Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quick Music Review

MEJIBRAY - Sabbat (2012, Japan) Rating: 2/5
Favorite Tracks: Sabbat

After VanessA disbanded, Genki changed his name and joined MEJIBRAY. Now, I wasn't a fan of VanessA and the only reason I know about them was through a good friend (and some jrock news feeds). She sent me the PV for "Sabbat" and I checked it out. The song is pretty garbled at first with growls and heavy instruments. It has a few musical moments, but it all sounded like screaming noise. I wished there was more singing than screams and growls. On the other hand, I liked the visuals of the PV for it. "Akercock" begins with some more promising heavy instrumentals, then the screams and growls kick in...throughout the whole damn song. "Divergence" has some nice strong bass moments and the music is a little lighter than the previous tracks. I was so happy there was some actual singing, despite a few screams, but the sound is very generic visual kei and the vocals don't stand out that much. I think they've improved a little, but not by much. I might check back on this band and see if they've grown later, but for now I'm not that impressed.

Se7en - SE7EN 2ND MINI ALBUM (2012, South Korea) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: 내가 노래를 못해도, 그런 사람, 이해해, MAKE GOOD LOVE

From what I've seen through music videos for this album, I felt really bad for chicken shop owner Se7en. I was not excited to listen at all. "SOMEBODY ELSE" is a slow, electro-pop song that's a mixture of Big Bang's electronic leftovers and some borrowed arrangements from 2NE1 that never hooked me. This song is so...bland. Even the lyrics area blase. "ANGEL" is another soft song with acoustic guitar and sweet piano. It's about the same tempo as the first song and his voice sounds really nice, but the lyrical content is boring. How many songs in this world do we need that calls their loved one an angel? "내가 노래를 못해도" is a crossover with JYP, if you didn't hear it in the trademark vocal stamp. I really like the simple piano melody and the music is pretty simplistic too. Surprisingly, I like this way more than the previous tracks. It sticks to the original Se7en sound without all the fancy stuff and cheesiness. "그런 사람" features more piano, simplistic music, and highlighting the vocals. It has some pretty good transitions too to make the song more interesting. If you haven't noticed, this mini is very low tempo compared to Digital Bounce. I'm not complaining too much. Him and Rain are two of the few who can get away with ballads most times without making me annoyed. Anyway, "이해해" slows it down even more and is the purest sounding song on here. It's quite lovely with the soft vocals and violin/piano duo. If I had to pick a favorite track, it would be "MAKE GOOD LOVE". Now this could be borderline horny R. Kelly R&B track, but it's not that bad. It's a little more uptempo using string effects and classic R&B bass while cleverly layering the vocals effectively. After listening through this a couple times, I guess I can understand some fans' complaints about it being all slow songs, but if you're truly fan, you can find some good in these songs. They show his vocal skills off a lot more, if done right, and I'm not a big ballad/slow song fan either.

SHINee - Sherlock (2012, South Korea) Rating: 1.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Sherlock (Clue+Note), Alarm Clock

Still not fan of theirs, but I still listen to Lucifer proudly. I was curious how their comeback would turn out, especially with those uncomfortable gay French teaser photos. Then I saw "Sherlock (Clue+Note)" and the song wasn't that bad. It featured some retro horns and mixed it with some modern pop elements. Now the video, on the other hand, tempted me to start reviewing music videos on here because there was just a lot going on that made me facepalm (like Taemin's weave). Someone stop the Korean male weave epidemic, people! Anyway, back to the song, I think it has some great transitions and the boys' vocals are getting stronger too. Now the biggest "wtf" of this mini-album is that the first track is a combination of tracks 2 and 3. What was the point of separating them if they sound good together!? So, all the pop/dance bass whatever and horns are featured in "Clue" as well as the breakdown I liked. "Note" is all the upbeat, dancing sections and chorus, which sound a bit plain alone in some parts. I think "Clue" sounds more interesting than "Note", but this whole thing is confusing as hell and I don't know if SME was trying to troll or they're just being lazy on the tracklist for SHINee's comeback. Let's just move onto "Alarm Clock", which isn't that bad of a song. It's slower and the music is really unique. The harmonizations are just as good and I have a feeling I'll probably listen to this song to relieve the headache of trying to solve the first three tracks. "The Reason" is a slower song with some acoustic work and emotional vocals. "Stranger" brings in the intensity and a somewhat dancing feeling, but it sounds like a Super Junior reject song to me. "Honesty" closes out the comeback mini-album with some acoustic guitar and soft, "feel good" vocals. After writing this out and thinking about how I felt the first time I listened to this, I have a slight headache inkling in the back of my head. Thanks a lot, SHINee~

NOISEMAKER - PLATINUM SHOES (2012, Japan) Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Platinum Shoes, rule, CONTACT

Let me relieve my confusion with a new jrock band I came across. "TRUTH" starts off with some skilled guitar work and immediately pulls you in with intensity. The musical arrangement is a little all over the place, but it kinda follows the odd vocal inflections. If you saw in my recommendations, "Platinum Shoes" is responsible for getting me here on this review. It has some really great musical moments, admirable transitions, and the vocals feel so familiar to me like old ROACH, coldrain, or something. "rule" starts off softly with some wandering bass notes and subtle drums, then bursts out full on until it calms back down to a reminiscent Limp Bizkit echoy sound during the verses. I love it! "CONTACT" also highlights some bass guitar and slowly picks up the other instruments before the vocals join. It has another Limp Bizkit sound to it. I'm not complaining, it still sounds fresh. "TITLE IS MYSELF" goes back to the sound of the second track with prominent bass and wandering guitar notes. The vocals show a few flaws in the high notes, but it doesn't take away from the song. "WE SHOULD COME BACK" closes out the mini-album with a more aggressive sound without going overboard and trying to sound like other heavier bands. It kinda sounds like Rage Against the Machine in the drumming section, but it quickly detours a different direction.

VII-Sense - Silent Assassin (2012, Japan) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Silent Assassin, Yuki no Kiseki...

If you haven't read before, I really enjoy "Silent Assassin". It takes a different direction both musically and vocally. Shaura sounds less like a Kamijo clone and the music doesn't make me think of Dio leftovers either. The transitions are very unexpected, but it keeps you even more interested in the song, especially the guitaring. "Blind Resentment" begins a bit cheesy with Victorian era sounds and dramatics. It's a big downgrade from the sounds of the previous track, especially with the opera vocals. "Yuki no Kiseki..." brings back all the hope I had from the beginning of this single and a little more. It is a beautiful track and really shows off the band's progress. It's sad to know now that this young band is breaking up this year, but I'm crossing my fingers that someone can save it from disbanding or something. Either way, this single is amazing and I'm very proud of them.

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