Friday, 20 January 2017

[predia week] The Sounds of predia: An Introduction - 'Koko no Dahlia ni Kuchizuke wo' (Album Review)

One of the greatest things about the Idol fandom is sharing a group you enjoy with other people. As a blogger of this very fandom, I am able to share with you all my thoughts and feelings on the groups I enjoy most, and any music or videos that happen to pique my interest. Thing is, I almost always focus on the groups I find at random, and not the ones suggested to me. I really need to change that, because I love sharing, but I want to love what is shared with me, too.

Hence why I am doing this very post, and all that will subsequently follow thereafter. Because, why the heck not?

With the help of my darling friend Ashley, as well as a list she has created for me with what she considers the best of predia, here begins a seven-day venture into the world of Elegant Women, where we will discover the maturity and joys of one of Japan's most refined Idol groups.

Welcome to predia week, everyone. I hope you enjoy your stay~


Discovering groups is an amazing thing, and sharing them with others is just as wonderful. We all share this feeling, right? That idea of how awesome it is to know someone else likes a group you introduced them too, and falling in love with them as you did, no matter how new or old the group may be. It's a delightful feeling, to see someone else discovering the songs and videos of a group we like, with fresh eyes and ears. Knowing that they are steadily falling in love with them, just like you did way back when, is fulfilling. Being a fan who watches another fan grow is nice, and it confirms just how great the group or singer is for you all over again.

Throughout 2016, my darling, sweet friend Ashley (lovingly) poked me about checking out predia, a group I have known about since their debut, but one I have not really taken a closer look at since... well, since their debut single, Dia Love. Ashley is, in the best way possibly, nuts about this group, and every time she mentions them, she speaks very highly of their music. They are to her what HouPri is to me, I believe, and so, after all her wonderful praise and adoration for the group, I thought it's about high-time I took a look at them.

So of course, I asked Ashley to piece together a list of seven predia releases, the singles, albums and PV's she thought were the cream of the crop, with the promise that I would look at them all and review them, too, dedicating an entire week to predia here on my little blog. Needless to say, she was happy with this decision; I'm finally checking out her beloved's, after all. Honestly speaking, I am excited about this - I really do love posts that create a series, however small it may be. Plus, it allows me to get out of my writing funk, and check out a group I have previously overlooked because of a variety of reasons, from being busy, to life, or simply because I have been focusing far too long on other groups and singers.

With that said, for one week I will dedicate my time, as well as some of yours, to looking at the group that is predia, and sharing with you all the songs and videos my dear Ashley has bestowed upon me. With seven articles to write and review, I wonder how my views will change, and what my overall opinion of predia will be once the week comes to its end.

Are you ready to discover the joys of another group? Let's go~


Koko no Dahlia ni Kuchizuke wo

Release Date: February 18th, 2015

Track List:

1. Tokyo Love Affair
2. Voyage
3. Na mo Naki Shiori Hana wa Kie Iku (名もなき白い花は消え逝く)
4. Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi (美しき孤独たち)
5. Aka no Agitato (赤のアジタート)
6. Hitoku no Paradise (秘匿のパラダイス)
7. Yakou Chou (夜光蝶)
8. Rasen no Tsuki (螺旋の月)
9. Ai no Heroin (愛のヒロイン)
10. Maboroshi Ha Zanadu (幻はザナドゥ)
11. Kowareta Ai no Hate ni (壊れた愛の果てに)
12. You're My Hero
13. BABY KISS
14. Wedding Story

DVD Track List:

Kowareta Ai no Hate ni (Music Video)
Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi (Music Video)
Na mo Naki Shiori Hana wa Kie Iku (Music Video)

Koko no Dahlia ni Kuchizuke wo
~Album Review~

1. Tokyo Love Affair

The greeting track of the album, Tokyo Love Affair is a mature sounding song that - dare I say it? - feels quite AKS throughout, though in the best possible way. It's pleasant, the instrumental is solid, and the vocals here are very high quality - the one aspect that is certainly not AKS in the slightest. It's a highly enjoyable song, one that sets a great tone for the rest of the album, as well as promising us a good time ahead in music.

Tokyo Love Affair is a beautiful song in sound, with a very rich instrumental that includes a kick-ass instrumental break, around the 3:08 mark. It is this part that is, hands down, my favourite part of the entire song, though the wonderful vocals are another favourite aspect. The whole song feels so effortless and womanly, though, and I love how clear and powerful the entire track is. I really cannot point out a weak link - in sound or vocals - because everyone sounds amazing individually, and together, and the instrumental is just gorgeous.

It's a great opener, though it won't become a favourite song, any time soon. Still, it's a damnsatisfying track, and it's worth your time.

2. Voyage

... Voyage is fine. In fact, Voyage gets better, once you get past the beginning. It might just be me, but seriously, this opening is dull, and that's putting it nicely. If I were to just be listening to this album casually, and not for the sake of a review, I would skip this song quick as lightning, because that opening is just so bland, and does this song no favours.

The chorus, however, is wonderful, and once you can get past the snooze-fest that is the verse, I really do find myself enjoying this song. It's entertaining, and I want to jump around to it, but when I hear this great chorus and lovely bridge, I just feel saddened that the verse is so weak and dull, and how easily skippable this song is, because of it.

Le sigh.

In short: It's okay. If you like it, kudos, but I just can't get over how dull and drawn-out the opening is. In the future, I'm probably going to skip this song, because sitting through the verse will just make me yawn.

3. Na mo Naki Shiori Hana wa Kie Iku

Na mo Naki Shiori Hana wa Kie Iku is a damn pretty song, one that makes me think of menalcholy love stories and dark nights out. It is truly a divine track, quite possibly one of my favourites from the album. I mean, how can I not enjoy this exquisite piece of music? It is delicate, yet powerful, and it feels quite vigorous, too, thanks to its fast paced lyrics and soft background instrumentals hidden by some heavy dance sounds. This is a great song, truly, and it is just so mesmirising.

Even though I don't follow this group, Na mo Naki Shiori Hana wa Kie Iku feels like a perfect fit for them. It's bloomin' gorgeous, and I just can't help but feel quite enamoured by it.



The bridge is, undeniably, one of my favourite aspects of this song, with its gentle approach, and its rise into the chorus once again. It's such a wonderful piece, and I am delighted that this was a featured track on the album.

The video is quite lovely to view, too, and I kind of wish I had watched it before, so that I could add it to my PV reviews for Winter. Well, there is always Winter of 2017, right? It would be a perfect fit, and I just love how it goes from looking delicate, to feeling fierce and bold with the passing lights and the rose set on fire. It's pretty damn cool.

It's a good track, so I do suggest checking this one out. It's worth your time, in my opinion~

4. Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi

With a title that contains Utsukushiki, I admit that I kind of expect a ballad of some form, only because I've listened to that one SKE48 graduation track a million times. Well, a ballad is far from what we get, because the lovely Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi is, in fact, a dance track, with a rather pleasant chorus that reminds me ever so slightly of platinum era Musume. Thinking about it, this would have been the kind of track I would have enjoyed tuning into more than once, way back when.

At times, however, this song might not be my cup of tea. At the time of writing this review, I'm quite enjoying it - at other times, however, it's not to my tastes, so for me personally, I have to be in the right mood and mindset for Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi. Still, I know it's a decent, even good, song, and it is certainly not unappealing, in any way. 



Like most songs so far, my favourite part of the entire song is, by far, the bridge; it's so well done, and creates such a wonderful balance against the verse and chorus. It's really pretty, and stands out to me so much. I could listen to it on repeat quite easily.

The video itself - of which I forgot existed. Whoops~ - is not my favourite, though I admire what they do with the simplicity to make it interesting. The pops of red and use of grey tones is fun, and gives it this mature, stylish vibe that is perfectly fitting of the group. The dresses are gorgeous, too, and all of the members look confident and divine in every scene. No awkwardness, here, thank goodness! Not my favourite, as I've said, but I do appreciate it for all it creates. It's quite a nice watch.

So, a good song, and I do think a lot of people will get a kick out of this. Right now, I am enjoying it thoroughly, though tomorrow, I might not be as hyped about it. Who knows?

5. Aka no Agitato

Okay, so when it comes to Aka no Agitato, I'm not as enthusiastic... however, this is the track I remember the most, and the track I can pin-point straight away. In many ways, it's a stand-out track. It's catchy, it has a very memorable melody, and its instrumental is pretty damn divine. Also, though I may say I am not enthusiastic about it, that is right now. I can easily see myself enjoying this song the more I listen to it, because honestly, it is growing on me, and quickly.

Dang catchy, stand-out tracks!

This song could easily become one of my favourites, with time. I love the bridge, I find the chorus pleasing, and I am so thankful for the energy and general joy it seems to exude. It is a really pleasing song, and I do think it will genuinely intrigue many people.One thing that helps me like it the more I hear it, too, is how the songs vivid sound allows me to create a picture in my mind of what I think a video would look like to this song. It's easy to imagine to, to put it simply, and when a song can make me think of colour, story structure and more, I find the songs to be powerful, and rather appealing.

So, yeah. This one is a real grower, and that bridge is BOMB! Give this one a go, guys, because it might just surprise you.

6. Hitoku no Paradise

Hello, dance track! I feel like I'm in a bit of a time warp, going back to the dance music of the 2000's that I adored so much, though I admit, this is a little bit better, and possibly a little bit classier than what I listened to. Honestly, Hitoku no Paradise is a fun track, and unlike Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi, I don't get tired of this one right away, or find myself flitting between interest and disinterest, depending on the day. I'm pretty sure this one would appeal to me any time, whenever I tuned into it.

The chorus is fun, the verse leads up to said chorus in a great way, and the overall pacing is great, in my opinion. I like how the instrumental sounds, too, with its very club-like vibe. The instrumental break - around 2:53, it starts - is heavily inspired by club sound, too, but I really enjoy it, and enjoy how it stands out from the rest of the instrumental track. Of course, the bridge is a point to laud over, too; it's glorious. Whoever is singing the solo line from 5:06 is beautiful, their voice is A+. They made that bridge perfect.

Hitoku no Paradise is catchy, and pretty damn addictive. I could get lost in this song, and would not mind looping it about 500 times, or more. It's fun, and it's right up my alley. Give me more of this, predia, please!

7. Yakou Chou

Isn't Yakou Chou pretty? The opening of this very track just seems to fit the idea of a butterfly well, with its graceful sound and beautiful vocals that compliment the softness of the piano. All the way through, this is a beautiful track, and one I really do enjoy. It's just gorgeous.

I really wish this one had a music video, honestly. I want to see what they would do with it, and how predia would interpret a butterfly, either in their wardrobe or in dance. Well, it's nice to imagine, and honestly, this song is really easy to imagine such beauty and colour to. Every time I hear this track, I think of flowing chiffon shifts, lilac in colour, and shadowed women dancing around gracefully. This song just makes me think of the prettiest things, aha.

Yakou Chou is glorious all the way throughout, and of course, it's a track that appeals to me greatly, and stands out the most for its delicate yet powerful sound, and wonderful vocals. I feel like it is so obvious that I would attach myself to this kind of the song the most - it's really soft, and I love a good 'soft', ballad-like song - but, really... I love what I love, and Yakou Chou is the type of track I love. Let me enjoy it~

8. Rasen no Tsuki

I feel like I have not listened to Rasen no Tsuki enough, but whenever it plays, it feels familiar and comforting, as if I have known it for a very long time. I haven't, but honestly, I love that feeling of returning to something, even if the song is new to me. This song is really nice, in general, and I do really like it. The chorus is incredibly catchy and memorable, and the vocals are, yet again, stellar. Good grief, I really do like the sound of predia's vocals!

There is nothing I dislike about this song; I like the verse. The chorus is, to me, incredible, and I once again adore that instrumental break that leads to the bridge. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this track, and whilst it does feel I haven't given this one as much as a chance as others, I could see it becoming one of my most played, next to Yakou Chou. It's so. Damn. Pretty, and I do like a pretty song.

If you like pretty songs, too, Yakou Chou and Rasen no Tsuki are the ones for you. Listen to them, now!

9. Ai no Heroin

Though it isn't one of my stand-out tracks on this album, Ai no Heroin is a really fun piece, and honestly, it reminds me slightly of some >good< H!P tracks, like, some of the quality Berryz stuff. It might not become one of my favourites, ever, but I can appreciate how decent Ai no Heroin is as a whole, because truly, it's a good song, and I think a lot of people would see this as one of their little 'hidden gem' tracks that they dig up every now and again, and think of quite fondly.

I can honestly see myself looking back at Ai no Heroin in a few years, and really loving it, thinking why the feck I never appreciated it more, because damn, it is a fun listen.

So, basically, this is a track that could season quite well over time. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age. Hopefully, when I go back to this one in a year or two, it will have become even better, and will suit my tastes so much more.

10. Maboroshi Ha Zanadu

... Good grief, another song with a rather bad opening, but a wonderful verse and chorus that just sucks you in, and makes you want to stay for more. Luckily for Maboroshi Ha Zanadu, the opening is not as long, or painfully dull, as what Voyage is. Still, it does fail in keeping me interested at points, much like Voyage, which is this songs greatest downfall... Well, for me, at least.

There is a lot to love about Maboroshi Ha Zanadu, but honestly, the parts that bore me, just make me lose even more interest in this song, and that is a shame. It's so fun and quirky, and if the verse and opening were only more interesting, like the chorus and bridge, I would adore this track and say it was one of my favourites. Alas, it isn't, all for its shortcomings.

Well, we're all different, and we hear things differently. So, give this track a go, and see if you find it more appealing than I do. You might just find a winner, and fall in love with it.

11. Kowareta Ai no Hate ni

When I first listened to this track, I thought my headphones were going iffy. They weren't, it's just how the opening goes, and honestly... I love how it sounds at the start. It's different from the rest of the songs, it makes it sound unique, and it stands out in a great way. The song also proves to be a lot more energetic and upbeat than what the opening lines promise, which is a nice surprise, though that opening comes back during the chorus, though with a bit more punch and power.

Also, lemme point out that I do like this song. It's a great track, and it makes so much sense that this was an A-side single track. Of course it was, why shouldn't it be? It's damn awesome! It's quite a positive song in its sound, and I love how energetic it feels. It fits so well with this album, too, giving us yet another mature but fun song, defining the very essence of predia.

Basically, I like everything about this song. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I cannot fault it at all.



In regards to the Music Video, let me just say that it is quite sexy and mature. Though I feel a bit awkward watching it at points, I just put that down to me being a general prude, sometimes. I do enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but at times it does feel like the sexiness is forced, for the sake of fan-service and sexual gratification. If you enjoy this type of video, however, have at it! Watch some girls dance around in gold hot pants, pour wine over one another, and caress each other gently.

I love this song, and the video is good, but... No. I'm too much of a prude today for this amount of sexy xD Let me have my innocent Idol PV's back!

12. You're My Hero

The second this song comes on, I can't help but think "Yes! I remember you!". It's got a distinct sound, and it really does set itself apart from the rest of the tracks on the album that is Koko no Dahlia ni Kuchizuke wo. It's still just as mature and memorable as other tracks, but this one is definitely more of a ballad than the others, though it has great strength in its sound, and is still extremely appealing.

... Of course, it is the ballad track that I flock towards again. Ha.

Really though, it's pretty, with a gorgeous instrumental and equally beautiful vocals that only add to the power of this glorious song. I could listen to this over and over, easily, and honestly, I wish this had a music video, too. I mean, it has an official Lyric Video, but, that's not as good as a real music video, is it? I want to see a visual to this beautiful piece... for now, however, my imagination will have to suffice, and right now, that imagination is taking me to the building in which Nanchatte Renai was filmed, with predia looking absolutely beautiful in blue. This feels like a song that would suit a royal blue clothing, in my mind.


I really like this song, and honestly, this is an easy favourite for me. I like songs like this, always, and I think it suits the maturity of predia beautifully. I want to loop this so many times, and create a story from it. This could very easily become a new writing song for me, because it feels inspiring, and it sounds like a passionate story waiting to be written.

I am so glad this is one of the last few songs. What a nice way to slowly bring this album to close.

13. BABY KISS

When I think of the title BABY KISS, I think of energy and smiles, brightness, colour... and E-girls. Well, that's what was delivered, in a way, because this song sounds exactly as I expect it to, though a little more downplayed than what E-girls might provide. Still, that does not skew my thoughts on it at all, because I really do like - maybe even adore - this song. It's a nice change of pace from what we have already heard, and it delivers this sense of playfulness that is innocent, fresh and youthful, which we haven't actually had in the album yet.

So, this song certainly stands out, in a positive, fun way, and I can't help but enjoy every moment of it. It's such a cute track!

BABY KISS just makes me want to jump around and play in the sun, or create something. It's so colourful and fun, and it makes me feel cheerful whenever I hear it. Of all the tracks, this is the most Idol of the lot, and that isn't a bad thing; it's nice to do something different, and to stand out from the other songs here. I appreciate that whoever compiled this album together, put BABY KISS in here. It's a true breath of fresh air, and a nice little break from the mature and dance club tunes I have become accustomed to.

A nice surprise, one that I hope you will all appreciate just as much as I have! It might seem like a bit of a sore thumb at first, but honestly, it'll win you over. Just give it a try, and relish in the cute innocence that predia can pull off quite well!

14. Wedding Story

Here we come to the final track, a piece with a title I find quite funny because, you know, Idols can't date. Oh, the irony! Well, regardless of the title, this is a really cute track, another little 'Idol' affair, if you will. Compared to other tracks, Wedding Story is a lot lighter in sound, with an airy feeling that is bright and cheery, but not overly chipper. It is a perfect medium in tone, which actually makes it a pretty perfect fit for the end of this album. Instead of going with a slow, solemn ballad track, we are given a charming little piece that feels like it would be easy to sing along to, and will get stuck in your head pretty quickly.

Much like BABY KISS, it's not a song I would expect from predia, from what I have heard throughout this album already. So, it's another pleasant surprise, and gives my ears a soft little break from all the dance heavy tracks I've heard previously. It's like a cushioned end to a rather energetic song spree, to put it figuratively.

I do enjoy this track - I like Idol songs, after all - and I find it to be a nice ending to the album I've come to know over the course of a few days. It's not the best - there are better, more quality songs offered here - but it's still a beautifully constructed, entertaining song that will please quite a few people, and it serves as a nice little goodbye to the album that is Koko no Dahlia ni Kuchizuke wo. I like it, and I think a great deal of you will, too, so definitely check out Wedding Story, if you can!


~Conclusion~

I think that, in its entirety, Koko no Dahlia ni Kuchizuke wo is a fun album. It has a great variety of songs, with most showcasing the strengths of predia throughout, and it has a distinct sound that is fitting for the group. The members all sound mature and strong, as well as passionate and energetic, which I definitely appreciate. There is, in general, no weak link within this album, though obviously there are a few songs that fall flat, for a variety of reasons. Still, these songs do prove to hold something within them that I enjoy, meaning no song - not one - is a song that I hate. I like them all at different levels, some more than others, and I believe there will be something in here for everyone.

Throughout this album, I noted that one of the things about predia that I liked was how, despite being a sister group of both PASSPO☆ and palet, they have their own, unique sound, something other companies seem to fail in providing. H!P, AKS, Stardust, iDOL STREET... They all mix their sounds with their groups, but here, predia have their own unique quality to their music, something I haven't heard in either of their sister units, as of yet. Then again, that could just be because I follow known of them exclusively.

To conclude: This is a fun album, with a strong, reliable sound throughout, good vocals and wonderful energy. It's entertaining, and it's a nice introduction into the world of predia for me as a listener and reviewer. Hopefully, everything else they have created that I review after this lives up to the standards set, because this was honestly a damn strong introduction to the sounds of predia.

Rating:
✯✯✯✯

It's a good album, and one I do recommend. Not once was I bored by it - aside from a few openings and verses that were just meh - and it gave me a good time, all around. Hopefully, once this week closes, this won't be the end of my journey with predia, because I do hope this is simply the beginning of something glorious.

Do any of you know predia, and if so, what is your favourite release by them? Let me know, and share your thoughts on one of the Idol World's most mature, womanly groups, in age and sound. If you haven't heard of them, though, stick around. We're going to get to know them even more as the week goes by, and see just what they can bring to us all as listeners.

Enjoy the rest of your day, everyone, take care, and love your Idols. I will see you in the next review.

Much Love,
Chiima~

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