- SAVIOR OF SONG (feat. MY FIRST STORY)
- Silver Sky (Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ver.)
- Our Story (Nano ver.)
- START OVER (feat. MY FIRST STORY) (MY FIRST STORY ver.)
- SAVIOR OF SONG (Instrumental)
- Silver Sky (Instrumental) (Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ver.)
- Our Story (Instrumental) (Nano ver.)
- START OVER (Instrumental) (MY FIRST STORY ver.)
1. SAVIOR OF SONG (feat. MY FIRST STORY)
While the song title claims that Nano is collaborating with rockers MY FIRST STORY on this track, the impression I get is that it’s only between Nano and Hiro, the band’s lead vocalist. The song begins with Nano singing to a single clean guitar, followed by the unravelling of whirling synths to the hard guitars of the introduction. Nano leads the first verse and chorus, again giving an excellent rock performance, a storm of pa ssion infused into her vocals. I’m especially loving the end of the chorus, and how she says “arpeggio”. Next up is Hiro’s part. For those who didn’t know, Hiro is the younger brother of Taka from ONE OK ROCK, and he sounds like a not-as-good version of his brother. I can still enjoy Hiro’s part, but in his verse the singing doesn’t have the same control as Nano’s. However, he hits the high notes in the chorus admirably… and even if his English is questionable, I’ll let that slide. The bridge is a rap featuring both vocalists, and the weakest part of the track. I’m not quite sure how to explain this, but I find the ends of the lines, such as “and then you’ll find the answers inside of you” are unsatisfying as a closing phrase. I reckon a good old-fashioned guitar solo would have been better. Apart from the lower-quality bridge, the rest of the song was sweet, and joins Nano’s collection of high-class A-sides.
2. Silver Sky
On the anime version of the single, the B-side is the ballad Silver Sky. The foundation of the track is delicate, melancholic piano, supported by a cello that has some superb dynamics, fading in and out with a mournful grace. When I first heard the introduction, I worried that the instrumentals would be too good for Nano. But boy, was I wrong. Nano pulls out some incredibly soft tone and meshes perfectly with the instrumentation, with subtle harmonies adding colour without intruding too much on the listener. She also expresses herself with more vibrato, and her upper and lower registers blend nicely. The arrangement, with only piano and the various strings that appear later in the piece, reminds me of Yuki Kajiura’s music. There are some chords that are distinctly non-Kajiuran though – hear the one after “locked within, in hopes that we will remember”. Very cool. Damn this is her best ballad yet, and better than the title track!
3. Our Story
Our Story is also ballad, and a monster one at that, clocking in at eight minutes. It opens with slow piano, and like Silver Sky, uses violin with awesome dynamics. Eh, I can’t help but compare them, so I will. I wouldn’t say the arrangement is the same level as Silver Sky, but it’s quite strong nonetheless. However, the vocals are nowhere near as good. Where Nano used a soft, emotional colour in the previous song, here her delivery is rougher and not as appealing. The instrumental parts are lovely though, the piano is tranquil and the violin complements Nano’s vocals. And listen to those exquisite trills near the close! Something else I noticed was how well pauses were used, especially at the beginning and the end. The gaps between chords kept me hanging on, eagerly waiting for more. There was an overly long pause at the two-thirds mark, after the bridge, but apart from that their use was great. On the whole, it’s a good effort, but too long and let down by average vocals.
4. START OVER (feat. MY FIRST STORY)
The last B-side starts in ballad form, piano and strings accompanying Nano’s singing. Then, to my delight, it turned out to be a rock song! Scratchy guitars are introduced from both sides, and just when a drum fill makes you think the song’s going to be fast n’ heavy, it surprisingly goes for a slow rocking plus violins route. Hiro from MY FIRST STORY begins the next vocal section. Pleaaaaaaase stick to Japanese Hiro, it’s kinda annoying to listen to all that Engrish. He sings lead up through the first verse and chorus, where like in SAVIOR OF SONG, he shows better tone than in the verse. The second verse is sung by Nano, and starts at the same time as the chorus finishes. Which I found confusing, because I thought it was part of the chorus at first. Anyway, she gives a very respectable performance, and it’s appropriate that she was second as she sounds better than Hiro. There’s a final chorus and then it’s over, which seems a bit random. START OVER feels like it’s unfinished and could be improved upon, it’s decent but not anything special in Nano’s discography.
Nano has released another good single with SAVIOR OF SONG. The Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio version was the best out of the three types, featuring the powerful lead track and an outstanding ballad. Sadly, the other two versions’ coupling tracks weren’t as strong, but overall I would say that this single is worth a listen for rock fans.
Rating: 4 stars
On another note, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting often. I’ve got exams in about a week, so I have been (and will be) pretty busy, I’m sorry to say that there won’t be much activity here until that’s over, in three weeks time. Thanks for your patience :-).