Tag Archives: Goth

“Lolitawork Libretto” – Kanon Wakeshima

NOTE: This is the European title for this release. The Japanese title is Shoujo Jikake no Libretto. (if these titles are incorrect, please let me know!)

Cover for the European (French) release

Japanese cover. The legs look awkward and she appears cross-eyed here.

Its been over a year since Kanon Wakeshima’s last physical release. Shinshoku Dolce, her last album, was released on February 18, 2009. Before you marvel at my “photographic memory,” I’ll inform you that the only way I remembered this was because February 18th is my fiance’s birthday. UVERworld’s Awakeve came out that day too, but I’d rather not immerse myself in such mediocrity right now. (LAST > Awakeve, yo.)

After thirsting for more Kanon for the last year and a half, my prayers have been answered and I have been quenched! I was beginning to grow afraid that Mana-sama had eaten Kanon, you know, like he ate Klaha. (its the only explanation!)

I’ll go ahead and warn you that this isn’t nearly as great as Shinshoku Dolce, but Kanon proved to me that she can hold her own and remain fresh and exciting after this long. Her vocals have not improved a bit, which is a slight bummer, but its okay. (so long as you steer clear of Princess Charleston)

Track List:
01 – Shakespeare no Wasuremono -Prologue-
02 – Kajitsu no Keikoku
03 – Heroine Syndrome
04 – Twinkle star!
05 – Toumei no Kagi
06 – Marmalade Sky
07 – Kuroneko to Pianist no Tango
08 – Princess Charleston
09 – Tree of Sorrow
10 – Celmisia
11 – Otome no March
12 – Shakespeare no Wasuremono -Epilogue-
13 – Lolitawork Libretto -Storytelling by solita-

Shakespeare no Wasuremono (both the prologue and epilogue versions) are heartwarming and powerful pieces that invite you in and gracefully escort you out of the album. Kanon’s cello playing is top-notch, and you can almost hear her saying “welcome” and “thank you for visiting. Come back soon.” in each respective song. Impressive! Both are a little longer than what you would expect, but I found that to be a nice touch.

I’d say most of us have heard bits and pieces of Toumei no Kagi somewhere. It was released sometime late last year and was featured in some video game. Finally, someone uploaded the track to YouTube but at 64 kbps quality, (at best) the song wasn’t even worth listening to. This song is fast, the cello sounds proud (if you could use that as an adjective) and the organ is a nice touch.

I have yet to understand what Kanon and Mana intended to do with Princess Charleston. Its like a song you’d hear in a Wild West Saloon. Either that, or some terrible throwaway ending. The vocals are, to be honest, terrible. Kanon’s rapid singing is cute, but not endearing. The song gets better, sort of, near the chorus. Still, the squealing vocals and horse-galloping beat confused me. Maybe this will grow on me.

Kanon’s back in her element with Tree of Sorrow. Sadly, this song sounds like several of her others. The chorus is pretty catchy, so its worth trying.

Otome no March starts out like it is going to be good, but winds up the total opposite. Much more squealing, oh joy. Kanon, you are better than this.

Finally, we come to the titular track Lolitawork Libretto ~Storytelling by Solita. The song is very well done, Kanon and Solita sound beautiful and calm together, and the tune is positively hypnotic. The PV is a little trippy, but at the same time one of the most fascinating PVs I’ve seen yet. Kanon is delightfully malicious while Solita… well, we can’t all look like Miss America. A standout track!

In Conclusion: Lolitawork Libretto is a solid album. The main problem I had was that it seems like Kanon is trying to shred the “creepy evil girl” image that I loved her for from the start in favor of something sugarcoated and adorable. Please don’t go that route, Kanon! I want to lie awake in fear that you will kill me in my sleep with a cello!

~Alisa~

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Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

“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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Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection