Tag Archives: Hyde

“Recreation 2” – Acid Black Cherry

This cover makes me a bit uncomfortable, but anything is better than a shot of Yasu and his horse-teeth.

Hey everyone! I’m back to reviewing! I know my special articles, random blurbs about Ai Otsuka’s marriage, and incessant tweets have probably been driving you bonkers, but I’ve been waiting for a special release to come out before I did my next review. Why? I’ve been waiting to do this review because it is my FIFTIETH REVIEW! *balloons and streamers fall from the ceiling* I am so happy that I have been able to stick with this project for this long. When I first thought “I’m going to write a music blog,” I honestly didn’t take that thought too seriously. But now, my blog is one of the most important things I have. Thanks to all my readers and friends. I’ll stop this teary-eyed yammering to actually do what I’m supposed to: review.

I chose to review this album because:
1.) I like ABC
2.) My fiance likes ABC even more
3.) There is a song on here that holds special meaning to me, we’ll talk about that in just a bit

Recreation 2 is the follow-up to ABC’s last cover album titled, you guessed it, Recreation. What, did you think there was going to be a trick question or something? I’m embarrassed to add that many of the tracks covered on this album are by artists I’ve never even heard of. I feel quite terrible to admit that. I’ll review the note-worthy tracks now.

Tenshi no WINK is a fun way to start the album. Its a fun song, not too rockish, but its sung very well. I have always been a fan of Yasu’s pure voice.

The only track from the album to get a PV (and making-of video!!!) is Aitai It starts out with a gentle melody that sounds like a music box being played in a dream. Its a touching and melancholy song, but unfortunately suffers from “epically long oh my gosh is it over yet?” syndrome like other ABC favorites such as Yasashii Uso and Nemuri Hime. I liked the song for about the first three minutes and I think the opening melody would make a cute ringtone. The PV isn’t worth watching. Its a collection of clips showing Yasu sitting back to back with a girl and then Yasu turns into a ghost (?), Yasu’s teeth, (ugh) and the girl crying awkwardly in a filthy bathtub.

Hershey is totally pop, and sounds like borderline Shibuya-Kei if you ask me. I don’t think Yasu’s voice was right for the song here.

Silhouette Romance is an ethereal style piece. Thankfully, it isn’t too long, and Yasu’s voice sounds so clear and calm. This song reminded me of the ocean at night. A great song to relax with.

The song I most anticipated was ABC’s cover of Mika Nakashima’s “Glamorous Sky.” (Hyde, who actually wrote the song, also recorded a version at one point, but I thought his voice was too deep for it..) This song has had a special meaning to me because I performed it in a talent show back in high school. Unfortunately, my cultural awareness was a bit too much for my peers, who booed at me relentlessly and teased me by asking why I didn’t sing in “American.” Seriously? Its tough to find people who appreciate foreign music, especially when you live out in the boondocks like me. This is probably the reason why I have given up singing.

Acid Black Cherry’s cover of this song exceeded my expectations. I don’t want to say it blew me out of the water, but it really did and I can’t lie to my readers. The arrangement was spectacular, not as hard as the original song, but it still contained the same energy, the same fire, the same intensity. This is the gem of the album and a track that no one should miss.

In Conclusion: If you’re just now hearing about ABC for the first time, then I do not recommend this album on the grounds that it is a cover album, after all. Go try some of their original material before you tackle this release. Seasoned ABC fans will probably find this album to be a hit-or-miss. The only songs that were memorable for me were Aitai and Glamorous Sky. Happy listening!

~Alisa~

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“Angel Trip” – VAMPS

Angel Trip is the newest single by VAMPS. It is, I think, the follow-up to their last single Devil Side. That would only make sense, right?

I didn’t enjoy Devil Side. Partly because I didn’t like the lyrics. Partly because the song itself was forgettable. Mostly because I can’t stand Hyde’s English. I’m so mean.

Angel Trip redeemed VAMPS for me. Its an upbeat, positive song that reeks of summertime. When the song starts, the energetic guitar and drums make you want to go “wooo!” I actually did say “wooo!” With 3 o’s. I counted. Haha.

If you can look past Hyde’s terrible English (and his Captain Jack Sparrow + Blonde look in the PV.. ugh..) this song is a blast and the kind of song you’d listen to when driving to the beach or any vacation really. It’s the kind of song you’d blast when you are only minutes away from your destination. I’m loving the energy of this song. Plus its Hyde, dang it.

I can hardly wait for the third installment in this series by VAMPS which is titled Purgatory Fun Land! I’m only joking.

As for the other song… meh. I’m tired. Let me go to sleep, okay? 😛

~Alisa~

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“Sacrifice” – Luzmelt

Okay, y’all. I got about thirty minutes before Between the Lions comes on, and I’m not about to miss my “stories.” Haha.

I stumbled upon this single entirely by chance. I liked the cover so I thought I’d give it a listen. I don’t know if you guys love experiences like that, but I sure do.

Luzmelt is a new-ish visual kei band that I had not heard of until yesterday. But apparently they played at Tekkoshocon back in April. They were right here in the U.S. and I didn’t even know it! They have released two mini albums called “Swallowed Scenery” and “Luz-Destination” which I’m going to check out as soon as I finish this review. “Sacrifice” is their first single.

Sacrifice begins with a slow piano opening, which to me felt like a tip of the hat in the direction of the older style of Japanese rock from the late 80s and early to mid 90s. Then the song explodes into a hard, driven rock paradise with some impressive drums and robotic-sounding vocals. Totally unexpected. The song is a great journey through many styles of music. It moves from classic rock, to some techno elements, and into a comfortable Visual Kei sound. I also have to give props to the vocalist. He seems very talented and for some reason his vocal style reminds me of Hyde in his younger days. The space-oriented PV for the song made me think of XodiacK’s PV for Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame. I miss XodiacK so much.

Under the Starlight is a nice compliment to the a-side. In fact, I liked this song just as much as Sacrifice. That’s rare for me.

The final song is a remix of a song called Blind Scope which I’m going to assume is on one of the two mini-albums. (Yup, it is. The original is found on Swallowed Scenery.) I liked this remix, but would not feel comfortable saying much else considering that I haven’t heard the original.

In Conclusion: I can’t wait to hear what other songs Luzmelt has to offer. In a world seemingly dominated by Visual Kei bands that all sound the same, its tough to find one that stands out. This band is seriously worth a listen because its not your average v-kei. The borrowed elements from other genres all work perfectly in their songs. Now, I can only hope that this band doesn’t suffer from “XodiacK Syndrome” and suddenly decide to break up as soon as I start listening to them. That would be enough to make me tear my lungs out through my ears. 😛

~Alisa~

Reader Question: What is the best song you’ve ever stumbled upon by chance?

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My L’arc Will Go On

Japanese culture in the United States is pretty much hit or miss. Either you love it or you know nothing about it. Not too much gray area. Besides that, a lot of Japanese cultural elements are stripped out of popular anime like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh, to Americanize them. Names get changed, the theme songs get replaced with English ones, and really bad ones at that. Thanks a lot, 4Kids. Consider this video:

When you have to change rice balls to sandwiches or donuts or anything BUT rice balls, you are totally ruining the Japanese-ness of the show.

So where does L’arc fit in to this rant?

Listen. If you like anime, you’ll at least know about Fullmetal Alchemist. If you know about Fullmetal Alchemist, you’ll know L’arc. Maybe I’m being disgustingly linear, but for me, L’arc was the band that introduced me to Japanese music through FMA. Shows like Fullmetal and InuYasha were ones that didn’t entirely lose their original themes when they were dubbed and brought to the U.S. Sure, Fullmetal cut down their ending themes to 30 seconds and lost two out of four openings when shown on TV, and InuYasha never had opening music on TV, but at least you got that tiny snippet of Japanese music somewhere. That made all the difference.

An anecdote:

One August day in 2005, I was in my local record shop buying Pocky. I noticed they had a small bin of CDs labeled “anime.” Curiously, I looked through and saw soundtracks from popular shows like DBZ, FLCL, and some others. Then, I spied a copy of L’arc~en~Ciel’s SMILE album (lots of people didn’t like this album, but it is my favorite!) with a big sticker slapped on the front reading “FEATURING ‘READY STEADY GO’ FROM THE HIT ANIME FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST!” I bought it.

My experience with SMILE was gradual. At first, I played “Ready Steady Go” over and over and over again. Then, I eventually accidentally hit the shuffle button instead of repeat, and the song “Revelation” played. I adored it from the first listen. My interest was piqued, and before long I had listened to every track and learned every lyric.

I thought, “hey, this is really good. I bet there is other really great Japanese music out there too!” I began to research popular music and order albums from the big names like Ayu and Utada. Loved ’em. I discovered all kinds of music, even the superindie stuff that I’m so hardcore about these days. All thanks to L’arc.

I can’t call L’arc my favorite group, but I will always credit them as my jumpstart to loving and appreciating not only Japanese music, but international music as a whole.

In this way, L’arc~en~Ciel will always be the most enduring Japanese musical act to me. I also think they will endure because they are everywhere. Besides Fullmetal, they have tie-ins all over the place, and Hyde himself is one of the most recognizable figures in Japanese pop culture.

Maybe this rant makes little sense to my readers, but I wanted to take some time to thank L’arc for bringing their music and culture to a nation where a lot of it is silenced and diluted.

Reader Question: What was your first experience with Japanese music?

~Alisa~

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Mild Changes

Hey, wow, my blog is getting really really popular now! Thanks to everybody who reads and/or contributes!

I’ve removed the “Requests” page to make my blog a little less cluttered. Now you can e-mail requests or comments to sakurayumeblog@gmail.com          I’ll post the e-mail address in my affiliates tab as well.

I’m also considering revamping my “List of Reviewed Items” page to make it more user-friendly. I’m a dreadfully lazy bum, so we’ll see how that pans out.

My next post will be an examination of L’arc~en~Ciel and why I feel they are the most enduring band in Japanese musical history thusfar. Take it easy, guys.

~Alisa~

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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)

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