Nakashima Mika’s single “ORION” will be released November 12. The song is an insert song for the drama “Ryusei no Kizuna,” in which Mika also has a minor acting appearance.
What is it with the beginning of November and releases? It seems like half of all my favorite artists is releasing something during that time. Mika is no different, with the exception that I actually didn’t care much about the release of this single before. I haven’t really listened to anything of hers since she did “Hitoiro” for NANA; I mean, you have to agree with me that a lot of the songs she put out after then were really boring compared to her earlier works.
But maybe “ORION” is a terrific song, or maybe watching Ryusei no Kizuna has inexplicably brainwashed me into loving the songs used (can we coin this as the Hana Yori Dango effect? Arashi sings the theme, and you’ll love the insert ballad too…). “ORION” is a slow pop-rock ballad, with a simple acoustic instrumental that gains some power through light electric guitar strains scattered through. Unlike a lot of Mika’s songs where there’s complicated instrumental arrangements, exotic influences, or innovative melodies, “ORION” has simple ballad instrumentals and a clear melody line.
Image-wise, the PV looks nice. It stars Toda Erika, one of the stars in Ryusei no Kizuna, and while it took me awhile to figure out why they had both Erika and Mika in the video but insisted on keeping a heavily eyelinered Mika soaking in a bathtub, I enjoyed it once I figured it out. It seems like Mika is representing Toda Erika’s inner turmoil and misery while Erika keeps a fairly stoic appearance to her loneliness. The video is very atmospheric and touching – very nicely done. Also, the tie-in of using a earring to represent the Orion stars with jewels was really clever!
With Mika’s stalling sales lately, I’m sure this drama is a chance for a lot of people to pay attention to what she’s doing again. “ORION” isn’t as unforgettable a ballad as say “Sakurairo Maukoro” or “Yuki no Hana”, but it’s a great song in itself and is worth checking out.
(And on a note unrelated to music – the eyeliner is still a little scary heavy and the eyebrows a little scary nonexistant, but Mika is starting to look more like 2003-drop-dead-gorgeous Mika and not the creepy Mika of recent years. This is a move in a positive direction, for sure.)
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