{single} Sakamoto Maaya – Ame ga Furu

October 20, 2009 at 12:38 am | Posted in Music, Sakamoto Maaya | Leave a comment

Sakamoto Maaya – Ame ga Furu
坂本真綾 – 雨が降る

(released October 29th, 2008)

Sakamoto Maaya’s 17th single. The first track is the ending theme to Kurogane no Linebarrels. Which makes me wonder, I don’t think Maaya’s ever put out a single without any anime tie-in to it…

1. 雨が降る [Ame ga Furu]
2. プラリネ [Praline]
3. 雨が降る (w/o maaya)
4. プラリネ (1+1)

Ame ga Furu had me instantly with the harp intro, after which Maaya comes in, singing softly. The music revs up a bit at the chorus, when the guitar, percussion, and strings come in. The rapid lyrics with the whispery backing vocals sound like rain falling (“ame ga furu”).  If I had to sum this song up in one word, it would be “rain” – nearly every aspect of the song musically embodies the rain. The harp notes sound like rain landing on windowpanes, and the contrast between the slow, lonely verses and the fast-paced, more frantic choruses makes me think of those days in which the rain would often start and stop, changing pace at random whims. The key change in the final chorus was a nice touch, it heightened the emotional atmosphere nicely. Though different in arrangement, Ame ga Furu struck me as a less dramatic version of Saigo no Kajitsu in some places.

I thought I would dislike Praline when I heard the intro since I feared it would be another one of her generic cheerful J-Pop songs. It’s partially true, but Praline isn’t dull at all. It’s one of those upbeat “feel good” songs that you can relax to as well. If Ame ga Furu was the rain, Praline would be the gradual sunshine after – definitely not the rainbow – it’s not THAT cheery. Think about walking around the block looking at the damp flowers and grass after the rain as the sun slowly peeks its way out from behind the clouds. The backing is just piano, guitar, and percussion and Maaya lilting vocals in this are really uplifting.

We have the (1+1) version of Praline, which is basically a stripped down piano + vocal only rendition. I actually prefer this to the original since I’m a sucker for simplicity in pop songs. The entire mood changes in this one – it sounds more indoors, as if Maaya’s looking out the window after the rain, and letting the rays of sun in. The vocals actually sound better in this version, since it seems like Maaya can sing more freely and not worry about singing over a louder, more complex arrangement.

Favorite Track: Ame ga Furu

Overall Grade: A


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