melody. – Lei AlohaApril 23, 2008 at 9:53 PM | Posted in melody. | 6 Comments
Lei Aloha is melody.’s 4th album and it was released on April 9, 2008. The album reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 20,609 copies. Minus the “eternal” version of Haruka, there are 13 new tracks.
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The album opens with the short instrumental Daybreak, an ambient piece that features a lonesome harp with the sound of ocean waves in the background. It perfectly sets intimate and serene tone of this album as it flows into the first full-length song.
Say Hello quickly begins with pretty strings and then a catchy chorus that uses an English lyric as its hook: Say hello, hello for you and myself. Next to the strings, there are some calm acoustics that really give the song a relaxing island vibe. It’s the first of many tracks that showcase the album’s musical direction.
Haruka was the only single that melody. released for this album and it has a different ending from that of the single version. If you’ve seen the PV then you’ll know that this is the “eternal version” which is a minute longer. The way it ends makes it superior to the single version because it gives the song closure and makes it more complete as a whole. Plus, it is absolutely beautiful when the background choir like vocals begin singing Stay together hand in hand and the strings and drums become stronger. I found this part to be really moving.
Minus the interludes, the next track is the shortest on the the album at just 2 minutes in length. It’s also the only song to be in English, which kind of surprising since her other albums contain at least 4-5 English songs. Peace Song is a simple acoustic track but I loved the message of the lyrics.
This song is a more upbeat and it has some nice percussion. However, Never Goodbye has a darker atmosphere too and it features acoustics with distant voices echoing Don’t stop dreaming in the background.
This interlude is just plain beautiful. Memories in Time has an uplifting piano arrangement that later adds some background vocals.
What follows after, HORIZON, is probably the most beautiful song on the album. This ethereal ballad just seems to go so well with melody.’s soft voice and she gives a wonderful performance during the chorus where she sings gorgeous elongated notes. Utilizing gentle synth and acoustic guitar, the song definitely has an air of ambience.
At this point, the album takes a more upbeat direction with Kiss away. It prominately features a unique instrument that sounded like the bagpipes along with up tempo drums. The chorus is pretty catchy too.
The electric guitar opens Anata no Soba ni with an impressive bang. The verses are rather calm but transition into a more aggressive chorus that uses electric guitar. This song is like a more upbeat version of Haruka thanks to the more “rockish” arrangement it has. melody.’s vocals are really nice here when she adds some emphasis into them.
No Return is a unique track on the album because it resembles the material from the dance influenced READY TO GO!, her previous album. The music has a dance club flair to it because of the beats and quick strings. melody.’s vocal style is a lot more assertive compared to the laid back approach she takes with the rest of the songs too. Even though the song doesn’t really fit that well on this album, it’s still a welcome addition.
Here’s another relaxing interlude but this one has vocals in it. Sunset Love features English lyrics and melody.’s vocals sound very remote and far away, but they echo too because of the layered backtrack.
It was interesting to find out that Dai Nagao (of Do As Infinity fame) composed Beneath My Skin, along with a couple of other songs on the album. This is a bright song with nice piano and frequent beats. I like how melody. creates a catchy hook into the chorus with an English lyric because she knows how to transition and she does it really well. The song fades out with background vocals repeating I promise to be true to you.
I liked the cheery island pop sound of DOOR mostly due to the gentle acoustics. When the chorus arrives, a catchy beat comes in next to melody.’s lovely vocals. The song itself is quite uplifting and it’s easy to sing along to as well.
I thought that Paradise was the perfect way to close the album. This calm acoustic ballad is like a farewell since melody. sings the Hawaiian phrase aloha o’e, which means “farewell to you”, during the chorus. In a way, she could be saying farewell to her former self since it is one of the themes of the album. With this song, the album ends in an almost sentimental fashion.
Lei Aloha is unlike anything melody. has done before and that’s actually a good thing. This is actually the first album by her where I liked every song because they’re all well done and of the highest musical quality. There are 2 major themes which are really personal to her that greatly affected the music and lyrics. The first one being the bonds she has with her friends and family and the second being the representation of her former self while living Hawaii before moving to Japan when she was 19. That’s why this album contains her most intimate and thoughtful work to date. I could really feel the laid back and relaxing island atmosphere that all of the tracks had and they are really reminiscent of what most people think of Hawaii, which is what I think melody. wanted to show. Fans of her usual dance and R&B flavored pop will find this album to be a drastic change but it’s definitely worth a listen. Honestly, this album made me appreciate her even more as a singer because it portrays a vulnerable and “human” side of her.
2. Say Hello
3. Haruka (Eternal Version) (遥花～はるか～)
4. Peace Song
5. Never Goodbye
6. Memories in Time
8. Kiss away
9. Anata no Soba ni (あなたのそばに)
10. No Return
11. Sunset Love
12. Beneath My Skin
Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!