When it comes to Japanese music…

For today and probably likely tomorrow as well, I’ll be posting quite a bit of content to do with music because I think the music section has been neglected for so long. I’ve been doing a lot of Saekano ‘anime’ stuff, I know.


 

I just hope that the Japanese music industry doesn’t die out too soon. I also know that it is the pirates who are mostly responsible for the decline in singles sales.

Still, pirates are simply unstoppable.

Now, onto the real topic. This is especially true for songs that are being used for anime openings and/or endings – I always buy/download them in single/EP (Extended Play) form rather than just the song on its own.

By doing so, I always find myself in lottery moments where the songs that come with the one being advertised are either just as good or better.
Okay, maybe ‘better’ is still subjective.
Say that the accompanying songs in many EP’s are much more to my liking than the front face song.


Songwriting takes a lot of effort

 

Naturally, every songs in an extended play should be given equal attention. Though, I can always argue that some songs just stand out way too well.

I do believe that it was a common thing in the past but more often than not, it’s usually the second or third track within the same EP that happens to fit my taste much more than whichever song that is being featured.
Let’s get some examples.

 

ClariS’s single Irony which the featured song is used as the opening theme to OreImo.

I’m going to vote for the second track, Kokoro no Inryoku.
(If you’ve checked out My Top 30 ClariS Songs list then it’s very obvious – this song’s sitting at my number one).

I honestly think that ClariS will have a hard time topping this much quality for a pop song.

 

Akino of Bless4’s single EXTRA MAGIC HOUR which the featured song is used as the opening theme to Amagi Brilliant Park.

Again, I’d take the second track, Jet Coaster Ride, over the first any day. There are two tracks plus the instrumentals for them anyway. Haha.

Now this song REALLY feels like being in an amusement park. Should have used this one for the opening instead of an insert song.

 

FripSide’s single only my railgun which the featured song is used as the opening theme to To Aru Kagaku no Railgun.

This one is debatable. I love the first song as it is very upbeat but after years of listening, I still have to give the slight edge to the second track, late in autumn.

Same instrumentals but somehow this song feels the most original out of all FripSide’s discography.


I LOVE Instrumentals

 

This is actually the biggest reason I ever buy EP’s. So when ClariS stops releasing instrumental version of the songs in their regular version CD’s, I get a little mad and disappointed. It actually happened with HitorigotoEromanga-sensei‘s opening.

Worse off, accompanying tracks within the single usually don’t come with instrumental versions – usually the featured song gets it.
Worst of all, not even the featured song gets it. I’m still waiting for the day Lia’s Light Colors get an official instrumental version. Come on, it’s my most favorite song from her! And yes, I’ve finished the visual novel – that’s how I got to know the song in the first place, on top of crying like a baby because Jun Maeda loves having Tomoyo suffer until the very end of her life.

Sometimes I really don’t want to hear the high pitched vocals which are extremely common in Japanese people and duh, singers. I’ve posted this somewhere before but here it is again.

K-On!!‘s second opening, Utauyo!! Miracle, is literally my (guitar) jam whenever I feel energetic.

See, now you don’t have to listen to Yui screaming. Overall this makes the song more than just pop. It’s guitar pop.


The element of surprise

 

Well, not as surprising as I make it out to be but very often, the accompanying tracks will highly contrast to the feature song. What I mean by this is how… say, if Re:Zero‘s first ending gives me that unavoidable pain and suffering feel. The second track of the EP, STRAIGHT BET, goes the opposite direction and gives me the “YOLO” feel, diving into the same suffering, except that I’m not avoiding it this time.

The style of this song is actually quite unique, I tell you!

 

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works‘s first opening is some hyped up scream. To be honest it’s not memorable for me. What is memorable though, has to be the second track, pledge of stars.

How can this not be a surprise? It’s a completely different set of instruments, hence different genre altogether. As opposed to the epic fight song that almost screams rock, I get a relaxing trance guitar pop that I can actually fall sleep to (and I have been).

 

More Fate stuff.
Fate/Zero‘s second ending single is some sad melody. Just go back and watch Irisviel’s dream of being together forever with Kiritsugu. Oh the dream that never came true.
So as opposed to that sadness of a somewhat beautiful song, I dig the third track of the single, I WANNA Denji Teki DOmuch more because it’s got absolutely nothing to do with Fate, its themes and whatever else – it’s really just there for no reason but for me to feel different.

You can’t unheard the beats. It’s stuck with me forever, too.

 

You see, Luna Haruna is currently the second biggest reason as to why I buy the EP’s for anime openings/endings, especially when it comes to her singles. I’m unsure whether she’s doing it on purpose or not but there’s always guaranteed to be an accompanying song that’s just as good or better than the song that’s being used for anime. I’ve been getting many of her singles (not studio albums) that make up openings or endings of anime such as SAO, Fate/Zero and both seasons of Saekano.

Now, Sword Art Online‘s second ending, Overfly, is again some sad ass melody even the instruments help in making my claims true. The real surprise for me has to be the third track of the EP, Ramune Sekai. If you can’t read the roumaji then the title of the song suggests something along the lines of Lemonade-colored World…
What the hell would she be singing about?
I saved you the time by looking up lyrics, though the instruments would suggest romance theme – it is. It’s a love song in a sad ass ending theme single, guys.

All hail the contrasting surprise. I love it very much.

 

I ain’t going to post Saekano ones here but I hope you get the idea. Haruna-san is still living to my expectations – I wouldn’t listen to either of Saekano openings on their own but man, the accompanying tracks are something else.

 

Last one, I swear!

Flying Witch‘s opening is seriously popping, like… extremely energetic! It’s literally a little of country mixed with a lot of electropop. Now this one’s actually a special case because it’s not the front face song of the EP, this is. But since Shanranran is the song that’s used as the opening, this makes Princess the accompanying song and much to my liking, it stands to contrast with the former by being a lot of country mixed with a little pop. You can’t also forget the fact that it’s very relaxing. This song style is what Taylor Swift wished she could have done, I swear~


 

I hope this is enough to have you start thinking about purchasing (or rip downloading if pirate’s life is the way to go) extended plays instead of just looking for that one song every time you happen to like them. Music is art and these guys are not going 70/30 efforts in making tracks for each single. I can at least believe that much.

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One thought on “When it comes to Japanese music…

  1. I am a huge fan of EGOIST! The soundtrack to Guilty Crown is EVERYTHING!! I also really enjoyed History Maker by Dean Fujioka. And I cannot forget all of the music in Kimi no Ni wa. Man oh man! RADWIMPS did such an amazing job on this film. The acoustic version of Sparkel gives me goosebumps. I think it would be a beautiful song to have at a wedding. Here it is: https://soundcloud.com/kevinrianto/radwimps-sparkel

    Liked by 1 person

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