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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Song of the week! 23 October 2010


It's Saturday again. That means it's time for another Song of the Week! We'll feature two songs this week. Which ones? Read more to find out!

Kurenai (紅)
Taiko 8 to 10, all consolex4 (165)x5 (223) x7 (727,514,442)x9 (999)
Taiko 11 to 12.5x4 (165)x4 (223) x7 (727,514,442)x9 (999)
Taiko 0, Wii U, 3DS 2, PS Vita1x3 (165)x4 (223) x7 (727,514,442)x8 (999)
Taiko 8 to 14, Taiko 0, Taiko PS2 7, Taiko iPhone, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko Wii 2, Taiko Wii U, Taiko 3DS 2, Taiko PS Vita1

This rock song is one of the early recordings of the Japanese rock band X (now known as X-JAPAN), the fathers of Visual Kei, in activity since 1982. The band's songs are so popular that the lead singer can stop in the middle of a song and have their audience sing the lyrics. Kurenai is one such song. Kurenai (which means 'crimson' in Japanese and is also the Chinese character for 'red') tells of a love story gone bad, with the singer desperately trying to get his lover back.

The drum/pianist/keyboarder Yoshiki Hayashi (林 佳樹) wrote Kurenai's lyrics, which was published as a single in two different versions: one with English lyrics (1st September 1989) and another one -shorter- with both English and Japanese lyrics (given as a gift with the Rockin'F magazine issue of June the following year), which is the version used for Taiko games.

In Taiko, Kurenai first appeared as the very first song with over 900 notes, and also the very first to hit the maximum limit of 999 notes. The play on the number '9' in Kurenai is amazing. Not only does it have 999 notes, it has 9* difficulty on Oni, 99 beat stanzas, 9 big notes, and the word 紅 is made up of 9 strokes. Even the hiragana equivalent of Kurenai (くれない) is made up of 9 strokes. Also, count the number of times the number 9 is used to refer to different aspects of the song. Did I use it 9 times? Yep. Impressive, right? Namco ruined the perfect lineup of nines, however, by downgrading Kurenai to an 8* Oni on Taiko 0. Nice work there.

And it is very, very hard for the regular player to pass. Long streams of notes, two by two, four by four, three by three, Kurenai threatens to drain the stamina of any seasoned player in the arcade, and cause confusion in home consoles. The long streams and number of notes, which was unprecedented before this, made a huge impact on the Taiko community when it came out, with players touting it as 'the hardest song ever' left and right for a long time, even though that was not the case. It definitely leaves a big impression to watch the long streams of notes being hit, and the numbers '999' at the end of the song.

Many difficult rock songs in the same vein as Kurenai- with 999 notes, an energetic rhythm, and high difficulty- have come out since, and though this song is no longer as difficult as it was when it first came to Taiko, it will definitely be remembered as the pioneer of truly hard J-Pop songs.

Always on pioneering speech for the genre, Kurenai is also the first J-Pop song being used for a boss battle in a Taiko no Tatsujin console videogame; the DLC boss encounter against the the Red Ashihara Kid on Taiko 3DS 2 plays this popular song for the intense battle.

And now for something completely different...

Super Mario Bros.(スーパーマリオブラザーズ) --- Old ---
All arcadex3 (131)x4 (175) x6 (442)x7 (589)
All consolex3 (131)x4 (175) x5 (442)x8 (589)
Taiko 8 to 11, Medal 2, Taiko DS 1

Super Mario Bros.(スーパーマリオブラザーズ) --- New ---
All arcade, Taiko Wii Ux4 (126)x5 (187) x7 (444)x8 (599)
Taiko Wii 1x4 (130)x5 (191) x7 (444)x8 (599)
Taiko 12 to 14, 0, Taiko Wii 1, Taiko Wii U

Mario, the Nintendo mascot, has just celebrated his 25th anniversary since his first real game on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). And what better way to celebrate it here?

This medley of songs comes from the NES game Super Mario Bros, a platform game created by Shigeru Miyamoto on September 13th, in 1985. The game was so good and Mario was so popular that the original SMB sold over 40 million copies throughout its lifetime, a Guinness World Record which would only be broken twenty one years later by another Nintendo game (Wii Sports).

There are two versions of the medley, an old one and a new one. The old one was introduced in Taiko 8, and featured 8-bit sprites of Mario, Luigi, Peach and other Mushroom Kingdom staples. The Level 1-1 medley is looped twice, followed by 1-2, then the Star theme, then back up to level ground, then the time running out music, then stage completion. The new one, which replaces the old one in Taiko 12 and Wii1 onwards (and is a lot harder to pass), takes things a little differently, and is a lot less repetitive. 1-1 is looped once only, then 1-2, then Star theme, then 1-3 (underwater), then 1-4's Bowser fight theme, then world completion theme. There are more sound effects and even the infinite 1-up glitch can be heard in the background. Neither medley made use of the Game Over theme.

In terms of notechart difficulty, the old one is easier and more predictable since the slow Level 1-1 theme plays for most of the medley. The new medley has a tougher spot especially towards the end after the Bowser's Castle music starts playing, because that is where the BPM is ramped up to pretty high levels. The world completion music, short as it is, is one long 1/12 deathstream with 1/24 clusters mixed in; definitely a troublesome spot for those aiming to FC. Both medleys have a difficult high BPM area during the Star theme.


  1. Kurenai isn't hard? Time to practise my rrrbbbrrrbbb streams then.

  2. ahh i love kurenai, that feeling of perfecting it just feels awesome