Kafka's Japanese Musicbox

Lyric Translations, Reviews & Recommendations


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Girls Dead Monster’s Keep the Beats! Album Review

Tracklist:

1-Crow Song ~ Yui ver.

2-Thousand Enemies

3-Shine Days

4-23:50

5-Run with Wolves

6-Morning Dreamer

7-Rain Song

8-Alchemy~Yui ver.

9-Ichiban no Takaramono( Most Precious Treasure) ~ Yui ver.

10-Little Braver~Album Version

11-My Song ~Yui Ver.

12-My Soul, you Beats! ~girldemo ver.

13-Brave Song ~girldemo ver.

Band Members:

(former)Iwasawa – Guitar, Vocals, Composer

Yui – Guitar, Vocals

Hisako – Lead Guitar

Irie – Drums

Sekine – Bass

Review:

This is a rock album. This is japanese rock. This is freaking awesome. Thoughts pop up one another as I listen to the murderous guitar riffs, stylish guitar solos, catchy melodies, energetic feelings, and LiSa dominating vocals in this album. The energy of this album gives us a gotta-watch-this-live kind of desire.

Crow’s Song ~ Yui ver – This is the Yui(LiSa as the singer version) of Iwasawa’s(Marina as the singer) Crow Song which she originally composed and performed in the first episode of Angel Beats! when she was in the band. This is song beats is so… beat-full! this song has so much energy that its so fast paced. The drum beats makes us want to run. With Yui’s singer voice, it as much great as Iwasawa’s. Both versions are awesome!

Thousand Enemies – This is the last song left Iwasawa composed before she left the band making Yui’s debut as the newly incarnated Girls Dead Monster’s vocalist. The guitar riffs again dominate this song. Ahh those murderous harmonics on the guitar.

Shine Days – at first, the intro of this song sounds like Guns n’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine, but when the bass and drums took its stage, the impression vanished. Loved this song too. It can’t be avoided to like the melody because its so catchy and sung so good. As usual, the guitar riffs dominate the song. And also LiSa’s great voice also… this song also has a feeling of nostalgia.. it makes us look back on the days we were shining.. hence Shine Days.

23:50 – Hmm.. this is probably the “normal” songs in the album. Despite its struggle to be a good song, sure its a good song, but it doesn’t leaves an impression compared to other songs. Its still a good song though..

Run with Wolves – now this is a good song. The guitar riffs are so catchy. It has a jazz rock feel. It reminds of a feeling when listening to 70-80s jazz in combination of 80s rock en roll style with an additional punk rock rhythm. LiSa’s voice also fits all too well with the song.

Morning Dreamer – a relaxing song to say the least. It starts with an acoustic guitar. Then transcends into a full band progression. The bass line of this song controls the flow of the song. Paired with LiSa’s vocals, it makes a good song. The feeling of this song is when you are feeling better in the morning while daydreaming on the wonderful things you want to do in life.

Rain Song – another great song. Creative guitar riffs, LiSa’s firm vocals, catchy but strong feel chorus, tight drums, and steady rhythm-full bass lines.

Alchemy ~Yui ver. this song was performed and composed by Iwasawa in the 3rd episode of Angel Beats!, it was the 2nd-to-the-last song she performed before she left the band and is Yui’s new favorite song when she was still a fan of Iwasawa. Again with LiSa’s voice singing this song instead of Marina’s voice, the song still rocks. This is song is so awesome, the rhythm guitar and lead guitar matches so much creating a much more great sound . The drum rolls fills in the transmissions with great accuracy, the bass lines rides with rhythm so naturally…

Ichiban no Takaramono (most precious treasure) ~ Yui ver. – the most touching song on the album. Hands down. LiSa’s voice here is beyond greatness. Her ability to make unreachable notes with her voice is a talent to be recognized greatly. A guitar ballad for hopeless romantics, for nostalgia, for inspiration and for the heart. The guitar at the end is so tranquil, its a good way to end a touching song. Tell me what is or who is your Ichiban no Takaramono?

Little Braver ~ Album Version – this song was released as a single to promote the anime Angel Beats! and to provide fans fan service of Girls Dead Monster. This also made the first appearance of singer LiSa on the their PV video of the song backed up with an all female band making it look like the real Girls Dead Monster from the anime. Of course, this was the first song to be released, a good song. Again, guitar and vocals make up the awesomeness of the song. Its says Album version because its a little longer than the single, and theres an additional singing part by LiSa at the end which adds more depth on the song.

My Song ~Yui ver. – this was the song that gave the most impact in the whole Angel Beats! series, both its story and musically. This is the last song Iwasawa sang with only her guitar before she left and disappeared. Her performance in the anime still haunts me. It was so beautiful that words won’t come out and wonderfully enthralled me. This made the anime and the band more recognized. Lots of cover videos swept NicoNicoDouga(japan’s youtube) and youtube after the full song was released making a new musical phenomenon. I even practice this on my guitar, its chord progression a little simple but to be added with such heavenly vocals, words cannot fathom to describe. Marina’s voice is actually more suitable to this song than LiSa’s, Marina’s voice has a feeling of hopelessness but in a positive kind of way rather than LiSa’s is firm and strong however its refreshing. This version is okay and has its own treatment due to the band entering at the chorus making it like Evanescence’s My Immortal Band Version. This is why Marina’s voice is more suitable to this song. After all, Marina is Iwasawa’s singing voice which this song is Iwasawa’s Best Song.

My Song, Your Beats! ~ girldemo ver. – This is the rock and band version of Lia’s(The singer of clannad’s songs such as Dango Daikazoku and Kanon songs) song My Song, Your Beats! which is the OP song of Angel Beats!. This is also the audition song of Yui for the replacement of Iwasawa for the band. This version is as good as the original. Great guitar riffs, LiSa’s vocals to give the song a more powerful rock music feeling, amazing bass lines, and tight drums.

Brave Song ~girldemo – The band version of Aoi Tada’s Brave Song as the ED theme song of Angel Beats! this version is surprisingly good also even though the original was so awesome as it was. They actually did a great job in arranging the song to have a more different kind of feeling. The original song’s feeling was so sad and touching but encouraging to move forward in a way while this version has a new different feeling, its a feeling when you have to be strong even though you are pummeled by hardships, it has a melancholic melody mixed with optimism.

Overall, the album is almost perfect for a band based on an anime, they did it again, music in anime really does leave a great impact in story and content. Nana, K-ON! and Beck did the same. I listen to this album sometimes when I start out my day, it gives me the feeling of “lets conquer this day, lets make this day a better one”.

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YUI – Rain Single Review

Tracklist:

1. Rain

2. a room

3. How Crazy ~Yui Acoustic Version~

4. Rain(instrumental)

Overview:

Ahh, another song from yui for the yuletide season. Should be thankful to yui for giving us another song filled with warmth and genuine feelings. Actually, songs are quite not positive however yui tells us not to loose hope and embrace all difficulties to conquer walls that block our views and ways. This single is not a happy single. All songs are about her depression and difficulties that are part of her life. Of course as we listen to her songs, we feel them alongside her. Thats the beauty of her songs, every songs she makes has so much emotion that her feelings toward her songs conveys to our hearts as we listen. Nonetheless, this single is still exceptional regardless of its dark feelings even though we are in the yuletide season.

1. Rain – An upbeat rock but subtle song like her “its all too much”, it starts with a cool guitar rift harmonized with the other instruments especially the bass. Actually the bass player of this song is Nohana from Stereopony, no wonder the bass sounds so good. Then cuts to yui singing as if she was just from a rain-drenched depressing evening alone on Christmas Eve, when the chorus kicks in she felt she had conquered her lonely sadness and her strength has build up, as the bridge sets up, her “Sayounara da ne”(so this goodbye…) brings up so much feelings that we feel her pain. Letting go is one the hardest to do. After that she sings with the keyboard as her only ally in this song as if she’s the only person in the world, then builds up to the chorus to the ending guitar riff. This song is actually about on Christmas Eve when she lonely waits for her loved one on a rainy night surrounded by lovers however she painfully knows very well that he will not come and after this night she will not see him again so she struggles with her feelings to move forward and let go but its not that easy. Poor yui, i wish i could be at her side. (keep dreaming myself!! xD)

2. a room – this song.. i can definitely relate… this song.. this ballad from yui.. i can definitely relate. Why? thats because this song is about a unrequited love that is so far that it can’t be reached however with courage and inspiration, we’d like to know what he/she is doing right now or how is he/she and then we’d like to catch up with them with all their might cuz in our hearts he/she is still the only one. Even though we want to be their side, but we can’t, its difficult and still awkward. We just want to catch up on him/her. Just to know that he/she is happy. Further details will be below as a lyric english translation. You’ll know what i mean as i feel the same her. One of the reasons i like yui’s songs is that her lyrics relate too much to my life.

3. How Crazy ~Yui Acoustic Version~ – the acoustic version of “Can’t Buy My Love”‘s How Crazy. As usual, yui acoustic versions sounds as good as the original, even some better, in case still don’t know what this song means, this song is about how crazy that she keeps worry on what life stores for her in the future of her music career. She talks about her depressed days when everything seems dark and surrounded by insecurities. Everybody has their downfall time, and that they need to overcome them, after that, we had grown up.

4. Rain(instrumental) – nothing new, no vocals. Good for covering this song and karaoke. However, the song is just not the same without yui’s breathtaking unique voice.

Overall, this single is like other yui’s singles, over the top awesomeness. As expected. A recommendation without hesitation.


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Negoto – ex Negoto Album Review

Once you listen to this album, you might never expect how awesome these cute in appearance kind of girls could produce such intense, emotional, moody, derivative, energetic and sometimes dark sounds. In their early career before they’ve gone professional label, they wore pajamas as a costume for their live performances just to emphasize their band name which is negoto, means “Sleep Talk” in Japanese. What would you think when you see 4 girls in stage wearing just in their PJs? you would think they are cute and somehow think that they’ll perform some kind of pop dancing song to match their cute display. These girls are actually really really talented. I’ve never seen a better talented bunch of girls with such great musical intercourse.

ex Negoto is their first debut album. Quite unique album title I say. The title might mean that they are already disbanded. According to Sachiko, they are well aware what the title implies to a normal person’s mindset. Firstly, they purposely want to surprise people with the title and make them assume literally, however that’s not the real case, ex has a lot of other meanings too, like “excellent”, “exciting” etc… and hoping to bring a new kind of sound to the ears of music lovers and the like. I personally think they are making their way to achieving such goal. It feels indeed that they are on their way in making a new kind of sound. It definitely shows they still have so much potential in them. I say give them 2-4 years. They’ll be better than any girl band.

Here are my thoughts of each songs in the album:

Saidaa no Umi(Sea of Cider) – A great song to kick start the album. A fast tempo sound that makes you want to run to refresh your mind and body. This song could make a good song of a Cider Soda drink ad. Everything is perfectly synchronized in this song. The keyboard, bass, the beautiful sound of the guitar and the tight drums. I personally salute Sachiko in this song cuz based on the slight complexity of the odd time signatures that she plays with the keyboard in this song while singing is no simple feat.

Ruupu(Loop) – their most played and famous song before their debut single Charon. As one of their early songs before making it to pro, this song is really good and have a certain derivative sound arrangement making sound as if they are already professionals. Well, this is no surprise, because in Japan, this is common. The indie music industry in Japan is one of the greatest in the whole world. Even bands playing in the streets are way better than to those in the mainstream. The song starts with a suitable bass line to start a song, just like the sound of a starting engine of a car, then enters the hi-hat rhythmically synchronizes with the bass and the beautiful plucking sound of the guitar with the vocals, and then the song jumps into a fantasy feel of electronic elasticity as the instruments intercourse into one awesome sound. I say one of the best songs they’ve composed. Whenever I listen to this song, I feel so light as if I’m floating in space.

Karon(Charon) – Their debut single that bypassed everyone’s expectations. This song is my most favorite song from them. This song is so… how shall I say it.. so EARGASMIC, addicting, and really uplifting. From the catchy and intense melody to the tight complex drums, this might be one of great songs composed in the 21st century. Call me bias all you want but this is surely an awesome song.

Beesaido(Beside?) – The word EPIC should describe this song. You know why? cuz Sawamura Sayako, the agile versatile drummer just played her heart out in this song with such EPIC drumming, and that doesn’t stop there, such EPIC drumming is accompanied by a beautiful EPIC sound of the guitar and smooth EPIC bass lines, plus an EPIC keyboard playing that brings an EPIC texture that softly glides along the song. It’s not surprising if this song is categorized as progressive because it is. One of great songs I say.

Merushiiru(Merci Lou) – Sachiko has indeed a knack of making abstract song titles xD. This song is dark. Beautifully dark in fact. The kind of darkness that you’ll find comfortable and safe being in. Song enters with a dark tone of heavily electronic keyboard riff synchronized with the beautiful sound of the guitar to balance the mood of the song, after the first cycle, the bass and drums enter making the song a little heavy on the feeling side however sets the right mood of dark sound as if were intensely longing for salvation within our own darkness. As the verse finishes, a violent storm of emotions come in the chorus, as the song preludes itself the end, the song gradually lights itself up like heading into the light in a completely dark tunnel. Its a great accomplishment if you can put such moods and emotions in such song.

Fuwari no Koto(Gently) – Another great piece. A Masterpiece in fact. The best ballad song they’ve composed. This is song is all about the piano keyboard and Sachiko’s so concerned and sincere voice and her way of singing. The piano directly echoes into the hearts of its listeners tugging their heart strings like playing a harp which harmonizes euphoria with the world. It feels like Sachiko poured her heart and soul and turned those feelings into a melody. The other instruments accompanies the feelings of the song as if they are vessels holding together the feelings that are ubiquitous through out the song. A masterpiece indeed.

Tanabata – a change of pace as we enter the middle track of the album. This song is quite cheery and has a bright mood. It also has a unique rhythm making the track a little bit jumpy. Still the great musical intercourse never fails to make this song tight. Performing this song would be fun as we would be jumping along the rhythm cheerfully enjoying the bright mood the song has given us.

Week…end – The dark edge masterpiece as musical critics say and they absolutely right. As Sachiko commented on the judgement of the song, “Yes, the song itself is indeed a great one”. Again we are engulfed by a wonderful comfortable and safe darkness while listening to this masterpiece. This is a song we would like listen when we are alone, and within that solitude, the feelings accompanying the song comforts our loneliness. The bass makes the song feel gloomy and dark, the guitar adds some tasty texture to the song, the drums maintains holds the song tightly with its beautiful and crisp ghost notes keeping it from breaking away, and lastly the keyboard gives a feeling of hope to the song like tiny lights flashing within the darkness carefully not to stray off to absolute despair.

Kisetsu(Seasons) – Another uptempo song. Another song that makes me want to run. This is really a good song. It gives us a kind of refreshing feeling that the weather is going to be a good one. Again, the drum never fails to hold the song taking the lead so that none of the instruments break off somewhere. The guitar maintains the rhythm and the bass thickens up the song while it synchronizes with the strong drums helping it to be more tighter, and keyboard brings out positiveness from the song.

AO – A slow paced ballad. I could listen to this song and do nothing all day. Such a relaxing song. Its the kind of song when you feel lazy and let the day pass by without effort while watching the clouds make their way to other parts of the sky. Even though its a ballad, the drums still inserts its strong complexity into the heart of the song.

Yureru(Sway) – a very melodic song with an earnest appearance. The mood for this song is kinda like coming out of a certain despair that has plagued you for sometime and now you have come to learn to accept and learn from the difficulties you’ve faced. The perfect ending theme song. Again, the drum prevails with its tight and strong musical fitness while all other instruments including the sincere vocals rightfully blend with each other. There’s no telling how far these girls’ talents potentially could grow.

Instrumental – the piece that instantly made me a fan of them when I first heard them in the Ontama Carnival Festival Concert. This song is usually performed by them every time they perform live and its usually the first song they play as make it also like a sound test to them too. This song also kinda fits to be the first song since it has feeling of a prelude musical piece, however, this song is being chosen as the last track of the album which makes it the postlude which actually also fit. A great ending to say the least. This is half instrumental. The vocal only comes from the beginning, after that its musical bliss, this version though, comparing to the one’s they usually perform in lives, they added a new segment where the guitar beautifully solos which makes the song more enjoyable to listen to.

Conclusion: This album is all about the drums. The drums takes the lead all the way. The drums holds and maintains every song. The drums prevails with its mighty strong fills, odd time signatures, tight rhythm, and incredible versatility with the bass as its accomplice and the keyboard and guitar supporting, molding, synchronizing and harmonizing to make each song sound incredible unique or awesome. Also, this album never disappoints, every song sounds great, as you listen to it over and over again, you don’t easily get sick of it. I listen to this album at least once a day and I never tire of it. Its actually addicting. A possible 2011 album of the year for me. This album also shows how much potential these 4 talented girls still lurking within them. I can’t wait for their next work. This album is definitely a recommendation for me.