It has been a while since I wrote guest reviews of related singles and soundtracks relating to Anime. Since I want to come up with another single review within a few months, I suppose I should share my thoughts on some good music I heard from the shows I watched. With that, I come up with the “Monthly Anime Music Ramblings,” an idea I had in my mind two nights ago.
In this feature, I will pick one to three track(s) from a particular series or artist. Then, I will explain what I like about the song along with other aspects like instrumentals and singer’s performance. This will replace the yearly list of favorite artists along with the best songs from a particular season.
In this inaugural post, I will talk about three tracks from The Idolmaster that really impressed me. (Image Source)
#1 – By Your Side (隣に…)
From THE IDOLM@STER MASTER ARTIST 07 Miura Azusa
Sung by: Takahashi Chiaki (Video)
Although “By Your Side” never got used as an insert song in the Anime, something about the instrumentals and Chiaki’s singing made it one of my favorite songs sung by her. As shown through the dynamic intro that starts off softly with a flute solo, cymbals and clapping in the first 15 seconds before the transition to the grand opening where the trumpet, strings and piano enters. Although the song has a somewhat uplifting feeling, it also feels melancholic. It’s presented through the soft moments consisting mostly piano that gradually build up around 1:20 as the bass enters. This pattern repeats in the second half of the song. In addition to the instrumentals, I enjoyed Chiaki’s performance of this song as she carried such a mature voice that matched the song’s theme. Of course, her voice also has a sweeter side in her other songs like “9:02pm” and “Straight” (まっすぐ).
The song itself through its lyrics is about a woman who has a close relationship with a man. He promised to stay by her side, but doesn’t since he gone to a far away place without her.
#2 – Sleeping Princess (眠り姫)
From THE IDOLM@STER MASTER ARTIST 2 -FIRST SEASON- 05 Kisaragi Chihaya & THE IDOLM@STER ANIM@TION MASTER 07
Sung by: Imai Asami (Video)
There is no surprise that Imai Asami’s voice is impressive, especially when she performs the more serious songs rather than happier/upbeat ones. Although Blue Bird (青い鳥) sounds great along with her most recent anime insert song, “Promise” (約束), she truly shines in “Sleeping Princess.” If you listen to the instrumentals, it has a similar feeling heard in “By Your Side” and “ALIVE” (sung by Tomatsu Haruka). In fact, Go Shiina composed this and the tracks I mentioned. He also worked on other Namco games including some of the “Tales of…” games. I particularly enjoyed the songs he composed because the way he arranged the piece to give a specific feeling in the instrumentals to fit a specific theme.
As for the song, it starts with a few background singers, church bells for the first 20 seconds before it transitions with the piano and strings entering in. About one minute into the song, it develops further with the addition of bass and percussion. This dynamic feeling continues throughout the song, which is one of the things I liked about it. It also showcases the strength of Asami’s voice, especially at the higher pitches around 3:40-4:00 and 4:30 where she was able to maintain it without sounding out of tune. For that, it’s perhaps one of her strongest songs I have heard in addition to her other solos.
#3 – Gaze (lit.) (見つめて)
From THE IDOLM@STER ANIM@TION MASTER 07
Sung By: Asakura Azumi and Hara Yumi
While Yumi’s has a really nice voice as seen in some of her songs like Flower Girl and Wind Flower (風花), the thing that interested me more is Azumi herself since she is the replacement for the retired voice actress, Hase Yurina who formerly voiced Yukiho. From what I heard in her version of “Little Match Girl” (which doesn’t have a full version yet), she sounds really good. With that, my expectations went up for this song and it succeeded.
In particular, “Gaze” is one of the tracks I really liked because of the sadness depicted through the piano and strings along with the bass and percussion entering 40 seconds into the song as it gradually builds up. When I heard the instrumental version in Episode 23 (also included on the same album), it was a tearjerker and added more impact to what has happened at the end of that episode. The bonus version that got included in the 7th Animation Master adds the vocals, which added some sweetness under the sorrow. I think Azumi and Yumi did a great job in presenting this mood through their duet performance.
This wraps up the first Monthly Anime Music Rambling. I could have gone on since there are other songs I like to share, but it will spoil the review I’m working on. So, I will cover a few tracks sung by Mizuki Nana at the end of next month. ¶