General => break Room => Music => Topic started by: Manimal Claus on January 01, 2020, 01:22:55 PM


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Title: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on January 01, 2020, 01:22:55 PM

2020 music. The songs are released and we talk about them. A general discussion thread for everything 2020 in music.

MY ONGOING RANKING (Rated On My Enjoyment)

Rina Sawayama : Sawayama (9/10) 
Charli XCX : How I'm Feeling Now (8/10)                                           
Aimyon : Heard That There's Good Pasta (7.5/10) 
Haru Nemuri : LOVETHEISM EP (7.5/10)   
Ai Furihata : Moonrise (7.5/10)
chelmico : maze (7/10)
Bruce Springsteen : Letter To You (7/10)
PEDRO : Roman (7/10) 
You'll Melt More! : Surpriser (7/10)
the peggies : Anemone EP (7/10) 
BiSH : LETTERS EP (7/10)
Ac/Dc : Power Up (7/10)
Machine Gun Kelly : Tickets To My Downfall (7/10)
Anna Takeuchi : MATOUSIC (7/10)
Anly : Sweet Cruisin' (7/10)       
Fiona Apple : Fetch The Bolt Cutters (8/10)   
Carly Rae Jepsen : Dedicated Side B (7/10)
Yung Lean : Starz (7/10)
The Strokes : The New Abnormal (7/10)
Gacharic Spin : Gold Dash (7/10)   
Thundercat : It Is What It Is (7/10)
Hayley Williams : Pedals For Armor (7/10) 
tricot : Makkuro (7/10)
Suwa Nanaka : So Sweet Dolce (6/10)
Dua Lipa : Future Nostalgia (6/10)   
Tame Impala : The Slow Rush (6/10) 
Silent Siren : mix10th (5.5/10) 
DAOKO : anima (5.5./10)
iri : Sparkle (5.5/10)
SCANDAL : Kiss From The Darkness (5.5/10) 
REOL : Kinjitou (5/10)   
The Weeknd : After Hours (4/10)
Yaeji : What We Drew EP (3/10)       
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on February 13, 2020, 07:10:39 AM
SCANDAL, Kiss From The Darkness 

Two years ago SCANDAL released Honey, an excellent album that showed their remarkable growth and maturity as artists. The group had been improving and evolving with every album since they started writing songs with Hello World. Kiss From The Darkness really dials back the raw edge of Honey and goes for a bigger production with some new sounds and approaches, but still having the same groove. "Tonight" and "Saishuu Heiki, Kimi" are more produced tracks with heavy use of stylized autotune. I didn't like the latter at first but it's sort of been growing on me, and "Tonight" has a lot of nice details to it. I don't like the effects on Haruna's vocals though. "Masterpiece" was an awesome single, with a great groove and classic SCANDAL feel. Tomomi sings again after an absence on Honey with "Laundry Laundry" which is a nice filled out acoustic based track. She also sings "Mabataki" a song I like a lot, with a really nice Spring breezy instrumental.

At first listen a good amount of the album comes and goes. Disappointingly Mami and Rina don't get a vocal spot. Overall this is a softer record, Rina's booming drum sound is scaled back and there are a lot more production tricks and details. There are good tunes like "Ceramic Blue" and "NEON TOWN ESCAPE" but they don't pop out too much. "Mabataki" is really good and so is "Masterpiece". "A.M.D.K.J." is the most rocking the album gets, when it kicks in at the end you realize how much you missed that heavy guitar sound. I like that SCANDAL have taken a new direction, songs like "Saishuu Heiki, Kimi" bring new style, I just don't think this album is as interesting as Yellow and Honey. Kiss From The Darkness is certainly not bad though and I'm sure more listens will make me like it more. SCANDAL are always growing and going in new directions.

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on March 03, 2020, 09:16:11 PM
Seiko Oomori Best Album 

A Seiko Oomori best album is bound to be a ride and this release cuts no corners with 44 songs spanning 3 CD’s and over 3 hours of music. Also included is a Blu-Ray of no less than 45 music videos, making it worthwhile. It also has a bunch of different cards so you can choose the album covers you want for both cases. They are all just weird artwork of food though, I would’ve prefered pictures or art of Seiko through her different looks can’t have it all. On this release we have her early acoustic recordings sprinkled throughout, which was my one fear about this album. Thankfully there aren't too many and there are some good ones like "Amai".

There are some alternate versions which is quite unfortunate. I have no idea why there is a re-record of “Zettai Zetsubo Zekkoucho” when the original was fantastic. The mix stands out as poor compared to the rest of the compilation, I really dislike the horns on here. I was let down when the album opened with the excellent “Midnight Seijuniseikouyu” only to go into the subpar 2019 re-make of “Zettai Kanojo”. That said the day is saved when disc 3 ends with the original.

Disc 1 is solid, mostly Tokyo Black Hole and kitixxxgaia songs. “Re:Re: Love” is upfront, which is awesome and we have three of the most awesome album openers in J-Pop history,  “Tokyo Black Hole”, “Dogma, Magma” and “Shinigami”. Not sure why “Analog Syncopation” was included and I’m not crazy about “Kimokawa”. “Ryusei Heaven” is an awesome song on here which I sort of forgot about since it was on here rework album MUTEKI. 

Disc 2 starts with the rough new “Zettai Zetsubo Zekkoucho” but all is forgiven by the utterly invisible and awe inspiring rampage of songs that follows for the next 7 tracks. “I Kill The Time 4 You” is my favorite Seiko song and a top 5 J-Pop song. “JUSTadICE” followed by “Draw (A) Drow” is a brutally amazing one two punch that gets my blood boiling. I’ll never forget how excited I was when “Draw (A) Drow” came out and I watched it again and again, feeling the true power of Rock ‘n Roll. Then we have “POSITIVE STRESS”, “Choshinsedai Castella Standard Magic Maji Kiss”, “7:77” and “ZOC”. How’s that for a showing, jeez. The rest of the disc is fantastic. “Pink Methuselah” and “Orion” are really great. “Guttokuru Summer'' is one song I prefer on the album however, it’s weak on it’s own. Kitixxxgaia has such a rampage feel that many of it’s songs work better together. Same with “Shojo Manga Shonen Manga”. 

Disc 3 begins with an odd but okay Mondo Grosso remix of “PINK”. It features many of her Idol destruction songs like "Kyuru Kyuru", "IDOL SONG" and "GIRL'S GIRL". "Imitation Girl" is a shining piece of work that is a true masterpiece in her catalog and her only song like it. "Ash!" as well is always a joy. "Nostalgic J-Pop" is a truly evocative and melancholic masterwork. "Kimi Ni Todokuna" is also beautifully sad and a favorite. I was happy "Kodomo Ja Nai Monn 17" and "Mix Juice" were included, it was nice to listen and anticipate the next song. The only song I would've included on this album would be "Endless Dance" in place of "Analog Syncopation".

Seiko's music makes me happy, I had a great time listening to this album. Even if I had some complaints about versions of songs used it's a pretty amazing collection that has almost everything you need from Seiko. She is certainly an album artist and Sennou, Tokyo Black Hole and kitixxxgaia are meant to be listened to as wholes, but to have an album with singles like "draw (a) drow", "Re:Re: Love" and the MUTAKI songs included is awesome. The experience of just relaxing and listening to a Seiko album is great. Her songs have been important to me since I found her in 2016. "I Kill The Time 4 You", "draw (a) drow", "Shinigami, "Nostalgic J-Pop" and many more have soundtracked times in my life. This is the perfect time for Seiko to release this album, it's a really nice package.

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on March 30, 2020, 10:54:16 PM
Haru Nemuri, LOVETHEISM (Mini Album) 

A new 7 song mini album from Haru Nemuri that serves as a great sort of expansion of Haru To Shura, with new sounds and ideas. There are some very good songs on here along with others that come and go. But on every track something interesting happens and there is a lot of creativity behind it. Haru raps away and let's her furious roar through every now and then. "Fanfare" is none too impressive with the cheesy keyboard horns, it's not bad but when it was released as a single I had low expectations for this EP. That said it instantly gets good with "Trust Nothing But Love" which is an awesome song and "Pink Unicorn" which is a SUPER cool. Oh wow Haru sounds like she's having a blast and trying all kinds of new deliveries. I can't help but feel there is some Seiko influence here, I love the "pink or die, pink or die, pink or die DIE!". "Riot" has a keyboard part that sounds like a Maison Book Girl song along with all kinds of cool instrumental elements. I think half of this mini album is excellent and the other half is good but comes and goes. This is a cool release anyway and I think it fits that it's not a full album. It shows Haru has new directions and places to go.


Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia   

I haven't liked the styling of Pop in the last couple years, but I also haven't been seeking out a good new Pop album recently. Here comes Future Nostalgia an album, on first listen, has me here and there. Some songs stick, some parts of songs stick, some parts make me cringe, some songs suck, some are great. But there is something going on here though and it has some fantastic tracks. "Cool" is great and "Physical" is an absolutely fantastic stand-out! It's tuneful and her voice is good with some grit to it. She has a squeak in certain lines like Aina The End. The production has some strong disco elements, like string samples on tracks like "Love Again". "Don't Start Now" is certainly the hit that blends in with everything else of the time. I like the melodies in the chorus parts of "Future Nostalgia" but not the verses. I don't think it's a "futuristic" feeling album like the title says. This album is okay, I don't think I'll listen to the whole thing again but I really like "Physical" and "Cool".

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on March 31, 2020, 05:36:19 PM
Tame Impala, The Slow Rush 

I've never listened to Tame Impala...this is a good place to start! A delightful album with a great laid back vibe. The songs are rich with great production elements and reverb heavy vocals. I love the sound of this album, I instantly went to order the record, it has a feeling that I love. I can see myself listening to it many times, and it makes me want to go back to his other albums also. "Posthumous Forgiveness" has the opening riff of Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name". I noticed right away. It was a neat nod, there was no way that wasn't intended it's the exact same guitar passage. "On Track" really stood out, "Lost In Yesterday"...most of the album. My attention went off a bit by the end but it was a very nice listen overall.


REOL, Kinjitou 

A high production flashy J-Pop Rap album with hard electro sounds and energetic progressions. REOL sings, raps and gives a fun performance throughout. That said I didn't care for it too much, the sort of K-Pop high production electro beats aren't for me. But the one two punch of "Hameln" and "Un, Deux, Trois" was very nice. They are more chill songs that I will certainly be listening to more. That's the kind of stuff I'm looking for more so. Songs like "Insider" and "1LDK" had their moments as well. I think it's a well made album, just not my kind of things in parts.


iri, Sparkle 

iri recently caught my attention with the absolutely amazing song "Aitaiwa". I was happy to see she had a new album but it wasn't all that exciting. iri has a chill Pop Rap sort of style and she has a nice husky voice. Sparkle is a fairly generic album however, it comes and goes with no impact, a lot of songs feel the same. "SUMMER END" is the only highlight for me, that is a great track! Otherwise I thought this album was a bit of a letdown. It wasn't bad nor memorable.

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on April 16, 2020, 11:38:54 AM
the peggies, Anemone EP

The J-Rock three piece brings a new EP of 5 songs. Following my album of 2019 Hell Like Heaven and the awesome single "Stand By Me / Dive To Love", I was instantly excited to hear this. "Anemone" is a fairly generic J-Ballad, nothing special. "Aosugiru Sora" is sort of meh as well. "Lonely" is pure peggies, high energy, catchy, super fun and awesome guitars and layering. Acoustic strumming, chorus guitars, it has a lot of nice touches. "Weekend" is an airy groovy tune that is also very enjoyable. "Ikiteru Hikikatari" is a solo acoustic song from Yuho. It was okay, nothing I'd listen to again. This EP is worth listening for "Lonely" and "Weekend" which are awesome, the other three songs I found to be lackluster.


Anly, Sweet Cruisin'

A very positive album from J-Pop singer songwriter Anly. This is my introduction to her. I haven't heard a J-Pop artist who's used English this heavily since melody. Songs like "Taking My Time" and We'll Never Die" are all English, of which her pronucation is passable. Anly has covered many English songs like "Come Together", "Stairway To Heaven" and "Shape Of You" and from her bio I get the feeling she is well versed in many genres. A lot songs like "Sunshine" would be in place with miwa's discography, super positive and upbeat. I thought it was a little generic at first but the album really found it's groove by the middle. "4:00 a.m." was good and "BRAND NEW DAY" is so extremely feel good that I loved it right off the bat. This album had some really nice moments and stand out songs I'll be listening to a lot.


tricot, Makkuro 

New album from tricot who are often called "Math Rock". I heard about them often but this is the first album of theirs I've heard. They are now the first Japanese band I've seen go for the black album cover. tricot have a good sound, they are very melodic and poppy with very cool instrumentals and shifts. It starts pretty safe but gets more crafty and weird as it goes on. There are a lot of very nice guitar parts with nice tunes over them. I like the more melancholy feel of the later tracks, it ends up being a pretty solid album. "Makkuro" is my favorite song of the bunch.


Thundercat, It Is What It Is 

A very fun chill album with all kinds of influences and details. I feel like it doesn't live up to it's potential and some songs could've been fleshed out more into something great. "I Love Louis Cole" is an awesome song, with high energy drums and very nice airy sounds. "Dragonball Durag" is amazing, it's so silly and catchy. I love the vocal layering and general feel of the track. I also like the ending of the album that gets more melancholy. "Fair Chance" is really laid back and "It Is What It Is" ties the album together well. Overall this feels too short and I feel like this could've been a better album, but there are some prime songs to pick out.



Charli XCX : "Forever". I'm curiously checking out Charli's new album process. I quite liked Pop 2 and finally got to last year's Charli yesterday which...I didn't really like. That said her new song is pretty good! It has a pretty crazy beat with a lot of noise and an EXTREMELY catchy chorus, which is what I like about Charli's music. She is an absolutely hook machine, the songs really stick. I like this one.

BiSH : "TOMORROW". Another anime tie in song means another standard BiSH tune. This is just like their material from 2018, in fact this is basically "PAiNT iT BLACK" part 2. It's alright but this is the sort of generic fare that the album CARROTS AND STiCKS made me think BiSH was getting away from but the following single "KiND PEOPLE" showed wasn't the case. This song is just like that last single in many ways, the chorus just kind of comes in and the instrumental is overdriven and in your face. I hope for better than this from BiSH but when they do tie in songs they are often like this ("More Than Like" was awesome though). 

PASSCODE : "STARRY SKY". A group I don't worry about boring me is PASSCODE who always deliver high powered Metal Electro Idol fusion music that makes you turn your head a few times every minute. "STARRY SKY" has their blend of overbearing beat changes, screaming and great J-Pop hooks. This is another awesome song from the group who have managed to not overdo their formula just yet. I still find their music exciting and enjoyable. 

EMPiRE : "ORDiNARY". A group who had a distinct sound on their debut album but now I'm always left wondering who I'm listening to. They could be any generic Alt-Idol group and I put this song in a playlist with these other new songs and I didn't even know how it was. This is an okay ballad, nothing special much like EMPiRE.
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on April 17, 2020, 08:55:18 AM
Rina Sawayama, SAWAYAMA

There is a common theme where I look forward to an album, then I feel a little worried and then it comes out and it's way better than I thought. I've been waiting for Rina to release a full album for 2 years and here we are. It's much better than I thought it would be. SAWAYAMA is in many ways a nostalgic album with an extreme variety of sounds from the early 2000's on. The lyrics feel very honest and raw and there is a natural progression to the record. Every song has it's place and there is such an excitement listening and not knowing what she'll pull. "STFU!" is a straight up early Linkin Park Nu-Metal track like "One Step Closer" with a verse melody like a Grunge song and this awesome chorus transition that changes the feel of the song. "Dynasty" reminds me of "Bring Me To Life". "XS" is a classic 2000's Pop style tune and something like "Snakeskin" feels more modern. "Paradisin'" was without a doubt my favorite song, it's a Chiptune style electro track where Rina goes back in her past to an arcade. The lyrics are very specific ("First kiss in 2003") all across the album, but this song has a majorly catchy chorus. As soon as the song began I loved it, instantly.

"Bad Friend" was great, talking about singing her heart out to Carly in Summer 2012. Rina gets so detailed and really delivers something from her core on this album. "Who's Gonna Save U Now?" was really fantastic with a live feeling. "Love Me 4 Me" has an absolute Utada style melody in the verse. "Tokyo Love Hotel" was awesome with these dreamy keyboards I loved it. Rina's voice is so good and she delivers such catchy hooks. She does whatever she wants, this album is so varied and exciting. I was absolutely blown away. As much as I enjoyed Rina's first EP I had no idea this album was going to be this good. If this album comes out on record I will but it right away. This is easily the best album I've heard so far this year. I really liked it and will give it many more listens. 


Gacharic Spin, Gold Dash   

A new album from genre fusing high energy J-Rock band Gacharic Spin. A group I clearly need to learn more about because they are kind of...amazing and have been around for over 10 years. I only heard of them last year and I was very surprised. Their music takes from a lot, Metal, J-Rock, Electro Pop, Rap, Idol and it all comes together in one awesome style. The vocals are fantastic, instrumentals tight. Their sound is very familiar to many aspects of J-Pop but it's all mixed together very well, with nice details and twists in the songs. This was a pretty cool album, everything on it was good. Only a few songs stuck but nothing was bad on here. I need to learn more about this group and their history.


You'll Melt More!, Surpriser   

and I was surprised to see You'll Melt More! has a new album out. The group are candy coated Idol rockers, they have sweet vocals and hooks with fun rocking instrumentals. Very nice sounding and breezy music that carries an idol spirit without sounding forced and an Alternative spirit without sounding contrived. They're likely the most consistently good Idol group I listen to. Not my favorite but listening to an album from them is always a full and enjoyable experience. At 1 hour Surpriser has it's share of good tracks and in general it all comes together for a great listen. There is enough variety that songs will come up that make you go, hey! Highlights are "Surpriser!", "Dahlia", "Okoranaide", "Freestyle Zenbu" and "Yasumou". It's a little too long, You'll Melt More! always jam pack their albums. None of the songs are bad however.


ZOC has their 3rd single coming, the song and video for "SHINEMAGIC" are pretty cool. ZOC is really coming into something. They are evolving into a very interesting group with Seiko Oomori's magic touch all over it. She was really preparing for this on Kusokawa Party with songs like "GIRL'S GIRL". This song is cool!
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: legomaestro on April 18, 2020, 04:28:37 PM
Dude Manimal you know Rina!?!?! She's my total super secret favourite international idol! I follow her on instagram! She's miles away from all of my tastes normally but her alone I tolerate and love. She's... Cool!

I haven't even taken the time to try to listen to the album. I do know Bad Friend though and the song that introduced me to her was STFU. Haha Man I'm officially convinced you are a music conniseur to the core: You listen to everything across the board.

I'll try to listen to Gacharin Spin later. They sound fun. I need a lot more high energy tracks in my existence right now
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on April 18, 2020, 04:48:02 PM
She is sooo good, her combination of influences comes together perfectly. and I've never heard Utada influence in English language Pop before. Tracks like "Tokyo Love Hotel" remind me so much of Utada's vocal delivery and melodies. It's a little bit of this and that into something new and exciting. I listened to the album twice yesterday and some songs in the shower haha, so good. "Paradisin'" and "Tokyo Love Hotel" are such standout incredible songs. The whole album is great and worth listening to in full. 

I have stuck in my own lane with music the last two years but this year I want to listen to more new stuff to keep up and not miss stuff like I did last year.

Gacharic Spin is super worth checking out. I looked them up more last night and they are legit. A really great band with surprisingly high powered live shows and great chops.

If you skip ahead to 5 minutes when the first songs begins this concert is just awesome. I couldn't stop watching it last night. Armmy, the original front woman who sadly passed away, had such stage presence. All the members are just jamming and giving a high energy performance which reflects their music. The bassist F-Chopper Koga is absolutely amazing and guitarist Tomo-Zo is an unlikely fretboard badass like Kanami from BAND-MAID.   

I recommend checking out their previous album G-Litter which had a great fusion of J-Rock styles. They are like a Rock band that try being idols. They wear a lot of silly outfits (one girl dressed up like a burger) and later on added more vocalists and dancers. But that video above I watched was just awesome. 
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on April 21, 2020, 05:24:40 PM
Fiona Apple, Fetch The Bolt Cutters 

Very interesting! This is an engaging, striking and unique album with a distinct style. This is the first album and first time I've heard of her so this was certainly unexpected. She has an interesting voice that is very expressive and raw. Her approach can be wild and she has all kinds of different deliveries throughout. Lyrics are very good and there are some phrases that make your ears go "whoa". The percussion and piano do some crazy stuff and there is a great use of sounds in the mix. There is a certain feeling to this album that is definitely it's own. The type that will take a few listens to get accustomed to. Fetch The Bolt Cutters doesn't feel off-putting at any point, it's just more weird. I like it. The first song "I Want You To Love Me" was my favorite with it's piano and her warble at the end.   


The Strokes, The New Abnormal 

I've never listened to the Strokes and if you asked me to hum one of their tunes I couldn't do it. I don't even remember how the one in Guitar Hero III goes. So this is a pretty interesting album, a mash up of cool guitars and very characteristic vocals. The songs go into pretty neat places, guitars are very nice but the keyboards sound...really bad? I don't know if that's on purpose but on songs like "At The Door" they sound so silly. "Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus" was very interesting it was like a bunch of styles in one. Terrible sounding 80's keyboards, 2000's era vocals and Pop Punk like arpeggios in the chorus, the  exact riff from Bruce's "Glory Days" which must be 100% intentional since the lyrics talk about "that 80's song". "Bad Decisions" was pretty good with a great arpeggio riff. I was pretty engaged overall, there was a lot of neat stuff going on here. I don't know what's normal for the band, maybe I should listen to some of their other albums. I didn't really care about the last two songs but I'd give The New Abnormal another play.


Yaeji, What We Drew

First "mixtape" from producer Yaeji. It's an electro House/Hip Hop/Chill sort of blend of styles with soft vocals generally repeating the same few phrases over and over with a lot of different effects. It's a little too weird to be "chill", it has some harsher elements and strange noises. I found it kind of boring, it didn't really strike me. There were no hooks or anything overly interesting in the rhymes and sound. It was a long 38 minutes, not into it.


ZOC have a new music video for the b-side of "SHINEMAGIC". It's not bad, a pretty high powered idol song. I'm sure the new member, a former Hello! Project idol, has a lot to do with this. She is focused on here and does a good job. This is one of Seiko's best looks as well, haha she looks really good in purple. That chorus part "loonely-lonely" is supremely catchy. It reminds me of "IDOL SONG" a lot which itself was a Hello! Project nod.
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on April 27, 2020, 10:16:57 AM
The Weeknd : After Hours

A highly generic, forgettable and boring hour of background music. The Weeknd with his nothing voice performs dully through decent Electro Pop instrumentals. It's consistent and feels like it's a complete album but the Weeknd himself makes it underwhelming. His lyrics on songs like "Snowchild" are cringy, especially delivered in his low impact falsetto. "Hardest To Love" was pretty good though and "Blinding Lights" is a decent single. I had higher hopes for this album since it looked edgy and Uncut Gems sort of planted the Weeknd back into my head. He is just as mediocre as ever, not bad and certainly not good. Middle of the line fluff, one of the worst kinds of music. If you don't like the Weeknd this album won't change your mind.



Tame Impala : The Slow Rush. It wore off a bit, this certainly feels more like a generic Indie album. "Lost In Yesterday" is the only really good song on the album. The opener "One More Year" is actually pretty bad. I don't mind the album and I think it requires the right mood, but it's not as good as I first thought. His voice is such a drag, it's like trying to listen to a full Beach Fossils album. At first it's great vibes and you get into it. Then you get bored because it's the same thing over and over. and with The Slow Rush being 50 minutes I get bored pretty quickly with his reverb soaked passionless vocals.

Fiona Apple : Fetch The Bolt Cutters. This is a very good album and one that keeps me engaged the whole time. It has such an attitude and free expression. Her vocals, lyrics and melodies are so raw and the percussion makes it very unique. If this album come outs on record I'll buy it for sure. It's in the same spirit as the artists she references in the songs like Patti Smith and Kate Bush. 

Haru Nemuri : LOVETHEISM. This EP is VERY good! The whole set kicks ass and "Fanfare" grew on me. I just can't get enough of Haru's aggressive rapping and screaming. I love "Pink Unicorn". This is basically a companion for Haru to Shura, the same power and energy. I think Haru has great prospects and this EP shows she still has a lot of juice. 
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on May 08, 2020, 09:37:02 AM
Hayley Williams, Petals For Armor 

Hayley Williams' first solo album is a very cohesive three part album that runs a solid theme throughout. The instrumentals are fairly low key sonic textures for Hayley to deliver more subdued vocals. Her lyrics are pretty good throughout and there are some nice hooks. The 80's theme of Paramore's latest album seems to flow into songs like "Dead Horse" and "Pure Love" which both have awesome choruses. The album has good flow and remains interesting throughout. The instrumentals work pretty well and certain tracks like "Why We Ever" have great moments. At 55 minutes I thought it was going to be too long but it remained interesting, each part of the album having a different feel. The second part being my favorite and third part my least favorite, the last two songs are boring. Petals For Armor is a good listen, there aren't really any high impact tracks but it makes for a good entire record.


Suwa Nanaka, So Sweet Dolce 

The debut album from Love Live Sunshine! seiyuu Suwa Nanaka. I have very low expectations for seiyuu albums and Suwa's voice has always felt weak. This album is actually quite a fun Idol Anisong style album. It has all the familiar elements and while nothing new there is something about the overall feel of this that I really like. I mean, I just like a good old Idol song with chunking guitars under the whimsy instrumentation. It reminds me of YuiKaori and any song that gives me "Shooting Smile" or "Heartbeat" vibes is a good song. "So Sweet" is a really nice opening song! "Chocolat Fraise" is another good one. There are more so-so songs than standouts but it's an overall enjoyable listen. Suwa has a lot of charm and while her voice isn't outstanding the music suits her very well. 

Charli XCX has another teaser song "I Finally Understand". I'm actually pretty excited for her album next week. Of the three teaser songs "Forever" was REALLY good, "Claws" was okay and this new song is pretty solid. Charli can write a mighty hook, "Forever" is extremely catchy and I love the chorus from "White Mercedes" off her last album. 

Relistening to Dua Lipa's Future Nostaglia made me wish the album was actually good. "Cool" and "Physical" are such amazing songs but the rest of the album ranges from good to garbage. The last two songs are pure trash and ruin the record, thankfully they are at the end. "Break My Heart" is also a poor track that's a clear rip off of "Another One Bites The Dust". The first song isn't good either. But the middle part of the record is fantastic, it's a shame the quality doesn't keep up because "Cool" is so good and one of my favorite songs to come out this year so far. "Phsyical" as well is an absolute jam. Dua Lipa has the voice and she has a lot of grit and energy to her performances, but man this album stinks when it stinks.

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on May 15, 2020, 08:31:12 AM
Charli XCX, How I'm Feeling Now

Charli has come through with her Rona Season album. A quick set of 11 songs that come together super well. Thankfully there are no features, just 37 minutes of crazy Electro instrumentals and very personal lyrics. There are some timely songs like "Anthems" and "C2.0". The urgentness comes through and the tracklist falls together nicely. There were a number of songs that just passed by for me and some moments I didn't like, such as the opener "Pink Diamond". "C2.0" I disliked as much as "Click" until the main vocals came in. But then there is "Forever" which is an amazing song and it goes so well into "Claws". "Detonate" was a big highlight with the excellent instrumental and "Enemy" was pretty good. I was hoping to like the album more. That said for something made this quickly it's quality. It has that cool mechanical feel and it's interesting like her previous album. How I'm Feeling Now is a good listen overall.


Yung Lean, Starz

Why is this idiot's album actually enjoyable? I don't know but there is something about some of these songs that is good. It's Chill Trap with some surprisingly good instrumentals and vibes. "Yayo" is actually quite a good track and "Acid at 7/11" sounds really silly but actually has a really solid mood. "Dogboy" is really good. It sounds like an Electro Indie album at times, I didn't expect this to have so much variety. I don't really like the more Trap triplet songs like "Hellraiser" and "Iceheart", but even that I enjoy a lot more than the usual fare. There is such atmosphere to this album, I didn't expect to like it this much.


PEDRO, Impulsive Humans Club (EP)   

A new EP from Ayuni D's solo three piece Rock group PEDRO. A project that's proven to be a little disappointing for me, being such a fan of Ayu and her undeniable presence and charm in BiSH. This EP does have "Kanshou Ouka" however which is a pretty good song and certainly the better side of PEDRO. "WORLD IS PAIN" on the other hand has everything I don't like about PEDRO, which is Ayuni singing in an intentionally bad high pitched voice and a very weird mix that doesn't sit right. Her debut album THUMB SUCKER was a let down for it's awful production. Ayuni is not a good singer by any means but she can do better than this which is what annoys me about PEDRO. On paper I love the idea of this project and Ayuni taking up bass and becoming a Grunge girl born well after Grunge's time. But Impulsive Humans Club is another release that is just okay featuring one really good song.

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on May 21, 2020, 06:34:39 PM
Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated Side B 

Okay wow so this just randomly came out today. With Emotion Side B we were treated to 8 absolutely amazing songs, many of which were better than tracks on Emotion. Last year's Dedicated didn't live up to Emotion for me but it was a good album with it's share of stand out songs. Side B has 12 tracks and honestly...they feel like outtakes. The cut material was not as strong this time around, in fact many of these songs come and go for me. There is a major lack of jams and hooks. "Comeback" is good, Jack Antonoff is one of those guys that just looking at him pisses me off but everytime he writes with Carly Rae and Lorde the results are good. "Let's Sort The Whole Thing Out" is solid, it has an intro like Bruce's high powered songs from The River and the rest has an indie feel like "I'll Be Your Girl". I like the slower tracks "Felt This Way" and "Heartbeat". Overall this was pretty underwhelming, it wasn't anything special. Even the best songs on here didn't excite me. I was expecting too much maybe. It's nice she dropped this surprise album but I can't see myself listening to it many times. 

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on August 31, 2020, 08:05:21 AM

2020 has not slowed down BiSH, in fact they've been very active this year. With it being their 5th anniversay they first released a greatest hits album and now a 7 song EP. "LETTERS" is a fairly standard BiSH ballad, nothing bad nor special. "TOMORROW" has a moment where LingLing and Momoko sing together, which is rare since BiSH songs are normally the members trading off. I wish they would sing together more often. Ayuni's center song "Super Hero Music" is pretty good. "Rokenro" is a riot, it's like a horn filled Rock showtune where half the members try too hard. I would of prefered it to be a rare Atsuko center since she fairs the best vocally on it. "co" is another boring power ballad, the likes of which WACK spits out like a production line. There is an absolutely awful "yaaahooooo" cry at the end of the chorus which Aina, Chicchi and Ayu butcher.

BiSH have done something most idol groups can't do, sustain the same line-up for 4 years. They've been busy and consistently releasing music and performing for 5 years. I love the members but musically I think they have reached their peak and done all they can. Every member has evolved their style espeically Ayuni who's growth into this nazally snarling Rock singer can be traced from her first concert to now.  LETTERS is just another unexciting release which has some good tracks but aside from "Rokenro" nothing new is done here. LETTERS is just alright.

I was quite impressed by their recent NHK appearance, I think it's one of their best TV performances. Ayuni is heart stopping here. Even though I find their newest music kind of standard I really hope they keep going.


PEDRO, Roman

Ayuni D's three piece Rock band releases their second album. I was disappointed with last year's "THUMB SUCKER" but I really liked this year's single "Kanshou Ouka". This album is better. The mix is greatly improved and there is good variety right off the bat. The best songs are the slower ones like "Roman" and "Flip the Bird at Whoever Points at you From Behind". The guitars are decently varied throughout, I like the riff in "Kanpai" a lot. This record is lot less abrasive than THUMB SUCKER and way more enjoyable. It shows PEDRO has room to grow and improve. Ayuni's vocals are in full snarl, when she sings really high like "WORLD IS PAIN" she sounds awful but otherwise she gets by on her attitude alone. I love Ayuni she's my top idol but listening to her sing for even 40 minutes is a little much which is the bad side of this album. Otherwise it's a fairly decent effort. I absolutely love "Kanshou Ouka".   

Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on September 11, 2020, 08:52:29 AM
Ai Furihata, the seiyuu of Ruby from Love Live Sunshine, has her first solo single "CITY" and I love this song. As the title suggests it's a throwback City Pop song, and it's a total jam. Ai was the last member of Aqours I expected to make good solo music. While the other's have released largely dull singles this song is instantly great from the opening drum fill. This played on Spotify automatically and it took me a minute to realize that it's a) New and b) Ruby's seiyuu. 

the peggies latest "Centimeter" is a good song in their signature fashion. This group has really come into their own in the last year, and they're keeping busy. All their crafty songwriting elements are present in this song.

Aimer's new single "SPARK-AGAIN" is sort of standard Anime Song fare but since it's Aimer she gives that special touch to the song with her awesome husky voice. This is an enjoyable energetic track.   

Silent Siren released a new album "mix10th". I found it so dull I couldn't even write a review. It shows their progression instrumentally and brings a lot of energy and great drumming. However none of the songs stood out to me and it was just...alright.

BiSH's "Super Hero Music" has become a jam for me. At first I was's okay...but now I love it. Another BiSH classic I think.
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on October 19, 2020, 04:05:36 PM
Anna Takeuchi, MATOUSIC 

The debut album from an artist I just heard of today. Anna at first appears to be an acoustic wielding singer songwriter but there is a lot more of interest. She has lots of 70's and 80's influence and yet this album comes across as rather fresh. It's not a throwback project. Her vocals are great, there is a similar bright, direct and youthful quality that reminds me of Yui. She gets into some fast singing bits and uses lots of great English phrases. The instrumentals are so fun, with all the electro elements. It's a bit of a one note album but I think this is very promising as a debut. I will be looking out for future releases from her.


Aimyon, I Heard That There's Good Pasta

Aimyon is an artist who's been on my radar for a bit, but I've never listened to one of her albums until now. She's also very popular but not to Western audiences. I was looking up what I could about Aimyon, there is a lot of information in English thankfully. I wish I could understand her music because she seems really interesting. I don't always feel like I'm missing out on the full picture with J-Pop but Aimyon's music makes me feel that way since I miss out on the expression that comes out in her lyrics. That said her talent is quite evident. "Harunohi" is a fantastic song, it has a bit of a 2000's J-Pop feel. These are very well put together songs and her voice is absolutely wonderful. She has such a great vocal tone and I love listening to her singing. I really enjoyed these songs and I'll certainly be going back to these songs.


chelmico, maze 

chelmico got everyone's attention with "Easy Breezy" the opening song to Eizouken. It's such a weird fun song that you can't help but love. They are a rap duo that make insanely enjoyable music. They have a very cool sound and songs like "Limits" have such great production. There is a lot to take in so I'll have to listen again, this a great album and really overflowing with creative spirit.


Machine Gun Kelly, Tickets To My Downfall

Why did I listen to this album? I was curious. This is an outright Pop Punk album that uses all the cliches. The lyrics are...well..."If I was a painter I'd be a depressionist". That's a cherry picked example, it's not all that bad but it reeks of an immature burnout who hasn't grown past his emo phase. "bloody valentine" is actually a pretty good song however, that is what made me give this album a chance. I really enjoy the song! The lyrics aren't totally awful and the instrumental is very good. I don't like Halsey but her feature isn't too bad on "forget me too" and she adds something to the song. The songs are all very short here, there are actually some good ones like "WWIII" that could of been longer.

There is an interlude of him on shrooms talking to his friend on the phone pretending to be aliens. It actually made me laugh and ease up on the album. From that point on I enjoyed all the songs. "concert for aliens" was pretty fun and "my ex's best friend" is simply a good track. There is something I enjoyed about this record. The idea sounds like the worst thing ever but it's so fun when you realize it's not serious.


Ayuni D of BiSH is going to play at Budokan with her Rock band PEDRO next year. This is absolutely insane since the goal of both BiS and BiSH has been to do Budokan. BiS never got there and BiSH hasn't got there yet, although they have become quite popular thanks to their tie-in songs. Most recently BiSH did a song for Call Of Duty mobile which was honestly pretty good and truly representative of the old BiSH spirit.

BAND-MAID will also play Budokan next year and come out with a new album. I'm very interested to see where they go since CONQUEROR saw them doing some different things and coming into their own as artists more.

Seiko Oomori has had some singles this year but honestly, I'm not thrilled by them. She changed her image to look a lot more idol and I really wonder where she's going musically. "Re:Re: Love" was such a great single last year. Her idol group ZOC has had a crazy year and are about to do their major label debut. There is a lot of drama within ZOC and a bit of an unstable line-up. I hope they can pull together because they have a lot of potential shown by their three singles. 

Ac/Dc (whoa something not J-Pop in this post) will have a new album next month. I thought Rock or Bust would be their last record. It kind of said we're old but still doing our thing. But no, they got another one in them. Malcolm's spirit will live on since they used riffs and demos he'd made. Ac/Dc had a very crazy period towards the end of the Rock Or Bust tour with an insane line-up change. Who would of thought you'd see Axl Rose sing with Ac/Dc. But now they are back to the Back In Black line-up minus Malcolm. I think the album will be something I only listen to once and be like "alright". Won't complain about new music from my second favorite band though.
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on October 28, 2020, 11:50:15 AM
Bruce Springsteen, Letter To You 

When Bruce records with the E-Street Band it's always worth listening to. For this new album they recorded it live in the studio in just a few days. Clarence Clemons' nephew Jake takes over on the saxophone. Three songs Bruce wrote prior to his first album are redone here. Over his career Bruce has been able to adapt his sound as he ages. This has made for great albums like The Rising and Wrecking Ball past his peak in the late 80's. Letters To You is not much different from his last few albums. It has all the trademark elements of his music. The early songs stand out for their more abstract lyrics, otherwise the melodies and vocal deliveries are fairly predictable. The instrumentation is good and the live feeling comes across. Bruce has always needed the E-Street Band and this album shows that clearly.

I admit I am very biased against late career albums from my favorite artists, even my ultimate hero in music Bruce. I don't think I'll be listening to this album very often but it has it's moments. I do like the songs "I'll See You In My Dreams", "Janey Needs A Shooter", "The Power Of Prayer" and "Ghosts" especially. "I'll See You In My Dreams" really stands out with it's lyrics, it's a great way to end the album. Jake Clemons does a good job on the sax in the rare instances of it here. "Ghosts" is the album's strongest song, it has great melodies. Overall it's nice that Bruce has given us a new album with the E-Street Band as it's meant to be. I'll listen to it a couple more times but one first impressions it's good but nothing hits me hard like Bruce albums normally do.


Seiko Oomori's new album Kinstugi comes out in December. She says it's an album about "sharp parts, dirty parts, and cute parts of human beings". Although I haven't been thrilled by her recent singles this is still exciting. Kusokawa Party was two years ago after all. I won't be buying the album until I hear it this time however. "Re: Re: Love" and "JUSTadICE", two strong singles from last year, are not included.   

I actually really like Ariana Grande's latest single "Positions". I stopped giving her a chance after Dangerous Woman but damn she's gotten way better since then. I'll listen to her new album when it comes out on Friday.

EDIT: I listened to a bit of the album and I didn't like it. Atleast I enjoy one song off of it.
Title: Re: 2020 In Music
Post by: Manimal Claus on November 15, 2020, 01:05:43 PM
Ai Furihata, Moonrise

Ai completely shocked me with the release of "CITY", an amazing City Pop throwback song that perfectly captured the old J-Pop feel. The thing most surprising about this is that she voiced Ruby in Love Live Sunshine. Not to disrespect her performance but Ruby was a very high voiced character with an awful singing voice. When "CITY" autoplayed on Spotify I thought it was an 80's song and I could of never guessed it was a seiyuu I knew. Most of the other Love Live seiyuus have released highly generic J-Pop, the norm. Ai Furihata on the other hand has completely distanced herself from that with this EP.

So "CITY" is amazing and a total jam. From first listen it's utterly undeniable. Extremely catchy, memorable and endlessly relistenable. "Cinderella Time" is fun and "Y no Higeki" is super catchy. "Love Song wo Kakete" has a tropical feel, the instrumental is fantastic. "Poolside Cocktail" brings the synth pop elements, it's a nice laid back track. I do wish the EP had another jam like "CITY" but overall this was a fun listen with good variety. You get the feeling Ai got to make the kind of music she actually wanted to. I'll be interested to see what she does in the future. Ai was nerfed in Love Live Sunshine and now we can hear her true voice.



Ac/Dc will always be my second favorite band but the prospect of new music doesn't excite me. I thought they were finished and released their final album in 2014 with Rock Or Bust. I'm happy to see them come back and continue to live out the spirit that the band has always had. Fans are loving this album, detractors are pulling their typical BS (they will never fundamentally understand Ac/Dc). But for me it's just...fine. It's extra bonus content, not something I'm going to listen to much. Ac/Dc in my opinion have been creatively bust since 1990. There have been some good songs since then but nothing with the same spark "Thunderstruck" brought the band.

Power Up is a nice tribute to Malcolm Young and it's just the band doing their thing. It has great production and Brian Johnson still has a strong voice. The songs are...fine. The only element that is lacking to me are Angus' solos which just pass by. The album has some decent moments like "Realize" and "Demon Fire". Some riffs stand out also like on "Code Red". I would say it's a stronger release overall than Rock Or Bust however it will likely end up as forgettable with me. Ac/Dc have always been a legacy band to me. I will always love the records from High Voltage to Blow Up Your Video, they truly energize and excite me. But this record, it's a nice bonus and that's it for me. Ac/Dc have never strayed from their path and in my opinion they are one of the most respectable Classic Rock bands ever.


Charli XCX, how i'm feeling now (Relisten)

My second full listen. Charli's albums tend to be bumpy for me. I love so many of her songs but her albums are always full of songs I find completely unlistenable like "Click" & "Shake It". how i'm feeling now begins with "Pink Diamond" which falls into that category. But then we have "Forever", a song I really like. It feels weird to listen to since it's completely associated with April and May for me. It's like hearing a distant past. "detonate" has become my favorite song on the album. It's everything good about Charli's music. I love every song from "Forever" to "party 4 u". "anthems" is...meh. I like the instrumental but not the vocal parts. So with this album there is one song I would outright skip "Pink Diamond", one song I'm meh about "anthems" and then 9 great songs. I might order the record for the sheer number of excellent tracks.

I can't believe I dismissed Seiko Oomori's song "counter culture" it's actually damn amazing! Such a great track! That said her new song "Night On The Planet" is just...not good. In fact I think it's one of her worst songs yet. I have no idea what to expect for the new album with singles this inconsistent. 

I relistened to kitixxgaia the other day and I still love that album! It's so damn good and it perfectly summarized what 2017 was like for alternative J-Pop. Kusokawa Party didn't have the longevity of kitixxxgaia, TOKYO BLACK HOLE and Sennou for me. I still absolutely love the first 7 songs but the last half doesn't live up to that. I'm very curious to see what Seiko's going to do on this new album.