Kalafina – Alleluia

ALLELUIA

Tracklist:

  1. Alleluia
  2. Dolce
  3. Fairytale ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~ (Limited Edition Only)
  4. Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~ (Limited Edition Only)
  5. Seventh Heaven ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~ (Regular Edition Only)
  6. Snow Falling ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~ (Regular Edition Only)

———————————

1. Alleluia

A graceful strings quartet begins Alleluia, the theme to the Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin movie. With the addition of a lone voice, the dynamics build to a peak, which brings us to the introduction of two guitars and drums. The slow, palm-muted chords and gently throbbing bass have a mainstream sound that I haven’t experienced from Kalafina before, with the exception of Mirai. However, the slower and grander arrangement of Alleluia makes it superior to the aforementioned track. Keiko leads the vocals for the majority of the song, and she carries a warm and cherishing tone in her voice, complementing the uplifting and hopeful feel. Then the chorus starts with Wakana’s “Alleluia”, which while being the poppiest I’ve heard from the group, is still beautiful. She does sound uncomfortable on the higher note following it though, as her head voice switch is on the weaker side. Afterwards, Keiko finishes the chorus, and this is where we start to see problems. Her high notes are forced and stick out badly. Keiko, I love you, but you should stick to singing lower until your higher tone becomes more consistent.  A lovely choir section filled with luscious harmonies follows from the chorus. The second verse and chorus are similar to the first, with the chorus encountering the same problems as previously mentioned. The final chorus is of a different, more unstructured form than the first and second, and is much better, a fitting ending to the song. Alleluia is not the best Kalafina has done, but still has that Kajiuran charm that makes me want to listen to it.

2. Dolce

The B-side, Dolce, is a very unique piece, opening with an almost a capella section from the Kalafina ladies. Wakana has the lead vocals, which is the best choice as she is the most controlled out of the three. Keiko and Hikaru are always singing though, with their gorgeous three-part harmonies forming a deep and rich vocal colour. The strings section is back at the one-third mark, hesitant at first then blossoming into a presence that envelops the voices and makes them flourish. The vocals in this song are an ambrosia to the ears – I don’t think I’ve ever heard them harmonise and blend this well before. Yuki Kajiura and Kalafina should be commended for this. The only issue is that it’s so short. Dolce is just under three minutes long, and feels like an interlude piece. If it was a full track… wow, that would be amazing.

3. Fairytale ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~

The Christmas live version of Fairytale opens with the instantly recognisable “walking” sound, played on a piano this time. However, instead of the vocal harmonies, a strings section plays the melody. Given that in this track (and the next few) I can only hear piano and strings, I would guess that they aren’t using their regular live band and are doing an acoustic live or similar, hence the altered arrangements. Wakana begins impeccably, adding a touch of sadness to her vocals. Keiko’s harmonies also start well, although she is too strong at times. Her dynamics in her verse also wander a little. All is well in the bridge though, as the Kalafina members strut their stuff with a harmonising part. The weakest part are the backing vocals by Keiko and Hikaru, which feel airy and lack substance. But to balance the scales, the new live arrangement finds gems such as the crescendoing trills by the strings at the end. A pretty good live here.

4. Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~

The next live also starts well, with Keiko’s deep voice soloing to the piano backing. I especially like her extended note to close the first verse, ending with fluttering vibrato. It goes downhill from there, Wakana being the main problem. She’s struggling with her notes, and also doing that thing where she goes to the note below, then moves up to the one above. It bothers me to hear her do this, and it would sound much better if she went straight to the note. Her tone is mostly fine, but how she gets to the notes is poor. Also, she takes breaths in odd places, ruining the phrasing of the lyrics. There’s a few niggles with Keiko’s dynamics at the beginning of the second verse, but not too major. The arrangement continues with the piano/string combination and is great, though I’m missing the extra power of drums at the last chorus. Overall, Wakana’s vocals spoil the performance of this song. She’s always seemed quite consistent live, so maybe she was having a bad day, but whatever the cause it’s a poor addition to the single.

5. Seventh Heaven ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~

Aaaaaah the piano I love these acoustic arrangements!!! Keiko begins the vocals and does a good job. It’s annoying how her dynamics fluctuate so much, but eh whatever. After her extended vibrato note, strings are added to the arrangement, building the intensity with their crescendos and tasteful vibrato. Hikaru’s part next is fairly solid, and following that is the middle section with its striking harmonies. Hikaru shows some consistent vibrato, and Wakana shows… that her head voice is airy and dead. Well, the outro was lovely though, the three-part harmonies making a most satisfying conclusion to the track. I can’t really get into it that much though, it’s all right but not great.

6. Snow Falling ~2012 Christmas LIVE ver.~

The Christmas live versions sure have fantastic arrangements. Snow Falling starts with a gracefully descending piano line, opening up at the end of the introduction with a soft chord. Now the good part is out of the way, here’s where I bitch about various vocal things that piss me off. Wakana’s voice is still weak, and her extended notes wobble a little before the vibrato comes in. She does hit the notes well though, and her harmonies with Keiko are good. Hikaru has a lead part next, and her tone isn’t the best. Kind of sounds like her tongue gets in the way of her singing. The middle section of the song is solid, with nice harmonising, the only bit I didn’t like was the too-long gap between Hikaru’s “falling” and “snow”. Keiko and Wakana didn’t sync their vibrato at the end, but apart from that it finished OK. It might get a few listens, but it’s pretty average.

Alleluia was a bit of an “eh” single to me. The title track was nice, and hearing more Keiko is good after her relative absence of lead parts in Consolation, but some of her notes were too strong for the type of song Alleluia was. Dolce had spectacular harmonies, but felt like an interlude track. Not that I mind interludes, but it would be preferable to be an album track instead of on a single. The lives… Fairytale was fairly good and Kimi ga Hikari ni Kaete Iku was fairly bad. Seventh Heaven and Snow Falling were average. I just don’t see the point of live tracks at all if they’re not good quality. The musicians were fantastic, but the singers were not. They should be just as good as studio recordings, and I don’t think “it’s harder to be perfect live” is a valid excuse. You don’t perform up to scratch – then don’t put it on the single! Going off on a tangent here, I wouldn’t be surprised if I found the performance acceptable on video, but the thing with lives is that visuals are a big part too, and can hide flaws in the vocals. When you just have the audio, the problems become obvious. I expect a higher standard from Kalafina.

Rating: 2.5 stars

starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

This entry was posted in Kalafina and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Kalafina – Alleluia

  1. Waaauuuu, all that detail, and you even reviewed the live performances!

    Haha, I love Keiko too (she’s defs my favorite member), but yup, she should stick to singing low because that’s what she does best, and that’s what we know and love her for🙂

    I wish you luck with finding the regular edition. ^.^ (I think I’ll keep trying too…)

    • 123 says:

      Kalafina is good to review. So much you can talk about.

      I think on Mune no Yukue (from After Eden) Keiko was singing higher as well, and her tone was also not as good. It’s funny because Keiko was my definite favourite before, but after reviewing I like the other two better as well. Reviewing music makes me appreciate how good (or crap, but not in Kalafina’s case ^.^ ) pieces and musicians are. I like Hikaru a lot more now, especially when she goes all deep like Magia or Obbligato (although she’s still the weakest imho). I always knew Wakana was really awesome and controlled and excelled at ballads, but reviewing Kalafina drummed it in more. Exposed some of her weaknesses as well though.

      I was gonna wait for the RE to come out, but remembering traumerei, I was thought “yeah, stuff that!” Hopefully won’t have to wait too long.

  2. In my case, I don’t mind how KEIKO sings as she as well is my favorite, and also one of my favorite voices of Jpop. What I don’t like is that they use Wakana for everything and always stick Keiko for the harmonies.

    Meanwhile hikaru works for powerful songs and not so much for ballads.
    About the RE, I also didn’t add them because I will only receive the limited edition and that’s the one I will have, although I really wanted to hear seventh heaven live, because that is one of my favorite Kalafina songs.

    • 123 says:

      The Keiko parts I was talking about aren’t going to stop me listening to the song, but I’m a bit picky about vocals so they do lower the enjoyment for me. It is true Wakana gets more lead parts than the others, but I think that’s probably for the best. Wakana can reach the higher notes with tone the other two can’t match. Keiko can’t actually sing that high but she does harmonise damn well, which is probably she gets harmonies all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Keiko actually sings more total than Wakana and Hikaru. As for Hikaru, she does do best on powerful songs, but she has improved. I was quite impressed with her ballads on Consolation, I think she showed good control.

  3. Cha says:

    I just listened to all of the songs (except the last two you didn’t review)
    and Dolce
    DOLCE

    I am in tears right now because Dolce is just so spectacular and I love the really classical sound to it especially since I love classical music and UGH. ASJKDHASDSJHDSALDAS.

    //wheezes

    AND I TOO WISH IT WAS LONGER. It sucks because I felt the exact same way about Al Fine too — SUCH a beautiful song, but so damn short. If both songs were longer (or in Al Fine’s case, if it was longer AND had a chorus/verse/etc), I think I would honestly have a full-on eargasm.

    WHY ARE THE REALLY GREAT SONGS SO SHORT. ; ____ ;

    I wish I knew Kajiura personally so I could beg her to fulfill these two dying wishes of mine ugh SCREAMS.

    I apologize for my incoherency but man DOLCE, UGH.❤

    Alleluia was a nice song to listen to; very soothing and sweet. I, too, feel Keiko wasn't the greatest in some parts of the song. But like you, it's not bad enough for me to dislike the song or to avoid listening to it.

    I also feel Hikaru's been improving! I LOVE with her voice.❤ I always enjoy singing her parts and especially Keiko's. I'm more of a harmony girl than the main melody girl. ;D

    But Hikaru for SURE has the greatest range. She can sing notes as low as Keiko and as high as Wakana, which makes her very versatile, as shown throughout many of their songs. I really enjoy her distinct singing voice (well, all of their voices are distinct hee hee). It's definitely evident by now that she has such a powerful voice, and is able to control her voice much better now than when she first started. She is also very good — in my opinion — of adding emotion and dynamics to her voice. So vocally, she is my favourite. But I enjoy singing Keiko's harmonies most (or whoever happens to be singing the low harmonies), since I loooove singing low harmonies.😀

    How about you? Who's parts do you usually enjoy singing most? And who is your favourite member, vocally? * v *

    • 123 says:

      Glad to hear Dolce love🙂. It would be really cool if maybe Yuki Kajiura could do a full version for the next Kalafina album. *daydreams*

      Hikaru’s range.. yeah maybe you’re right about it being the biggest. I was just kinda going on instinct that Wakana was highest, I haven’t actually checked what high/low notes the three girls can do. From memory though, Hikaru’s better at low than Wakana. I’m not sure how they compare for higher notes, but Wakana is pretty good at singing lots of continuous mid-high notes. You’re also right that Hikaru is really good at emotions in her vocals.

      I don’t really sing Kalafina that much. Mostly because I’m a guy and so it doesn’t match my range that well😦. My sister and I did start trying to learn Storia and Parallel Hearts (well, it’s pretty much the same as Kalafina) and I did mostly low harmonies, but we gave up ‘cos we couldn’t be bothered trying to work out the harmonies lol.

      Hmmm, favourite member vocally. Y’know, I can’t really say. It used to be Keiko because I love singers with deep voices, but when Hikaru does her aggressive Magia-type voice, I like that the best out of all of them. I also admire Wakana’s awesome control. Toooooo haaaaaard!!! Can’t decide. Maybe Keiko still?

      And also thanks for stopping by and commenting ^_^

      • Cha says:

        For sure! Wakana sings high notes very well, and most of the time she sounds gorgeous and well-controlled. If only she could sing those notes with more power sometimes, though! PARALLEL HEARTS IS AMAZING. ; v ; I should listen to more FJ songs, because I’ve only listened to a couple of their songs. ): If you’ve listened to a lot of their songs, do you have any to recommend?

        You’re right on that Hikaru can sing low notes better than Wakana. And actually, I was listening to Dolce about 20+ times last night, and I’m pretty sure Hikaru is singing that amazing baritone/bass line for most of the song! I don’t know whether or not Keiko interchange that role, but I know she sings it in the beginning and it just goes to show how great her range is asdkhasdhsakldsa sighs. ; ___ ;

        Aw! You could always sing their songs on a lower scale! =] Yay for your sister liking Kalafina too!

        You do make a point! All of them have their strengths in a certain area. They’re very talented, and when they sing together, their voices harmonize so well. Kalafina is the only group in which I truly obsess over because their songs are always so compelling to me. ♥

  4. Pingback: Kalafina – Kimi no Gin no Niwa | Tsukiyo no Hikari

  5. Darkstar1612 says:

    Bueno, yo no hablo ingles, pero supongo que se podrá traducir tal cual como lo hago yo ahora con el navegador jajaj. Me encanta Keiko y no estoy tan de acuerdo con el tema de Aleluya. Creo que la canción es perfecta, y además, siento que es bueno que las cantantes del grupo salgan de su zona de seguridad y experimenten sonidos nuevos, porque sino, se vuelve muy repetitivo. Con respecto a lo de sus voces, siento, por lo menos basándome en las presentaciones en vivo y en las que son unplugged, que Keiko en la que tiene una voz más solidad y con menos fallas. Wakana (que también me gusta) falla mucho en sus intentos por alcanzar las notas altas, respira mucho y muy fuerte y eso se escucha en el micrófono, y siento que muchas veces roza la desafinación, muy diferente de como se escucha en estudio. Hikaru, me gusta mucho en estudio, pero en vivo… Definitivamente no. Su voz es muy chillona y se diferencia mucho en la profundidad que tiene en los CD. Por lo mismo, Keiko siempre se escucha mejor en vivo, solida y potente, además de tener un dominio mucho mejor de la voz de cabeza y de los vibratos (En vivo). Te mando un saludo y me gustaron mucho tus criticas. Como última conclusión, creo que a Keiko le dan más la segunda voz, porque a diferencia de las otras dos, su voz se puede escuchar claramente en la armonía, por lo que le da más profundidad a Wakana en sus partes y más soporte a Hikaru (que en vivo le hace falta mucho).

    • Alex says:

      Thanks for writing so much out! Sorry buddy, I can’t read Spanish though >.<

      • Darkstar1612 says:

        Well, I do not speak English , but I guess that can translate as such as I do now with the jajaj browser. I love Keiko and I’m not agree with the theme of Hallelujah . I think the song is perfect, and also feel it is good that the singers of the group out of his comfort zone and experiment with new sounds, because otherwise it gets very repetitive. With respect to their voices , I feel , at least based on the live and you are unplugged , in which Keiko has a voice more solidad and fewer failures . Wakana ( which I also like ) misses a lot in their attempts to reach the high notes , breathe long and very strong and that is heard on the microphone , and I feel that often borders on detuning , very different from how it sounds in studio . Hikaru , I really like to study, but … Live Definitely not. His voice is very loud and differs much in depth you have in the CD . Therefore, Keiko always listening to live better , solid and powerful, as well as having a much better command of the head voice and vibrato ( Live ) . I send a greeting and I really liked your criticisms. As a final conclusion, I think Keiko I give it more the second voice , because unlike the other two , his voice can be heard clearly in harmony , so that it gives more depth to Wakana in parts and support Hikaru (which makes you live a long way ) .

        • Alex says:

          Thank you! I hope my review made sense using a translator.

          I agree Keiko was the best in the lives. Unfortunately Wakana wasn’t very good in her parts though. I think this is unusual for her though; I’ve watched a few Kalafina live DVDs, and Wakana has generally been very good in them, so her live singing on this single is probably just a bad day for her. Hikaru is the worst Kalafina singer when singing live (although when she does songs which need a deeper timbre like Magia, she does a lot better).

          I’m not sure if I agree with you on Keiko always being better live. Wakana has always seemed very consistent to me, and while Keiko is a good singer, she doesn’t have as much control over her dynamics when performing live. I haven’t watched any Kalafina videos recently though, so I can’t give a more definitive answer.

          I’m always glad to find more people who like Kalafina🙂

          • Darkstar1612 says:

            Jajaj thanks for answering , you’re very kind. This is the eternal fight between Kalafina fandom , about who is better, or if Keiko Wakana . About the voice , I can not agree lol but I want to clarify what I mean when I sing unplagged because without music is more difficult to sing . In concert with all the tools and support bases is easier. I insist that I think Keiko has better control , because you have to understand that it is the less time you have to rest your voice, it makes solos or second voice and immediately has to harmonize with the voice of the girl singing after her , so you have to always control his voice that no more than the principal is a little difficult . I agree with you that all three are excellent singers and I like almost equally. I just wish that their songs were more equitable with single , I feel better and less repetitive to listen. I insist that your blog is great and I agree with you on most things and I’m glad you Keiko pleases ( even though the judge with more harshly than the rest, but that happens whenever you like most that character lol) . Keep it up and I hope that my words will not bother .
            To defend my point haha I’ll let this youtube video of a presentation Unplagged to see if you agree with me. :

          • Alex says:

            It’s no bother, I’m happy to have a discussion ^_^

            I think Keiko sings the most out of the three Kalafina girls, so that’s something to take into account for during concerts. However, Keiko’s vocal range is smaller than Wakana’s, and the notes Keiko sings aren’t as challenging as the high notes Wakana often hits.

            Keiko was probably the better singer in that video. Wakana didn’t sound great, she was off note sometimes, and her voice sounded weak. But while Keiko > Wakana in the video you linked, it’s not fair to say that Keiko is in general better than Wakana, just from a sample of one song. Unfortunately I’m pretty busy at the moment so I can’t watch lots of Kalafina videos :(((((((

            I’m sorry if some of my responses aren’t very good. I’m having a bit of trouble understanding the translation.

          • Darkstar1612 says:

            Your response has been great , I get it perfect. I read English well , but do not write so well haha, in fact, if I write it in English , I wanted worse than it already is in the google translator. But you’re right , Keiko range is not as great ( Although I like because I feel it is unique ) , and Wakana sounds excellent, which is true . I just let go a little fanaticism. Basically, what I meant is that Keiko prefer over the other , by his voice and charisma. My and my girlfriend ( she actually showed me the first time) we live by as escanta moves and sings. Hikaru and Wakana are great and I love their voices. I guess we conclude that 3 has good and bad days , but in general excellent singing .
            It has been a pleasure reading your blog and talk to you . My name is Nicholas and I live in Chile ( to show you that I read from far away haha). I think it’s great your blog and the way in which you carry on. Whenever you read , but the first time you write something . I hope you continue this. For my part, I’ll read each time you put something haha Kalafina and hopefully it’s soon. ( I think like you , love Fate Zero. It was an epic series ) .
            Regards and keep it up.

          • Alex says:

            Nice to chat, Nicholas, it’s great to connect with people from all over the world. I’m hoping Kalafina will give us some new music soon! Keiko’s actually my favourite out of the three. I really like female singers with deep voices, and her voice does have a lot of charisma and warmth. I’m happy you enjoyed my blog too.

Comments make me happy!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s