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Post #61 · Posted at 2017-04-28 07:04:34am 12 months ago

Offline midnightclubx
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Last updated: 2017-04-28 07:04am
Since I have some time on my hands, I believe I will review two abums; an old album from Germany, and an "Bemani" album that's now about a month and a half old that I was finally able to obtain through dark magic. ;)



This album is an absolute classic, and most of the songs have aged very well since its release in June, 1994. As one of the very few female techno artists in the world (The only other examples I can think of are Miss Djax and Ayako Saso, AKA SamplingMasters AYA), she was arguably one of the very first of her kind to achieve massive success.

She started DJing the Berlin area in 1990, and a year later, she became host of a radio show highlighting dance and techno music called Dancehall on DT64. By the end of '91, due to Germany reuiniting thanks to the fall of the Soviet Union, DT64 had to close down, but not without a fight in the form of a music festival called Mayday: Best of House and Techno '91 . DT64 still went kaput, but the seed that Mayday planted would grow into one of the world's largest and oldest electronic music festivals that's still running to this day! There's a whole story regarding the history of Mayday we can talk about, but that's not what you're here for.

Marusha hosted her program, renamed Rave Satellite, on a different radio station, Rock Radio B; despite changes in genres over the years, the show lasted for a good while, all the way up til 2007! If we can go back to Mayday '91 for a second, she was not only one of the DJs/hosts of the event, she even made a radio jingle advertising the event, which would later be sampled when she collaborated with Westbam to create what would be simply called "The Mayday Anthem", which, as it says on the tin, was the anthem of Mayday's 2nd event "A New Chapter of House and Techno '92":

"Making music is pretty fun!", Marusha thought, and in the summer of 1992, she made her first solo single, "Rave Channel":

She wouldn't make any new music unti March 1993, when she shifted to Hard Trance with "Whatever Turns You On", a track she made originally for a compilation album coinciding Mayday 1993: Judgment Day.

In January, 1994, Marusha had a breakout hit with a Happy Hardcore cover of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz, which ranked high on charts across Europe. There was similar success with "It Takes Me Away", released later in the year. I am going to make a guess that the former gave Marusha a strong case for Westbam's music label, Low Spirit, to release a debut album, which you see below. Needless to say, I think they made the right call.

1. We Are The Bass

A strong start to the album; simple in structure, but very affective, especially with well-placed samples from "Apache" from M.A.S.I. that glues the song together. Fun fact: This was also the intro music for Marusha's TV show dedicated to techno happenings, called "Feuerreiter", and there's no debate to why. 4.5/5

2. Raveland

The titular track of the album, and it's a song that evokes nostalgia even to people who weren't around or listened to it back when this album was new. A very eclectic mix of techno and trance that melds very well. The breakdown at 2:16 gave me goosebumps the first time listened to this song with headphones, and then it goes back after about 30 seconds of buildup. It's a great song on its own and fits well with the album, but personally, the Wicked Mix, which was sadly only released in the Trip to Raveland single a few months after the album's release and sounds very different to the album version, is vastly superior in comparison. 4.0/5

3. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Unlike the other songs in this album, this song has not aged well. I don't know if it's because of the weak sounding lead synth that plays the melody of the song, or Marusha's vocals that sound like she was bored out of her mind during recording. Regardless, it's a song I easily skip past every time I listen to the album, even when I listen to all of the songs in one sitting. It's not really a terrible song, per se, but it's weak sauce in comparison to the rest of the album. P.S., WTF is up with the music video? 2.5/5

4. Voltage Pulse
We've now reached the first "filler song" of the album, but it doesn't mean it's a weak song. In fact, a little after the intro, from 0:24, you have this strong low bass synth that could rattle your bones if you heard this song at full blast on good stereo system, and when you only hear it at 0:48 followed by some added layers of the song, it is absolutely amazing. Then when you reach 2:00, you hear a pretty weird synth that sounds like someone holding down a key for a very long time while messing with the pitch wheel on the keyboard. Not long afterwards, you have this awesome buildup with the drums that goes into the 2nd part of the song. It gets the job done, and is nice to listen to if you're hearing the album in one fell swoop. It's a rarity I listen to the song on it's own though. 3.5/5

5. It Takes Me Away
Unlike Somewhere Over The Rainbow, It Takes Me Away has aged rather gracefully and is a song you could easily play in a DJ set today. The piano riffs are very catchy, and the Casio-styled breakbeat drums fit so perfectly well. If this song were a tad faster, people would confuse this song as a Happy Hardcore song from the UK... even though this is still a Happy Hardcore song. The vocals meld so flawlessly as well, especially the "AND IT TAKES ME AWAAAAY!" sample. When people look up Marusha and stumble upon this album, they should think about this song as the lead single, and not whatever TF song 3 is. It's the only other song from the album that has a music video as well. 5.0/5

6. Girl I House You
We've now reached the 2nd "filler song" of the album. A bit simple, but like Voltage Pulse, gets the job done. The acid-like melody at 1:27 is what saves this song from being mundane. Another piano riff at 2:48 gives the song a bit more flavor, but you never hear it again. As with Voltage Pulse, it's a song that is best if you're listening to the album on one go, rather than on it's own. 3.0/5

7. Go Ahead
Possbily the 2nd-oldest song on the album, behind Rave Channel, but it is an absolutely awesome song that deserved to be its own single! Why didn't this get a music video, but Somewhere Over The Rainbow did?! If you want to hear a really good example of early Hard Trance back when it was in its infancy, this song is one of them! The melody and synths are sheer perfection, and the vocals don't overstay their welcome. Pair this with a distorted drum kick throughout, and you have a classic. Fun fact: This was Marusha's only song to have ever been shown to Japanese audiences via Avex Trax. Why they didn't show off her other songs, let alone publish a Japanese release of this album, is beyond me, but their taste in music seemed stuck in 1991 for years ;I ... 5.0/5

8. Ravechannel
We've now reached the oldest track of the album, but with a twist; note that there's no space on "Rave Channel", and it's most likely because this is essentially a sped up version of the song, possibly to keep with the rave motif of the album. This sped-up version sounds amazing, The distorted techno effects going on here, with the droning "melody" that surprisingly does not get old, is absolutely a treat to hear with headphones, and a good stereo system. And just when you think the song is over, it keeps going for another minute and a half. Anyone making Techno music should take note of this song. 4.5/5

9. Audio Space
We've now reached the last of the "filler tracks", and this one is the best of the three! It leans a bit more on the Techno side, but this song has something that neither Voltage Pulse nor Girl I House You had, and that's variety. By the time you reach the halfway mark of the song, it builds up with a pretty neat melody that fades in an out, and then the main beat of the song comes into effect and rounds out the package. You won't have too much of a problem hearing this on it's own, but it still is a filler song by the end of the day. 4.0/5

10. Upside Down
And we've now reached the end of the album, and it's a great sendoff that stimulates the senses. Much like Raveland, it's a song that can evoke nostalgia, even if you didn't hear the album when it first came out. The melodies and the breakbeat that you hear throughout the song has a nice Trance feel to it, and then you hear that (unfortunately) brief melody at 1:30 that just screams "1994", and you wish it lasted a bit longer, or showed up one more time, but sadly, it doesn't. It's still a great song. This song got a remix on one of the singles that coincided with the album, "Upside Down (Pumpin' Mix)", but it sound vastly different, and I don't think I could really consider it a remix if it weren't for the main vocals showing up. Still, a great end to a great album! 5.0/5

Had this album reached North America and Asia (and/or even other parts of Europe, especially the UK), I think this album would've been a much bigger hit that it was in Germany; I've only heard of Marusha, and this album, thanks in part to Youtube back in the day, and finding a copy of the album was not fun, since this was 2007 we are talking about here. Thankfully, you can now simply buy the album digitally on iTunes, but you'll miss out on some of the sweet artwork inside the case. This album is easily one of the GOATs, and the best album Marusha has made. Sadly, she started venturing more into House/Electro and slower music styles, starting with her 2nd album "Wir", but Raveland was an absolute pioneer when it came to bringing Hard Trance and Happy Hardcore to the mainstream.

I didn't think making a review like this would take so long, so I'll have to review AO-Infinity another day. ^^;

Twenty First Century Jesus (US Version)

Not to be confused with the Metal band of the same name, this Messiah is a British Breakbeat/Hardcore Techno duo formed in 1988, when Ali Ghani and Mark Davies met at an Iggy Pop concert and had the idea to buy some music equipment and make music simply for fun. When Ghani and Davies realized that their musical ideas meshed well together, they decided to go pro and make Techno and Rave music. And that's literally all I can dig up about them. Outside of the very little info on both Discord and their Wikipedia page, they seem to be shrouded in mystery.

Regardless, Messiah was best known for sampling plenty of stuff throughout their songs (i.e. most people who have listened to "Temple of Dreams", arguably their most famous song next to "I Feel Love", samples the late Richard Dawson from "The Running Man", specifically "Who loves you, and WHO DO YOU LOVE?!", and "Without further ado, it's time to start...RUNNING!". I'll get to what I think about this classic in a bit, but first, a quick little heads up: There are two versions, both with different mixes/edits of roughly the same songs, but each having at least one exclusive song made for that release. First, you have the original British version released in 1993:

But the version I'm going to be reviewing is the US version that was released a year later, in 1994:

As you can hear, from the very moment you start both of these albums, there are plenty of differences; for starters, the first track in the intro, "The Age of the Machine", is spoken not only by a different person, but it's also merged into the very first song in the US version ("Beyond Good and Evil"), along side differeing mixes and "Thunderdome" among others. Both exclusive tracks that makes these releases even more different are at the very end of the albums (The UK release has "Desire" while the US version has a hidden track called "The Future Is Ours"). I highly recommend listening to both versions because words can not describe how deceptively different both releases are from one another!

Without further ado, let's get into this amazing album:

1. Beyond Good And Evil
The very beginning of this song sets the tone of the album that you're in for a 90's cyberpunk motif, and the song itself is amazing, with forboding synths and melodies, and an evil-sounding vocalist. It all works very well, and it makes me feel like this could've easily fit right in with a movie's soundtrack back in 1994/95. Amazing stuff here, and it feels like this version is slightly longer than the UK version. 5/5

2. There Is No Law
Anyone who wants hard-hitting Breakbeat music will feel right at home with this song. It's one of those songs where you wonder why they weren't as popular as (if not moreso than) The Prodigy? Then you realize this album came out around the same time as "Music for the Jilted Generation", and feel sad this didn't get much room to breathe. But I digress, the gratuitous use of sampling really helps sell the music, and who knows if this song would still be good without it? 5.0/5

3. Temple Of Dreams

Messiah's most famous song, and rightfully so! Not as dark as "There Is No Law", but this song doesn't need to be to be this good. Temple of Dreams alternates between the hard melodies and the added layer of the female vocalists that make this a bit more upbeat, and it gives the song enough variety that you can easily listen to this without saying "meh, this song's boring". 5.0/5

4.I Feel Love
There's a few different versions of this cover of the Donna Summers song made by Messiah, but the version they made for this album is amazing. You have the speed and breakbeats of "Beyond Good and Evil" with the verses of "I Feel Love", mixed in with the some record scratches here and there. I don't exactly get the spring sounds in the middle of the song, though; it feels very out of place. 4.5/5

5. Peace & Tramquility
Easily one of the (slightly) slower songs of the album; Has a nice melody going for it, and the mix between samples of a self-help CD and a female vocalist towards the 2nd half of the song makes for a very nice filler track, and provides a break from the hard hitting songs the first four tracks provides. 4.0/5

6. Creator
Aaand just like that, we're back to the hard breaks. It's delightfully cheesy thanks to the male vocalist in this song; assuming it's one of the two members of Messiah, it's always amusing to hear a British guy try sounding like an American rock singer from the 70's, and it surprisingly works well. It does get a bit annoying to hear the "I am the creator!" sample over and over again. Also, for some reason, it samples what sounds like Charles Manson. Take of that what you will. 4.5/5

7. Destroyer
A simpler-in-structure (but shorter) sequel to Creator without any vocalists, but with a sample from what I assume is from a car commercial. It's alright; doesn't pack as much punch as the previous track, but it's a nice filler song that isn't boring. Also, dat melody at 1:47 tho. 4.0/5

8. Thunderdome

One of the slower songs of the album, and also one of the most epic! The drums and the samples are a treat to hear, and then you hear the female vocalists, and it takes this song to a whole other level that makes this utterly amazing amazing.

Fun fact: There are three different music videos for this song. One based off of this version of Thunderdome (which I linked above), one that uses the British cut with the male vocalist, and another based off of the American version with the anime clips replaced with explicit porn in its place. How one song gets three different videos for it (let alone one with NSFW content that would never be aired on TV) is beyond me. Still an epic song though. 5/5

9. You're Going Insane
One of Messiah's oldest songs in the album (based off of "Is Anyone Still Alive (Anarchy Mix)" from their first single ), it's a nice mix of 1991-style techno and breakbeat that almost feels right at home in an Urban Hype single, although slightly darker in melody (at least the very beginning). It makes for a nice filler track that feels anything but filler. 4.0/5

10.1 20,000 Hardcore Members
This song reminds me of if"James Brown Is Dead" was remixed by The Prodigy, but they couldn't use the samples for that song. Well-placed samples, especially the "And I just get warm!" one peppered throughout. A very nice, simple song to end the song on... or so you think it's the end. ;) 4.5/5

10.2 The Future Is Ours
...Then, after a few minutes of silence, we reach the "True Ending" of the album (at least, the US version, anyway), and it's the perfect bookend to "Beyond Good and Evil". In fact, this sounds like a sequel to that song, and I am perfectly fine with that! Then you reach 5:32, and the songs takes on a life of it's own, with an amazing melody, followed by a nice vocal sample, and later on, the hard acid that's both dark yet optimistic, almost as if it is a contrast to the very beginning of the album. Now this is how you end Twenty First Century Jesus. 5/5

After this album's release, Messiah ventured away from Hardcore Techno, and decided to make more "traditional music" with "Messiah Presents Progenitor" in 1997; afterwards, they were never heard from again, presumably because 1. it's a very obscure album that hasn't popped up anywhere, and 2. According to at least one person who has listened to it, it doesn't even come within miles of their debut album.

I personally would love to see them pop up again, perhaps making new breakbeat music that would give us a true sequel to the first album (Maybe they could call it "Twenty-Second Century Jesus"?). I'm just saying, if Dune and (to a lesser extent) Force Mass Motion can come back to make new music (or in FMM's case, release music that was unreleased for 25 years), why can't we see more of these guys?

"Hail Messiah!"

Post #62 · Posted at 2017-05-25 06:49:14am 11.1 months ago

Offline AnonyWolf
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"The King Of Wishful Thinking"

Last updated: 2017-05-25 07:01am
So I've been listening to a lot of 2017 releases, from all neck of the woods. Hip-hop, pop, rock, indie, country... Trying to get my hands on whatever I can whenever available. And I've gotta say, so far? 2017 has a lot of great releases. 23 releases and counting I would give at least a 3/5 and up (at least 8 smashing that 5/5 status).
Unfortunately, with every positive, there's a negative. And that's what I'm here to talk about today. While there hasn't been much in the way of bad albums, there still have been some releases leaving me scratching my head and leaving me confused. I'm here to warn you of these albums, to proceed with these at your own risk. I listen to this music so you don't have to.
If there's an album here you like and disagree with me about, that's fine. Taste is subjective. As long as it makes you happy. But as for me? Here's my 8 picks for the worst releases of 2017 so far, ranked from better to bottom. (I will be using the terms "album" and "release" interchangeably, don't mind me.)

#8 Oczy Mlody / The Flaming Lips
Best Song: We A Famly (feat. Miley Cyrus)
Worst Song: Galaxy I Sink
This album hurt me especially given how much hype there was behind it. The band dropped 4 megajambs before the release of this album, and I was absolutely hooked. The megajambs were nothing more than a red herring. What we ended up getting was what an alien representation of The Flaming Lips would be. Very little of what made the group appealing comes off on this release, and aside from the tracks we already heard, there's nothing in the way of standout material. Plus, this is unfortunately the first album that forced me to give my second ever 0.5/5 rating, a rating I've only ever given to 4 songs at this point. The album's so low because it cut me so deep.

#7 How Will You Know If You Never Try / COIN
Best Song: Talk Too Much
Worst Song: Lately II
Going into this one, I didn't know what to expect. I only knew of the band through Talk Too Much, which I rather enjoyed. Needless to say, I wasn't expecting an album that consisted of nothing but expies of Talk Too Much. From the first song to the last, it seemed like I had the album on repeat. The band took no chances and stuck to what they knew, and the album became a very tedious listen very quickly because of it. I will say that Hannah and Malibu 1992 are two songs you have to check out if you're curious at all with this one. Everything else? You're fine without.

#6 After Laughter / Paramore
Best Song: Rose Colored Boy
Worst Song: No Friend
I'll be perfectly honest: I've never liked Paramore. I've never liked Hayley Williams. But when I heard the band was abandoning their earlier pop-punk sound for a more new wave, '80s flair, I was interested. I also saw this album getting a lot of praise from music critics and, strangely enough, professional wrestlers. So the thought crept into my head: "Hey, I like new wave. I like the '80s. Plus, the ultra-cutey Bayley loves it. What could go wrong?" Well, apparently, more than enough. The band seems to only have one mode on this album, and it's a weird half-assed '80s throwback kind of mode. The one you get when you see The Breakfast Club a single time and think you know what the '80s were all about, despite you having lived through absolutely none of it. Awkward songwriting, lazy production, and some of the weirdest additions to music I have ever heard; I still am trying to wrap my head around those small post-choruses on Hard Times. It's just not worth the hype. Fer sure.

#5 Crooked Teeth / Papa Roach
Best Song: None Of The Above
Worst Song: Born For Greatness
I'm gonna try to keep this one short and simple: I don't wanna hear a bunch of people in their 30s/40s going on about the same whiny, redundant tripe they were playing in their 20s. It didn't work for Simple Plan, it's not gonna work for you, Jacoby. The funniest part is that Papa Roach manages to sound more like Linkin Park on this release than the actual new Linkin Park album. But we'll get to that.
EDIT: also that album cover is the fucking worst and whoever was in charge of art direction needs a 2x4 to the skull

#4 All Your Fault: Pt. 1 / Bebe Rexha
Best Song: Gateway Drug
Worst Song: Bad Bitch
Bebe Rexha just isn't a good singer. I'll be perfectly blunt with this. Her voice is the equivalent to something quite unpleasant. It resonates at the perfect frequency to piss me off. Her overall attitude and demeanor do absolutely nothing to help matters. And when she isn't drowning in autotune, she proves she's not very good at carrying a tune. I don't know what possessed me to buy this EP the day it came out, I don't know what possessed me to listen to it. But I can't say I'm appreciative of the end result. The production is just as generic and manufactured as Bebe, and I look forward to the day we can finally close this book and move onto the next one. Release isn't ranked at the bottom for 2 reasons: #1. Gateway Drug is fucking great. #2. There's only 6 songs, so I only had to endure a relatively small dose of pain.

#3 One More Light / Linkin Park
Best Song: Battle Symphony
Worst Song: Halfway Right
While I can't say I've ever been a big fan of Linkin Park, I can say I've stuck with them throughout their career. From their ultra-edgy humble beginnings to their mellowed out latter years, I was there. Can't say I ever got hyped for a new album, but I was usually there to listen to a new album. So when I heard the band decided to completely abandon their original sound for something new, I was, for good reason, doubtful. And in the end, I had every reason to cast my doubts. I tried to give this one an open mind and open ears, but there's very little to enjoy with this album. Everything sounds like a bad Imagine Dragons interpretation, and Chester's voice does not lend itself well at all to this type of music. Mike is nowhere to be found on this thing, and aside from some guitars, I'm willing to bet none of the other band members decided to show up for the recording sessions. Never thought Linkin Park would become yet another Maroon 5, but here we are. The Chester Bennington solo album you've never wanted. The critics tore this one apart, and they had every reason to. It's a weak album from a group that should know better.

#2 I See You / The xx
Best Song: On Hold
Worst Song: Test Me
Another one I'll attempt to keep short. This album is boring to the core. The band seems to have went into the studio and recorded whatever came to mind, forgetting to actually write material. From start to finish, it was a snoozer with very little redeeming qualities. Cocteau Twins is Dream Pop. This is the musical equivalent of Ambien. Someone please tell the band to wake up.

#1 Memories...Do Not Open / The Chainsmokers
Best Song: Last Day Alive (feat. Florida Georgia Line)
Worst Song: My Type (feat. Emily Warren)
Yes, I know, everyone and their mother gave this album hell. Say I'm hopping the bandwagon all you want. But this album wholeheartedly deserves it. This album is a combination platter of generic production, lazy songwriting, juvenile lyricism, deja vu inspiring melodies, and a thin facade of authenticity. This combination platter leaves a bad taste in my mouth every time I come near it. While I can't say every single song on here is awful 0.5/5 fish food, there's not a single song on here I would give recommendation to, and when I have to point to the goddamn FLG collab as the best this album has to offer, that's a very bad sign of what to expect. This is highly amateur, and coming from such a world-known act, this is inexcusable. This is baby's first FL Studio session. This is the kind of shit you'd hear on some random teenager's Soundcloud. This is the kind of shit I would slap out in an hour's worth of time. When you make a song like My Type, that's something you leave in a WIP folder to rot for years until it eventually gets lost in the fold, not something you slap in the middle of your first studio album. There were a few songs on here that were so uncomfortably amateur, I could not stop myself from laughing. The songs weren't funny. I think it was out of fear. Fear that someone's gonna listen to this and get inspired to make something like this. It's just not worth your time. If you like the duo, stick with their two previous EPs. Like a poisonous frog in the wilderness, don't let its flashy colors fool you. This album is one I recommend you do not open.

And there we go. My 8 least favorite releases of 2017 so far. I have yet to hear every release, and in a month's time, this whole list could very well change (I sure as shit hope not). I decided to do the negatives first to get them out of the way, and also because I'm considering doing a video going over my favorite releases of the year so far. If there's anything that's come out within the last 5-6 months you think I should check out, let me know wherever you find me. Until then, don't be a stranger. Have a great day.

Post #63 · Posted at 2017-06-21 03:07:34am 10.2 months ago

Offline xXMokou98Xx
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"meme school"

Last updated: 2017-06-21 03:08am
Ordinary Review for Ordinary Songs 3 (Yay~)

I should have reviewed the first two.
They were great.
There's your review of 1 and 2.
If you've never listened to any of the Ordinary Songs music, imagine if you threw Animal Crossing OSTs and the background bossa/smooth jazz from Gran Turismo at each other and added sick beats and bleeps to it. Now we're cooking.

1. good day
So many chords I thought it was a Maxo piece. Joking aside, more frantic start than expected, but I love all the little chord changes and how this never stays in one place for very long, it's like a quick adventure.

2. Bouquet
There should be a requirement that if you hear this, you have to dance. Uptempo with some flair, I like the back and forth between piano and the electronic beats and handclap samples. I wish it were longer, like at least a minute longer.

3. Aloha
I did not have any ramune on hand, I feel like that would have enhanced the experience for this. Still a wonderful listen, it's so bouncy and the samples aren't overused, the beat really carried this and I love that, the latter half is wonderous. I'd call it more a continuation of fizzy resort than anything. It stands out on its own, but I can hear so much of fizzy resort in it.

4. あめあがりのうた
Kinda feel like I should be skipping down to the store to this and pick up bread or something. Very comfy melody along with piano and what sounds like accordion, I love this. This is really infectious and I wanna keep playing it over and over, that melody is so damn cute.

5. Lullaby
I feel spoiled since i've heard this a billion times before on soundcloud. Listening to this I always get the vibe of sleeping and having one of those dreams where you're walking on clouds, it's very bouncy and joyful. That's what a lot of this is, very bouncy and full of joy. Also the outro gets me everytime, damn.

BEST: LULLABY, あめあがりのうた
8.5/10, the Snail cannot be stopped

Yiss ©Ayumi Promotions, 2012

Post #64 · Posted at 2017-08-05 01:09:09am 8.7 months ago

Offline AnonyWolf
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"The King Of Wishful Thinking"

Last updated: 2017-08-05 01:13am
Now That's What I Call A Music Review For "Now That's What I Call Music! 63", And I Don't Mean The UK Version
Post best viewed on Dark Theme.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of the year again. It's that time where our friends over at NOW gather some of the biggest hits of the past few months for our listening pleasure. 22 tracks on one CD, all for the price of a standard album release. What a bargain! One you could only dream about!
Of course, I emphasize the word "some" in "some of the biggest hits". Sometimes things aren't easy to license, especially if they're a chart dominating force. You won't be seeing Despacito or Shape Of You on this release, two songs that absolutely dominated the radio for a good chunk of the year (both currently have spent 12 weeks at #1 at some point, and Despacito is such a powerhouse that it might even overtake the 16 straight week record Mariah Carey set 84 years ago). Also, 6 of the songs are taken up by relatively unknown artists to give them a chance at the spotlight. While noble in intention, these tracks normally stick out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the material and I feel like these spots could've been better utilized for other well known but not as big tracks from the year. NOW is no stranger to putting non-hits in their collection (hey, Play That Song from 62!)
These little things just helps to solidify that this package is hardly a collection of the ABSOLUTE CHART SMASHING HITS you come to know and (possibly) love.
That's not to say it's all for naught. We do have two songs that cracked the #1 spot on the Hot 100. The full-house-of-features DJ Khaled track I'm The One (feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper, and Lil Wayne), and the braggadocios swagger of King Kendrick Lamar's HUMBLE. (a man and a song that need no introduction). A good portion of the material from this release is still in the Top 40 - some even Top 10 - as of today. Basically, it serves as a nice representation of what happened between May and August 2017, but it's hardly 100% accurate to what was actually popular. As great as some of these tracks are, you can't tell me that Castle On The Hill or Slow Hands or Swish Swish (feat. Nicki Minaj) were ever chart dominators (or in Swish Swish's case, a chart dominator on a chart that matters).
Let's take our time, feel the flow, and dive right into my personal opinions on each individual track on NOW 63.

Track One:
I'm The One (feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper & Lil Wayne)
DJ Khaled
Rating: 4/5
This song is a weird enigma. Nothing about it should work by any means. The production is sparse, empty, almost cheap. The cast of characters range from Great to Why Is Justin Bieber Here?. DJ Khaled probably did very little in terms of actually making this track, yet he gets front billing. The lyricism is weak or mediocre from all performers. Everything about this track just seems bad on paper. But for some reason, I really like it. Bieber's hook is catchy, and the actual performances from the other co-stars are competent. The production is just lucid enough to keep your interest. DJ Khaled doesn't fill the air with his usual ad-libs, reducing the obnoxious facter ten-fold. Honestly, the only bad thin about this one is Lil Wayne's verse, and he's basically a non-factor in the track. The song's pretty much over by the time his part even comes along, so think of it like an after-credits scene (primarily the one from Spider-Man: Homecoming where Captain America passive-aggressively taunts the viewer for assuming their patience will always be rewarded). It's a silly summer jamb, it does what it sets out to do, and I can't fault it for that. I don't expect grand statements from DJ fucking Khaled.

Track Two:
Zedd & Alessia Cara
Rating: 5/5
Outside of this track, I really couldn't care less about either of these participants. I find most of Zedd's work to be underwhelming and by-the-numbers, and I can't distinguish most of what he's done from one another. I don't think Alessia is a bad singer, but the material she's presented so far is as empty dirge as you could possibly get and I don't believe for a second it's sincere or from a place of sincerity. Both participants are as expendable as you could get in this day in age. Who would've guessed that two expendables could get together and craft what's likely going to be in my Top 10 Favorite Singles Of The Year list. This song is simply captivating. Alessia's vocal performance has passion and nuance, Zedd's start-and-stop production is one of goosebumps proportions. Everything is wrapped up in this neat little bow of a simple love song. Definitely deserved more love than it got, it's an absolute shame it barely cracked the Top 10. #7 counts as "barely cracked" in this moment in time. Point is, I adore this track and I don't see myself getting sick of it any time soon. You could say it's here's with me to Stay. (But you really shouldn't.)

Track Three:
Something Just Like This
The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Rating: 2.5/5
If you know me, you know I'm not the biggest fan of The Chainsmokers. In fact, I'll probably be the first person saying adios when the duo finally announce they're breaking up. There's expendable and then there's elementary. Above, Zedd and Alessia are expendable. They get the job done. They're serviceable. Competent. Acceptable. But they're replaceable. The Chainsmokers are elementary. They do the job as simply and effortlessly as they possibly can. They're not competent. They're serviceable as radio fodder. They're far from acceptable. Needless to say, they're about the exact opposite people I ever saw a group like Coldplay working with. Coldplay will always have a place in my heart, no matter what kind of pop habadashery they're getting involved in now. I never felt this one was going to work. And I'd be right. While it's not a bad song by any stretch of the imagination - Chris Martin's vocals are as Chris Martin vocals are, and the hook does manage to work its way into your head - it leaves me wanting so much more from everyone involved. Especially Coldplay, assuming the whole band actually had a part in this. These people are capable of creating something truly legendary, and I don't believe for a second this was a passion project. Chris Martin probably just saw the stacks upon stacks of cash The Chainsmokers were getting and was like "I want something just like this."

Track Four:
Say You Won't Let Go
James Arthur
Rating: 3/5
Overplay kinda killed this track for me originally, to the point where I didn't want to ever hear it again (see also: Shape Of You). But after hearing it again for the first time in over a month, I can safely say it's... fine? I'm still not a fan of it by any stretch of the imagination, and hearing the Four Chords regurgitated for the billionth time makes me involuntarily roll my eyes so far back that all I see is black. But it's serviceable. The problem is that there isn't much to this one. It doesn't pick up until lategame and by then, I'm scrambling to find something else to listen to if I haven't found on already. Simple lyrics fit the simply progression, it's another generic love track and it's one we've heard sung hundreds of times. Personally, typing this up, I think a 3/5 might be a little too high of a ranking. But really, what else should I rate something I have no real feelings on? Can't rate it a 1 or a 0.5 because it's not a fundamentally broken song. Can't rate it a 2 because, again, it's serviceable enough to not be unpleasant. Can't rate it any higher than 3 because who the fuck would I be kidding? It's a song that's there. It's not important enough to hate, but not good enough to like.

Track Five:
Castle On The Hill
Ed Sheeran
Rating: 5/5
My relationship with Mr. Sheeran has been an unsteady one at best. On one hand, he's able to craft delicious pop tunes like Castle On The Hill, a song that stirs up emotions of nostalgia and longing and even a tinge of regret. A song with passion and drive, something so unlike anything else on the radio. Something that makes you feel something deeper than surface level enjoyment. On the other hand, he makes something like Shape Of You and it becomes a #1 smash for 12 weeks and it leaves me scratching my head wondering why. It would be super pompous and presumptuous of me to say that people just don't get Castle On The Hill, because it's not like it's a grand artistic statement. I'm not pondering the malleability of existence when I hear it. But it's certainly deeper than people give it credit for. It's an expression of looking back upon the past, learning from your experiences, making changes to become a better person, to strive for a future of success. Shape Of You doesn't dive into anything deeper than I Wanna Fuck You Like An Animal (With Your Consent Of Course). Basically, Castle On The Hill is the 5 star restaurant and Shape Of You is the McDonalds. McDonalds is great if you want something quick and easy and cheap. But the 5 star restaurant gives you an experience worth the extra effort.

Track Six:
Imagine Dragons
Rating: 1/5
The less I dwell on this piece of shit, the better.

Okay, I won't leave you hanging like that. Gotta have some kind of professionalism here. Basically, what it boils down to is that this is one of the most obnoxious, overblown, overbearing, untenable, un-enjoyable things I've heard this year. Imagine Dragons are a joke and the fact that this Lovecraftian horror is still stinking up the Top 10 is simply inexcusable. The ONLY reason this isn't a 0.5 is because at least it isn't fundamentally flawed. I can at least hear it and think "Yes, this is a song. This is meant to be a song." It's a piece of shit, but it's not Galaxy I Sink awful.

Track Seven:
Slow Hands
Niall Horan
Rating: 3.5/5
Another song I can't help but be conflicted on. The instrumentation is beautiful. Reminds me of something that you'd hear from Continuum-era John Mayer (which should go without saying is a big compliment). The guitar work is smooth and slinky and highly reminiscent of work you'd get from Eric Clapton (y'know... Slowhand), the drums provide the right amount of power to help aid the song and don't overstay their welcome, the background vocals that pop up in the chorus are so lush and creamy you think you'd taken a bath in velvet. Basically, from a production standpoint, this track is a 5/5 work of beauty. But why is it a 3.5 if you like it so much?
Primarily, whoever decided to heavily lather Niall's vocals in pitch correction and heavily cut up the performance to the point where you can hear things dropping in and out constantly. I understand cleaning up an audio track so you don't get the unnecessary noise, but somehow they managed to make the lack of noise one of the loudest things in the track. Niall's vocals are so distracting on his own song that it docks 1.5 points from my total. If an instrumental version of this exists (with background vocals intact), I'm gonna need it pronto.

Track Eight:
Bad Liar
Selena Gomez
Rating: 3/5
Either my speakers are busted to the point of automatic Decenterization, or someone forgot to re-toggle instrument tracks in Pro Tools before bouncing the track. Either way, this track feels incomplete. It serves entirely as a vehicle for the Psycho Killer bassline interpretation, and for what reason I don't know. Is Selena&Co. trying to strike up cool points with a wink and a nudge, like "Hey, I know about Talking Heads, I know my music." Well, Selena, this might not be my beautiful house and this might not be my beautiful wife, but you're the same Selena as it ever was. Notice how that grammatical error probably made you want to be sick? Yeah, shoehorning Talking Heads references with little rhyme or reason doesn't work, now does it? Admittedly, the more I listen to the track, the more it kinda grows on me. Who knows, maybe this track will score higher later down the road.

Track Nine:
Swish Swish (feat. Nicki Minaj)
Katy Perry
Rating: 0.5/5
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Hell no.
FROM NONSTOP MEGAMIX: This song is truly disgusting. Katy keeps trying to be so Woke and in-tune with her gay fanbase that she seems to think this stereotypical, pandering nonsense is acceptable. She keeps trying so hard to get people to like her, and keeps shooting herself in the foot in the process. This song is a joke from start to finish. Low effort trash to try and capitalize on a market that wants nothing to do with her. I'm not even a part of the demographic she's trying to catch and I'm offended. I can only imagine how people who actually represent and are involved in the community feel. They're probably off listening to the new Lana Del Rey album, and I don't fucking blame them. Plus, the dumb drama with Taylor Swift is front and center here. Because apparently a 30-something Katy Perry needs to get involved in dram with someone 10 years younger who clearly wants little to do with her. What is this, high school? I guess Bowling For Soup was right. At least she's not working with noted homophobic crew Migos for this one like her previous flop, Bon Appétit. Instead, she's working with Nicki "I'm Only In This For The Paycheck" Minaj, who provides some of the worst sets of bars she's probably ever dropped. That I've heard her drop, at least. Didn't Minaj rap about wanting to rape men or something? At least she didn't actually do it. At least Katy didn't work with Kodak Black for this one. I've expelled more effort into this review of a song I don't give a shit about than Katy&Co. expelled in making this uninspired, unrelentingly awful, terrible, no good, very bad track. And it's censored too, so I can't even enjoy the completely unfitting Fatboy Slim sample. I'm literally rambling at this point. Fuck this track. Next.

Track Ten:
Crying In The Club
Camila Cabello
Rating: 3.5/5
Can you tell Sia had a hand in writing this one? If you said no, you mustn't tell lies.
Song has a nice melody, but it doesn't deviate enough in instrumentation to hold my attention for long. It's almost impossible to tell when the song has transitioned into the chorus, and that's just a big no-no to me regardless.
Also, Sia helped write this. In case you couldn't tell. Any time Sia writes a song for someone, they try so hard to sound like Sia. It's physically impossible to be unable to detect when Sia had a hand in writing a track. Not even queen Carly Rae Jepsen was immune to this.
I don't have much else to say about this one, unfortunately. I've listened to it about 3 times now and I've heard everything I needed to hear. Song's okay. I wouldn't find myself crawling back to this one any time soon. Sia's done better. I don't know who Camila Cabello is, but she's probably done better too. Wish I had more to say. I'm sorry.
Sia helped write this one, by the way.

Track Eleven:
Slide (feat. Frank Ocean & Migos)
Calvin Harris
Rating: 5/5
When Calvin Harris gets a track right, he gets it right. Doesn't happen often, but it happens, and this track is a prime example of Calvin getting a track damn right. Song's got a funky feel to it, one that makes you want to get up and move regardless where you are. It's a sleek and sexy track with a groove for days. The best part has to be the weepy-sounding synth that comes in from time to time. Sounds like something ripped straight from an Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT track, strangely enough. Calvin actually posted footage of him working on the track on YouTube. Seeing how many layers are going on at once to create something that feels so simple and flawless was truly mesmerizing. As for the features, Frank Ocean comes in and makes the track his own, as he usually does. Frank Ocean manages to make any track he's featured on his track. That's just the power of the wave. Migos is there to get a paycheck, as they usually do. Why people keep putting them on their tracks is beyond me, since they are never not the weakest link in any track they're involved in (lone exception being Quavo's acceptable verse in I'm The One). Bad & Boujee cred only lasts for so long, and before you know it, they're just another flash in the pan. That's just the power of the pain.

Track Twelve:
Swalla (feat. Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign)
Jason Derulo
Rating: 2.5/5
What is it with tracks in 2017 interpolating Shimmy Shimmy Ya? First LOYALTY., and now this. Eh, regardless. It's dancehall Jason Derulo. Aren't you excited? Neither was anyone else participating on the track, to be brutally honest. The most interesting parts is when it seems like Little Jimmy Urine from Mindless Self Indulgence takes over the production for a few bars every few measures and ramps up the tempo and the crashes. No joke, that's honestly the best part of the track. It's so out of left field and it's not consistent every time it happens, so you can't help but wonder what just happened when it happens. The first time I heard the track, I was honestly surprised they even included something like it in a standard Derulo dancehall track. I can't stop focusing on the megabeatblasts, but to be fair, it's better than focusing on Derulo or Ty Dolla $ign, who don't add anything significant or interesting to the track. At least Minaj (in her, what, fifth appearance in this album now?) tries to stand out and do something with her verse. Maybe she realized she could do better than sub-bottom-tier Katy Perry nonsense if she tried. When Jason Derulo is the person you turn to for that, maybe you fucked up somewhere along the line, Katy.

Track Thirteen:
Kendrick Lamar
Rating: 5/5
To Pimp A Butterfly is arguably one of the greatest albums of all time. Every single track on it is a masterpiece with thousands of layers to discover with every listen. It truly stands higher above the rest of not only what was being released at the time, but what was released well before it. Its g-funk and jazz influence helped it become more than just another hip-hop album. It became a music lover's album. The grand political statements still spark debate and issue to this day, with the conflict of black America given such a direct and painfully ugly spotlight. The album doesn't just pull punches, it viciously tears everything apart, down to and including the foundation surrounding it. All interwoven with a beautiful story and beautiful poetry spoken to none other than 2Pac himself. The shadow of that album looms over the music world, not just the rap game, to this day. How could Kendrick manage to top such a monumental task? How could he make something better than perfection?
By not trying to top it at all.
This is the first track we got from DAMN., and it is a major departure from what TPAB had to offer. Going from complex and heavy topics like police brutality and inner city violence to a braggadocios romper with an instrumentation solely based on sparse drums and preset keyboard pianos. Kendrick is still chomping at the bit lyrically, but for a different purpose entirely, focusing on the fakeness of the world around him. Models and Photoshop, wack rappers, even himself. The chorus consists entirely of Kendrick telling whoever he's speaking to to sit down, be humble. Takes a whole wild turn when you realize this song is a jab at Kendrick by Kendrick. This falls perfectly in line with the rest of the album, which focuses on wickedness vs weakness and the internal struggle of personal demons and depression. Taken out of context from the album, it's a goofy banger with Kendrick taking potshots at anything and everything he can. That's probably its biggest flaw. It works better within the context of the album, and people who don't listen to the album don't get what it's really about.
Of course, the song is heavily censored on this compilation. Normally I'd dock points, but in this case, the replacement lines and sounds just help add to the goofiness of hearing this song as a standalone track. And he manages to stay modest about it all the way through.
Ain't nobody prayin' for me...

Track Fourteen:
Congratulations (feat. Quavo)
Post Malone
Rating: 4/5
Normally I'd be turned off of something like this, as trap and I don't get along well in most circumstances. But this song is saved by the one thing I'm a sucker for: atmosphere. As great as the placates Post is rapping about are, the haunting atmosphere looming over the track seems to suggest that he knows his time in the spotlight won't last for long. He's grateful because he has to be. Granted, it could be me just reading into it all way too deep, but that's the power atmosphere has over a track. Such a simple thing most people take for granted, if they even try to implement it at all. Points docked for another Quavo feature, because nobody was ever asking for another Quavo feature.

Track Fifteen
Heavy (feat. Kiiara)
Linkin Park
Rating: 2/5
Phew. This one definitely took a whole new light after the recent suicide of Chester Bennington. The lyrics originally felt like generic emotional dirge, I never bothered to take them seriously and I don't think anyone actually did. But straight from the opening line, we should've been paying attention: "I don't like my mind right now." It's a shame the song is so generic and uninteresting from a production standpoint, because I feel like an absolute prick for giving this a lower rating. Your message can be powerful and strong and I can feel it, but if the way you carry your message is done so weakly then how do you expect anyone to take it seriously? The group shot themselves in the foot by releasing this album the way they did. Because things were getting heavy, and nobody wanted to take it seriously.

Track Sixteen:
Miley Cyrus
Rating: 4.5/5
Miley went from edgy dope smoking heathen to chill hippy chick in T-5 seconds. Normally that kind of whiplash would cause internal decapitation. I'm glad she's gone back to being grounded in reality, especially when it gives tracks like this. No more wild party antics, no more crazy nights. Miley just wants someone to be next to, in Malibu, where the skies are blue. It's honestly a surprising change of pace, in case I didn't hammer that in enough. It's soft rock, almost country tinged, and it's so unlike anything else being pushed to radio right now. Everything is set to a nice and mellow volume, and the track benefits from its subtlety (at least in the instrumentation department). Much better than the track that she followed this up with, which I already forgot the name of and probably for good reason. I hope this pattern is kept up and that it's not a fluke to trap people into Dead Petz Vol. 2: Why They Put The Dick In Tha Pussy?

---NOW What's Next---
aka, the tracks you didn't ask to pay for
aka, the tracks i'll be speaking about the least

Track Seventeen:
Wander In Lust
The Foxies
Rating: 5/5
What a wild track to include, considering how little it sounds like anything else on this thing. Random fast-paced synthrock placed right after what's predominately slow pop. I'll take it.

Track Eighteen:
Keep My Head Afloat
Jeremy Zucker
Rating: 3.5/5
I don't know what to make of this one. Parts of it I like, but other parts just have me scratching my head in confusion. It's almost like nobody knew what to do and just threw whatever they had at the wall to see if it sticks.

Track Nineteen:
Quinn XCII
Rating: 1.5/5
I don't care for fratboy reggae, and this song lasts a minute longer than necessary. Everything sounds like it was done on a Casio keyboard they got from a thrift store for $20, and it sounds like a waste of my time.

Track Twenty:
Hold On
Chord Overstreet
Rating: 1.5/5
If I wanted to listen to Unsteady, I'll just listen to Unsteady. Not this Xanax expy nothing of a track.

Track Twenty-One:
Can You Touch
Elley Duhé
Rating: 0.5/5

Track Twenty-Two:
Hit Parade
Rating: 5/5
Oh, hello prog rock influenced post-rock. Wasn't expecting to see you here. Please never leave me.

Overall, I give this release a 3/5. Some solid material, but more than enough mediocre or less to set me off. Normally NOW is better than this at selecting tracks, especially the NOW What's Next tracks (seriously, what the hell is up with half of those tracks?), but I guess since there's not much really going on in the pop world that wasn't still relevant when 62 dropped, there's not much you can really do in this scenario. I would recommend a listen, but feel free to skip around. As for purchasing? If you're collecting, go for it. If you're a casual listener, I wouldn't strongly recommend it, but I wouldn't dissuade you from it.

Transmission complete. Don't be a stranger. -Sig

Post #65 · Posted at 2018-04-15 11:48:08pm 1.3 weeks ago

Offline YuiAndAsseylum
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"Girls Dead Monster"

Last updated: 2018-04-15 11:48pm
I Got News 4 U
December 2004 has released this song Ronald Rocks Out from Ronald McDonalds for The McDonalds Commercial, That would also be in Stepmania.

The girly destruction from Aniplex together for Stepmania.

Post #66 · Posted at 2018-04-15 11:59:19pm 1.3 weeks ago

Post #67 · Posted at 2018-04-16 12:02:11am 1.3 weeks ago

Offline DDR Addict
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"Expected PureBlue?"
This is not what the thread is for in the slightest, I kindly ask that you edit out your post to be respectful.

I’ve been using Rate Your Music lately and keeping notes on Discord, hence why this thread has fallen a bit to the wayside. Once I get back home tonight, I’ll expand a few of my album reviews into the text format I used to, probably the MLP Movie and Black Panther ones since those are fresh in my mind.

Post #68 · Posted at 2018-04-16 12:03:17am 1.3 weeks ago

Offline Quickman
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"yes, the whole earth."
Man I gotta review something again
Quote: Fresca
the idea of golf is to not score on things
something most ddr players are good at

Post #69 · Posted at 2018-04-16 12:08:16am 1.3 weeks ago

Offline Fresca
Fresca Avatar Member
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Xbox Gamer Tag: Jonbuddy1Steam: clubman8Origin: IjustwantsimcityGame Center Nickname: Jonbuddy1
I need to review something. I've lots of thoughts on fairly obscure albums in my possession.

Post #70 · Posted at 2018-04-16 12:08:52am 1.3 weeks ago

Offline midnightclubx
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Last updated: 2018-04-16 12:09am
Same. I'm actually supposed to recieve a pretty rare CD this week!

Here's a hint:

Post #71 · Posted at 2018-04-16 03:43:06am 1.3 weeks ago

Offline DDR Addict
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"Expected PureBlue?"
My Little Pony (Movie Soundtrack) / Various Artists

Coming to the series as a fan, I knew this album would at least satisfy me with the composer and singers from the show I had come to love, but initially I doubted such an OST would be of much use to anyone outside of the community. However, it was later announced that this soundtrack album would be a combo-style release, including both showtunes featured in the movie itself and original pop songs inspired by the series as a whole. I knew this had officially entered my court for a proper review, and I'm proud to say that this is indeed a solid release that, to pardon the cliche, has quite a bit for everyone.

With the exception of the opening cover of We Got the Beat performed by Rachel Platten, the album has all of songs featured in the movie in sequence, including the credits song Off to See the World by Lukas Graham, featured in trailers (along with We Got the Beat) and as a single along with Sia's Rainbow. Benefitting from the full orchestra the budget of the movie was able to provide, Daniel Ingram upped his game considerably, providing rich hooks with bombastic flair along with enough emphasis on instrumental elements to highlight the characters so as not to seem generic, especially exemplified by the first track, We Got This Together. I'm the Friend You Need brings in some tango to fit both the charm and sleaze of the situation, Time to Be Awesome has a rustic and airy vibe that heightens the sense of comradery and liberation at hand, One Small Thing has quite the bubbly arrangement that just makes you want to bust out some '20s moves, and Open Up Your Eyes breaks out the low horns and woodwinds to cement the menace and bleakness of the scenario. The vocal performances are solid all around: the new performers (Taye Diggs as Capper, Kristen Chenoweth as Skystar, and Emily Blunt as Tempest) are veterans of musicals with one exception (Zoe Saldana as Calaeno), and they all really get into their roles for their songs, lending their skills without sounding like "hey, we got famous person to do some verses!".

No, that happens instead with Sia, unfortunately, who contributed the pop song "Rainbow", which makes a diegetic appearance as the finale song through her character Songbird. While it's a decent track on its own, it's not one of Sia's strongest, with some neat swoons and metaphors but ultimately not enough in the way of content to not just feel like part of a routine process she's been going through. That she's been in a lot of soundtracks lately may be a sign that it's just overexposure, but then again, the production itself is so flagrantly modern that it kinda clashes with the rest of the movie's musical tone (which pull from the early 20th century at the latest). Fans of the show may point to The Spectacle and other such songs as signs that it fits in-universe, but I'd argue that consistency in a project is more important.

In any case, it leads as a good gateway to the pop side of the album, which is admittedly a mixed bag, but one that tips pretty heavily on the positive side. One concession that each song gets going in is that, since it's for a family movie soundtrack, nothing can push the envelope too hard. You'd think this would make the contributions from DNCE (whose most popular hit was all about oral sex), CL (2NE1's gangsta chick), and Palmer Reed (a SoundCloud rapper) quite crippled. However, this actually works out to the benefit of the album, as DNCE deliver a track that could probably pass for one of their radio singles (with a slick beat, a horn drop, and an enthusiastic vocal performance), CL goes full-on pop with a total jamb, and Palmer Reed proves his versatility with a melody on a decent pop-rock groove. Lukas Graham finally get a chance to shine after their radio singles 7 Years and Mama Said soured them as preening egotists, and country-rock singer Lukas Nelson delivers a poignant little ballad that serves as a nice winding down for the album. The weakest tracks on display here are Rachel Platten's take on Golden Girls intro Thank You for Being a Friend, which tries so hard to be relevantly modern that it backfires badly (though it remains a guilty pleasure for me), and Jessie James Decker, who just delivers a pretty milquetoast pop ballad. Still, the tracklist helps mitigate this issue, as the tracks are sandwiched between bops and the album ends off with the one-two-three punch of CL, Palmer, and Lukas Nelson.

Overall, while this is far from a perfect album, I still say it's one that you may want to give a spin to. The showtunes are top-notch for any musical theatre fans out there (and bronies will love them in particular, what with such decisions as giving Ashleigh Ball a song, a rare occurrence in the show's run), and the pop tunes are for the most part solid and will likely have something for you even if you're no brony (with the exception of "Neighsayer", I mean, look at the title, the songs are written universally enough that the only thing that'll force a pony connection is the album tag).

Rating (for non-fans): ★★★★☆
Rating (for fans): ★★★★★★★★★☆

I could've sworn there was a half-star unicode...

Post #72 · Posted at 2018-04-17 06:58:19am 1.1 weeks ago

Offline midnightclubx
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Last updated: 2018-04-17 07:05am
Para Para Hi-BPM Eurobeat Vol. 3 - Various Artists

Just as I was announcing I would review PPH-BPME Vol. 2 (the full title is not fun to type every time. XD), I somehow found a rip of Vol. 3 online from an old forum thread that had a 4 year old Mediafire link, and guess what? IT STILL WORKS. I think it's against the rules to directly link it on this forum, but I will tell you this: if you google Vol.3, you'll find it if you know where to look. ;)

With that out of the way, you might be wondering, "WTF if Para Para Hi-BPM Eurobeat, and how come I've never heard of it before?!" and you would be right to ask that question; when you think of the word "Eurobeat", 98% of you are going to think, either "Initial D" or the "Super Eurobeat" series from which the anime gets its music from.

However, if you venture outside of SEB/Maharaja Night Hi-NRG Revolution/ [Insert Avex-produced Eurobeat series here], you'll find some pretty good compilations if you look hard enough, like the That's Eurobeat series (and it's sadly-short-lived successor, That's Eurobeat NOW!), but we obviously aren't going to to talk about that.... at least not yet.

Let's cut to the chase: PPH-BPME is a series that was made by King Records, one of the bigger Japanese record labels not named Avex, and definitely one of the older ones (their releases go all the way back to not long after World War II!). This series was pretty much made to cash in on the Para Para craze that was going on in the early-mid 90's, and Vol.1 was 90% covers of songs from the Super Eurobeat series and/or it's spinoffs. However, starting with Vol. 2, they started putting emphasis on making original Eurobeat songs, and this album that I'm reviewing is the first one to be 100% original songs!

In a similar fashion to That's Eurobeat NOW!/Digibeat's Euro albums, the songs are produced by Japanese people with American (or in this case, maybe Australian?) singers instead of it being made by Italians, but what sets this series apart is that all of the singers are completely anonymous! So much so, when you look on the Discogs page for the series, the artist names are either blank, or go by the name T.I.M, who are the producers of the albums. For this review (and any of the other albums I may cover in the future) I will list the artists as the producers of the songs, but I will give the mystery singers nicknames. ;)

T.I.M. - Sumo King

The main synth is pretty dang brassy, with hints of Japanese sound effects throughout the song. The vocalist (whom I'm naming the "Abra Kadabra singer" after his debut song from Vol. 2) is kinda quiet, so it's real easy to not really pay attention to the lyrics outside of the chorus. It's got a pretty good melody to it, but again, the vocals are forgettable for the most part.

Xailu-J & Maestro - Touch Me With Your Power
Can I just say the backing vocalists irritate the crap out of me? Especially when they sing the title of the song; they sound like if Jar Jar decided to make a choir of his own kind and was singing Christmas carols on your doorstep, and they won't leave until you give them money for the orphanage. The main vocalist (the same lady who sings "Fire of Love/Touch Me Honey" in Vol. 2) thankfully saves this song from being annoying. The melody's pretty nice, it kinda reminds me of Edo's Born to be Wild from SEB 45. It's not a bad song! I'd listen to this more than Sumo King, to be honest.

Dionisius & Tattalia - Super Lover
The Abra Kadabra singer's back, and you can actually hear what he's singing this time! The intro's pretty hype, and the main melody's a tad bit slow compared to the other two songs, but it's got a nice dreamy sound to it. The vocals compliment the melody very nicely when it reaches the chorus, though the lyrics are pretty... meh. Then again, this guy doesn't have a lot of vocal range, so that doesn't really help his case.

Spazio & Xailu-J - Sexy War
Ms. Touch Me Honey makes a return, and compliments the catchy melody pretty well, even if the mixing favors the music more than the vocals more. It sorta reminds me of King & Queen's "Para Para" if it was played slightly slower, which is personally a compliment, because I really like that song as well! At around 3:30, we can start hearing the vocals a bit better, and dang, this I wish we could've heard more from her, and had worked with other Eurobeat producers! Definitely one of my favorites in this album.

Dionisius & Spazio - Bodies Talking

The main melody sounds pretty different; sounds like something you'd hear from a Windows 3.1 freeware game. Also, Mr. Abra Kadabra actually sounds like he deserves to be in this album with this song! Where the hell was that vocal performance in the earlier tracks?! This is one of those rare songs where the vocals actually sound better than the music itself. Not that I hate the music, but it feels like it's missing an extra instrument/drum.

T.I.M. (Tattalia & Xailu-J) - Doctor Doctor
Before you guys worry, no, this isn't a cover of the Lisa Johnson song. We're completely done with covers in this album and Vol. 4, anyways, Ms. Fire of Love puts on a pretty good performance, and the main melody's not that bad! For some reason, she reminds me of Paula Terry if she didn't hide her Australian accent as well (to be fair, we don't know for sure if Ms. Fire of Love's from Australia, but she doesn't really sound 100% American either), but you only notice that when she says certain words funny. Otherwise, it's a pretty good song, overall.

T.I.M. (Dino, Dionisius, & Maestro) - Gun2 Fire
I can't tell if I like the melody of find it really cheesy; either way, it sounds like it belongs in a Sega arcade game from the time (specifically, Rail Chase 2:
Anyways, Mr. Abra Kadabra sounds fine in this song, but not at the amazing levels he showed off with Bodies Talking. Not a bad song, though it does kinda trigger me that they didn't play it straight and just call it "Gun Gun Fire" like the lyrics. The backing vocals sound pretty good, though you can't exactly hear them well until the breakdown. But yeah, this song gives me the urge to crank out me Model2 emulator and play some Rail Chase 2. XD

T.I.M. (Maestro & Xailu-J) -Love & Dance

Sorry, I have to chuckle every time I hear that in the song, which is only like 3 times. They added this echo effect to Ms. Fire of Love's' vocals on top of there being backing vocals. Normally, this would spell disaster on a Eurobeat track, but it actually compliments the cheesy-in-a-good-way music. I also find it cute she says "Para Para" the way I've read that word for years (Pair-a Pair-a). The build-up/breakdown melody that pairs the "DO IT, BABY!" sample sounds pretty baller, having this hint-of-techno synth to it. It's a pretty silly song, and I like it because of it!

Dionisius & Spazio - Wolf Man

Mr. Abra Kadabra is sorta back to not having much vocal range, but luckily for him, the melody complements it better. The melody kinda reminds me of Love Is Danger and Seventies, if it had lyrics about being a werewolf instead of having fun at a disco. Not a bad song, but I can't really say I have anything else to comment about it outside of the weird timing of the wolf howl samples at the beginning of the song.

T.I.M. (Spazio & Xailu-J ) - Time Machine
I like the melody, even though there's not much of a variety to it. The vocalist for this song stumps me; she sounds a bit different compared to Ms. Fire of Love, but the lyrics unintentionally creepy ("I'll go to see you as a 16 year old high school boy/ look at me, you are still gonna be in love with me" ). Soo is this a song for cougars? Joking aside, this song borders on being forgettable because there's not a lot of variety to the music itself. The vocals sound alright, but eh. Not the best song to end your album with.

Afterwards is a "mega-mix" which putting the term pretty damn loosely. All it is, is the first verse of every song, in the same order as in the album, with no effort to make it sound interesting; no pitch or speed changes. You're better off doing the SEB-style megamix of this album yourself.

Not a bad album; there's some good tracks mixed in, even though about three or four of them really stand out. I'd still recommend finding it if you can, just don't get it on Discogs; some chucklehead wants $122 before shipping when you can just get it on Amazon.co.jp for far cheaper. But still, there's not a lot of copies for sale, and even finding this album online was a rarity!

Hopefully, I'll get to review Vol. 2 and 4 later!

Para Para Hi-BPM Eurobeat Vol. 2 - Various Artists

I finally got my hands on the elusive PPH-BPME Volume 2 today (or yesterday, by the time you're reading this)! I spent about $20 on Discogs for this album (it was about $8, then $12 for shipping), and I've been wanting this album for about a year because it has some really awesome original songs, which I will mention later. I've already talked about the "history" of the PPH-BPME series, so I guess I will begin with how I knew about the existence of this scarce series.

So, around late 2016 or early 2017, I was browsing around Youtube for Eurobeat songs, and the suggestions tab showed this video among the pile:

It was a fan-made megamix of the series. I gave it a listen, and I though "wow, some of these songs are absolutely amazing! Why the heck have I never heard of these before?!" Unfortunately, I couldn't just go online (not even through a random torrent site) to find the albums, especially because the title of the series itself is a special kind of Google Hell to go through. When I did find pages that had the albums, they were merely Japanese pages that had the track info on them. I generally buy the CD from Discogs as a last resort if I can't find a good quality version of the songs online, but on the other hand, I have a pretty sizable collection of German Hard Trance maxi-CDs from the 90's because of it!

Long story short, most of the sellers on Discogs wanted either too much money on a "acceptable" condition CD (especially Vol. 3), or it was cheap, but would take over a month to ship from wherever. I found a happy middle with this seller from Japan, and it only took a week for them to ship it out of Japan, and another for it to arrive in SoCal.

But enough about my first-world scavenging problems, we're here to talk about the first album in the series that started to concentrate on original Eurobeat songs, and oh boy, did they have some good ones in Vol. 2!

NOTE: Just like with Vol. 3, I will list the producers as the artists and give the vocalists nicknames because there are no artist listings on the album.

Tattalia & Xailu-J -Abrakadabra

UUUUUUUUUUUGH... This song is so damn corny. XD
The instrumental track is not too bad, but then you hear the vocalist, Mr. Abrakadabra, who doesn't sound like he's giving much effort with his songs, and the lyrics are so damn awkward, it borders on being cringe. Points for the subject matter being about the Arabian Nights folklore, but the wording is so bad. Maybe if there was a different vocalist who sang the song??? Too bad there isn't an instrumental version of this song, because like I said, it's not that bad if you ignore the vocals!

Kiki & Maestro - Touch Me Honey

Now THIS , is what I'm talking about! Really epic buildup, and then you hear that amazing synth with a very catchy melody, and then you hear that beautiful vocalist (Ms. Touch Me Honey) singing tounge-in-cheek suggestive lyrics; something you might've heard in a Virginelle song at the time, but with more comprehensible English. The chorus is very catchy, and the overall structure of the song doesn't lose it's loud presence, even during the breakdown! Easily one of the best songs in the series!!

By the way, the"official" Para Para routine's pretty damn funny:

Gonna go out on a limb and say the guys who danced this didn't do the "boob grab". I'd just put the hands on the hips and sway to the left on the first part of the chorus, and then the opposite at the 2nd part. ;P ANYWAYS....

Spazio & Xailu-J - 1999
Cheesy intro aside, the main melody's not too bad! Ms. Touch Me Honey's vocals are a little bit on the quiet side, up until the chorus. So, this might be about not being worried about the Y2K bug? I'm not sure. Either way, the lyrics aren't memorable like Touch Me Honey was. I think if the synth they used for the melody was a tad louder, it would be a bit more memorable? Either way, it's okay. It had big shoes to fill from the previous song, so what can you do?

President and First Lady* - Para Para

(* = completely anonymous artist. We don't even know the producers of these covers are other than who originally made the song.)

Get it? Cuz King & Queen made the original version, and a President and First Lady are the modern equivalent. :U
The synths used are okay, but for some reason, they slightly changed the notes of the original melody, so it sounds... off. The vocalist sounds fine, but she sounds weird only because we have an American singer singing semi-broken English lyrics written by Italians who don't naively speak the language. On the bright side, you can understand what they're saying a tad bit better!

The piano melody's a tad after the middle of the song's not bad, but doesn't have that "oomph" the original had, of course.

Spazio & Xailu-J - Back To Me
One of the slower songs in the album. The intro's (and main melody) is on the calm side. The vocalist is definitely a different person; she sounds Japanese, but doesn't sound too bad singing in English! Let's call her Ms. Ti Amore, after the much superior song she sings later in the album. This song sorta sounds like something you'd hear in SEB circa 1991 or 1992 as a filler track. It sounds fine, but there's nothing really memorable other than a brief part of the song here and there. Maybe if it had a loud piano to the track in a similar fashion to Virginelle's Lucky Lucky, it would sound a bit more distinct, but as it is, it's okay. I'd listen to this more than Abrakadabra, though. ;)

Roseanne Barr* - Super Sex Symbol
The instruments sound a tad bit too echoey, but whoever's the vocalist of this song (who isn't really Roseanne Barr, but it would be hilarious if it was!) sounds pretty good, even though she's a tad on the quiet side, yet you can hear her fine on the chorus! At least the melody hasn't been tampered with! Just wish they got a better synth for the main melody, because that was the main draw of the original song from Roxanne.

Spazio & Xailu-J - Ti Amore
Another great song! The intro's got another catchy build-up, then you have a distinct brass for the main melody which has variety! The vocals from Ms. Ti Amore are fantastic, as you can distinctly hear the catchy lyrics, and her vocal range perfectly compliments the instrumental track. If I were to listen to this album quickly, I would start with Touch Me Honey, then skip straight to Ti Amore every single time. It vaguely reminds me of a slightly slower "You Can Light My Fire", despite the fact this pre-dates that by about 4 years. Definitely an essential song if you're making a "Greatest Hits" playlist. And it's followed by the 2nd-best song of the entire album...

Maestro & Xailu-J - Fire Of Love

Ms. Touch Me Honey is back and she's not screwing around! The intro's not half-bad, but then you get to the main melody where it sounds a lot like something Time Records would've made at the time! They couldn't have picked a better singer for this type of track, and she absolutely nails it; very memorable lyrics that have silky smooth timing. This song is as intense as the title suggests, and god damn, this would've been the perfect lead-out track for the album, but alas, we have to sit through one more SEB cover. Also, that breakdown with the constant "I I-I, I" that goes back to the first verse is so damn supreme!

Speaking of Supreme (pizza)...

Papa John* - Tora Tora Tora

Just like with the other SEB covers, this sounds a tad off, but at least the synths sound pretty close to the original by comparison! The vocalist sounds pretty good, though because this is an American singer reading broken English written by Italians, it sounds off. But hey, at least we now know that one line in the chorus is "Tora Tora Tora, It's like a thunder" instead of "Tora Tora Tora It's like a panda" like how Domino sings it in the original. Not much else to say. On the bright side, Vol. 3 and 4 completely do away with the covers, though we sadly don't hear this vocalist ever again.

Dionisius & Maestro - Para Paradise

The main melody's not that bad! Wish that synth/sound effect towards of it was throughout the main melody; it worked with That's Eurobeat NOW!'s songs, so why not make it more catchy and memorable. Mr. Abrakadabra is completely forgettable aside from the verses, and the chorus is a joke (PARA PARA PARA! PARA PARA PARA!). What's with Japanese-produced Eurobeat songs that have horrible male vocalists while songs with female vocalists (i.e. Jennifer, Ms. Touch Me Honey, Debbie) sound perfect 9 times out of 10? Still, not a bad song, if only for the melody.

EVERY. ONE. - Para Para Exercise Nonstop Mix
Still just a compilation of the first verses with hardly any editing tricks that make it sound like a proper megamix; no crossfade, no speed or pitch changes, but there are awkward cuts from the melodies for some reason. Just like with Vol. 3, this has absolutely no purpose and no one will judge you for skipping it. Again, you're better off making your own SEB-style mix with these songs with VirtualDJ.

Overall, I slightly like this album better than Vol. 3, because of the three amazing songs (Touch Me Honey, Ti Amore, and Fire of Love) that stand out above the rest. Vol. 4 sounds like something I should get, because I like the snippets I've heard! For now, hope you folks enjoyed the first (and only) English-language reviews of these two albums!

Post #73 · Posted at 2018-04-17 11:05:38pm 1 week ago

Offline paperpeach
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"weenie hut general"
hey thanks for reviving this thread cause I thought about doing one of these like a year ago and just never got around to it but now that its back again it seems like fun so lets review the most important album from my childhood

Cartel – Chroma (2005)

As far as I recall I got my first iPod at the age of around 11, and it came preinstalled with some tracks that I guess my dad picked out when he gave it to me. It had your standard mid-2000’s preteen fare like Rhianna and Plain White T’s and Lady Gaga, but I mostly ignored the radio hits and focused my attention on the pop punk stuff. Prior to this my musical knowledge was largely limited to the SpongeBob SquarePants soundtrack and Radio Disney Jams Vol. 2, so discovering this new side of the medium was a major revelation to my child brain. I was particularly drawn to the three or four songs from this Cartel group I’d never heard of, but man did they sound heavenly to my virgin ears.
Over a decade later, I still like Cartel. I don’t know of anyone that recognizes them by name, and if I mention that they were the ones that did MTV’s Band in a Bubble TV show/publicity stunt I get a lot of confused looks. But I'm a firm believer in the power of nostalgia and the idea that you never really outgrow your childhood taste in music, and Cartel is just one of those groups that feels special to me. They're like my own little thing--not my absolute favorite band, and I'm sure I'm not their only fan, but this album in particular is a very personalized experience that I feel like has just always been a part of my life, for as long as I can remember.

But enough reminiscing; let's get into the actual music.

Track 1: Say Anything (Else)
The first thing you hear on this album is the sound of a record being placed on a turntable--a bit of a cliche framing device at this point, but hey, it's so popular because it works. It helps that we start with a lo-fi intro that smoothly transitions into crisp stereo sound; Will Pugh's vocals really help carry it through. The rest of the song is a great opener that gets you appropriately pumped to hear more.

Track 2: Honestly
This was the only single to be released from the album (I think it appeared on some karaoke video game somewhere), but it's probably my least favorite of the songs on the album's first half. It's probably the poppiest song on here, and that's not necessarily a bad thing; it just doesn't quite grab me the way some of the other songs do. If I'm being honest (wink), I'd probably hate it if I hadn't grown up listening to it hundreds of times.

Track 3: Runaway
I can't explain why I like this song; it's just good. If I had to say something it'd be that wailing guitar solo. That kicks ass.

Track 4: Matter of Time
I love the way this song shifts gears two-thirds of the way through. The first part is a mid-tempo jam with polished guitars and a meaty percussion track, but then once the title drops it picks up speed and intensity and doesn't let up until the end. It's a really cool experience, and to this day it's still one of my favorites.

Track 5: Burn This City
Every respectable pop punk artist needs at least one song glorifying teen rebellion, and Cartel is no exception. An anthemic chorus with lyrics about rejecting social norms and living on the edge, this song is a cornerstone that represents a thematic turning point in the album. In a word: it's RAW.

Track 6: Save Us
As far as emotional piano ballads go, this one's...decent. I appreciate what they were going for with the multiple key changes and orchestral bits, but it doesn't quite hit the mark. It feels a bit disjointed, like they couldn't decide whether they wanted to keep it simple or go all out, and as a result its lack of commitment to any one idea makes it a bit weaker than it could be. Still, my early preteen self thought this was one of the most beautiful things in the world, so take that for what you will.

Track 7: Luckie St.
Okay, this is the point of the album where my ears start to get tired. The next three songs are all fine to listen to on their own, but when they're part of a larger package they all end up blending together. I'm guessing they saved all their good stuff for the first half, and this is where the nearly-rejected B-sides went. That said, I like the relatively bright tone in the melody that contrasts some of the heavier stuff underneath.

Track 8: Settle Down
Despite what I said a minute ago, this one has a lot more personality than either of the ones sandwiching it. I think it barely beats Burn This City for punkiest song on the album; it's fast, aggressive, and very intense. Will's vocal delivery here is edgier than it ever gets on this record, and his energy is enough to make up for the otherwise questionable lyrics. That pseudo-scream into bass solo during the bridge gets me every damn time.

Track 9: If I Fail
This song is pretty forgettable. The lyrics are nice, but I couldn't sing them back to you if you asked. Let's just move on.

Track 10: The Minstrel's Prayer
If I had to choose between this song and Save Us, I'd pick this one several times over. Those booming war drums are absolutely ear-shattering, but it's Will's vocals that provide a beautiful contrast in tone throughout the piece. Lyrically, it's a song about songwriting, and that poetic harmony still makes me want to shed multiple tears. By the time the snares have ramped up the tension to its breaking point and everything cuts out but the acoustic guitar, I'm already reaching for the tissue box.

Track 11: Q
This track more or less exists as a transition between the previous song and the next. The accelerando at the end of Prayer that contains the opening riff to this track is really dramatic, though once we finally get into the big Question it's a bit bland. Still, it's important for setting up the melodic and lyrical motifs that get Answered in...

Track 12: A
This 9-minute behemoth of an outro does an excellent job of tying the album up into one huge bow, calling back to and referencing most of the earlier songs for the grand finale. The first few minutes are essentially a continuation of Q, but then the guitar begins an ostenato that becomes the foundation for the rest of the piece. As time passes, more electronic elements are brought in, from a shockingly good drum machine to some hilariously out of place AutoTune that actually kinda works somehow. Various elements from previous songs are brought back, namely the choruses of Burn This City and (an improved version of) Save Us, all coming and going and merging with one another like beads in a lava lamp. Things eventually cool down as we close on some playground ambiance(?) as the lo-fi piano ends with some fairly somber chords, and then the record stops. It's equal parts dreamy and experimental while serving as a perfect montage that allows the listener to reflect on the last 50 minutes of their life, wondering if they should go back and hit Play from the beginning again. (For me, that answer was usually "yes.")

And there you have it: one of the first pieces of "real music" I ever listened to, and the album that's a top contender for the most listened to over the course of my lifetime. There's a lot of creative ideas on this album, and even their least inspired tracks are still fun to listen to. It's a bit heavier on the pop side of pop punk, but if you've got a relative who's just a bit too young for Fall Out Boy, this is a great way to get them interested in the genre. (And as for everyone else, PLEASE give Minstrel's Prayer a listen. I promise you won't regret it.)

Post #74 · Posted at 2018-04-19 04:40:51pm 5.6 days ago

Offline Quickman
Quickman Avatar Member+
4,599 Posts
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"yes, the whole earth."

Last updated: 2018-04-19 04:44pm
I'm gonna try to do a bunch of album ratings frequently. Like, one per day. I'm not one for writing long paragraphs about why I like each song, so this suits me a little more.


Agenda Suicide - 9/10
Glass Danse - 6/10
Total Job - 7/10
Let the Poison Spill from Your Throat - 9/10
Your Retro Career Melted - 8/10
Posed to Death - 9.5/10
The Conductor - 8/10
Violent - 8.5/10
Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen - 8/10
(bonus tracks)
Take Me to the Hospital - 10/10
Dust - 9/10
Mote - 5/10

Overall rating: 8.5/10. Not a bad song on the list. Also, check out Danse Macabre Remixes. Some of them aren't very good, but Glass Danse's remix and the Calculator's remix of Posed to Death are fucking amazing.
Quote: Fresca
the idea of golf is to not score on things
something most ddr players are good at

Post #75 · Posted at 2018-04-19 04:47:11pm 5.6 days ago

Offline BemaniHyper
BemaniHyper Avatar Member+
1,365 Posts
United States
Reg. 2013-09-13
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"there are two colors in my head"

Last updated: 2018-04-19 04:47pm
going for this as well, i like doing this sort of thing

サカナクション - GO TO THE FUTURE (2007)

a great album - classic japanese styled rock mixed with electronic elements. one of my fav albums ever

三日月サンセット - 8/10
インナーワールド - 8/10
あめふら - 8/10
フクロウ - 9/10
開花 - 9/10
白波トップウォーター - 10/10
夜の東側 - 9/10
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