Otsuka Ai’s second single of 2008 “Kurage, Nagareboshi” (Jellyfish, Shooting Star) will be released on September 10th. As it coincides with her fifth anniversary of her music debut, it will not only be released in the standard regular and DVD editions, but also limited anniversary regular and DVD editions as well.
I was honestly not that impressed with neither the music or the visuals on her “Rocket Sneaker/One x Time” single, and although I loved the A-side of “Pocket,” the B-sides didn’t entrace me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a song like “Kurage, Nagareboshi.” It’s described as a “heartwarming ballad for the summer”, which can really range from a poppy ballad like “Bidama” to a slow piano tune like “Renai Shashin.” Most importantly – would I really like this one?
As the opening notes of the song played, I started tearing up from just how beautiful the song is. Maybe it was an overly emotional day where I was being a sap, but yeah, I’m going to like it.
What “Kurage, Nagareboshi” turns out to be is a majestic ballad of Kingyo Hanabi/Planetarium proportions, with beautiful instrumentation, arrangement, and imagery in the lyrics. With piano, orchestra, and what occasionally sounds even like a koto to me, the song as a whole strikes me as having more classical Asian elements despite western instrumentation. Ai comes in with a sweet, simply accompanied tune that eventually grows and grows until a powerful, full song. It contains some aspects of the two aforementioned ballads, “Kingyo Hanabi” and “Planetarium”, in the song, but is still a very unique composition. As with her more recent works, Ai’s voice has been less thin and high and more powerful and filled, giving such a high level of emotion to the song.
The video has Ai in various beautiful night scenes on the beach, including a great shot of her playing a piano in water. The video employs a dark, blue palette, and plays dominantly with lighting. Ai is gorgeous in this: playing piano under the moonlight in the tide, walking through grassy fields in her red dress, wind billowing her dress as she walks from the light into the shadows of the cliffs. The current PV version omits the instrumental at the beginning of the radio rip, which was one of my favorite parts of the song, but as a video it’s an effervescent visual treat.
“H2O”, the B-side to the single, is a midtempo rock song. It’s upbeat, but not cheerful and jumpy like her previous rock-inspired – this sounds more rocking and less pop. It’s a nice, powerful complement to her powerful ballad.
The second B-side is “Ame no Tsubu, Waltz ~LOVE MUSiC~” which is a revamped waltz version of her song “LOVE MUSiC” from her “Love Cook” and “Ai am BEST” albums. It was altered significantly so that I really couldn’t tell it was based on “LOVE MUSiC” until the chorus – it’s another power ballad but uses the swingy, relaxed mood of “LOVE MUSiC” – a refreshing version of the old song.
As a whole, this is a greatly impressive single with a beautiful A-side ballad and gorgeous visuals. This is definately a single to look out for.
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