nil delete heads - InvisiblΣ (2010, Japan) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Z & the ultimate
It all started with a calm, beautiful melody by the name of "dorothy", then it all erupted into "S.I.G" with loud music and aggressive vocals. The intense momentum continued to a song, that ended up leaving an imprint in my head, "Z". It had the right balance that was loud, but smooth at the same time. Insanity soon came out in the middle of this fabulous mini when I reached "coup d'etat". From there, it continued to get better and better with more intensity and even some surprising acoustic work. It's a shame that the band is disbanding when they're improving so much with their music.
AYABIE - Virgin Snow Color -2nd season- (2010, Japan) Rating: 2.5/5
Favorite Tracks: ZENAKU NO HIGAN, temptation, SHINKIROU, & TSUMETAI TE
Now for the album Ayabie fans have been anticipating and/or dreading. The "Virgin Snow Color -2nd season-" was beautiful, but I was still nervous to hear Yumehito's vocals. I wasn't extremely impressed with the first couple tracks. The balance between vocals and music was off. Either the vocals were too loud or too muffled. Going through the album felt a bit awkward. I like Yumehito and all, but his voice doesn't stand out that much compared to other bands (and Aoi). The music is enjoyable, which I'm not surprised about. It's the same mixture of computer sound bits and their upbeat rock sound they left Ayabie with. Most of the upbeat songs were simply okay to me. "PARADE" was probably the best one out of all of them. Yumehito's vocals didn't seem too out of place, the music was nice and consistent, and it kept my attention. They probably should've moved the track further up on the list. The ballads were a bit bland either due to the so-so vocals or the unbalanced sound levels, although "TSUMETAI TE" redeemed the ballad portion of this album [and earned a heart on my last.fm ^^;]. Overall, I'm not extremely impressed nor overly disappointed. The album is alright and I'm still a bit unsure if it's just me being a tad bit bias of old Ayabie with Aoi's vocals or it really is reality that the band is just alright. I look forward to what they have to bring next time, I know that for sure.
Merry - Yakou (2010, Japan) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Yakou & Lost Generation -replay-
For me, Merry has been on a roll with their music. They have been consistent with keeping their unique jazz-rock fusion style and not making it stale. "Yakou" shows off that style very well, displaying Gara's unique vocals and a couple pace changes in their music, but still holding your hand throughout this beautiful ride of their music. The band went backwards a little and revamped "Lost Generation" for the single. I think it was just as good, if not better, than the original. The single ends with a pretty and great remix of the title track.
T-ara - Temptastic (2010, South Korea) Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: YaYaYa & What's wrong
Another fun and wonderfully comprised mini by the lovely ladies of T-ara (and a new member). "YaYaYa" is another upbeat, fun, and nonsensical song like "Bo Peep Bo Peep", but there is a point to it of course, especially when you see the video to it. If you listen to it enough, it'll get stuck in your head. "What's wrong" is almost as catchy as the first track, but in a totally different and somewhat unknown way. "Ma Boo" is a bit more downtempo and shows off the girls' vocal abilities. The final two tracks, "I don't know" and "Nevermind", are opposite from their upbeat companions and are more slow tempo to balance out the energy and mood. They're both alright tracks, but I'm not much of a ballad-y person most of the time.