{single} HIMEKA – Asu e no Kizuna

October 27, 2009 at 11:06 am | Posted in HIMEKA, Music | 1 Comment

HIMEKA – Asu e no Kizuna
HIMEKA – 明日へのキズナ

(released May 27th, 2009)

1. 明日へのキズナ [Asu e no Kizuna]
2. さよならソリティア [Sayonara Solitia]
3. 明日へのキズナ ~instrumental~

HIMEKA’s 1st single. I spotlighted her a while back in my amateur J-Pop singers post, so I’m definitely excited to review her professional debut. The title track is the first opening theme to Valkyria Chronicles. Despite being French-Canadian, HIMEKA’s solid Japanese pronunciation would put the rest of us gaijin to shame.

I had been holding my breath wondering whether HIMEKA would get an epic slice of anison or something lazy and unremarkable. Asu e no Kizuna leans toward the former, with a mid-paced chorus that doesn’t slack off and a driving, catchy chorus. Perhaps the best part is that this track is completely “organic” – no blips and bloops anywhere, just your good ‘ol guitar, piano, bass, drums…okay, I think the strings were synthesized, but still. Vocal-wise, it was slightly underwhelming. In comparison to her stunning winning live, her voice sounds a bit too strained and thin – perhaps she’s just not very used to the recording process. The emotion does feel a bit subdued in some parts, but really comes out nicely during that high note in the chorus.

The true gem of the single is HIMEKA’s cover of Chiba Saeko’s Sayonara Solitia. Her head voice is used more here and it’s absolutely stunning. She sings it at a higher pitch than the original, and though I initially felt her singing is a bit overdone in comparison to Chiba’s, I realized HIMEKA was aiming for a different mood – this sounds so beautifully sad and lonely, so raw, and so HIMEKA – she has a distinct vocal style. I also really like this stripped down arrangement – the electric elements and Kajiuran backing vocals were taken away, and replaced with simple piano lines. After a few listens of the single, I definitely prefer this to Asu e no Kizuna. Overall, a strong debut single.

Overall Grade: A-


1 Comment »

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  1. Don’t forget the lyrics, now.

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