Macross Frontier OP/ED Single – Lion – Review

Album Title: Lion
Anime Title: Macross Frontier
Artist: May’n; Megumi Nakajima; Yoko Kanno
Catalog Number: VTCL-35033
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: Aug 20, 2008

Track Title Artist Time
1. Lion May’n; Megumi Nakajima 5:06
2. Northern Cross May’n 5:18
3. Lion (without vocal) Yoko Kanno 5:06
4. Northern Cross (without vocal) Yoko Kanno 5:12

Review: Those who have read my review for the Macross Frontier Original Soundtrack will have noted my discontent with May’n’s vocal talents. The major issues that I had with her performances is that her voice doesn’t catch my attention because she doesn’t really convey much in the way of emotion through her singing and her songs tend to have this generic bland pop feel to it. While this single does not assuage my opinions about her, it is a touch better than the songs that she performed on the soundtrack, making this album enjoyable even if doesn’t blow you away.

Thankfully, “Lion” does an excellent job of grabbing your attention right off the bat with an elegantly-written exposition that sets the tone for the introduction of the electric guitars which charge to set forth the forceful rhythm and tempo that remains for the rest of the song. May’n’s voice is clear as she comes through and already, the amount of energy and emotion that she’s putting into the piece is an improvement over most of her songs on the first soundtrack even if that doesn’t really mean all that much. Megumi Nakajima entrance around 0:42 gives her more soothing and enjoyable voice a chance to shine before she and May’n combine their efforts. If there’s anything that’s readily apparent with “Lion,” it’s that May’n and Megumi Nakajima complement each other really well because May’n’s deeper voice contrasts really well with Megumi Nakajima’s lighter tone. It also helps that the melody is fairly catchy and enjoyable for the whole way through with its jamming guitars that set the song in motion in a fast-paced manner that will hold the listener’s attention. Although it’s not the absolute best OP ever, “Lion” manages to be enjoyable all the same by showcasing one of May’n’s better performances.

“Northern Cross’s” introduction carries with it a harder edge provided by the electric guitars, an electronic rhythm in the back, and a full percussion set to carry the rhythm and harmony. This piece presents May’n on her own and here, she starts off with a light ballad-like introduction before speeding up the pace at which she sings, which piques the listener’s interest through her ability to go through the lyrics at a rapid pace without slurring the lyrics. As you keep on listening to this piece, it sounds mostly like an effort to showcase May’n’s ability to sing the lyrics without really showing off her ability to fuse much emotion into the music itself. In fact, that’s probably the biggest issue that I had with this piece is that its emphasis on vocal virtuosity comes without the emotional connection that makes songs generally enjoyable. While this song is, on the whole, a good listen because of May’n’s performance, I’m just not seeing this one hold up to multiple listens on its own.

May’n’s performance in both tracks continue to demonstrate that she still has difficulty making that connection with the listener and because of that, her music tends to require more enhanced effects to keep the audience interested rather than being strong based on the strength of her vocal talents. Megumi Nakajima’s performance also doesn’t bring anything new to the table in that we know she’s not quite an experienced singer as May’n, but is certainly willing to put in a solid effort which shines even more in conjunction with May’n. Their performances aren’t good enough to single this album out as being excellent, but at least it’s passable and fits in with the show.

Rating: Good

Opening – Lion

Ending – Northern Cross

zzeroparticle

Anime Instrumentality's Founder and Editor-in-Chief. As you can probably guess, I'm a big anime music junkie with a special love for composers who've put out some beautiful melodies to accompany some of my favorite anime series. I tend to gravitate towards music in the classical style with Joe Hisaishi and Yoko Kanno being a few of my favorite composers, but I've come to appreciate jazz and rock as anime music has widened my tastes.

5 thoughts on “Macross Frontier OP/ED Single – Lion – Review

  • October 14, 2008 at 12:00 pm
    Permalink

    I agree on Sheryl, most of her tracks on the Nayn Furo OST weren’t spectacular…but in my opinion, “Diamond Crevasse” and “Iteza gogo Kuji Don’t be late” were pretty good. And her performance here with Nakajima Megumi was good.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2008 at 7:46 pm
    Permalink

    I must be the only person on the internet that doesn’t really like Yoko Kanno. Lion sounds like recycled pop junk

    Although I heard that Lion was cowritten by some other dude?

    Reply
  • October 18, 2008 at 8:04 pm
    Permalink

    Well, I didn’t get the other album scans aside from the cover and my lack of knowledge with the moonspeak doesn’t really enable me to read the credits for the compositions, so I can’t really confirm and the only other info I had was on the file’s tags. =P

    Kanno’s a hit or miss with me. I’ve already given up on her actually writing original works because many of the stuff she puts forth is stuff you’ve heard elsewhere though to her credit, she does make the music sound a wee bit better than it did before. At least she rarely makes it sound worse. And as a preview, I wasn’t too impressed with Macross Frontier’s 2nd OST, so stick around for that.

    Reply
  • October 27, 2008 at 10:12 pm
    Permalink

    Hmmm, I actually like May’n a lot. I get the emotional connection you don’t – it’s in the energy that drives her tracks. I’m not a trained singer so I may be missing things, but as a general music fan with diverse tastes I find her quite awesome.

    Nakajima Megumi is very interesting, though her voice really is quite limited. She really shines in quiet character pieces rather than the pop bombast. That said, her singing creates a great contrast with May’n’s and it’s all gorgeous, delicious, deculture!

    Reply
  • July 7, 2011 at 3:51 am
    Permalink

    meh all the pop songs from macross frontier are really nothing special at all
    definitely not Yoko Kanno’s best works

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: