{single} Inoue Marina – energy

December 12, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Posted in Inoue Marina, Music | Leave a comment

Inoue Marina – energy
井上 麻里奈 – energy

(released December 21st, 2005)

1. energy
2. Way
3. energy (original karaoke)
4. Way (original karaoke)

Inoue Marina’s 2nd single. Both songs were featured in the anime Ginban Kaleidoscope, in which Inoue Marina also provides the speaking voice of Honjou Mika. energy is used as the ending theme, while Way was an insert song.

When I first heard energy in Ginban, I was surprised that to find out it was sung by Inoue Marina (she sounds totally different in Houseki). The arrangement is simple as well – repeated guitar chords and a beat. I liked the use of short, punctuated, string lines during the chorus instead of a dramatic sweeping one. I think I enjoyed Inoue’s voice the most in this – her clear diction, her clean melodic voice, and the emotion and energy (pun intended) she put into this. I have a thing for songs that make the accompaniment back off near the end, and the singer sings the chorus melody in a softer, more expressive voice before singing it again with more power, and Inoue was beautiful in that part. energy is soothing yet lonely at the same time – there’s a sense of serenity and solitude with undertones of yearning.

I really didn’t like Way at first due to the intro with those backing vocals and the melody doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. Way is faster-paced and a lot happier than energy. It’s a good thing the accompaniment is still rather simple in this one, I was afraid it would get messy. It’s mainly a fun song, but Inoue really impressed me with her vocal technique and versatility in this track. She uses a fuller, more mature voice (reminds me of a lighter Shimatani Hitomi in some bits) and transitions from a solid chest voice belt to the lighter head voice register with ease. Overall, I still find Way a bit dull song-wise, but I keep listening to it just to hear Inoue’s voice.

Overall Grade: B+


{single} Inoue Marina – Houseki

June 21, 2009 at 11:55 pm | Posted in Inoue Marina, Kajiura Yuki, Music | 1 Comment

Inoue Marina – Houseki
井上 麻里奈 – 宝石

(released August 11th, 2004)

1. 宝石 [Houseki]
2. Ballad
3. 宝石 (original karaoke)
4. Ballad (original karaoke)

Inoue Marina’s debut J-Pop single and 1st single overall. Both songs were used in the anime OVA Le Portrait de Petite Cossette, in which Inoue Marina also made her seiyuu debut as the title character, Cossette d’Auvergne. Houseki was the ending theme, and Ballad was used as an opening in the last episode. Both songs were composed by the reknowned Kajiura Yuki.

I fell in love with Houseki the moment I heard it and – I’ll be honest here – lot of it has to do with my Kajiura Yuki fandom. With the trademark mysterious string lines, electric guitar solo, skillful blend of haunting background vocals, and “music-box” ending, Kajiura outdoes herself with her classical and rock genre mix. But enough about Kajiura – a good song won’t mean much if there isn’t someone who can step into the spotlight and convey its message successfully. For the soft-voiced Cossette, I didn’t expect Marina’s singing voice to be so deep and rich. Her emotion is wonderful, and her voice flows from one passage to another flawlessly. I assume that Houseki was written with Cossette’s memories as inspiration, and Marina expresses the longing and pain of her character, as well as the hope that Eiri can save her from her curse. While I’m used to the thinner pipes of Chiaki and the bubbly Yuuka for Kajiura’s works – a voice like Marina’s is perfect for a darker work like this.

Ballad shows off Marina’s softer side and is indeed, as the title implies, a ballad but not only in the musical sense. It reminds me of the musical ballads of the past, in which the song’s purpose is to pass on a story. This shows in Marina’s singing style (it’s laidback, almost monotone, as if she is slowly recalling events to the listener) and the chorus melody (it seems to go in a circle…reminds me a bit of the storytelling style in alan’s “Sakura Modern” but with a far different tone). Ballad is a lot barer in composition in contrast to the dramatic Houseki – the vocals are the focal point here. This song also evokes the image of a melancholy winter morning, before the sun has come up. I’m rather impressed by Marina’s versatility as a singer and her ability to channel her acting skills into her songs – I’m definitely hoping she gets that legit record contract someday.

Overall Grade: A+

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