Tag Archives: Asagi

“Akaki Hitsuji Ni Yoru Bansankai” – D

^ I know I messed that title up somewhere.

Hey look! I’m actually going to review something! Could I possibly get a handful of confetti or some balloons for this?

Welcome back, D! The band has returned after their (unfairly prejudged by myself) phenomenal album 7th Rose. Of course I had high hopes for this single because the band is one of my favorites, after all. I was a little fearful when I saw the cover art. The clothes are RIDICULOUS. Yet, I learned after 7th Rose to bide my time and wait.

赤き羊による晩餐会 begins with some whispering from Asagi which sounds really nice. The song initially has a very hard, very D sound to it before it makes a seamless move into a jazzy/swing style a la Mad Tea Party. The drums are wild and Asagi’s breathy cries are enthralling. I have to say, he is one of the best j-rock figures out there. Besides boasting one of the greatest voices imaginable, he has a charisma and uniqueness about him that not many other visual rockers have. He is incredibly recognizable which is great since I always complain that so many VK bands fall into the ordinary.

The PV, or at least the incarnation I saw has the band playing in a Victorian-style room. This was already a hit with me considering I’m a Titanic fanatic and I love Victorian/Edwardian style anything. While the band plays, a vampire who thankfully does not sparkle feasts on a couple of attractive women before going after Asagi who in turn hisses right back at him. We also see Asagi autograph a piece of paper for a steward, who awkwardly sniffs it for about the last fifteen seconds of the video. Very random.

I’ve always loved the PVs D puts out because they are always out-of-the-ordinary. This one, although dark and disturbing had a quirky nature to it as well. Something about seeing a bustier-clad Asagi bopping with silverware and a pepper grinder was rewarding to my tired visual soul.

ひび割れた柘榴石 is a fabulous follow up to the title track. With its operatic opening strains, I was expecting another Snow White but instead got a relaxing rock ballad.

黒竜 was altogether forgettable for me, because there was nothing catchy about the song or the band’s performance. Asagi sounded listless and the band seemed to say “we’re only playing this song to take up space on the CD.”

In Conclusion: Asagi and the boys have started their post-7th Rose era off on the right foot by delivering a solid, fresh single. I’m not disappointed in the least and the single left me wanting more from them. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see this band live…

~Alisa~

Leave a comment

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

Shed Some Tears: The Most Touching Japanese Songs

Every once in a while, a song comes along that besides being a really good song, makes us feel something. Sometimes, we can be so touched by a song that it makes us cry, laugh, reminisce. Here are my picks for the top five most touching Japanese songs:

# 5 “Forgiveness” – Ayumi Hamasaki

(used the Memorial Address cover because the single cover is creepy as all heck)

Where did this Ayu go? This Ayu was creative and had awesome vocals. Its like the Ayu we have now is a completely different person! This song is perfectly calming because of the soft singing. It swells at the chorus into something bigger, more powerful than itself. I miss the old Ayu.

#4 “Tabidachi no Uta” – Mr. Children

Maybe I chose this song because I love Koizora and watched it three times in a row once. Its a bittersweet song and much like the movie it was in, is about moving forward.

#3 “Hoshi no Suna” – GACKT

A widely overlooked song, this b-side from G’s Tsuki no Uta single really makes you feel like he is singing the entire thing with tears in his eyes. The simple piano and GACKT’s soft voice couple well together and work wonders at giving the listener goosebumps.

#2 “Snow White” – D

When this song came out, it received a lot of criticism from die-hard visualists for being, well, a ballad. Others praised its beauty and emotion. I love this song because its simple and tragic. Plus, you get to hear Asagi’s voice shine in an area outside of snarling. His vibratto is excellent and this borderline opera song definitely made me cry. Truly touching.

#1 “Kingyo Hanabi” – Ai Otsuka

I really could have said “virtually every Ai Otsuka ballad” here, but this song is special. Its my favorite song ever. Ai’s lyrics are clever, almost childish, poignant. The melody is smooth and the instrumentation along with the sound effects create this almost ethereal mood. This song still gets me when I listen to it, and I’ll be happy to play this song at my wedding in a couple years.

There you have it! These five songs always make me well up, and sometimes even burst into tears. Which songs make you feel that way?

~Alisa~

8 Comments

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

“7th Rose” – D

At least the cover is pretty

Being a loyal D fan, I kept up hope that this album would be surprisingly good, despite the lackluster singles. Since I do love D more than sliced bread and a few other food items, I don’t have the stomach to call this album “bad.” I can’t say its “good” either, and it would just be patronizing to call it “phenomenal.”

If you’re keeping up with Secret Garden (which you should! Its a brilliant blog!), you’ll know that lately, D has adopted more of a Versailles style. Can’t say I hate Versailles (the fact that most of their songs are, like, 9 minutes long is just a touch annoying but that’s another story…) but D should be D. This is why we fell in love with this band; because they had their own flavor. Now that flavor has just become stale.

7th Rose is a hot mess of Versailles/Malice Mizer/generic gothic rock cut-and-paste songs and a couple happy-go-lucky songs (Day by Day and Kaze ga Mekuru Page) that seem out of place altogether. Then you get tracks like Crimson Fish that drift in and out of the gothic and classic visual kei genres. I had no idea which direction  they were going with that song and I don’t even think the band knew either.

The only song which sounds remotely similar to the original D is Tightrope, the first single released since the previous album. I’ve called it a watered-down sister version to the outstanding pulse-pounding Nocturnal and I stand by that description. Another somewhat good track is 絡繰り絵巻, which is nice for about two listens and then is quickly forgotten.

As with several other D albums, 7th Rose contains plenty of barbaric growling and whatnot, but its emotionless and almost robotic, if that’s possible. The problem with the album is that the tracks don’t build tension like some of the better D songs. They are flat-lined from the start and you get plain bored. I didn’t listen to most of the tracks in their entirety because they evoked no response in me, other than yawning. Older D songs used to quicken my pulse and make me unconsciously clench my fist from the power of the songs.

In Conclusion: Spare yourself the heartache and pick up a copy of Genetic World instead. Perhaps you can find some gems in this album, but its more a matter of personal taste than actual quality. I felt that this album was weak and makes D as a band seem like a worn-out concept. Here is hoping they take a small hiatus and reflect on their true image instead of desperately clinging to that of other bands.

~Alisa~

6 Comments

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

Now Featured on International Wota

Read the article here

After less than two months, I’ve been featured on International Wota. I am so happy that I have already come this far, and am looking forward to more readers in the future. Thank you, International Wota!

Review of D’s “7th Rose” coming soon!

~Alisa~

Leave a comment

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Site News/Updates

Aquamarry Update

Its been almost a month since I ordered this album, and its still on backorder. The company has done its best to keep me posted while I wait, and I very much respect and appreciate that, but I want my album!!!!!

Next review will be Dahlia’s Nude Lumiere album. Its a couple of years old but I’ve recently discovered it so its new to me. Anyone else heard it? Then, hopefully I’ll have heard D’s 7th Rose and be able to review it.

~Alisa~

(I’m going to start ending my posts with what I’m listening to! Feel free to comment or tell me what you’ve got playing!)
Now playing – Revelation (L’arc~en~Ciel)

Leave a comment

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection

Ohhhhhh, Spring!

My favorite season of all is here, bringing all manner of flora and fauna, as well as the Japanese music scene, back to life. Seems like all good things come in the spring; warmer temperatures, lifted spirits, and some of the year’s best music. Let’s take a moment to talk about this Spring’s releases that I’m most excited about!

First we have Ai Otsuka’s Zokkondition/Lucky Star. Ai has always been a favorite artist of mine but ever since her last “actual” album, Love Letter, her stuff has just been hit or miss for me. I predict this single is going to fare about as well as Ai’s other recent stuff, which is not too hot. The covers for the single are either loved or hated, no gray area here. Both PVs are wacky in their own right. Lucky Star is like a pseudo-GaGa acid trip, and Zokkondition has Ai adopting another hideous blonde wig reminiscent of AisuxTime’s PV. As for the songs, Lucky Star is great but Zokkondition makes me want to hurl a Piplup like a javelin. (OMG, Alisa, how could you hurt a Piplup!?) Her vocals are plain terrible and I hope I never hear that song again. Seriously. Lucky Star should have been the leading A-side, not this junk that makes me want to go jam out to Beckii Cruel’s Danjo instead.

Popular Visual-Kei band D is in full bloom with their newest album 7th Rose, which drops next week. If you read my earlier post about this, then you’ll know that I am skeptical of the album’s quality based on the tracks available at this point. Just let me say that this is the review I am most excited about doing, and part of me expects to be pleasantly surprised by the album. Let’s hope..

Another release everybody’s talking about is Perfume’s Natural Ni Koishite, their first release since the hit album Triangle. I’m loving this song because its sounds like Spring! Its poppy and fizzy and sugary! This song is like drinking a very fresh can of soda. Its not on the level of Night Flight, but its great in its own right and the PV is sweet and simplistic. I’m looking forward to the b-side because Perfume can usually crank out some good ones. (23:30!? Edge!?)

Last thing I want to talk about is the upcoming release from my favorite duo ever, Vanilla Beans! Witch Hunting, (title subject to change) won’t be here until May but I’m beyond excited. It seems as though Vanilla Beans are gaining popularity, as they have recently appeared in a CM for a Japanese deodorant. I haven’t heard any other news about the single other than the expected release date, so I have no idea what its going to be like, but I can only hope it is awesome!

These are the releases I’m most pumped about this Spring! What are yours?

Peace, Love, and Spinarak Webs,
~Alisa~

5 Comments

Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles

Let’s Talk About D..

Another post where I could be reviewing e.via and her amazing speed rap, but my loyalty goes to a favorite band of mine, D. With their next album, 7th Rose getting closer and closer to releasing, I felt like talking about how I think the album will fare. In my opinion, this will not hold a candle to Genetic World.

“Why?” you ask. Because it seems to me that their performance has become increasingly sloppy over the last few singles. “Tightrope” was highly anticipated, but it failed to meet my expectations. It was average and like a watered-down rendition of “Nocturnal.” (their best song to date, in my opinion) Then along came the upbeat mess “Day by Day.” I respect D trying a less hard sound but they were meant to be threatening. Asagi has a powerful voice that best conveys anger, hate, or pain. He’s not the happy-go-lucky skips-in-the-field-of-daisies kind of artist.  He sounded weak and strained in “Day by Day” and the melody was forgettable. Another upbeat sound is present in the most recent single “Kaze Ga Mekuru Ketsu.” While the uplifting sound is more convincing here, the melody takes some interesting turns, and Asagi’s vocals are somewhat improved, it is a shame to call this the strongest single on 7th Rose when you compare it to an earlier work like “Yami no Kuni no Alice.” Finally, the titular track for the album, “7th Rose” is your average run-of-the-mill cranked-out-in-thirty-minutes Visual Kei jam. Asagi does some screaming and lovely falsetto, but the song is so sadly forgettable….

I anticipate seeing where 7th Rose will wind up on the Oricon charts when it drops. As a fan of D, I hate admitting that their sound is getting a little stale but it happens to all great artists. I’ve even gotten bored with GACKT at times too, so its all okay.

~Alisa~

4 Comments

Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection, Special Articles