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Zeus

Monochrome Heaven's Little Shop of "Horrors" Trade-Off

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An accurate representation of what lurks in the depths of an average visual kei fans music library


You have them. I have them. Everyone probably does. The guilty pleasures you turn your Last.fm scrobbler off for. The songs that sound like they were recorded in a sewer. The music files you keep because of memories, or because it was hard to get, or because you just need to have a complete library of all your artists, even if you won't listen to the first few songs. The goal of this trade-off is to send your partner a list of the worst things you can find in your music library. The interpretation of "worst" is up to you.

 


Rules:

※ send a list of songs to your partner; minimum is ten songs, maximum is seventy minutes long
※ at least half the mix must consist of japanese artists but any other language is fine for the other half

※ a song can only be used once and only one song per artist
※ you must critique each song and give it a rating of one to five, or one to ten, whichever you prefer
※ critiques should be longer than one sentence; explain why you liked/disliked/don't care for about the song
※ participants who fail to submit a review by the deadline will not be allowed to participate in the next trade-off

※ users who give notice ahead of time that they will be late may be exempt. just don't be a ghost and you should be fine

 
partners will be revealed on tuesday, 2018/10/23
mixes should be sent to partners by monday, 2018/10/29
the deadline for reviews is friday, 2018/11/09

 

participants

 

Pairings:
@reminiscing2004 x @PIZAZ

@Komorebi x @ahnchc

@Zeus x @rekzer

@platy x @ghost

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I was sent an interesting mix by @reminiscing2004  that flowed really well. I can tell a lot of consideration went into this, so I'll try to respond in kind. Please excuse my lack of musical knowledge and as a result possibly faulty terminology. I'm skipping giving real ratings/reviews to songs that are under 20 seconds.

 

Spoiler

Perfect Imperfection

 

Atmos*note- やがて海へ出る / twinkle marine-bit
Drumming is off beat, vocals are strained, the recording is really cheap sounding... I could totally see myself drunk karaokeing this. It's a nostalgic song that's really sold on it's above average(for vk) guitar work and vulnerable vocals. I actually quite like this song, really nicely put together if you can get past the recording quality. I appreciate how restrained it feels and you still get those melancholic undertones that draw me to vk, this is a win for me.
4/5

 

Shawn Lane- Introduction(I Think You Know Why You're Here)
Deeply foreboding tbh

 

The Brave Little Abacus- El Capitano
The Mario sample was cute. Raw vocals, sounds like a teenager, but they're relatable. This sounds very much like it's from 2008, it hasn't aged all that well. I like it regardless. I'm especially fond of when the song breaks down and starts getting more chaotic, the vocalists screams work better for me than their clean vocals. Lyrics seem to reflect a conflict of identity, how one is perceived/how one sees themself, they're ambiguous and could be interpreted differently. I could see myself listening to this on occasion if I'm in a very specific mood.
3/5

 

Itoken- Open
squeak squeak squeak squeak squeaky squeak


Pere Infern- Sinterklaas
Ughhhhh, five seconds in and I can tell this is going to be a slog. Offensively cheap synth arrangements and christmas(???some sort of winter holiday???) lyrics are almost unbearable. An awful combo made worse by slurring vocals that don't even try to have any personality to them. Seriously... this is in english, my native language, and it's almost completely incomprehensible. I'm sure this is an ironic pick and enjoyed for all of the reasons I can't get into it, but that didn't make this any easier to listen to multiple times. Never again.
1/5

 

Noir fleurir- おもちゃのミーシャ
What a welcome change from the last song, I'm in love tbh. I'm familiar with the band, but only in name. I'd never checked out their music thoroughly before and now I'm kicking myself. That classic vk guitar mixed with repetitive vocals that get more strained/distorted as the song descends into playful madness is addicting. I've had it on repeat since first listen and am eager to explore Noir fleurir's discography. Thanks for introducing me!
5/5

 

Death★Rabbits- へぃぽーの逆襲
I remember this being one of the joke bands that got attention online back in the mid 2000's. Definitely had whatever was available to download from this band on my old, dead external hard drive, pretty sure it was just a couple of singles. I don't remember this song though. It's okay, pretty average for indie vk at the time. Sloppy playing across the board, no real hooks and nasally vocals probably kill this song for most people, but it's forgivable here and not without charm. Upon repeat listens I find I like how the vocalist is clearly into it, he sells the song even if his vocals need a lot of work. 
2/5

 

Viper- My Expeditions As A Baller
Yikes. My first listen was almost traumatic. I was relaxing Saturday night with a drink, feeling a nice buzz after a shitty week, and this comes on... It's got an almost catchy beat. Almost. It's cheap sounding, but I like trashy r&b... no, it's a fucking trap made to dull your senses and lure you into thinking this might be fun. Not even a clever trap, because as soon as the "rapping" starts you realize what's going on. Dude better be joking, his flow makes Gucci Mane sound like a meth addict. I could be generous and guess that whoever produced this was an amateur, maybe they didn't understand how to properly mix vocals and choose the right cuts, but nah, this is straight up meant to hurt people. A poor man's Rick Ross. A great song to put on if you want to make everyone look at their life and choices. Or clear a room.
1/5

 

ファジログ- そらうた。
I love Fuzzylog. Not even ironically, I genuinely enjoy most of the music they put out. The electroclash feel to to most of their output was really unique for vk. I have insomnia and I listened to their small discography multiple times while drunkenly exploring Shinjuku by myself late at night, so I have some really good memories associated with this band. The song itself isn't one of my favorites by Fuzzylog, but it shows some off some of their best qualities; sparse auto tuning/vocal distortion applied really elevate the vocalist, simple song structure that starts out chaotic eventually coming together into something catchy and a will to experiment. I'm glad to see someone else still remembers Fuzzylog.
5/5

 

Deltron 3030- The Fantabulous Rap Extravaganza
If it's anything like the previous rap offering, you can keep it

 

Zuppa di Pesce- Penne Bettola
This is a mood. Cheerful instruments played as if to evoke depression. The horns sound like they're going to just give up and go back home. Drums sound like they're just trying to match the tone and can't, so it's endless false starts. It's slightly unpleasant and discordant, but it communicated a feeling effectively. This isn't a bad song, there's just not much to say about it.
3/5

 

雛罠- 単純ランダムウォーク
I'm familiar with Hinawana. Ryohei pre-Ayabie is always rough, but this isn't too bad. It's mostly instrumental and doesn't really go anywhere too interesting. It's evocative of a Sega genesis game, almost like a lost Sonic the Hedgehog track with a kid humming along. This isn't something I'd spend more time with, even if I do love most Ryohei related music.
2/5

 

神聖かまってちゃん- 死にたい季節
Another band I've been aware of for quite awhile, but haven't given a really good listen to beyond some random tracks. Raw, childish vocals are an ongoing theme in this mix. I like the punk feeling of this song, conveys a youthful dissatisfaction with the world that puts me in a nostalgic mood. I could see this being off-putting to most people and understand it's placement on this playlist, I like it quite a bit though. The echoing effect applied to the vocals is really effective here, I feel like I'm in a garage seeing a local band of teenagers put on their first show.
4/5

 

코코어- 비 오는 밤
Slowing things down now. Vocals are mumbling and a little flat, but earnest. This is an inoffensive song that doesn't really stand out all that much. I can't say that I'm intrigued, but I'm also not totally turned off. Feels like hanging out in some stoner's apartment while they try and show off their grunge worship to a group of uninterested burners. I've heard it elsewhere a million times and done better. Pass.
2/5

 

しゃるろっと- 平和~ぴんふ~
Awwww, right in the feels lol. Charlotte was such a cool oshare band that tends to be remembered only for their vocalist passing. It's been a long time since I gave them a listen, highly recommended for anyone who likes 2000's oshare or the kote-osa that followed. This is a great track, one of those songs I can feel the furi. It starts off slowly and is obstructed by air raid sirens, setting a mood that creates a melancholic atmosphere. It's kind of a fake out though, as it leads into a pop-punk guitar riff and squeaky vocal sampling "peace peace". Quite an effective way of surprising the listener. Once the track starts in earnest it becomes an ear worm, effortlessly transitioning between moods, seven minutes feels like two and I'm fully invested. Another band I'm really glad to hear is remembered by someone else.
5/5

 

マルル- ネズの木漏れ楊
I remember this band and this song pretty well. It wasn't a favorite of mine back then, but it did get some regular play. It's nothing special, but it is a solid little song. Vocalist gives an honest attempt at singing with mixed results. I appreciate the clear enunciation, no slurring here. I don't appreciate the whiny tone he takes at times. Little details like the addition of acoustic guitar strumming are effective and give the song a fuller feeling. Chorus is easily the most memorable part and quite fun to hum along to.
3/5

 

I have a hurt- 12X
same

 

birth- 少女の結末
Strained vocals and poor recording quality are this songs biggest issues. They're easy to overlook personally, I'm into the restrained chaos this band is going for. The screams are underwhelming and don't add much, this could have been something I really got into if they had been more skillfully pulled off. Song feels oddly incomplete, like they just ended it abruptly instead of finding a proper place to ease off. Kind of kills what was being built up to. Still, I did enjoy this and repeat listening isn't grating or painful.
2.5/5

 

Dir en grey- GAUZE -mode of eve-
blorp

 

gauge means nothing- (surely) dyes black
Dual vocals that oscillate between childish and hardcore. You can hear exactly what they were going for, sometimes it works out. The clean male vocals are my biggest problem with this, they feel unnecessary and are unpleasant in a way I find hard to justify. Transitions need serious work too. A patchwork feeling(which may have been intentional) permeates this song, resulting in a disjointed feeling every time I start to warm up to what's being presented. There are some elements to this that I really like, the opening two or so minutes are the most successful, it's too bad that gets lost completely. Too many cooks in the kitchen, lacking focus and feels like it goes off on a tangent halfway, not great overall.
2/5

 

Overall-
I had a great time listening to this aptly titled mix. There were big highs and some absolutely awful lows, but it was never boring. It put me in a great mood seeing some underappreciated bands that I love here, it was a very pleasant surprise. Plus, I was introduced to a couple of artists that I get to go back and appreciate on my own time. Not too shabby for a mix of guilty pleasures.

 

 

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My partner for this trade-off was @rekzer and he sent me a mix titled "W.O.B." (Worst of the Best). Other than being a mix of songs I assume @rekzer doesn't really like, these are from artists that he really does like (or at least doesn't mind). For this review, I'm going to invert my ranking system. The worse the song is, the higher of the ranking I am going to give it, since the whole point of this trade-off was to show everyone the worst stuff you got. And let's just say @rekzer did a damn good job of making me cringe.

1. MUCC - Marry You    :_8/10_:

 

Full disclosure: I stopped listening to MUCC after Kyuutai. I know how divisive of an album Karma is, and that it was an experimental phase for them, and I also know which side of the divide I come down on. There's not much this band can do to win me back, and at first listen "Marry You" was vindication for me. The MUCC I fell in love with would never be caught dead inside a washing machine recording this song! I just don't like happy MUCC. A quick YouTube video led me to a video where apparently this was played while someone was proposing on stage in the middle of an MUCC concert - because that's the best place for proposals - which lifts this song out of the gutter into barely acceptable territories for me. It's barely B-side quality. That concert should be the last time they ever play it, to preserve sentimentality and my sanity.


冗談です..."Marry You" is just a really bland song with not much going on, sounding like the band came up with it over the course of a week, and the lyrics are probably the most important part of it and that flies right over my head. I get about as much excitement out of this as listening to a Mumford and Sons acoustic cover while stuck in traffic with a nosebleed. Which means, none at all. I could go the rest of my life without hearing this song and I wouldn't shed a single tear.


2. EAT YOU ALIVE - Boom slang  :_6/10_:

 

What the fuck is a Boom Slang anyway? This sounds like a word a Japanese person thought sounded cool and hip in English, or something I'd shoot in Borderlands 2. Vocalist has the most obnoxiously visual kei voice of all time, and whatever he's saying is looped and run through so many filters I can't even make out if it's Japanese or English. "Boom Slang" has moments where the song is legit good, but the obnoxious moments are sprinkled all over the track like Windex on a dirty window. I can't tell if this song wants to be visual kei rock or visual kei rap. As my first exposure to EAT YOU ALIVE...I'll give them a pass for this. Someone slip me a track that shows their strengths and I'll take a lighter and burn this song out of my brain.

 

3. DADAROMA - "The Kinky"  :_8/10_:

If I were to stop being facetious for a sentence or two, I remember reading posts here about some outrage over DADAROMA's newest LP, shortly before the departure of the drummer, and how they were "losing their touch" (to sum it up). I enjoy DADAROMA casually, in that I'll check out their music but I don't really care what happens to them. Some of their songs really grab me, and some of their songs have no effect on me. This is one of those songs that completely turn me off. Like completely. The chorus is the laziest thing I've heard in visual kei in 2018, and the song tries to sell itself too much on "the kinky sex". I don't want to think about kinky sex with someone who looks like Pennywise's cousin on stage. I stopped listening to Lycaon because at one point they were more interested in sex appeal and eroticism than making music that I liked. I thought "MASTURBATION" was bad, but at least that song had a killer groove and chorus. This one has no bite, no direction, and too many layered chanting vocals that try to make it catchy and just miss the mark. I think this band has potential, but I don't think they're ever going to realize it before burning out. Everything they record has a live house first appeal to it, as if these songs were only meant to be played live. This is one of those they could have just left as a live only treat for when Yoshiatsu feels extra horny. I don't ever need to hear it again.

4. Story of Hope - Vices   :_7/10_:

 

Story of Hope covers a Memphis May Fire for track four of this exposé into the dark corners of @rekzer's library, and the only thing I can think of is that the male vocalist needs lessons from daddy Kyo. He sounds like he's growling through cotton balls stuck in his throat, and he has too much voice time on this track. I couldn't even tell he was shouting in English until I listened to the original, and realized just how off the mark this cover really is. The female vocalist is unironically excellent, and her English isn't half bad either. She should have more than the chorus, but listening to the original I understand why the duties were split this way. Speaking of the rest of the music, I have no idea why they butchered half the song. The original song was already complex, and this sounds like "hey, let's make this even more heavy and djent-y and metalcore!" but they don't have the chops to get this heavy. I like the message of the song, but Story of Hope should have chosen something that would have played to their strengths.

5. lynch. - I DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM  :_3.5/10_:

 

Love them or hate them, lynch. has a distinct sound that creeps out the aux and worms its way into your ear like a persistent infection. I wasn't even paying attention to the mix by this point and I was able to tell this was lynch. the minute it started. This may be the only track on the mix that I actually enjoy, but I do have to admit that this was the weakest song on SHADOWS, the English both adds and takes away from the charm on the track, and it sounds way too much like "an illusion" all the way through. Tell me you don't hear the throwbacks on the guitar in the left channel and I'll tell you that you're deaf. There's no reason that this song has to be five minutes long. Probably the best song on the whole mix tbqh.

 

6. ONE OK ROCK - Listen (feat. Avril Lavigne)  :_6/10_:
 

I thought this was a joke. It is not. "Listen" sounds like some generic schlock I'd catch myself actively tuning out while I walk around the local mall cross faded, because you need to be fucked up on some sort of chemicals to willingly listen to this song. Avril Lavigne takes over most of the vocal duties on this track, to the point where I can barely consider this a ONE OK ROCK song. May as well flip around the description to say Avril Lavigne feat. ONE OK ROCK, because there's not even a hit of Japanese for the first two and a half minutes. And all I recall hearing was "listen listen...hitotsu dake". What a sell out. Are y'all really trying to make it in America with this type of shit ONE OK ROCK because 1: this is not OK ROCK and 2: rock is dead in mainstream American music, which is why one of the most prominent female rock artists had to collab with a Japanese band in order to get some actual airtime somewhere. Please stick to the core and riffs you are used to; this is almost as bad as the time Eminem released "Revival".
yes i know that the bassist married her sister but marriage doesn't justify this shit collab sry not sry

 

7. Dir en grey - Devote My Life  :_9/10_:

Remember when we thought that this song with this title would be an unlistenable pop affair? HAHA! Well those who did were half right, because this song is piercing and unpleasant as fuck. Yes, I'm completely aware that this was likely done on purpose, but enjoying it because it was intentional is like calling a fart a refreshing air fragrance because you know you had too many beans in your tacos. The intro starts off like I'm getting my hair cut by a barber with Parkinson's, and then the rest of the band rolls in like they're fucked up on bath salts. The song is structurally satisfying if I turn down the volume about 100% and pretend they are playing "Fukai" instead. And the original one, not the one from 2018 with the weird lyrics I haven't yet internalized. This song would likely sound better if it was played in reverse, kinda like "JEALOUS".

8. JILUKA - Monophobia :_5/10_:

 

This song is a glorious mess, everything a visual kei banger you never share with your friends should be. Intro starts out like an 80's pop song, cheap synth and all, before we jump into the vocalist screaming his throat raw. The song can't figure out whether it wants to be heavy or intricate, ends up somewhere in the middle, and then jumps back into the chorus thinking changing the genre every fifteen seconds will keep people impressed because "look at the diversity!". Maximum The Hormone tried this and failed bby. The step up at the end came fifteen seconds too early, and the song ends before I can decide if my brain needs bleach or not. I unironically like the chorus, but I could do without the "Monophobia" masking vocals lazily copy pasted over the chorus. I honestly could get into this song more if they dropped all the core parts and pretended this was a hard rock instead, because that's what this song wants to be.


9. sukekiyo - the daemon's cutlery :_9/10_:

Sounds like a cat meowing before the song's chorus gets into the worst rendition of "Aoi Tsuki" I've heard this side of the cutting board. Talk about bringing the quirks of MISSA into 2016, because this is pretty much what I think Dir en grey would give us if we asked for a modern reinterpretation of their first EP. I tried listening to every song twice or three times because I wanted to actually give a fair criticism of everything on here, but this track was one and done. I refuse to actually listen to this again. The best part was the end after the freak out, because then everything winds down and the song actually gets good at conjuring atmosphere. No one has ever argued this point in the amount of times I've spent scouring the web reading visual kei related posts, but "the daemon's cutlery" is the perfect example of why the eccentricity of the movement in the 90's with the heaviness of modern metal don't always mix. It just sounds fucking awkward as shit.

10. Puya - Montate  :_4/10_:

The best way to describe this song is "salsa metal", and I think I actually like it for what it is! It's a total mess, but it's a mess in all the right ways. It starts with some dissonant guitar chords, jumps into some turbulent metal that could snap your neck if you head bang too hard, and then completely segues into a salsa section for the chorus that I can totally drink a Corona to. The song would be legit good if they could work some more metal into the chorus, and some more Latin influences into the core section, which would result in something that doesn't sound like two songs pasted together in Sound Forge. The solo has a bit of this that I describe, but it quickly changes direction before it reaches a real climax, and the song doesn't even end properly. Good ideas, bad execution, and I think that is why @rekzer put it here.

11. Sadie - HOWLING   :_9/10_:

I know it's popular to hate on Sadie, but this song is legit awful and anyone who bought this single because they liked the preview should crack the CD in two and turn in their visual kei fan pass. Near the end of this band's lifespan, I got the feeling (more than any other band ever) that they had literally no inspiration and no idea what kind of music they actually liked making, as if they spent the majority of their career aping Dir en grey...because they did. They went from faux-progressive DUM SPIRO SPERO redux Madrigal de Maria to a song that sounds like a B-side for BORN's "Psycho Diva" single. And they still had the nerve to combine copious amount of rave synth Black Gene for the Next Scene wouldn't touch with a very misplaced break down into solo into heavy riff schtick! Who let this band release a song like this in this state? You should be fired. Who composed this? You should be fired too. I've never been happier that Sadie disbanded, because songs like this only shit on whatever legacy they had left in my book. Can we all universally pretend that they ended after Master of Romance?

12. DELUHI - Departure   :_9/10_:

 

Okay @rekzer this is just dirty, because I remember when DELUHI released this last single before calling it quits. I remember listening to it once and considering it total garbage, and never listened to it again. I remember my reaction being so visceral that I actually deleted this song off my hard drive, and I don't delete music at all. Listening to this song with a fresh perspective ten years later makes current me want to go back in time to my younger self and commend myself for my good life choices. This is like a preview for the ill-fated solo careers that Juri and Sujk would eventually involve themselves in. I know DELUHI had some stinkers, but I can't believe that they put this together and released it and thought it would actually work as a single. The solo in the middle of the song tries its hardest to redeem the direction of the track, but that's hard when the rest of the song insists on integrating pop hooks, auto tune, and synths at every possible turn. Whenever the three remaining members pull their heads out of their asses and realize that Aggy wasn't all that important and that anyone can really play the bass because he doesn't do anything notable in every DELUHI song and reform the band, let's put out a proper full album without this song. Let's also implicitly agree to never play it live and to purge it from every online distributor and the discography on the official home page.

Repeat after me guys: the last song DELUHI ever published was "The farthest".

+++

Post-review thoughts: If this mixtape was supposed to reveal skeletons in our closet, then both @rekzer and I have a graveyard of bones that we need to clean out. I was presented a very challenging mix and I can understand why every single song is here. Even within these songs, there are still some good ideas and good tunes that I could find myself enjoying if I were stuck on an island with an iPod that would never die and just these twelve songs to keep me company. Thanks for the mix bro, and I hope mine didn't turn you deaf. :3

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Damn @Zeus you nailed what i was thinking with providing those songs. I mainly had to shift focus to this simpler mix as my computer is still in one of the hundreds of boxes that i have still yet to unpack so all i had to work with was the music on my phone which is clearly bands i like.

 

Anyways on to your mix...this was something special...this was honestly the hardest review I've ever written. Just like you i will invert the scores.

 

Spoiler

DA BADS:

1. Crimson Shiva - FREAKS    :_3/10_:

This song starts out rather well but the chorus gets so repetitive for such a short song. I’ve never listened to this band before and I can dig the clean vocals here and the growls kinda remind me a bit of old school D’espairsRay. I might try to listen more from these guys in the future if I’m ever bored enough.  

 

2. brodiaea - SUICIDE HEAVEN   :_8/10_:

This is where the ear rape starts. There are so many things wrong with this song. The recording sounds like it was made using an old phone. The vocals…uff….jesus fucking christ….they’re painful, like this is one of those guys that one day went to try drunk karaoke and he was cheered by other drunk idiots so he thought it’s a good idea to start a band. You can classify them as those crappy vk vocals that are so bad that you can listen to but when he “growls” jesus….   

 

3. NoGoD - 宗教音楽    :_10/10_:

Ok I’ll be honest on this, I really hate NoGod. I have never find any song of theirs enjoyable and just thought of them as another VK band that has talent but will never really stand out. This song throws everything I just said about them having talent and throws it out the window. It’s a very lazy typical 2 min vk song that they could extend it to a very boring 30 mins during lives. 

 

4. Ha;qch. - CRime SONG  :_8/10_:

Boy this song really is a crime. Ignoring the crappy phone recording, the instruments are all over the place and who the hell let this guy sing? I can feel my eardrums cursing at me at this point. Do every old school vk song from the late 90s sound like this?  

 

 

5. Navir-ナヴィア- - ripper 【Z】 parade  :_6/10_:

Finally, some better recording quality so that my ears can take a break. Honestly this song is not that bad. Again, with those crappy vocals that you can enjoy but never admit. The chorus made me cringe a bit and the song could’ve been 2 mins shorter.  

 

6. MIYAVI - ♪の手紙"ONPU-NO-TEGAMI"  :_10/10_:

Wow… I am really impressed with this song. I’ve never listened to Miyavi before but I always assumed he was a talented guy as I see people get excited when he releases stuff. But damn this song is horrible. There is zero talent on display here, the vocals don’t go well with the backing track at all and then suddenly there is a unnecessary heavy part towards the end of the song. And those “screams?” in the background just sound like somebody is gasping for air as they die.  

 

7. THE PIASS - OVER AGAIN :_7/10_:

A happy poppy song to try to get me out of this depression caused by listening to this mix. I can say that it fails miserably in trying to cheer me up with its happy go lucky tunes. I feel like I’ve heard a thousand different versions of this song.  

 

 

8. Stygian Riverside - Sadistic Scarlet Sister<BR>   :_10/10_::_10/10_:

The second this song starts to play I want to hit back and listen to the happy song again. What is even going on here? Who thought this was a good idea? Who told this guy he could sing? The band is just as band. Random synths all over the place. I think this is the worst song from this mix and I couldn’t to finish it. I’m sorry I couldn’t listen to 5 minutes of this.  20/10

 

9. Since1889 - ESCARGOT  :_5/10_:

Those are some rough vocals. Makes me wonder if his throat is ok as he sounds like he is singing with a sore throat or something. The first half of the song is not bad but the second half feels like it doesn’t belong there. Random synths, he tries to do clean vocals bot his raped throat is clearly not letting him so he sounds out of breath.  

 

10. BLANKFIELD - The library in the dusk   :_9/10_:

This is tied with track number 8 on the worst things on this list (vocal wise). Musically is pretty banging but then that barking chihuahua comes in and ruins it. And oh boy the cringe when the female vocals come in. Its saving grace is that I found the music itself pretty good plus its short so it wasn’t as painful to listen to.  

11. Sadie - BLACK STARS  :_10/10_:

SHANANANANANA NO!  

 

12. Jeniva - 鳴き雪  :_5/10_:

Are synths mandatory to make a bad song? Who hurt this guy? Is he crying? Is he happy? I can’t tell. I think this song would be a lot better with a better recording/production and less synths. So I did enjoy this more than I care to admit and it worked perfectly as an ender to this painful mix. 

 

Honestly this felt like a chore to listen to, a very painful chore that you hate doing but know that it needs to be done. So thank you @Zeus, your mix perfectly described the true meaning behind this trade off and I am already looking forward to the next one. 

 

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6 hours ago, rekzer said:

4. Ha;qch. - CRime SONG  :_8/10_:

Boy this song really is a crime. Ignoring the crappy phone recording, the instruments are all over the place and who the hell let this guy sing? I can feel my eardrums cursing at me at this point. Do every old school vk song from the late 90s sound like this?  

This one is from 2008 🤣 🤣 🤣

 

6 hours ago, rekzer said:

The second this song starts to play I want to hit back and listen to the happy song again. What is even going on here? Who thought this was a good idea? Who told this guy he could sing? The band is just as band. Random synths all over the place. I think this is the worst song from this mix and I couldn’t to finish it. I’m sorry I couldn’t listen to 5 minutes of this.  20/10

This has to be among the top five worst songs in my entire library period. I had to re-download this single to put it on here because I thought it was perfect for this. Whoever this vocalist is is ass and should have a restraining order filed against microphones and recording booths. He sounds like a fucking garbage disposal.
 

 

6 hours ago, rekzer said:

This is tied with track number 8 on the worst things on this list (vocal wise). Musically is pretty banging but then that barking chihuahua comes in and ruins it. And oh boy the cringe when the female vocals come in. Its saving grace is that I found the music itself pretty good plus its short so it wasn’t as painful to listen to.  

I would not judge BLANKFIELD by this one shit track, because 99% of his music is instrumental. You might actually like some of the other stuff he's recorded...I just don't know what went through warinside's mind when he got both those shitty vocalists to ruin this track. It would have been better off instrumental.

 

6 hours ago, rekzer said:

SHANANANANANA NO!   

Best song on the mix though? I've come to enjoy this song just for how bad it really is.

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3 hours ago, Zeus said:

I would not judge BLANKFIELD by this one shit track, because 99% of his music is instrumental. You might actually like some of the other stuff he's recorded...I just don't know what went through warinside's mind when he got both those shitty vocalists to ruin this track. It would have been better off instrumental.

This was my main issue here. Maybe he owed a few favors and somebody came to collect them. The song itself is pretty awesome. I will check out more from him then.

 

3 hours ago, Zeus said:

Best song on the mix though? I've come to enjoy this song just for how bad it really is.

It was my safe space while listening to this mix.

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@PIZAZ sent me a mix titled "Guilty Pleasures". I was looking forward to this tradeoff, because when the right one is discovered, I have a capacity for really loving weird, broken songs. There's something about the right amount of wrong that is just excellent at times, and in this way I really enjoyed what PIZAZ sent me. Was by no means an hour of cringing endurance and exposed me to a few tracks (and maybe artists) who will be making additions to my library.

 

Like I hope PIZAZ imagined, I tried to imagine what it would be like for this to be my 100% serious guilty pleasures mix and writhe around in strange excitement listening to it in headphones on the train, feeling like I'm getting away with something because no one knows I'm listening to it, as I deliriously come home, entombed in a strange aura of sleep deprivation induced joy.


 

Spoiler

 

OSYS - 乙女ゴコロ×局中法度 ~だんだら shooting MIX~ (5/5)

 

Starts right away with what for lack of a better terms would be considered as an "annoying vocal" that makes me slightly turn the volume down out of fear my flat mates will hear through the wall (lol). After a number of bars of a happy hardcore type kick drum groove, we reach the first main melodic section, which I'm totally down for. Manic synths invade into a subsequent progression which just sounds full of energy and thrilling. There is this particular section @2:00, 2:50, 4:15 of the track that is just PURE meth, it is so addictive. Something about the descending melody in combination with the synth that responds to it is just perfect. The main chorus returns a number of times and is completely neurotic and beautiful. Around the 3 minute mark we return to a part resembling the intro which I'm a bit cold towards. Then the drums strip down and we have a expose of the slightly too-cute-for-me chanting in combination with the wild synth work.

 

All in all this track, at its best moments, this song delivers a really excellent blend of typically manic, cute vibes with some undertone of eerie-ness or mystery. Rather than just straight euphoria, it has an interesting emotional edge. I love this one and will have to figure out how I can justify sneaking this into my library....

 

Miyavi - Girls, be amibitious (5/5)

 

I wonder if PIZAZ noticed the uploader (they sent a YouTube playlist) of this video ;) . 100% down. Glorious 2003 Miyavi. Endless singing riffage and backing vocals you initially think sounds awful in contrast to how he matures, but then eventually seems fantastic in its own way. I actually heard the KVKI boiz era redux of this track before I ever heard the original and I always remember how interesting it was to hear the original after being familiar with that. I loved how different it was, the synth bell at the beginning, the energy in the chorus. My favorite thing about galyuu/gagaku era Miyavi is certainly the production on these albums. The guitars have this unique really sharp nu-metal type tone, the drums have this really iconic tight snare and something about the china's and the way it all glues together just feels "sludgy" in the best way possible. And you come to accept the random falsetto vocal "solos" as part of this formula. Don't be guilty, PIZAZ xD

 

MSI - Tight (4/5)

 

This is an interesting track. It sort of resembles indie rock with a slightly more aggressive tinge. It's very hard for me to describe this kind of music, but the more I hear this track, the more it just makes me think of Nine Inch Nails, in no way seeming like a ripoff. The use of electronics and aggressive vocals, and just the "vibe" a lot of times reminds me of the "Big Man With A Gun" breed of Nine Inch Nails tunes. That being said, the iconic lyrical moment of this track is "i am tight! fucking right!" shortly followed by what can only be described as rhythmically-synced semi-erotic high-pitched panting, which does a rouse a bit of that "does anyone know I'm listening to this?" paranoia in me hahaha. Come to think of it, if I can handle "Big Man With A Gun"'s "I'm gonna cum all over you", I really should treat this in kind. The production/atmosphere was interesting enough I think I'll look into MSI's other material, as I'm not familiar.

 

Neon Blonde - Crystal Beaches Never Turned Me On (3/5)

 

This is a predominantly electronic song, but feels much more belonging to the band-based world, much more similar to the MSI track than the OSYS one for instance. Good flow for the mix. While the drum and bass work is rather simple through the track, the piano and the vocals really spice up the track, in a way that plays off the foundation well. The piano plays these melodies that are often very frantic rhythmically, and the vocals resemble some speed-rapping-screaming hybrid. Nothing Maximum the Hormone tier, more rooted in the rap world than pure death.

 

Compared to the other tracks, and just from a more objective baseline, I don't think this track should be embarrassed about at all. I will assume PIZAZ probably chose it due to some mixed feelings towards the vocal style, but overall the track just seems experimental, but nothing screaming out as amateur. In the end, I just wasn't particularly dripped by the track, nothing sticking to me very heavily melodically, hence my final rating. Although the track did not do anything wrong per se.

 

Barbara Markay - "Give Your Dick To Me" (2/5)

 

Yeah, 200 milliseconds of looking at the title, and you're brain is already primed to know what's going on here. A cheery arrangement with drums, bass, bongs, a brass section, and keys, reminds me of something that would play in the back of a commercial during the bongo breakdowns ( \m/ ), yet its underneath the satirical musical-type vocal delivery. This track very understandably belongs in this playlist. Some things in life are enjoyed for the "joke factor", so to speak so I understand. It likely comes from the same place that my hilarity-inducing appreciation for that Pere Infern track came from, which PIZAZ described oh-so-accurately in its horror. Two stars for not sounding like its their first day of playing instruments, but I'm sorry Barbara, I'm Keeping My Dick For Me. 

 

Ayabie - Tsuki koi (4/5)

 

Yooo, what a classic. This vk treat is really a staple everyone should know, even if you don't like it. There's something so iconic about the bass / bongo intro (hey, nice connection to the bongos in the last track). And head over heels, I can never get over the guitar solo in this track. The lead melodies are always where Ryohei shined to me, particularly in the early days, and that particularly comes here. My rating would have been a 5/5, but this is my first time listening to the Ayabie version of the track in years, and it honestly feels a little dead. Ayabie's previous band (more or less), Hinawana, recorded this track like 4 separate times, and I've become quite fond of one of those versions. It better captures the good aspects of splendor naivete in visual kei younguns coming up. But likewise to PIZAZ, good pick, hombre.

 

Oyuugi Wagamama-dan x [PaRADEiS] - PINOCCHIO to Sunadokei (4/5)

 

Hahaha, yes. This was the exact kind of thing I was secretly hoping to run into in this mix, that particular strain of late 2000's oshare, yet we have heavy parts rawr. I remember avoiding Paradeis, and similar bands, like the plague when I was first delving into Visual Kei and looking up every name I could find in my one cure magazine.  This track definitely strikes me as more interesting than any of their PV's I remember watching. It has a solid emotional/harmonic quality throughout that I commend. The verse singing, and stripped down bridge, definitely makes one bat their eyes slightly (and understand why this may be in the mix), but at its stronger moments, it can be quite lovely. The chorus of this track is a big one, a redeemer for me. Even though the vocals sound like they were recorded straight through a Karaoke setup, the sound of the recording is just the right kind of late 2000's vk indies vibe. They got that part right. Would drunk karaoke. You got me to tie this with Ayabie, well done.

 

キナルラ - 惨劇館 (3/5)

 

This is the only Japanese artist I'm not familiar with in PIZAZ's mix. The song is a dark, yet whimsical, waltz, largely led by the lead vocalist, who sings with a particular characteristic I admittedly find a bit embarassing, although the melody is catchy. Just over a minute in, things strip down and the guitars go for a change of pace. The guitar tone (and even the drums), sound thin, cheap, and lo-fi, but it pulls it off by my standards).  This progression goes on for a considerable period, but ultimately doesn't go anywhere (for shame!). It cuts back to the main vocal led section, like at the beginning, although I won't say it was particularly jarring or anything. The transition was okay. This part has ever so slightly grown on me over the few times I have listened to this mix. While it certainly seems to suit the visuals of the band in the displayed photo of the YouTube video, I'm not completely convinced yet. Like one of those compilation tracks you listen through, even though you don't really like it, I could see myself getting into it after intermittent exposure over time. Not my first pick here, but I take it over Barbara Markay anyday. With a different vocalist, I may have loved it.

 

Nina Hagen - Born in Xixax (2/5)

 

A pretty straightforward 80s sounding rock track, keeping itself very composed for the duration of the arrangement. All of the energy on this track comes from the highly eclectic vocals, which is half random maniacal laughing and what sounds like the utterances of someone who has been chainsmoking for 1000 years. The chorus is panicked sounding whisper vocals, hard panned right. Lol? Nothing about this track actually feels particularly offensive or embarassing, but it is just admittedly weird in terms of vocal delivery. While I don't really understand its appeal (surely something to do with the vocals) and grow to despise the psychedelic repetitions of the kick-kick-snare over ts-ts-ts-ts drum beat and the level 1 rock guitaring, I'm not particularly bothered. Very neutral towards this one.

 

Ethyl Meatplow - Devils Johnson (1.5/5)

 

Another older rock track, not to far off from what Nina was doing. Straightforward simple instrumentation, maybe slightly more complex than the latter, with vocal fry vocal delivery, and voice samples of angry people speaking in other languages or making threats during the B-sections. When thinking of this track, it almost reminds me of the fields of hip hop that I can't seem to get into, that feel more like shamanic chanting over elegant sounding metronomes than whatever it is that makes music, 'music' in my selfish expectations. Similar feeling towards the last track. I'll take a cringey Paradeis B-side over this, because I just don't really feel a lot of natural response to this stimulus.

 

R指定 - "青春はリストカット" (3/5)

 

R shitei is one of those bands I managed to avoid through each phase of my VK interest. Just never grabbed me, and I'm always surprised to find they are still going at it. Showcasing some lovely 2010's white noise blasts at each chorus, this definitely feels emblematic of 'modern visual kei', perhaps at least in the mainstream sense. From a surgical analysis, its got everything there that made me love a band like Ando or even guiltily indulge in some V(NEU) tracks. The fast alternation between a variety of songwriting ideas, circus-y riffs, the guitar solo, the catch-y pre chorus, the punk rock "chanting" post-chorus. Yet for whatever reason, it doesn't pull me in. Probably one of those random personal vocal misalignments. By no means will I accuse this singer of being bad, its just not of the essence that I'm usually attracted to.  I guess I would be embarrassed to let my HARDCORE VISUAL KEI ELITE friends know I listen to this, so I see why it is in the mix.

 

Heart of Madness - Fist of the North Star OST (3/5)

 

Okay, this song is absurdly catchy. The 80s is bleeding everywhere, all over everything, everything is stained with that huge reverb-y snare, stabby bass, cheesy guitars and synths at full throttle. And of course these true glory engrish vocals. While the track is pretty lackluster instrumentally, with the exception of a kind of cool melodic movement during the bridge that doesn't actually go anywhere, the HARD carry of this whole operation is the vocals. "IS MY PAIN, IS MY LONRINESS" "KEEPING MALIVE, KEEP MY ENERGY". After listening to this chorus once, the perfect awkward elegance of this vocal delivery is embued into your cerebral cortex for all of eternity. What can I say? Doesn't satisfy those deep musical urges, but would absolutely blast this with the bros driving home late at night or something. It's got a distinct vulnerability and courageousness.

 

Kelis - I Hate You So Much Right Now (4/5)

 

This is definitely out of my usual listening comfort zone, but I have been successfully enlisted. Sounds instrumentally somewhere between soulful, yet snappy and cheesy, hip hop and R&B. The vocal is a great piece of this track, though the hook "I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW (x3) AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" takes some getting used to. I wouldn't have been the guy at the recording session going "yesss, that part. just perfect", but I tolerate and consider it because I like everything else that is going on here. The instrumentals totally were appealing from the first listen, and the vocals (exception to the yelled part) compliment it really well. I'll be certainly interested to check out more from Kelis. There is this tack-y satin red suit vibe to this track that is simultaneously amazing and it's invoked a unique enjoyment.

 

Tammy Wynette - 'Til I Can Make It On My Own (3/5)

 

Straight out of the 70s? This feels very old, but not completely useless. Whenever I hear the intro with the vocals and the piano, it takes me back to Joni Mitchell records. A positive association. This female-fronted ballad is truly a symbol of its time. Something about the short instrumental moments transports me to an imaginary 70s diner, with a set of beautiful vintage cars in the parking lot. Would have preferred the track if it stayed in the "singer-songwriter" type territory as in the beginning. For some reason the huge string section just feels cheesy in a "I'm falling asleep to Ben Hur and I'm 8" kind of way. Maybe PIZAZ has a special connection to this song.

 

An Cafe - Duck No Magical Adventure (1/5)

 

I actually had an An Cafe track in my original mix, but took it out to alleviate going over the time restriction. An Cafe really is the ultimate guilty pleasure band, aren't they? This song is particularly irritating in the weirdest way possible. It alternates between two riffs highlighting a "duck quacking" style vocal delivery, and an actually compelling "circus" riff, for a lack of a better word. It's one of those weird semi-cheery, semi-something is off, only in visual kei sections. That part spoke to the "this is cheap and weird but I love it" part of me very strongly, but THEN some ASSHOLE (an cafe member) just starts talking over the track talking about all kinds of bullshit trying to act cute. Then the whole song strips away and I'm just listening to him talk about his favorite food and fanservice acting dumb. This happens MANY times, occupying almost 8 minutes in total. I understand why bands make these kind of tracks and if any band were to do it, of course An Cafe has a pass, but I just find it so funny how isolating tracks like these are to people like me. Trying to enjoy some vk album and then abruptly reminded that the target audience is ditsy Japanese high school girls who fantasize about holding hands with a bandomen who looks more feminine than they do. Lol, what can I say, fittingly so, this is probably the perfect ending to the mix. If the track didn't cut out so many times to leave talking completely alone, I might have found some masochistic satisfaction here, but that killed the vibe too much.

 

 

thx!

Edited by reminiscing2004

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I got none of the notifs on this thread. I'm so sorry this was late. I let @Komorebi know I would be late (I was getting inpatient treatment for mental health issues), but here's my review (I already sent to my partner via PM). My mix was also sent to them.

Spoiler

 

01. Monday Monday (Kaya) - While unlike the expected genre for a visual kei artist, this song has a catchy rhythm and addictive melody during the chorus that makes me fall helpless victim to its poppy beat and.....have a strange sort of fondness for this song. The lyrics are cute and only make it more difficult for me to dislike or even hate this song. While not a gothic or dark sounding song, it's not unexpected from Kaya. 3/5 here.

 

02. Sweet Rishi Boy (Anna Tsuchiya) - The whimsical yet poppy intro to the song gave me hope that this wouldn't be too bad. Despite this, my stomach still churned as I told myself lies about how this song could be good. My gut somehow knew better. I was met with a monotone voice and lifeless singing that made me grind my teeth, knit my eyebrows, and squint my eyes. This song couldn't be worse. I can't stop crying from laughter and horror. An absolute -039045/5. 

 

03. Girlfriend (Avril Lavigne) - I was hoping we left this song in 2006. I can't believe what I'm hearing right now. I'm going to pretend I didn't hear this song full of annoyingly sing-songy vocals that mock me and my anger, not to mention the most repetitive riff possible. It's almost like this song knows just how bad it is and keeps making fun of itself and also the listener. 1/5.

 

04. Aisaretakute (the LOTUS) - The vocalist sounds like an impersonation of GACKT that's so bad, it's good. The melody is so pretty that it's boring. The bassline is nice at least. I don't hate this song but I don't care to listen to it again. On that note, I never want to hear this song again. 2/5.

 

05. Kindan no Kajitsu (DATURA) - Jazz and/or swing mixed with visual kei is always hit or miss and the riskiest move for bands. The riffs imitate the tune of the jazzy intro too much for my liking, making it boring. Trying to ignore the poor mixing and overly nasal vocals, but I have to mention it. What the hell is this mixing, LOL. 2/5, but I feel like that's too much of a compliment.

 

06. LINDA~candydive Pinky heaven~ (the GazettE) - I was praying I wouldn't see any GazettE on this mixtape, and here we are. But it couldn't be avoided..... Immediately, the first note I heard is the flattest note I've ever heard in my life, somehow followed by even flatter notes if that was possible. I have no idea what type of notes Ruki's trying to hit here, but I know he's completely off. His extremely nasal voice makes this song even harder to bear. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, we're introduced to a horrible rap doesn't follow the song's nonexistent rhythm and then tries its absolute hardest to squeeze all of those syllables in. I hate this song. 1/5, and I'm being generous with that.

 

07. Kusomen shine (Shintenchikaibyaku shuudan zig zag) - If there's one thing I hate in visual kei, it's when bands try to be overly edgy by putting fast-talking, vulgar rambles full of censors over what's sort of a heavy riff (I guess). This song is annoying. The chorus is poorly mixed and it's hard to ignore. I guess this song is supposed to be ~~funny cuz we so different xDDD~~ but I didn't even chuckle. 2/5, extra point from the original 1/5 for the decent riffs.

 

08. Mirai sekai (L'Arc~en~Ciel) - A little boring, but it's a relaxing song. The gentle xylophone is drowned out by husky basslines that embrace you with warmth and cradle you the fuck to sleep. In a good way. It's a nostalgic song that brings me back to childhood due to the nursery-esque melody and gentle, lullaby singing. 4/5.

 

09. FRIEND (Hamasaki Ayumi) - This is a song I haven't heard in a while. I almost want to be biased because this song brings back memories, but I'm not going to pretend not to notice Ayumi's lifeless singing that becomes strained as she tries to reach the higher notes. The composition is boring and sounds like every other Japanese ballad in the early 2000s. There's a reason I left this song in the past. 2/5.

 

10. Utopia (Verge) - The intro's full of power: featuring a heavy guitar riff accompanied by a thick bassline and an energetic solo. But by the first verse, I'm met with dread for what could have been a good song. The vocalist can't keep a tune going and falls flat every other note. This song had so much potential.... Why. 3/5, 2 extra points for the composition.

 

11. SPACE*DANCE (As'REAL) - Oh no. Immediately, an irritatingly sing-songy voice can be heard over the mocking instrumentals that are almost childish in nature. The lyrics are just as annoying as the melody. I like the little tropical solo at least. 2/5, extra point for that little solo mid-song.

 

12. Jikuu Koukaigi ~kou no kanata e~ (D) - Can this guy hold a note? Anyways, the song isn't bad. The vocalist's goat vibrato is distracting, but I actually sort of like this song. A little boring and sounds like 50 other songs I've heard, but it holds its own. Somehow, I might come back to this song. The instrumentals are energetic and contradict but still manage to compliment the vocalist's sort of mellow and almost melancholy singing. 3/5.

 

13. SUICIDE PARTY.PSYCHO.RITUAL (XIBALBA) - I expected for this song to be horrible by the edgiest, Shadow the Hedgehog title I've ever seen. I actually......like this song. The vocalist's voice is annoying, but the instrumentals compliment his nasal tone and also make up for it. The chorus is the only thing I really dislike. The repetitive "RANRIRAN SUICIDE" is catchy. 5/5.

 

14. Your Makeup is Terrible (Alaska Thunderfuck) - That "HIIIIIIIIIII~" in the beginning automatically let me know what I was in for. Why would you do this to me. The lyrics are just annoying as the boring and unoriginal beat and tune of the electro synth instrumentals. Why would you do this to me. This song is just as terrible as my makeup. 1/5.

 

The worst by far is YMiT or Sweet Rishi Boy. SRB is what I hear when I have sleep paralysis as I see Anna's silhouette in the corner of my room.

 

 

Edited by ahnchc
Explanation + adding artist names

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