It has been nearly two months since Angel Beats have ended and after listening to the whole Angel Beats OST, I was impressed by how surprisingly well ANANT-GARDE EYES and Jun Maeda songs sounded. I mentioned this since there was a discussion about the composition of the soundtrack a while back on Twitter between me, zzeroparticle and Aorii that happened last week over how long it took to compose the music for Angel Beats, which was rumored to be 3 days. Because of the discussion, I brought up the fictional school band, Girls Dead Monster since it could explain why the songs sounded so lackluster because of the composition and the vocals. The responses I got is that the songs would sound better in the Anime opposed to just listening it as a lone track and that Jun Maeda isn’t exactly cut out to make pop songs that involves guitars.
After watching the last performance of HO-KAGO TEA TIME at the School Festival in Episode 20, it have gave me some thoughts about Angel Beats’s Girls Dead Monster and if they really can compare to K-ON’s HO-KAGO TEA TIME in regards to vocals, composition and its message, which will be discussed in this opinion piece.
Even though both bands used guitars, bases and drums, both bands have a slightly different style. K-ON’s music is pretty diverse considering that there is light rock (opening themes and insert songs like Pure Pure Heart and Fuwa Fuwa Time), rock (Ending Themes and the rock version of the school anthem) and metal (shown in the Death Devil album and Sawako’s character single released last year). If you listened to the ending themes such Don’t Say Lazy, Listen and No Thank You, they feel like some of the rock and roll songs played in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Because of the song style they used in the ending, its enjoyable to listen compared to the opening themes that sound a bit laid back, but a pleasure to listen to.
On the other hand, Girl’s Dead Monster’s music is still rock, but it leans more towards punk rock. If you noticed in my previous reviews of the Girl’s Dead Monsters songs, they are really not that impressive. Perhaps Jun Maeda, despite his godly composition in the OST and previous works, the composition fell flat on the face. The songs have a tendency of sounding good for the first 30-60 seconds. When the singer starts singing, it just feels bland and does not feel enjoyable. The reason it feels like that since someone decided that it was a good idea to use singers that are amateurs. It worked for Jun Maeda’s intentions, but it certainty did not sound nearly as good compared to the former. In the end, Jun Maeda should stick what he does best (piano and opening/ending themes) and leave the guitar stuff for the other composers.
The vocals are pretty essential for songs played by bands in the anime. From listening to both HO-KAGO TEA TIME and Girls Dead Monster, I found that Hikasa Youko to be the strongest out of the bunch. She was a pretty good singer when we first heard Don’t say lazy and have improved since the second season. I think that No Thank You and Pure Pure Heart has shown the best out of her so far. In addition, I also found that Kotobuki Minako’s singing to be rather good too, but it’s a shame that she does not sing many songs in the anime except the character singles.
For the rest of the singers, I have to admit that Toyosaki Aki’s singing is mediocre when she sings too fast and has a tendency to screech. However, the recent performance of U&I and Gohan ha Okazu sounded very nice, especially U&I because of the emotions and the lyrics.
Conversely, after listening to marina and then LiSA, I was very dissatisfied by their performance for reasons I mentioned earlier. LiSA did improved a little bit with some of the new songs in the “Keep Your Beats” album, but it was too little, too late. Like the previous songs she sung, there were still faults in her singing, especially when she sings out of her comfort zone and goes out of tune. Sometimes, when she goes to the higher pitches, listening to it did not feel comfortable. In the end, I took all the Girl’s Dead Monster songs off my playlist with frustration since I was not enjoying what I was listening to simply because it lacked polish and I was pretty much irritated by it in the end.
Lastly, if you look at the song’s lyrics for both of the bands songs, you will notice that they have completely different tones. For instance, HO-KAGO TEA TIME mostly has upbeat and cutesy songs like the song Pure Pure Heart played in Episode 7 of K-ON!!:
My head’s filled with thoughts
I’m a little worried that they’ll spill out
For now I’ll just plug it up with my headphones♪
(Don’t stop the music!)
I say I want the things I want
I say I want to do the things I want to do
But I also have words that I can’t say
(Can’t stop my heartbeat!)
Suddenly! My chance arrives
We just happened to take the same way home
Wow! The balloon in my chest swells
Suddenly my feet are floating in the air
Riding the updraft
Go fly! To where you are
My Pure Pure Heart♡
If you accept it I won’t be scared
When these feelings passed through the atmosphere
I lost sight of you from the other side of the street
I ☆ don’t mind
If you noticed, the song’s lyrics were pretty sugary words and pretty simple to understand. The opening themes and the insert songs exhibit this, except the ending theme since it’s badass. Lastly, listening to the songs always give you a happy feeling in the end, which is a good thing.
On the other hand, the songs from Girl’s Dead Monster has a melancholic feel to it, a sense of sadness, regret and frustration shown in the song, Rain Song for example:
I troubled you and left you in tears
You were grown and there was talk of you going far away
I didn’t hear! Without an umbrella
I stood still in that sudden rain
You said we would be together forever; I’m certain of it
I wonder if I was the only one to remember
Forgetting the stars I saw with you; Forgetting the dreams I had with you
I don’t want to keep going our separate ways
I wonder if this could possibly be my birthday present
You smiled while saying that it didn’t suit me so I lost it
I’ll find it! Where is it?
The rain grows stronger
I have to note that the songs by Girls Dead Monster are more effective in the Anime than listening to it alone. Shown in Episode 3 of Angel Beats, there was a performance of My Song, which it effectively gave a very emotional tone that reflects back at Iwasawa’s tragic story.
In conclusion, I mostly see myself hearing HO-KAGO TEA TIME’s songs than Girls Dead Monster mainly because the unique style and its simply enjoyable to listen. Girl’s Dead Monster simply doesn’t have this because the lack of polish and the appeal from their songs. Some may disagree with me, but Girl’s Dead Monster has to be the most disappointing school band I ever heard so far and that’s an understatement.
The translated lyrics I used as examples was excepts that can be obtained from Lyrical Spark