Tag Archives: Nightmare

Fifteen Power-Packed Japanese Songs

I know that last night on Twitter, I said this would be the top ten most powerful Japanese songs. I changed it to the top fifteen! This is to keep my list from looking like a big mass of anime/GACKT songs. Just kidding. (Or am I?)
I define a powerful song not by how strong it makes me feel, but rather how weak it makes me feel on the very first listen. The first time I hear a powerful song, I want it to leave me in a cold sweat, breathless, thinking “what has just happened to me?” Then, I want to grow to make the song a sort of personal empowering anthem.
I assembled my list after much careful consideration. This was harder to do than anticipated, and may have been another contributor as to why the list turned out a little longer than expected. Enjoy!

15.) Alumina – Nightmare: This song isn’t just powerful, it’s very disturbing. The mournful tone in which Yomi sings the song is downright eerie. The first time I heard this song was on Death Note, naturally. It frightened me terribly, which is a big reason why I respect this song as much as I do.

14.) Border – Girugamesh: From the first notes of this song, I just knew it was going to be intense. I feel like the boys from Girugamesh are grabbing me by the hair and dragging me relentlessly through this song. It’s intense and brutal. The vocals and guitar are positively barbaric.

13.) Colors of the Heart – UVERworld: The most powerful part of this song is that it builds and builds and builds but all the while Takuya retains a beautiful, clear singing voice. His delivery is strong and melodic. (A big reason why this song left me breathless the first time I heard it was because my fiancé introduced it to me before he was even my boyfriend! I think a big part of my love for this song is that memory.)

12.) Bel Air – Malice Mizer: Hard to believe this song is as old as it is, yet its strength continues to rattle my skull (and the skulls of many other VK fans I’m sure) to this day. The music box playing at the beginning and middle of the song contrasts wonderfully with the hard guitars and drums found in the song. GACKT’s performance is outstanding and fierce.

11.) Rainbow – Ayumi Hamasaki: Made exclusively for her A Ballads album, Ayumi’s breathy ballad has been breaking hearts for years. This song has so much power in its simplicity, rather than any actual muscle. “No rain can get the rainbow.” Remember that.

10.) Passion – Utada Hikaru: Don’t you miss this Hikki? Utada, this is the one. Not your washed-up American crap that flopped horribly time after time. This. Passion is a song full of light and darkness at once. The beat of this song is indescribable.

9.) Hallelujah – Rurutia: Okay, so if hard guitars coupled with elegant violins weren’t powerful enough, you get the contrast of Rurutia and her famous whisper-singing. The opening of this song is like getting hit in the face with a shovel made of solid gold.

8.) Renon – M: This song is still relatively new to me, so I won’t pretend to be a seasoned listener. Still, its MUCC-esque guitar style and raw, untamed vocals floored me from the first listen. The vocalist has some serious charisma even though his vocals aren’t up to par with other VK singers by any means.

7.) Rain – GACKT: Do you ever hear a song that makes you hurt all over? This song fits the bill for me. I feel like I’m drowning in some kind of torrential, yet gentle wave during the verses. In the chorus, it all comes crashing down. I never hear much mention of this song, which is sad.

6.) Kingyo Hanabi – Ai Otsuka: I had to find a place for my favorite song on here somewhere! It’s not as powerful as other songs, per se, but it still packs a heartbreaking punch. The tortured desperation in this song is incredibly moving. This song can make me happy and sad at the same time, which is rare for a song to do.

5.) Rain – SID: As I mentioned on my “weekly babble” post, I have decided that songs titled Rain are predestined to be good. The chorus of this song is tragic with strong feelings of loss. I think the majority of this song’s power for me is how well it ties in with the Fullmetal Alchemist story.

4.) Lust for Blood – GACKT: This song is probably the most hateful song I have ever heard. The melancholy opening makes way for a heavy rock sound and GACKT’s intense, angry vocals. It’s a heart-stopping piece just because it is SO raw.

3.) Kimi ni Furu Zetsubou no Ame – XodiacK: I’m sorry to all of you who tire of hearing about XodiacK, but I just love this song so much. The first time I heard this song, I felt like it was repeatedly punching me in the stomach. Another way this song left me breathless was due to the fact that I laughed so hard at the terrible PV. (But you didn’t hear that from me, okay?)

2.) Mirrorcle World – Ayumi Hamasaki: Is it bad that I don’t think Ayu has released a single good thing since this dropped over two years ago? (Sparkle was okay, but not anything I couldn’t live without) Ayu is a powerhouse in this song, singing along with a military-style beat and angrily questioning the problems in the world today. The lyrics are expertly crafted and I love the energy.

1.) Jesus – GACKT: GACKT’s big comeback single after Returner was incredibly anticipated, and this single did not let me down at all. In fact, I think it is one of the greatest GACKT songs to date. The heavy rock sound, GACKT screaming, the lyrics, GACKT behaving in such a taunting manner in the PV… It’s incredible, and so unreal. This song sent me into a completely different dimension, where I felt as though I was standing face to face with something so much greater than myself, and I was trembling long after the song had finished. I’ll probably never have another song grip me as tightly as this has. I am proud to call this the most powerful song I’ve ever heard.

~Alisa~

Which songs do you consider to be the most powerful? Do you think ballads or rock songs are more powerful? How do you feel when a powerful song overtakes you?

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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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Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection

“a:FANTASIA” – Nightmare

This is one of three available covers for the single.

I’m excited to be reviewing a release by my fiance’s favorite band!

Nightmare is back, commemorating their ten year anniversary. Congratulations, guys! Seems like a lot of artists have been observing anniversaries lately. Maybe its just me who notices that. Hmm..

I’ll cut straight to the chase. a:FANTASIA is positively amazing. It builds with a lot of tension and rapid guitar playing and is just totally exhilarating. Yomi, despite his diminutive stature, can definitely sing. He sounds amazing in this song. (by the way, if you’ve ever watched lives of Nightmare/listened to their live album you’ll hear that he sounds just as great live. Actually, he sounds BETTER live to me!) Listen to the song here.

Romeo, like Love Addict on their last single Rem_, also got a PV! I really liked Yomi’s blonde perm and blue contact lense-wearing look in this video. I have to admit that he is one of the better-looking j-rockers. (cringes at Yasu from Acid Black Cherry)

Yomi becomes a member of the Aryan race.

Romeo carries on a:FANTASIA’s hard, fast sound. Overall, I liked it but it didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as the first song. I liked this song’s PV a lot better, though.

Rover closes out the single. Its much slower and completely forgettable but a nice way to end the single because it kind of mellows out the mood presented in the previous two songs.

In Conclusion: I realize that I have been overlooking Nightmare lately, as Majestical Parade and Rem_ were both pretty meh for me. This single was refreshing and I’ve had the a-side in my head for about three days now. Highly recommended to any fan of j-rock!

~Alisa~

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Filed under Japanese Rock, Sakurayume's Collection