- Aqua Terrarium
- You Can Count On Me
- Aqua Terrarium <instrumental>
- Mnemonic <instrumental>
- You Can Count On Me <instrumental>
1. Aqua Terrarium
Composed by Chiaki Ishikawa, Nagi Yanagi’s tie-in with the anime Nagi no Asukara beautifully conveys the theme of water. The opening “hii hiis” are reminiscent of Uninstall, and when combined with plucked acoustic guitar, they open the track in a relaxing way. Nagi’s peaceful voice has just the right amount of gentleness, and she never over-expresses herself. Her lead vocals are great, but what also adds another layer is her stunning backing vocals. Her upper and lower register flow into each other, and her well-defined head voice allows her to sing the higher notes delicately. The instruments, besides the backing vocals, are a simple drum beat, multiple guitars and bass. The acoustic guitars are calming, while the clean electric guitars with tremolo effect sound like the lapping of the sea. Also of note is the use of fretless bass, characterised by its slides and slightly more distorted sound. There’s something about fretless bass that makes you think of water – T.M.Revolution’s AQUALOVERS ~Deep Into The Night~ from his UNDER:COVER album also uses fretless bass to great effect. Finally, I’d be interested to know if the lyrics possibly describe Manaka and Hikari’s relationship. All the “hii hiis” sound like what Manaka calls Hikari. Probably reading too much into it though XD. To sum up, this soothing track is excellent in every way, and is now my favourite Nagi Yanagi song.
I’ve never found a Nagi B-side that I was too fond of, so my expectations going into this song were low. Thankfully, things were different this time. Like Aqua Terrarium, Mnemonic is a laid-back piece of middling tempo, and possesses that same flowing aura. The instruments used this time are mostly piano and keyboards, with background percussion and ethereal “ahhhhs” by Nagi. Overall, the dynamics are on the quiet side, the verses more so than the choruses. The first verse feels like it’s missing some bass, but that’s fixed up in the second verse. Nagi’s vocals are very good again, and I can’t find much to fault in her performance. Maybe a couple of the head voice notes could be a little less airy, but it’s damn solid. This is a great song that complements the A-side.
3. You Can Count On Me
The third track moves away from the slowness of the first two songs, and instead decides to be a bright, upbeat pop tune. It begins with the clatter of drums, fuzzy guitars and a piano glissando, then proceeds to get busy with its arrangement, adding strings and synths into the mix. Noticeably happier that Aqua Terrarium and Mnemonic, Nagi’s performance reflects this with a bit more excitement in her tone. As with the other two tracks, her vocals are great. I love the spark in the verse, and the chorus isn’t too bad, but the “you can count on me” comes across as cheesy, and gets repetitive after the first few times. While there’s strong points to this track, the problems with the chorus lower my enjoyment somewhat.
Aqua Terrarium was pretty cool. The stand-out was the title track, with an excellent composition and great vocals, but Mnemonic could hold its own as well. The weakest out of the three was You Can Count On Me, but all in all a very respectable release.
Rating: 4 stars