Tag Archives: D

Weekly Babble, Hoorah!

What I’m Listening To This Week
“EVER” by GACKT
“Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai ” by D
“Death Point” by D’espairsRay
“SILENCE” by RAMPANT

What I’m Thinking This Week

1.) Whatever they say, I’ll never change my way. 🙂

2.) I’ve been on a ridiculous j-rock binge. I don’t really acknowledge the existence of other genres as much as I used to.

3.) Faraway is the only GACKT song I can’t stand, yet it is still on my iPod and I have no intention of deleting it.

4.) When I checked the OriCon charts yesterday, I noticed that a Fullmetal Alchemist soundtrack (compilation of all openings and endings) was ahead of VAMPS’ BEAST album. That’s a little sad. MAYBE if Hyde went back to L’arc the sales would be higher. Okay, that was uncalled for. Nothing against VAMPS, I just miss L’arc. A lot.

5.) Sometimes I forget just how good GACKT is.

6.) I’m challenging myself to use the word “ever” as much as possible over the course of the next week. Would anyone like to join me?

~Alisa~

Heh.... EVER.

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“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~

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“Precious” – ViViD

Isn't this cover.... "precious!?" *slaps knee* Ah, you just don't know humor like I do.

I’ll just start by being a jerk and saying the ViViD has never really been a band I have in heavy rotation. Usually their songs have been incredibly ordinary and honestly a little weak. Please don’t take it to heart, though.

Precious is another boring song that gets a little less boring on the second listen. The melody is basic and predictable but I can happily say that the vocals have improved. My problem with ViViD’s songs in part is that the vocalist takes too many “risks” while singing. He attempts notes that he can’t reach and the song suffers. He kept his voice in a comfortable zone this time around and while its obvious that he’s “playing it safe” so to speak, the song is smoother than previous works like Across the Border. Still, give the song a try because my opinion can always differ from yours. This song just had the same problem for me as giru’s “Color” in that every note was predictable, start to finish.

Things get a little jazzier with Bright Red Garden. Lots of trilled letter r’s which is something I like. I usually like jazzy VK songs like The Last Show (Nightmare) and Mad Tea Party (D) but this song sounds a little cheap with synths (I guess?) that remind me of playing WarioWare. Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh but that’s what I envisioned in this song. Wario riding a motorcycle.

Survive is typical ViViD. Really bad vocals and typical VK beat. Its… decent. Still the chanting in the song is laughable so I can’t take the song seriously.

悪女♂トリッキ- is the last track on the single and its dumb that they put the song that was closest to being enjoyable at the end. Regardless, the song is AGAIN basic VK with all the trimmings. Cool guitar solo at the instrumental break but.. meh.

In Conclusion: I just feel like this single was totally uninspired and that ViViD has nothing to distinguish themselves from other VK bands. They have no flavor of their own, no style of their own, and certainly no sound of their own. I’m not bashing this band and please forgive me if it seems that way but I think I’m too picky with VK. Try the single for yourself, because that’s about the best advice I could give you.

~Alisa~

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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~

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2009 < 2010

This morning, a little after 2 AM while listening to immi’s “Black or White” for the thousandth time something dawned on me. I thought to myself “Wow, the music this year is ten times better than the stuff released last year!”

I thought a little harder about it and realized that there was really only one artist I listened to last year: GACKT. I suppose it is rightfully so, as he bombarded us with singles last year, most of which were really quite good and unique. Still, only listening to one artist can put a huge damper on music appreciation as a whole. Nothing else really notable came out last year. Sure, D released “Genetic World” and MEG wowed me with “Journey” but there still wasn’t a big variety of quality material in 2009.

This year, even though its only halfway over, has given me a wide selection of great music from all kinds of genres. I’ve discovered a myriad of new artists while ones I’ve known and loved for years have put out some great stuff. 2010 is a great year for musical variety and my iPod is constantly on something different.

Though I totally loved the “year of GACKT,” (as I lovingly dubbed last year) I think music as a whole has improved this year. What do you think?

~Alisa~

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“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~

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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~

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