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wrist cutter

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Well, my favorite band, L'Arc~en~Ciel, just released a new album, SMILE, last Wednesday and it finally arrived at my house today. It's their first album in over 3 and a half years, so this is really significant for me. It's been a long wait. Anyway, I'd figure I'd share some of my favorite songs off of it. They're all encoded at a nice 160kbps... so you aren't going to get much better sound quality.

Here's a tracklisting. The links lead to the corresponding MP3s:

My personal favorite is track 09. Overall... if any other band had made this album, they'd be amazing. But I think this band has had much better albums and this one feels a little subpar in their line-up. But enough of what I think... try these songs out, and tell me what you think of them.
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[color=#707875]Well, I downloaded track 09. It took me about half an hour/fourty minutes, on my pathetic Internet connection. *quietly kicks it*

I've just listened to it.

I wouldn't say that I've heard a [i]lot [/i]of Japanese music. Generally speaking, my experience with this type of music is either from Japanese movies/anime (and their soundtracks), or a couple of artists that I know of outside anime (like Denki Groove or Towa Tei).

Before I say anything about the specific track, I think it's worth mentioning that in my experience with Japanese music...I've always felt that much of it sounded very similar. A lot of it has an "elevator music" type feel about it, in the sense that it's often very inoffensive. It's very "polite", so to speak. I often feel as though there's a great tune there, just [i]waiting [/i]to break out. But never quite does. Does that make sense?

With most of the music I listen to, I'm used to very expressive percussion and a really rich blend of instrumentation. I really like music that has a powerful rhythm and so on -- for me, it's a pretty necessary part of musical enjoyment.

This is the first time I've ever heard anything from L'Arc~en~Ciel, to my knowledge.

Generally, I found that this song reflected what I'd heard with other Japanese music in general. It was very soft, very polite, very reserved. During certain parts, it did have that elevator music vibe. But at the same time, there were quite a few parts (particularly the violin theme at the end -- I think it was violin, anyway), which had a very distinctive melody that I found quite appealing. The big problem for me was that again, it felt very reserved...it never really seemed to jump out at me and demand my attention.

I think this is partly due to the relative absence of percussion. And again, for me personally, it's an absence that really stood out.

Having said all of that, I think there were other things that might have affected my feelings on the song. First and foremost was the fact that I didn't understand the lyrics. And often, with songs that include lyrics, the specific words being spoken are part of the enjoyment (even if they don't tell a story or say anything particularly cohesive, does that makes sense?). So that may have been a factor.

Also, I didn't particularly like the singer's voice in general. It just didn't do anything for me.

So yeah, while there were elements that I disliked about it, as compared to what I normally listen to, I also feel that there was plenty to like about it. And I can see why you enjoy it, for sure.

I also thought that this topic deserved some comment, especially because you were kind enough to go to the trouble to provide samples for all of us. It was definitely worth sampling the music, and I might try some other tracks on here soon. ^_^[/color]
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Even L'Arc~en~Ciel fans are divided on "hitomi no juunin". Personally, I obviously really, really like it... but I know lots of people who are just like you and find the song boring, even fans of the band. So it probably wasn't the best song for you to try out if you're trying to get away from that "elevator music" type... because I think that's probably what a lot of people think of "hitomi no juunin".

As for the lyrics, I've translated them: [url=http://www.slownerveaction.org/lovestation/hitominojuunin.html]click here[/url].

If you ever wanted to try any of these other songs, I'd recommend "READY STEADY GO" I think. Rapid fire percussion on that one... though I dunno. I'm really bad at recommendations, I never know who will like what.

Oddly though, I think you're the only person who doesn't like the vocalist. I thought his singing in "hitomi no juunin" was superb, some of his best ever, and I've never really heard otherwise... oh well.

As a side note, I wrote a review of the album for my website today. If you'd like to read it, it's on my website [u][url=http://haruka.vze.com]LOVE STATION[/url][/u]. Just click on "CD Reviews" on the right, you'll find the link in there.
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[QUOTE=James][color=#707875]Also, I didn't particularly like the singer's voice in general. It just didn't do anything for me.

*dies* :wow: I won't go all crazy fangirl on you, haha, but I personally love Hyde's voice, and I think "Hitomi no Juunin" features his range perfectly. He has such an impressive falsetto that not a lot of singers have, which is why I admire him lots.

Overall, I think SMILE is great, but I do have my favorites among the ten tracks.

[b]Lover Boy[/b] - I'm still not sure what to feel about the lyrics, haha, but Ken does such an awesome job on this song, and he gets to showcase his talent when he gets this one solo part and goes all crazy with his guitar picking. I was completely amazed after hearing it.

[b]REVELATION[/b] - I love this song mainly because it makes me want to jump, haha. It's loud and noisy and especially repetitive, but I think it's great.

[b]Hitomi no Juunin[/b] - I mostly love it because of Hyde's range on this song. I feel he's incredibly powerful in it, and I just really love his voice. LOL ^_^

[b]Kuchizuke[/b] - I actually really like how this song is the first track, especially with that guitar riff at the beginning. It totally grabs me from the start...and I can't get over Hyde singing, "And you're burning with desire...give in to me." LOL.

[b]READY STEADY GO[/b] - Haha, when this came out, I was addicted to it right away, and I couldn't stop listening to it. This song really is awesome, and once again I second wrist cutter's recommondation: if Hitomi no Juunin was lacking percussion for you, then READY STEADY GO might be the way to go ^_^ It's incredibly fast-paced, and at first, it sounds a bit weird, but once you get into it...It's just awesome, haha.

One song that I don't really like on SMILE though is Eien. I just can't get into it...it's lacking something (or several things, haha) that I can't put my finger on, but meh. The song just isn't their best.

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