{single} Rie fu – Life is Like a Boat

August 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Music, Rie fu | 1 Comment

Rie fu – Life is Like a Boat
リエ フゥ – Life is Like a Boat

(released September 23rd, 2004)

1. Life is Like a Boat
2. Voice

Rie fu’s 2nd single, and probably the one she’s most known for. I was almost reluctant to review this at first since the A-side is an evilly ubiquitous Bleach theme song that’s been overplayed, over-covered at cons, etc. but in the end I love Rie fu, and I’d like to get through her discography someday…

Life is Like a Boat doesn’t have an outstanding melody. The arrangement isn’t very remarkable either – it’s mainly piano with the addition of a bit of guitar and percussion in some parts; the accompaniment just sounds like floating water to me. It’s the song’s lyrics and the way Rie sings it that really catch my attention. The lyrics are mainly in English and Rie’s pronunciation is again, excellent. The boat metaphor is very interesting and my favorite part is “We are all rowing the boat of fate/The waves keep on coming and we can’t escape/But if we ever get lost on our way/The waves would guide you through another day.” Rie’s voice is very relaxed and just drifts along with the music. A profound song that still manages to be beautiful in its simplicity.

Voice is a completely different track and would make a good outdoors live performance. It’s got a bit of a country vibe and is much more upbeat. I like the guitar line and the energy and I feel like a studio version doesn’t do this song justice.  I rather like Rie’s singing style (she sounds playful, yet complaining, which suits the song’s lyrics). However, something about this song just rubs me the wrong way. I can’t pinpoint it, but I think Voice is one of those “gotta get up and dance to” fun songs that just blurs into a bunch of other songs of this type. I’ve just heard too many of these before. It also feels a bit messy.

Overall Grade: B


{single} Rie fu – Rie who!?

July 20, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Music, Rie fu | Leave a comment

rie fu - rie who
Rie fu – Rie who!?
リエ フゥ – Rie who!?

(released March 24th, 2004)

1. decay
2. Beautiful Words
3. ツキノウエ [Tsuki no Ue]

Rie fu’s debut single. The title is a play on words because “fu” in Japanese sounds very similar to “who” in English.

decay – the first thing that caught my attention was the acoustic guitar intro and the simplistic yet effective English lyrics in the beginning. The melody is easygoing and makes me want to sing along to it, and Rie’s voice transitions seamlessly from English to Japanese, from high to low notes (I especially love her lower range). This song has a combination of listlessness and hope, and Rie’s emotion is very honest and not overdone. decay sounds very much like a Western acoustic pop song, and would be ideal for a coffeehouse performance.

Beautiful Words captures the feeling of waking up on a summer morning. The guitar and percussion bring to mind the laziness of summer days and makes me want to “surrender to the sky.” The composition of this song is very Western as well – I think it’s the guitar line that did the trick. This track is about the same pace as decay though the percussion is more prominent here. Rie also had some backing vocals in this song, and while I thought it was a nice enhancement, I thought it sounded a little messy at times.

Tsuki no Ue reminds me of a solitary walk in the moonlight…in my opinion, ballads are Rie’s strongest suit, and piano ballads in particular. Simplistic songs like this fit her voice the best because her voice isn’t going to be buried under a lot of instruments. I hadn’t fully noticed how well-controlled and clear her voice until it was laid bare here. Tsuki no Ue is pretty versatile for listening – it can be a lullaby or something I can relax or study to, or I can listen to it just to hear the heartfelt message within it – all because of Rie fu’s wonderful performance.

Favorite Track: a tie between decay and Tsuki no Ue

Overall Grade: A

{single} Rie fu – Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu

March 28, 2008 at 11:07 pm | Posted in Music, Rie fu | Leave a comment

rie fu - anata ga koko ni iru riyuu
Rie fu – Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu
リエ フゥ – あなたがここにいる理由

(released October 24th, 2007)

1. あなたがここにいる理由 [Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu]
2. Just the Kind of Thought
3. あなたがここにいる理由 (Instrumental)

Rie fu’s 9th single. The A-side is the 5th ending theme to D.Gray-man. It’s my favorite DGM ED overall – it captures the mood of the anime well even though it’s originally a standalone.

Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu (“the reason you are here”) is a mid-tempo ballad. Rie fu has a warm, rich voice with a strong alto range and sings in a darker tone for the lower notes, moving into an airier voice for the chorus. I loved how she used her head voice instead of a chest voice belt for artistic purposes. The music is just as crucial – from the forlorn-sounding minor-key piano chords to the bass guitar, a melancholy mood pervades the song. Also, the strings beautifully enhance the more gentler side of Rie’s voice. The lyrics are simple but poetic.

Just the Kind of Thought – if the previous track can be likened to a cloudy day, this song pulls you out into the sunlight. It sounds like a fun beach song, with its catchy “dada da da dada da” line and lighthearted love-song lyrics. It’s also completely in English, and Rie sings it with perfect pronunciation and attitude. The accompaniment is just standard pop fare with guitar and percussion, but it’s enjoyable. The highlight would be the well-harmonized vocals (if she did self-backing, then she has a wide range because they go rather high).

Overall Grade: A

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