KOKIA – Fate

June 3, 2010 at 9:12 AM | Posted in KOKIA | 4 Comments
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Fate is KOKIA’s 20th single and it was released on May 26, 2010. The single reached #85 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 1,132 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the movie Break Blade.

This cover makes me think of Gundam for some reason.

♦ ♦ ♦

Dammit KOKIA, stop being amazing! Among other things, Fate is big and grandoise. Imagine any song off REAL WORLD but on steroids. XD Not even considering it’s movie tie-in, the song has an epic theatrical atmosphere, like something you would hear right before a battle scene. It just has that kind of powerful prescence. The awesome orchestral arrangement blended with KOKIA’s Celtic styled vocal layering just completes it, as well.

Onto the B-side! Omoi is much more calmer and simpler. I would say the song is an extremely slow burner since it hardly features any changes in tempo but it does succeed in setting an omninous mood. Primarily composed of unsettling strings, it does sound pretty creepy. I guess that makes up for the song’s drowsy side.

Pros: I love Fate. KOKIA always takes it up a notch on her anime themed singles.
Cons: Omoi is kind of boring.

BASICALLY…this single beats Transparent by a longshot.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Fate
2. Omoi (ヲモイ)
3. Fate (instrumental)
4. Omoi (instrumental)

KOKIA – REAL WORLD

April 11, 2010 at 10:15 AM | Posted in KOKIA | 14 Comments
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REAL WORLD is KOKIA’s 11th album and it was released on March 31, 2010. The album reached #44 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 3,121 copies. It was preceded by 3 digital singles: Kimi wo Sagashite / last love song, single mother / Christmas no Hibiki, and Kodoku na Ikimono / Ano Hi no Watashi ni.

EPIC COVER. The photoshoot for this album took place in Tunisia (a country in northern Africa).

♦ ♦ ♦

Creating visions of vast desert landscapes and endless blue skies, REAL WORLD is one of KOKIA’s most unique offerings. There is also some pretty epic stuff on here. The album’s overall theme, as well as 8 of the 14 tracks, were inspired by her trip to Tunisia. Let’s go over those first, shall we?

KOKIA shows off her songwriting skills and still keeps things fresh with these 8 tracks. Thanks to the ethnic and new age feel of these tracks, they stand out on the album. She incorporates sweeping strings, light beats and synth, and amazing vocal layering that is reminiscent of Enya. Love is Us, Love is Earth and the epic 7 minute long Dugong no Sora were the best examples of this. Some of the other tracks feature simpler arrangements but are still beautiful nonetheless. Birth, Watashi ga Mitamono, and Kodoku na Ikimono are gentle songs but KOKIA’s vocals make them radiant. The interesting chant-like chorus of Saishuu Jouei and acoustics in Oto no Tabibito give you a feeling like you’re really in the Sahara Desert, too.

The rest of the tracks were created before the trip to Tunisia. The most significant song would have to be The woman, the album’s main promotional track (a PV was filmed as well). There’s also Road to Glory~for Dragon Nest (the theme song for the video game Dragon Nest) and U-CHA-CHA, which has been around for years but finally makes an appearance.

While I do think the album is pretty astounding, I have to admit that it has a sleepy side. 2 of the digital singles, Kimi wo Sagashite and single mother, aren’t as interesting as the rest of the tracks (send your hate mail single mother fans). It doesn’t help that they’re clumped together either because they make up the weakest point of the album. Aside from that, REAL WORLD is her strongest album since The VOICE. After giving it a good amount of listens, I can say that it also tops her 10th anniversary “balance” albums by a considerable margin.

Pros: I loved the theme of this album. Did I mention that it’s EPIC!??!?! *side eye*
Cons: There’s 1 or 2 songs that are just average…but every KOKIA album seems to have them.

BASICALLY…it’s amazing what a little inspiration can do! A very refreshing album.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. Birth
2. Road to Glory~for Dragon Nest
3. U-CHA-CHA
4. REAL WORLD
5. Saishuu Jouei (最終上映)
6. Love is Us, Love is Earth
7. Dugong no Sora (ジュゴンの空)
8. Kodoku na Ikimono (孤独な生きもの)
9. single mother
10. Kimi wo Sagashite (君をさがして)
11. Oto no Tabibito (音の旅人)
12. Watashi ga Mitamono (私が見たもの)
13. Kono Chikyuu ga Marui Okage de (この地球がまるいお陰で)
14. The woman

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

KOKIA – Transparent

September 18, 2009 at 8:15 PM | Posted in KOKIA | 1 Comment
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Transparent is KOKIA’s 19th single and it was released on August 26, 2009. The single reached #105 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 930 copies.

KOKIA has started to release music under the Lantis label now so it explains the covers of this single and her previous one KARMA. Lantis exclusively focuses on anison singers/bands and seiyuu. The song was used as the 2nd ending theme for PHANTOM -Requiem for the Phantom- as well.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’m liking these anime singles so far because they showcase KOKIA doing some genre experimenting. Like with her last single, she’s creating an ambient atmosphere through the use of synthetic sounds in Transparent. While I think this song is nowhere near as good as KARMA was, it still has its moments. The chorus, despite being really repetitive since she says nothing but “TRANSPARENT”, is nice and features great stringwork. Aside from that, there’s nothing else worth noting.

I thought the B-side Chinmoku was a little better. The music is slower paced but still has that eerie, synthetic sound. I liked the mix of piano and light beats because they both sound so fluid togehter. KOKIA’s vocals are gentler as well and she does some neat adlibbing.

Pros: Both songs are pleasant and I liked that KOKIA is doing something different.
Cons: At the same time, this single was pretty underwhelming. KARMA was much better.

BASICALLY…not amazing but still worth a listen!

Overall Rating

 3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Transparent
2. Chinmoku (沈黙)
3. Transparent (Instrumental)
4. Chinmoku (Instrumental)

KOKIA – KARMA

May 25, 2009 at 10:00 AM | Posted in KOKIA | 3 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. KARMA
2. Insonnia
3. KARMA (instrumental)
4. Insonnia (instrumental)

This is KOKIA’s 18th single and it was released on April 22, 2009. The single reached #45 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 4,293 copies. The title track was used as the opening theme song for the anime Phantom -Requiem for the Phantom-.

Like her last single Tatta Hitotsu no Omoi, which was also had an anime tie-in, KARMA was not released on her normal label Victor Entertainment. Now onto the review~
Damn, this song is CREEPY…but in a good way! The entire thing is just so unsettling and full of tension that it’s bound to give you the chills. The music comprises of a quiet, ambient sequence that includes the verses and a haunting chorus that is to die for. During the chorus, thudding beats and pounding strings make an appearance, creating a hair raising experience. Mix all of this with the insanely spooky vocals and adlibbing and you got yourself a work of art. To me, this is her most surprising song since Follow the Nightingale.

The B-side is a dreamy and very serene track. Insonnia has a soothing sound that utilizes gentle acoustics and breathy vocals. You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this song is in Italian (“insonnia” is the Italian word for “insomnia” as well). In the end, despite the song’s overall simplicity, it is gorgeous. It makes for an excellent follow up to KARMA.

Overall Rating

5 stars

KOKIA – KOKIA∞AKIKO ~balance~

May 10, 2009 at 6:40 AM | Posted in KOKIA | 5 Comments
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KOKIA∞AKIKO ~balance~ is KOKIA’s 9th studio album and it was released on March 18, 2009. The album reached #51 on the Oricon Weekly Charts. On the same day, she released a “companion album” of sorts titled AKIKO∞KOKIA ~balance~ on an independent label.

♦ ♦ ♦

Starting things off is Hananoen, a slow, ambient, “new age” kind of track. KOKIA always seems to be starting her albums with these slower songs lately but at least they’re filled with gorgeous vocals. The music has flowing piano, strings, and woodwinds that acclimate during the instrumental sections. The adlibbing in the background is pretty too.

The next track is more upbeat and cheery. Usu Momoiro no Kisetsu has pleasant, European inspired sound thanks to the accordion that plays a big part in the music. There is also a gentle band arrangement that includes drums and guitars. KOKIA’s vocals in this song are great, despite the overall simplicity. She sounds absolutely lovely.

The acoustic based +sing follows and it starts pretty slow but it eventually picks up the pace. The chorus is the main highlight due to the enthusiastic vocals and KOKIA ending it with sing it, sing it, sing aloud. The song is nice, but uneventful at the same time.

Featuring a darker, Celtic-like sound is Douke. Next to the conventional acoustics, the music adds piano, light drums, and a cool violin solo during the bridge. KOKIA’s vocals are deeper and stronger in this song as well; the chorus showcasing this the most.

Some of the album’s more unique songs are up next. I love to see KOKIA mix it up a bit and she does exactly that with usaghi, which features an Hispanic inspired arragement. The guitars are quick alongside the light beats and violins in the background. The vocals in this track are amazing and I loved the adlibbing that she does during the chorus.

Possessing a dreamy, ethereal atmosphere is Yoake~rebirth. The music is pretty different from the other tracks and features sweeping strings next to tolling bells and a really gentle electric guitar. The instrumental sequences are kind of unsettling but have a great ambience to them.

Another surprising track is Gematria. I got an Hispanic vibe from this song too because of the acoustics but what makes it stand out are the constant background vocals that repeat the same phrase over and over. I’m not exactly sure what language it is, since it could just be gibberish too, but it sounds pretty cool. KOKIA performs this song with opera style vocals as well and I loved it.

The next track is one that is purely composed of vocalizing. Hoshikuzu no Vocalize is similar to songs such as her version of Ave Maria and Lydia~Fairy Dance in that there are no lyrics whatsoever. The music is gorgeous and very calming with its gentle strings and piano, but the main focus is definitely on KOKIA’s voice. Once again showing off those amazing opera style vocals, she gives another stellar performance.

Then we have life goes on, a piano based song that’s in English. I liked the lyrics and they present a message about personal strength and perseverance. One of my favorite lines is life goes on and I’m still here. It’s simple but effective.

More pretty songs coming up! Senka no Hana makes use of a lone piano next to perfect, flowing vocals. The piano arrangement is so heartwarming and I loved that little solo during the bridge. Once again, she turns simplicity into something beautiful.

Kono Mune no Kurushimi ga Itooshii Hodo ni Ikite felt like a reiteration of the previous track to me. It’s more upbeat, has stronger vocals, and features a band arrangement. The verses are calm but the chorus becomes more involved as drums and organ come in. The song also includes a saxophone near the end, which adds some character.

The album ends with my favorite track. INFINITY is simply beautiful and it’s over 7 minutes in length, making it the longest song on the album. While it took me a while to start enjoying the other songs, it was this track that instantly clicked with me because it has such a pretty and memorable melody. It starts off slowly with some low key strings but it later adds flowing adlibbing sequences and quiet percussion. I like how the song combines all of these elements near the end and it really sounds marvelous. On that note, the album closes in the most perfect way with this song.

When I first listened to KOKIA∞AKIKO ~balance~, it didn’t really leave an impression on me since the album is quite laid back for the most part. However, after a couple of listens, I really began to appreciate it. To me, this album is like a combination of her past two efforts aigakikoeru ~listen for the Love~ and The VOICE. It has the simplicity of the former with an emphasis on vocals heard in the latter. Almost every track is distinct in some way and shows off a different side of KOKIA, once again proving her versatility as a songwriter and also as a vocalist. If I had to choose my favorites for this album, they would be Usu Momoiro no Kisetsu, usaghi, and INFINITY. As of now, I really enjoy the album and I think it contains some really thoughful, inspiring material.

Overall Rating

 4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Hananoen (花宴)
2. Usu Momoiro no Kisetsu (うす桃色の季節)
3. +sing
4. Douke (道化)
5. usaghi
6. Yoake~rebirth (夜明け~rebirth)
7. Gematria (ゲマトリア)
8. Hoshikuzu no Vocalize (星屑のヴォカリーズ)
9. life goes on
10. Senka no Hana (戦火の花)
11. Kono Mune no Kurushimi ga Itooshii Hodo ni Ikite (この胸の苦しみが愛おしいほどに生きて)
12. INFINITY

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

KOKIA – Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~

October 14, 2008 at 8:02 PM | Posted in KOKIA | 8 Comments
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Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~ is KOKIA’s 7th album and it was released on September 24, 2008. The album reached #67 on the Oricon Weekly Charts sold 2,715 copies. All of the songs on here feature arrangements inspired by Irish folk music and she performs some classic folk songs as well.

♦ ♦ ♦

The first track, Lydia~Fairy Dance, showcases KOKIA performing in traditional Irish sean nós style. This means that there are no lyrics and just gorgeous, ornamental vocalizations. She mostly sings within in her higher register, another common characteristic of Irish folk songs. Accompanied by mostly gentle strings and drums, the music eventually gains momentum and later adds a playful flute.

The next track originally appeared on The VOICE and it has been given a new Irish flavored arrangement. song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta was my least favorite song on that album but I liked the changes here in this new version. The flute in the background is a new addition to the music and there is an extended instrumental sequence that features an upbeat fiddle as well. KOKIA sings the lyrics at a faster pace too. Actually, it’s more like ‘gibberish’ because this song doesn’t have any real lyrics.

Now the album transitions into its first Japanese song, the first of only three. Kanashikute Yarikirenai is my favorite song on here and I find it to be a really peaceful and relaxing listen. It opens very quietly with guitar but follows it up with some very pretty strings and a prominent flute. KOKIA’s vocals are lovely and perfectly match the serene atmosphere of the music.

Included on the album are covers of three Irish/Celtic folk songs. The first one to appear is Black is the colour, the only song that is completely in English. The original title is actually Black is the Colour (of My True Love’s Hair). There are many lyrical versions of this song and it has been covered by a ton of artists, but KOKIA’s version is sung from the male perspective. Instead of ‘he’, ‘she’ or ‘her’ is sung. Here’s an example:

I love my love and well she knows, I love the ground whereon she goes. I wish the day soon would come when she and I will be as one.

Soshuu Yakyoku is an interesting song because it features Japanese lyrics that are performed in an Irish manner. It is performed mostly through rhythmic and elongated high notes while bouncy woodwinds play during the instrumentals.

It was pretty cool to hear KOKIA sing in the Irish language with her cover of Suil a Run (Walk My Love). This bittersweet folk song features both English and Irish lyrics and is primarily an acoustic track with the occasional flute every now and then. The chorus is in Irish and KOKIA sounds really good singing the lyrics.

Here is another pretty song that is also quite festive. Sono Mama de ~be as you are~ starts off slow but gets upbeat when the woodwinds and accordion come in. The most notable thing about the song is the ending when KOKIA starts adlibbing and the instruments are at their most lively.

The final track is Taimse Im’ chodhadh (I Sleep), an Irish folk song based on an old poem. It is performed completely in Irish and I was impressed with KOKIA’s vocals because she sings the lyrics very well. The music consists of only the uilleann pipes (or Irish bagpipes) and there is an instrumental section during the middle of the song. In my opinion, this was a great way to end the album.

Fairy Dance ~KOKIA meets Ireland~ was absolutely fascinating from beginning to end. I really liked the Irish theme of this album and KOKIA continues to show her incredible versatility and innovation as a vocalist. The folk songs she performs are really interesting and the new original tracks are well done, too. I’m now convinced that she can do just about anything and with her upcoming Christmas album coming in early November, let’s see what she has in store.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Lydia~Fairy Dance
2. song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta (song of pocchong~雫の歌)
3. Kanashikute Yarikirenai (悲しくてやりきれない)
4. Black is the colour
5. Soshuu Yakyoku (蘇州夜曲)
6. Suil a Run
7. Sono Mama de ~be as you are~ (そのままで ~be as you are~)
8. Taimse Im’ chodhadh

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

KOKIA – The VOICE

March 16, 2008 at 12:11 PM | Posted in KOKIA | 7 Comments
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The VOICE is KOKIA’s 6th album and it was released in Japan on February 20, 2008. A European edition was released later on March 5th. The album reached #42 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 7,765 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The album quickly begins with the opening acapella vocals of Odoyaka na Shizukesa~Jouka, an ambient song with a quiet atmosphere and an ethereal arrangement. The music sounded very “new age meets enka” to me because of how abstract everything sounded next to low key strings. The piano felt very eerie next to the hush hush sequences and the presence of the oboe was interesting.

Follow the Nightingale, the only single to appear on the album, is probably one of KOKIA’s most outlandish tracks. Filled with a wide array of vocals and instruments, the song is very complex. The chorus stands out with its reversed lyrics that are sung a very fast pace and bridge shows off the amazing range of her voice which appears in later tracks.

Track 3 is KOKIA’s rendition of Ave Maria, the popular aria composed by Vladimir Vavilov. This is an absolutely spine tingling song that’s solely performed in KOKIA’s opera voice, but without the lyrics and just the melody. This makes it different from the other cover versions. The song definitely focuses more on her voice since the instruments are pretty laid back, save for some piano and ambient beats.

Following Ave Maria is Todokimasu You ni, a slow acoustic based song. This track shows the more vulnurable side of KOKIA’s voice. She sings very gently and there is only a little emphasis into the vocals during the chorus, but even then it still remains calm.

The next track is my least favorite on the album. I found song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta to be really annoying because of the vocals and repitition. I know that they were meant to be playful but she repeats the same phrases over and over. The song gets faster near the end and I was REALLY annoyed at this point, especially with all the vocal layering going on. So for me, this was the only song that I disliked.

I thought track 6 was really pleasant. Gomen ne. is another calming song with minimal instruments like soft drums and acoustics. It mainly focuses on the lyrics which are the about the concept of forgiveness and the vocals. The chorus is excellent because of the high notes that KOKIA easily reaches.

The next song is another ballad. Lacrima (Latin for “tear”) features only an acoustic guitar next to KOKIA’s saddening vocals. Even though this song is a little on the boring side, it’s sung beautifully and it just sounds so emotionally driven.

Finally, an upbeat song! Nani mo Kamo ga Hoshi ni Natte has a nice band arrangement and KOKIA’s vocals sound a little more lower pitched this time. The pace of the music is brisk and I liked that this song gave some life into the album after all of those ballads. Don’t get me wrong, this album contains her best ballads, but I was getting a little bored.

The next track is stunning and incredibly spellbinding. il mare dei suoni (“the sea of sounds”) is sung in Italian and the only song on the album to contain the electric guitar alongside whipping beats. KOKIA switches from her normal voice to her opera voice at different intervals, showcasing her vocal range. I’m even more amazed the she wrote and composed this song.

Continuing where the previous track left off, Everlasting is a calmer, yet gorgeous song that’s performed in English. This has go to be KOKIA’s best English song ever because the lyrics are so heartwarming and uplifting. The music is beautiful too, comprising of tolling bells and sweeping strings. The song is also on the religious side, as she speaks of thanking God.

The next track is also quite positive and uplifting. Chiisa na Uta features an upbeat and cheery piano with some really light percussion. My favorite thing about this song was the chorus, where it had overlapping vocals of the opening phrase. This was another high quality track.

The differences between the Japanese and European editions are slight and depending on what edition you have, a different song closes the album. “Watashi ni Dekiru Koto” is the final track on the Japanese edition and I didn’t really find this song to be all that interesting. It’s an upbeat piano track that’s dedicated to the victims of the Niigata earthquake disaster. I really liked the message of the lyrics though. This song was released as a special tribute single along with Lacrima (track 7) as the B-side on September 16, 2007.

For those with the European edition, you get the MUCH better say good & good day, the B-side from the Follow the Nightingale single. This is one of my favorite songs from her and I find it really catchy with its simple chorus. The electric guitar and drums are excellent too, adding flavor to the music.

The VOICE is a remarkable album and it contains KOKIA’s most unique songs to date. There are some truly insightful songs on here and for the most part, almost all of them are excellent. What the album accomplishes is showing the range and variety of her voice. I could sense this right away from the title. Sure, the music isn’t as complex or involved as in previous albums, but I believe that this was intentional in order for her to perform the various experimental vocal styles heard in many of the new tracks. What can I say? She has the voice to prove it.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. Odoyaka no Shizukesa~Jouka (穏やかな静けさ~浄歌)
2. Follow the Nightingale
3. Ave Maria
4. Todokimasu You ni (届きますように)
5. song of pocchong~Shizuku no Uta (song of pocchong~雫の歌)
6. Gomen ne. (ごめんね。)
7. Lacrima
8. Nani mo Kamo ga Hoshi ni Natte (何もかもが星になって)
9. il mare dei suoni
10. Everlasting
11. Chiisa na Uta (小さなうた)
12. “Watashi ni Dekiru Koto” (「私にできること」) [Japan edition bonus track]
        say goodbye & good day [European edition bonus track]

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

KOKIA – Follow the Nightingale

December 16, 2007 at 8:58 PM | Posted in KOKIA | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Follow the Nightingale
2. say goodbye & good day
3. Follow the Nightingale (Original Karaoke)
4. say goodbye & good day (Original Karaoke)

This is KOKIA’s 16th single and it was released on November 21, 2007. The single reached #33 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 11,912 copies. The title track was used as the opening theme song for the video game Tales of Innocence while the B-side was the ending theme. 

Follow the Nightingale is a wonderful and absolutely mesmerizing breath of fresh air after KOKIA’s somewhat lackluster album aigakikoeru ~listen for the Love~. She utilizes all of her unique characteristics as a singer, songwriter, and composer and puts them all into full effect. The music is very dramatic and it ranges from fast paced string sections to slow, ethereal woodwinds and piano. The music has many faces and portrays several different emotions, all complete with fluent transitions. The chorus is the most striking feature of the song because the lyrics are sung backwards: ATTAMIJAHAHIRA TAGONOMARAKIKOTA is an example of this. She certainly loves to use this unique writing style since it was also used in Cyouwa oto ~with reflection~ and KOKIA is her real name, Akiko, when the katakana is backwards as well. For those who didn’t know, she is trained in opera and it’s huge a surprise that she actually sings using her alto (I think that’s right) voice during the bridge, something that she rarely does. The overall presentation of this song is mind-blowing and can be a little intimidating if you’re not fond of KOKIA or her music.

The B-side is a little more user friendly as it contains a strong band arrangement along with calming strings. say good-bye and good day is a gorgeous song that’s very relaxing, but also has a nice pace. I loved the laid back electric guitar and drums because they just compliment KOKIA’s gentle vocals so well. The music and vocals really reminded me of past songs like Kawaranai Koto ~since1976~ because of a more prominent use of the electric guitar. She still makes everything sound fresh thanks to a catchy and upbeat chorus.

Overall Rating

5 stars

KOKIA – Ai no Melody / Cyouwa oto ~with reflection~

July 1, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Posted in KOKIA | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Ai no Melody (original ver.) (愛のメロディー)
2. Cyouwa oto ~with reflection~
    (調和 oto ~with reflection~)
3. Ai no Melody (soundtrack ver.)
4. Ai no Melody (instrumental)

This is KOKIA’s 14th single and it was released on January 1, 2006. The single reached #30 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 9,142 copies. Both A-sides were used in the movie Giniro no Kami no Agido, the first track being the ending theme and the second being the opening theme.

I’ll begin this review with the original or ’single version’ of Ai no Melody. It is an incredibly pretty song that mixes the piano, strings, and several synthetic sounds including a light percussion beat. Even though many of these sounds are synthetic, they sound quite natural and ambient. KOKIA’s vocals are beautiful throughout the entire song, especially during the acapella sequence during the bridge.

The 2nd track is a new version of a song that appeared on her 2nd studio album trip trip. Cyouwa oto ~with reflection~ is a very odd song, but in a good way. KOKIA sings the song using the shima-uta vocal style, which involves a ‘breaking’ of the voice. Shima-uta is a vocal style that you normally hear in traditional Japanese enka songs. The song becomes even stranger around a minute and a half into it when KOKIA begins to recite the numbers 3, 25, 15, 21, 23, and 1. The numbers correspond to the English alphabet and they form the Japanese word ‘cyouwa’ in Romaji. At this point, the Japanese lyrics are sung backwards. It’s an unbelievable song and definitely worth a listen.

The next track is the soundtrack version of Ai no Melody. The biggest difference are the longer instrumentals and a redone bridge (which also contains more lyrics), so it is more than a minute longer than the original. This version of the song appears during the ending credits of Giniro no Kami no Agido as well as its soundtrack.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

KOKIA – time to say goodbye

May 5, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Posted in KOKIA | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. time to say goodbye
2. Shiawase no Hanataba (幸せの花束)
3. time to say goodbye (”duet KOKIA & PIANO”)
4. Yuukyuu no Mori ~My Home Town~
    (悠久の杜 ~My Home Town~)

This is KOKIA’s 13th single and it was released on July 21, 2005. The single reached #54 on the Oricon Weekly Charts.

KOKIA gives one of her best vocal performances in time to say goodbye and the song has one of her best piano arrangements as well. The melody is incredibly bittersweet and full of sadness. Her vocals are the strongest aspect of the song and like I said before, her vocal range is astounding, especially during the chorus and the bridge.

The first B-side is the cheery and uplifting Shiawase no Hanataba. It’s pretty much the complete opposite of the previous track because it is upbeat and features festive percussion and acoustics. KOKIA’s vocals sure are enthusiastic as she yells “YAY” at the end of each chorus.

The next track is the very haunting piano version of time to say goodbye. The original version was already piano dominated but this new version is a little different because the piano chords are stronger.

The final track was used in the NHK children’s program Minna no Uta. Yuukyuu no Mori ~My Home Town~ sounds very mystical and almost has a storybook quality to it. The music is ambient as it relies on more surreal, realistic sounds and it just flows beautifully.

Overall Rating

4 stars

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