Tag Archives: Reviews

“Nancy” – SKULL

Welcome back to me, and welcome back to SKULL! This band was introduced to me by Toshi San and I definitely appreciate it. Gaining insight on new VK bands is what I’m all about.

I’m going to probably step on some toes and hurt some feelings when I say that I wasn’t very fond of Nancy. The guitar and the rest of the instruments were great, but I didn’t feel like the vocals matched the intensity of the song and for that I couldn’t really take it seriously. This is one of those songs I will probably have but rarely listen to.

I did, however, find JUMPIT to be really interesting. It’s a fine blend of all sorts of musical elements which come together to make some weird messy thing that works. I would recommend this song to anyone with a varied taste in music, such as myself.

In Conclusion: I didn’t like this single as much as SKULL’s last effort, but they are still a band I’m going to keep up with. I pretty much have to if I’m going to have Toshi San as a friend. 😉

~Alisa~

AAA’s new single will be reviewed next, hopefully in the next couple of days. Ven, you have my permission to begin your cartwheels now.

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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

“Rock N Roll Circus” – Ayumi Hamasaki

Track Listing:
01 – THE introduction
02 – Microphone
03 – count down
04 – Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
05 – BALLAD
06 – Last Links
07 – montage
08 – Don’t look back
09 – Jump!
10 – Lady Dynamite
11 – Sexy little things
12 – Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
13 – meaning of Love
14 – You were…
15 – RED LINE ~for TA~

The tracks I liked are highlighted. See any highlighted tracks? I don’t. Maybe this is proving my point.

Okay, before I lose any faithful Ayu fans as readers just let me take a minute to defend myself. I LOVE AYU. I love her image and her major influences over the Japanese music scene. But this album fails hardcore, to me at least. The entire mood of the album felt washed-up. I know that some people really like the style of music Ayu is pulling lately and that’s great. All I’m saying is that this album doesn’t speak to me all that well.

With the England-meets-Kanon-Wakeshima-styled covers, I expected Rock N Roll Circus to recapture the darkness and allure of Guilty. The only track which comes close is Microphone, which is like a mix of Marionette and Talkin’ 2 Myself, but with no real Ayu power. It feels strained. You also get her recent singles plopped onto the album. “Plopped” is the keyword, because none of them felt like they fit. Particularly BALLAD. That song seems like it should be from waaaaay back in the Secret era. A final track worth mentioning is Sexy Little Things, a really theatrical mess of a showtune, if you’d call it that, which is the only song that even gives me the image of a Circus in my head as I listen to it. Its a cute song, and really unorthodox given Ayu’s normal sound but it got old quickly. Still, I commend Ayu on being an artist who is ever-changing.

In Conclusion: I viewed Rock N Roll Circus as round two of the crap we got hit with from Next Level, but some people seemed to really enjoy the album. I respect Ayu, once again, for being a current artist who never sticks with the same sound for long, but I’m just a bit burnt out on her for now. Maybe her next album will be better on me. Who knows?

It really doesn’t matter what I say, she’s still going to outsell UVERworld. Haha.

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Filed under Japanese Pop, Sakurayume's Collection

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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Filed under Sakurayume's Collection, Site News/Updates