{single} Hikita Kaori – Egao no Wake

February 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Hikita Kaori, Kajiura Yuki, Music | Leave a comment

Hikita Kaori – Egao no Wake
引田香織 – 笑顔の訳

(released October 25th, 2006)

1. 笑顔の訳 [Egao no Wake]
2. 笑顔の訳 (karaoke)

Hikita Kaori’s 2nd single. This song is Shounen Onmyouji’s opening, and is composed by Kajiura Yuki.

I was seriously not expecting Hikita to pull off a song like Egao no Wake – compared to her debut, it’s a lot more rockish and hard-hitting. I will admit that some of her belting on the higher notes in the chorus felt a bit forced, but I loved her overall energy. I think she did a much better job on the verse, keeping that sense of tension in her voice without overdoing it. Egao no Wake’s melody is not particularly catchy, but still rather addicting. Trust Kajiura Yuki to pull another one on us, I loved Kajiura’s mix of electronica (this is how you do beats properly in anison!) and the hint of traditional Japanese elements. I’m not too fond of the guitar solo though, it’s a bit generic. However, the part with Hikita singing the chorus and the Kajiuran choir harmonizing was gorgeous.

Overall Grade: A-


{single} Okina Reika & Hikita Kaori – Tsuki no Curse/Michiyuki

December 11, 2009 at 12:39 am | Posted in Hikita Kaori, Kajiura Yuki, Music, Okina Reika | 2 Comments

Okina Reika & Hikita Kaori – Tsuki no Curse/Michiyuki
翁鈴佳 & 引田香織 – 月の呪縛(カース)/みちゆき

(released May 25th, 2005)

1. 月の呪縛(カース) [Tsuki no Curse]
2. みちゆき [Michiyuki]
3. 月の呪縛(カース) (karaoke)
4. みちゆき (karaoke)

Okina Reika’s first (and only) single and Hikita Kaori’s debut single. Both songs were used in the anime Loveless (Tsuki no Curse as the opening, Michiyuki as the ending) and both were composed by Kajiura Yuki.

I’m not making fun of Okina Reika when I say she’s a one-hit wonder since she literally hasn’t done anything else. Tsuki no Curse opens with Okina singing slowly, then the guitars rev up and the song really starts. The melody is catchy, and while I found Okina’s belting a bit too nasal for my liking upon first listen, it’s grown on me and I can’t imagine anyone else singing it. I think the best parts of the song take place near the end – the bridge section with all the Kajiuran backing vocals taking the spotlight (I liked them throughout the entire song, actually), the guitar solo, then Okina coming back with subdued accompaniment before the final chorus. I also like the lyrics Kajiura wrote – they’re beautiful in a dark, isolated way (they almost seem to be from Soubi’s perspective). My favorite part (translated) is “in a world without words, we speak of love”.

Hikita Kaori’s Michiyuki is a gentle ballad, with lyrics (again by Kajiura) about finding love in a cruel world (they fit the nature of Soubi and Ritsuka’s relationship very well). They’ve got even more impact than Tsuki no Curse’s due to the Hikita’s vocal delivery. She doesn’t have a very powerful or distinct voice, but it’s warm and soothing and covers the dynamics in the song well. I love the lilt she does during the chorus peak the most – it almost sounds like she’s crying, but oh so quietly…Arrangement-wise, I prefer the piano and strings in this to the guitars in the A-side, and I’m glad that the echoes and choir vocals aren’t overdone here. Michiyuki also ends beautifully – Kajiura’s opted to wind the song down and use the verse melody, then the song’s string intro, and finally only piano at the end – the song closes as it has opened, giving the listener the impression of a dream.

Overall Grade: A

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