These posts had haikus.
But now that is unlikely.
There is snow on Mt. Fuji.
Somehow, I let about a year pass since my last post of this type (and half a year since my last “Taking Out The Trash” post). As I mentioned back in July, my albums posts will be mixed in with my “Taking Out The Trash” ones, cycled through after game and anime posts. I purposefully avoided including certain semi-recent albums, since they’ll be in my top 5 of 2015 post. Please be excited.
Skyhill – Run With the Hunted
Genre – Alternative rock, new wave
When I heard there was “serious” music from Danny Sexbang (aka Dan Avidan) of Ninja Sex Party and Starbomb, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But damn, I like it.
Offering a wistful tone and interesting style, Skyhill puts forth a feeling of relaxation without fading away as background music. Both the instruments and vocals are fairly simple, but what they do for the whole effect is beautiful. Albums rarely click this quickly for me.
I’ve always been far more into serious music than comedy stuff, and I certainly would not mind if Dan aims to put out more Skyhill music with fellow member Peter Lennox. You know, instead of just singing about genitalia and video games and stuff.
Recommendation – Hands on the Water, Black and White, Afterglow
Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold
Genre – Hard rock, soundtrack
While Persona 4 Ultimax: The Ultra Suplex Hold (known in the west simply as Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, which is a boring title) had some major issues in the music department, none of them stem from its new music – well, except maybe one thing. Stylistically, the music is very similar to what was in Persona 4 Arena, its prequel, as the music was once again composed by Atsushi Kitajoh. Everything works great in the context of a fighting game, adding tension and energy to the high-paced battles. Cool stuff, both in and out of the game.
As for the one issue – for some reason, Margaret’s battle theme is a remix of Battle Hymn of the Soul. You know, a battle theme from Persona 3, a game she wasn’t in. I don’t get why this song wasn’t for Elizabeth. You know, the one in Persona 3. Seriously, why did this happen?
Recommendation – Break Out Of…, A Fool or Clown?, Blood Red Moon
Aimer – Brave Shine
Genre – J-pop
While this isn’t a full album, it is absolutely worth talking about. A single for Aimer’s Brave Shine, it offers far more than just that song and a throwaway B-side – it actually feels like a complete experience.
The first two songs on this album are Brave Shine and Ophelia, which are both excellent. The title track offers soaring music with a healthy kick, while the B-side offers an emotional ballad that quickly draws you in. However, my favorite song on the album comes afterwards – a live performance of AM03:00, which easily eclipses the studio version. Along with this are an acoustic version of Kimi wo Matsu and a live performance of Shichigatsu no Tsubasa.
If you’ve never listened to Aimer, I can safely say that this is where you’ll want to start. It worked for me.
Recommendation – Brave Shine (Probably because of copyright issues, the full song isn’t on YouTube. This is what you get.), Ophelia, AM03:00 (Live “Midnight Sun” Ver.)
SHIROBAKO SoloSolo ED
Genre – ?
This is an interesting CD. In the original versions of the Shirobako ending themes, they’re performed by the protagonists’ voice actresses – the first, Animetic Love Letter, by Aoi, Shizuka, and Ema’s, and the second, Platinum Jet, by those three plus Midori and Misa’s. This album has solo versions of each ending theme, with each track performed by each of the voice actresses separately. It’s pretty nifty.
In my certainly biased opinion, the Aoi versions are the best. Especially compared to Ema, her voice works better solo, as it has quite a bit more energy and character to it. Shizuka and Midori’s voices also work well solo, but they aren’t Aoi. So it’s clear where my opinion on that lies.
The last song on the disc is Shirobako Ondo, which is quite odd. The term “ondo” refers to a type of traditional Japanese music, which can definitely be heard in the music – besides the bass, the instrumentation does not sound western. The vocals are entirely done by Kimura Juri (as Aoi, Roro, and Mimuji), and this is the song everyone danced to at the Aki-Matsuri. So it will be burned into my brain for a long time.
Recommendation – Aoi versions of the EDs
Muse – Drones
Genre – Alternative rock, hard rock, progressive rock (笑)
A while back, you may have seen one of my “Albums of a Week” posts where I discussed Muse’s prior album, The 2nd Law. If you didn’t, I can sum it up pretty quickly – there are three good songs, one okay song, then a bunch that I can’t sit through without getting irritated. Drones isn’t really an improvement.
Whereas The 2nd Law had several clear high points surrounded by abysmal lows, Drones is more of a consistent blegh, with only Reapers and The Handler standing out. The rest of it just sort of drones on (huehuehue), not to mention the obnoxious samples shoehorned into a few songs. And Dead Inside being a half-assed clone of Madness. And the whole album leaving a negative impression. And the drums this time around were still far too simple. I don’t know what the deal is, but it’s disappointing.
Recommendation – The Handler, Reapers
Lastly, two quick comments: I intended to do a Halloween post again, but didn’t have the time to get around to it. Sorry! Blame Nier. Second, my next “Taking Out The Trash” post won’t be too far away. Unless Fallout 4 consumes all of my free time for the next month, and other things end up delayed as a result.