For the record, I mean the album not the idol who released the album... but hey, I might as well talk about her too!
The girl in the album art above is Curumi Chronicle (which is clearly a stage name and not her real name). She's an idol relatively new to the scene, and through the use of social media, she hopes to "chronicle" her career as an idol. Pretty standard up-and-coming idol fare. So I'm sure you're all waiting with baited breath to read why I wanted to write about her. Or at least I assume you are, just let me pretend. What stands out about Curumi Chronicle is that she is a technopop idol in the vein of Aira Mitsuki or Saori@destiny. In fact, there's a picture online of the Saori@destiny with Curumi Chronicle! Since Aira Mitsuki is on hiatus and Saori@destiny is retired, this conveniently leaves a slot open for a technopop singer for me to follow and jam to. Not only that, as someone who is not only a fan of both those technopop artists and a fan of idols, Curumi Chronicle is an idol that should be right up my ally. However, before the release of her eponymous debut album, I'd only heard two songs from her. Luckily, both are great songs, but I think in order to truly get a feel for how Curumi Chronicle's music is, I needed to listen to her album. And let me tell you, I am totally excited to hear it! First Aira Mitsuki's I'll Be Back, then Perfume's Level3, then Capsule's Caps Lock, and now this album... man, this has just been a fruitful year for technopop! Now we'll see if Curumi Chronicle can follow this trend of good listening! Put your headphones on and crank up some technopop, because we're diving into the debut album of Curumi Chronicle!
The album starts with a brief introduction that features exactly what you think it does: humming! Or the first part does. Then after the first twenty-eight seconds, it goes into instrumental Curumi hums. I will say, I'm not a huge fan of the concept of an "introduction" song, mainly because they're usually really short and don't add much to the album. As far as introduction songs go, Humming is actually pretty decent though. I like that it's connected to the second song on the album. That and it features a really nice buildup which slowly crescendos, slowly blossoming into a technopop song as each second goes by. The tune itself is simple but really pretty, the kind that I wouldn't mind having stuck in my head. Other than that there isn't much to say about Humming. I think it is a nice introduction, but I wouldn't be complaining if it were replaced by a full length song. Speaking of full length songs...
2. Gozen Juuichi Ji
...this is the song that Humming seamlessly transitions into. I always love it when albums do that thing where two back-to-back songs cut so they sound like one song. Gozen Juuichi Ji just builds on the mystical, cheery tone that Humming set. I get a lot of Aira Mitsuki vibes from this song, particularly Mysteric from I'll Be Back. This song carries a lot of the cheerfulness that I found in a lot of Aira Mitsuki's music. It's also one of the calmer songs on the album, especially in the verses. I think Gozen Juuichi Ji is a very pretty song and light too. I don't have much else to say about this song other than I think it's very breezy and calming to listen to; I think if I were trying to relieve stress, this is the kind of song I'd like to play. So yeah, while Gozen Juuichi Ji isn't my favorite song on Curumi Chronicle, it's still a really good song. I like how it's connected to Humming and I like the overarching tune prevalent throughout it!
3. Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo
And here we have the first single song on the album! An online friend of mine introduced me to this song long before the album was released, and I loved it. I still love this song. I will say though, it's bit of an odd listen when you first hear it though. I heard the opening chorus and thought it was going to be really happy-go-lucky, but then the instrumental took a nosedive into hardcore EDM music. Then the happy vocals came back! It was a bit like musical whiplash! However, when I listened to Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo a few more times, the two different tones worked in this really weird way. I think because the transitions into both parts were really well-done. And most of the song is on the lighter and happier side anyways! This is one of those songs that just heightens my mood when I listen to it! Curumi sounds so gosh-darn-happy when she sings it I can't help but feel happy myself! A thoroughly wonderful song!
4. Make New World
I immediately noticed this songs happens to share the same title as Aira Mitsuki's Make New World! However, Aira Mitsuki's Make New World and Curumi Chronicle's Make New World are luckily both very different-sounding songs. Weird of a comparison as this is, Make New World actually reminded me of something Kikkawa Yuu would sing. You know, if her producers actually went all the way with her electropop concept and not the half-assed songs she usually gets. Anyways, back to Curumi Chronicle. I liked Make New World a lot. It's a lot more EDM-oriented than Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo, but like Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo, Make New World still balances lighter and happier parts too. Although Make New World doesn't have quite as strong of a chorus as the last song, it's still a really good listen. I definitely like the dance vibe it's rocking! I even like the bits of Dubstep sprinkled in it!
5. 16 feat. Usagi Disco
This is the first new song on the album that I really liked. It's edgier than the first four songs on the album, sort of in the same way that Meg's Lies was. The guy featured on it, Usagi Disco, I think just does the instrumental and maybe composition on it. I say that because he's an electronic musician. Whatever role he had in this song, I like 16 feat. Usagi Disco a lot. Curumi's opening vocals in this song sent shivers up my spine! In fact, I really liked her vocals in this song, her English bits in particular. I'm not sure why I like the way she pronounces her English; it's not exactly accurate but something about it is really cool. 16 feat. Usagi Disco is a full-out dance song and a really atmospheric, almost moody one at that. The vocals are much more minimal in 16 feat. Usagi Disco, but when they do appear, they sound great. 16 feat. Usagi Disco is definitely one of my favorites on Curumi Chronicle!
6. Broken Toy
This is a really super-short song, and going off the title, I really didn't know what to expect from this song. I thought maybe it would kind of cute? The piano in the beginning and the staccato notes were making me think it would sound kind like Perfume's Communication. Upon listening through the entire song though, it's really not! Far from it actually! Broken Toy is a... strange song. I mean that in the nicest way possible because it's strange in a very fascinating way. There's something about Broken Toy that sounds... off. It may be the raw vocals, the minimal instrumental, that constant tempo... It's something I can't quite put my finger on. It almost sounds like someone winded up and actual toy and this was the song! For such a short song, I really liked Broken Toy a lot more than I thought I would. Slightly off and slightly creepy, I think the length is just right, and the way it cuts out is very fitting!
All right, a straight-up happy song! Seriously the happiness is just radiating in Kururikuru. Sure, the past songs on Curumi Chronicle were also happy but in a very laid-back, soothing way. Kururikuru practically bursts onto the album with a high-energy beat and an explosive chorus. And from there, it feels like you're riding a wave of happy-techno-goodness! If there's anything I love it's songs that can get my blood pumping, and that's exactly what Kururikuru does! I feel like I could run a marathon to this song! In my opinion, the best songs are songs that have energy, and Kururikuru has so much energy! It's so fast-paced and happy and oh my god, can I just marry this song? Actually, I probably can't legally or physically do that but still! I can't emphasize enough how awesome Kururikuru is. It's a techno song that's so explosive and vivacious that I'm kind of bummed when it ends. Still, it's totally awesome!
8. Twinkle linkle line
So am I the only one who thinks Twinkle linkle line sounds like a Teletubbies catchphrase? No matter what the title of the song sounds like, the real test is what the actual song sounds like. After the ecstasy-inducing Kururikuru, you need a slightly more toned-down song that'll take you off the roller coaster ride. That's exactly what Twinkle linkle line does! I'm really happy that this song wasn't a ballad; I don't think I would have liked it being placed here on Curumi Chronicle if it was. Twinkle linkle line is energetic just like Kururikuru, but just toned-down enough to get me calm again. Like the previous song, I just love how happy this song is. There's something very contagious, almost inspiring about how Twinkle linkle line sounds. It almost sounds like it could be an anime opening. You know how anime openings have that sound that just gets you pumped to do stuff? Twinkle linkle line has that same kind of sound!
9. Susume! Susume!
And here's the other song I heard before this album was released! This was honestly the song that got me intrigued about Curumi Chronicle. To me, it reminds me of Meg's Natalie or Perfume's Macaroni, you know a lounge-type song? Except Susume! Susume! is a little more energetic than a lounge song. The highlight of Susume! Susume! is the chorus. Not only is it catchy, it's bouncy and fun! I think Susume! Susume! perfectly balances out both the technopop and idol sides of Curumi Chronicle. It's definitely technopop, but it's composed very much in the same style of idol music. I could totally picture Susume! Susume! being covered by a regular idol group. This is just a song that has a very well-done techno instrumental. The result is a lovely fusion of idol pop and technopop! I loved this song back when I first heard, and listening to it on this album, Susume! Susume! is still an amazing song!
10. Rainy Starry Night
Finally slowing down the album is a song that comes closest to a ballad. Rainy Starry Night is about as chill as Curumi Chronicle gets. This is a slow song, despite being a little over three minutes. At first, it was a little hard for me to get into this song. But over awhile (and several repeated listens of the entire album), the more I liked Rainy Starry Night. I guess at first I was expecting something more ethereal; Rainy Starry Night sounds very much like a lullaby or something out of a fairytale. It's a very pretty song, and Curumi's vocals are so sweet in this song. What I also like about Rainy Starry Night is the instrumental; there are a lot of different sounds layered on top of each other. The result is a really beautiful, if a little quirky, ballad-type song. Rainy Starry Night does take a few listens to get used to, but I ended up loving this song. I think it's a really nice way to close out the album.
11. Gozen Juuichi Ji (Usagi Disco remix)
Of course, this album isn't done yet! We've still got one last song to close out Curumi Chronicle. Kind of. This is a remix of Gozen Juuichi Ji, the second track on the album! And it's by the guy featured in 16 feat. Usagi Disco! I liked the original Gozen Juuichi Ji, so I was interested to hear how the Usagi Disco remix would sound, especially after listening to 16 feat. Usagi Disco. Gozen Juuichi Ji (Usagi Disco remix) is definitely different from the original. While the original was calming and laid-back, the remix is a little more dance-oriented. I think that's mainly because of all the added instrumentals though! The vocals are more-or-less the same, with only a bit of vocal manipulation. The instrumental is much more dominant though in the remix; I have to say, I like it! Gozen Juuichi Ji (Usagi Disco remix) has a lot more going on than the original, giving it a nicely different and distinct sound! Personally, I really love it!
Hot damn. That was... a really good album. Like holy crap, I didn't think there were going to be any albums that trumped Level3 this year, but man alive, this is a good album. Have I mentioned this is a good album yet? Actually, is Curumi Chronicle, dare I say, a great album? After several listens, this is the verdict I've come to: absolutely. Despite being only eleven tracks, this is a strong debut album for Curumi Chronicle. There wasn't a single song on this album I disliked, and any issues I had with the music on Curumi Chronicle were small and didn't take away any of my enjoyment. It's hard for me to even pick my favorite songs on Curumi Chronicle, because honestly, I liked all the songs. If I did have to pick personal favorites though, I'd probably go with Kagayake Sorairo Shoujo, 16 feat. Usagi Disco, Broken Toy, Kururikuru, and Susume! Susume! And that's nearly half the songs on the album... I do think that the second half was a bit stronger than the first half of the album though. From 16 feat. Usagi Disco, the album had a little more variety and it felt like each song transitioned better. Not that the first half was by any means bad; in comparison though, the second half was just what I preferred.
Overall though, I think this album had a really great, diverse collection of technopop, with some songs leaning more toward idols pop and others toward EDM. It's an album that balanced both the idol and technopop sides of Curumi Chronicle. I think each song stands on its own well, and together they make for a really, really great album. So yeah, in case I haven't emphasized this yet, you should all check this album out, especially if you're into idols and technopop and want to see the two combined. Curumi Chronicle contains a lovely collection of technopop songs in the vein of Aira Mitsuki, Saori@destiny, Perfume, even Meg. As a fan of all four of those artists, I am completely enthralled with Curumi Chronicle. This is an album that makes me want to hear more from her, and I do hope that she will go far on her chronicle to becoming an idol.
I wasn't sure if I was going to give Curumi Chronicle five apples or four-and-half apples. But you know what? This album rocks, and Christmas is almost hear, so this album gets five apples! With some truly amazing technopop, Curumi Chronicle is one of my favorite albums of 2013. It's definitely gotten me into Curumi Chronicle, and I'm looking forward to whatever endeavors this new idols has next!