MUCC - Yakusoku (2010, Japan) | Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Yakusoku, Isora
Hi! I'm not a big MUCC fan, but I love them live
SE7EN - Digital Bounce (2010, South Korea) | Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Better Together, Digital Bounce, Drip
After the hype of Rain's comeback, SE7EN had to get in on the action with his own little mini-album. "Intro-Reset" goes with the electro-pop trend that kinda reminds me of something Will.i.am touched, but it's not that bad. Kinda wish it was a full length song. Nonetheless, we transition to more of this electro-pop that matches the title of the mini with "Digital Bounce". It's very catchy, unique, and danceable tune to an extent. T.O.P's contribution wasn't that bad either. "Better Together" was the debut song for the comeback and it was a nice pick. It's a lot smoother, sticks with the trend, and still somewhat keeps SE7EN's original R&B style. "I'm Going Crazy" goes back to those simplistic pop/R&B tie most listeners are used to from SE7EN. It's sweet and has a nice arrangement, but not my type of song. "Money Can't Buy Me Love" also sticks to those roots, but a little more uptempo. It's a decent song, but nothing I would listen to repeatedly in a row. "Drips" goes back on the electro-train with a little more "umph"! It sticks pretty easily for me and shows off his voice the best compared to the previous electro-pop songs. "Roller Coaster" is very electronic...like full on autotune and dance trackness. It's alright for what it is, but I would've preferred something else to end this comeback CD.
Jay Park - Take A Deeper Look (2011, South Korea) | Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: Level 1000, Touch The Sky, Abandoned
So, I'm not a huge fan of Jay Park's (and I loathe 2pm), but I do enjoy his music...what little there was before this mini. Luckily, I'm delving into more Korean rap lately, so I recognize a couple artists he collaborated with. "Touch The Sky" starts this mini off with a smooth R&B and hip-hop flavor. Jay and The Quiett's voices blend and balance each other very well and gives off a mellow tone that transitions very smoothly to the next track. I suppose "Abandoned" is the promo song for this mini and I was in awe upon seeing the video. Sorry, I'm gonna agree with the comments that it does give off a Tae Yang vibe. Nice, smooth, and "swoon" worthy song that isn't too cheesy and is very much him. Jay Park and Dok2 are like NassuN and G.O....winning combo! Next track is very mainstream kpop...like on the lines of those fail new Big Bang songs that's suppose to make you dance. Then we have a very slow tempo R&B track that's very bass heavy and whiny/nasally. Next is another repetitive, blasé R&B ballad I'm not too fond of either. But guess who's back? Dok2! "Level 1000" picks my interest back up for this mini and surprises me how hard it goes on a hip-hop level. Didn't know Jay Park had this in him.
VAMPS - BEAST (2010, Japan) | Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: DEVIL SIDE, EUPHORIA, THE PAST
I have a bit of a personal grudge toward Hyde and how he works, but I can't deny that I do enjoy VAMPS and I was looking forward to their first album. "PLUG IN" is a basic sound effect opening track to lead us along to "DEVIL SIDE". It's very bass driven song and very rock'n'roll. A good song to try out if you're not used to all that jrock stuff. "ANGEL TRIP" brings up to a lighter side rock to balance out all that grime from the previous track. "MEMORIES" is even more light hearted and a bit reminiscent of L'Arc~en~Ciel's music. "EUPHORIA" is a little heavier and shows that side of VAMPS that I enjoy the most: the wild, chaotic side. I enjoyed the transitions throughout the whole song. "VAMP ADDICTION" has a fun melody to bounce around to, but still holds onto that sly "vampuric" side of the band. "REVOLUTION" is very much a joke to me and the PV for it is even more of a joke. Hyde's yelling is just laughable, but if you need that silly, bouncy song for the bedroom with your girlfriends (or boyfriends) this is a good one. "THE PAST" has a lovely deep bass sound and a great follow up with guitar that my ears have been craving from these two. "PIANO DUET" is a beautiful, but a powerful rock tune that should easily reach the listener's heart by providing comfort, softness, and the right amount of rock lovin'. "RUMBLE" has a hint of jazz and rock, but the vocals are not as impressive to me. "GET UP" picks it back up to that semi-generic Hyde rock sound everyone is used to, but it's still fun for everyone. "SAMSARA" seems like a dark interlude piece that brings ambiance and a haunting feeling to the ears. It transitions easily to "MY FIRST LAST" which shares about the same retro ambient rock feeling...with Engrish!! A very interesting way to end a first album for sure.
Touch - Touch (2010, South Korea) | Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: I/Me, Killin' Me
What is this? An actual talented rookie kpop group that Miko likes!? "I/Me" was the debut song for the boys and what lured me to prod further into their music. It's very typical dancy kpop stuff, but they have their own flair and great harmonies. Perhaps they'll join the underdogs Infinite. "Touch" slows the tempo down a little, but still has a melody that sticks easily to the mind. The song points out a few small things the boys can improve upon, but still shows off their potential to be something. Most overplayed track on the single is "Killin' Me". I can't get enough of this song! The bass is powerful, the chorus is memorable, and the boys' voices are arranged very uniquely. Because of this song, I counted down the days until their comeback and it came! As for the remaining 3 tracks of the single, they're purely instrumentals.
D - Vampire Saga (2010, Japan) | Rating: 3.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Muku naru bara no inori, Underground road, Taiko no kiba, Desert Warrior
I was a little nervous when I started listening to D's latest album, but I braced myself for whatever was coming out my speakers. It starts off very grand, beautiful, and a little heavy...the right amount of heavy for D in "Muku naru bara no inori". Then we enter some dark territory with "In the name of justice", one of the promo songs for this album. I'm still trying to get used to this harder side of D with Asagi's vocals, but it's growing on me steadily. "Underground road" sounded a little more familiar to me music wise and it was easily enjoyable with the mixture of their new sound and old. "DAY WALKER" has an interesting musical arrangement and I enjoyed the guitar sections, but I could've lived without all the grunting or whatever. Doesn't suit D very well and I wish they would leave things like that out in their music. "Midori no tsubasa" sticks with that semi-light hearted D sound that's easy on the ears and flows without effort, but still seems fresh! "Tsuki to umi no seiyaku" also follows this pattern of mixing old and new elements of the band's growth into the track. Unlike the previous tracks, "Ai wa hitsugi no naka ni" is a little softer, but still maintains that strong rock feeling with emphasized basslines and great dual guitar harmonies. "Akaki hitsuji ni yoru bansankai" was another promo song. I must admit it took me awhile to accept this song