos
An extended musical swell guides us into the body of a synth-dominated track that integrates elements of pop, electro and trance. 8-bit sound snippets play against a digital beat for the first few lines of the song, but the sound produced is quite unfulfilling to the ears, even with Minori’s confident, assertive vocals. However, the song tries to rectify this almost instantly as the arrangement gains tempo, and the disharmony of the 8-bit samples transforms into a faster, closer, more cohesive unit of sounds. Unsurprisingly, the song changes up very soon after, firstly with a slower beat, a bouncy, animated string sequence and a supportive bass line, but the beat almost immediately speeds up once again, all underneath significantly expressive vocals coming from Minori. This pattern appears to repeat a second time until the appearance of an eccentric, unconventional bridge. Its first half showcases a whispy, trance-inducing atmosphere along with squeaky, vocaloid-like vocals; the second half is an unusual fusion of rapping and cheerleader-esque chanting. Finally, the song closes with the chorus, bringing home the essence (and title) of the entire song — Harmonized Chaos. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

3. Hakanaku mo Itoshiki Sekai no Naka de
A composition of bells, percussion, and a distinct ethnic-sounding instrument serves as the opening to the second B-side, and the collective plays alongside the song’s repetitive, almost annoying hook to attempt to draw listeners in. A standard strings accompaniment and electric guitar join the mix just before the verse begins, but before anyone could think that this song has the potential to become something impressive, it falls short and starts disappointing during the first verse. Fragments of anything memorable can perhaps be found in the chorus or pre-chorus. And while these two sections make the song sound like a second-rate FOOL THE WORLD, it has at least some of the attitude one would want from this song, as it shows an improvement in the quality of the arrangement. The bridge surprises me though, and I knew that it was clearly the most engaging part of the song as soon as I heard it. Among the conventional stylings of most of the song, the middle eight is characterised by a thrilling mix of dramatic synths/strings, an edgy & powerful electric guitar solo, and a forceful drum performance. The energy from the bridge leads us into the final chorus, as Minori wraps things up with the song’s hook while accompanied by the whole ensemble climaxing into an deep explosion.

What a fascinating single. While FOOL THE WORLD is another outstanding track from Minorin, it’s quite interesting to hear an experimental side in Harmonized Chaos. However, Hakanaku mo Itoshiki Sekai no Naka de was a hit-and-miss kind of track for me, sounding like nothing special yet having a few elements of surprise such as a fantastic bridge to compensate. Overall, this single is definitely still worth a listen despite a number of noticeable flaws.

Rating: 3.5/5

Upcoming reviews!

Hey all~

‘Tis that time again to declare to the world what we’re going to review next! I don’t feel like subjecting you guys to any kind of rambling, so I’ll just get straight to the point. Notice the smaller amount of releases planned to be reviewed because of school… We may or may not edit this later.

My reviews include:
Minori Chihara – FOOL THE WORLD [Single]
Yui Horie – The♡World’s♡End [Single]

Austin’s reviews include:
nano – Born to be [Single]
7!! (seven oops) – Kono Hiroi Sora no Shita de [Single]
miwa – Faith [Single]

And the collaborative review shall be:
Cyntia – Limit Break [Album]

That’s all for now, please stay tuned!
Moira~