|Album Title:||CLANNAD ~After Story~ Toki wo Kizamu Uta / TORCH|
|Anime Title:||Clannad ~After Story~|
|Artist:||Lia; Jun Maeda; Shinji Orito|
|Release Type:||OP/ED Single|
|Release Date:||Nov 14, 2008|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, iTunes|
Information provided by Bigblah of VGMdb.net/Gamingforce.
|1. Toki wo Kizamu Uta / A Song Engraved in Time||Lia||4:52|
|3. Toki wo Kizamu Uta / A Song Engraved in Time -TV animation Ver.-||Lia||1:31|
|4. TORCH -TV animation Ver.-||Lia||1:31|
|5. Toki wo Kizamu Uta / A Song Engraved in Time -off vocal ver.-||Jun Maeda||4:52|
|6. TORCH -off vocal ver.-||Shinji Orito||5:04|
Review: For those of you who’ve talked to me either in person or online, it should not come as a surprise as to how much I had been anticipating this album’s release. I’ve long been a fan of Lia’s vocal works since I listened to “Tori no Uta” and add to that the fact that Clannad’s game soundtrack managed to deliver a comparable listening experience to Air’s soundtrack (a very good thing) and you’ve got a pretty good record going on. So when I saw that Clannad ~After Story~ would use an arrangement of “To the Same Heights” (Disc 2, Track 5 from Clannad’s soundtrack) with Lia on vocals, I knew we’d be in for a treat. After listening to the song a few times, I can declare “A Song Engraved in Time” to be the best song from Fall 2008’s lineup.
Words just can’t describe the heartfelt emotion with which “A Song Engraved in Time” instills within its listeners from its opening chords all the way to the very end of the song. This song starts off by capturing your attention with its brief introduction that lends itself to a rather soothing atmosphere. Then, Lia’s voice enters the picture and the sheer power of her delivery succeeds in entrancing the listener and she builds up the melody to transition over to the heart of the song, which makes its entrance at the 1:03 mark. At this point, the song enters high gear as Lia conveys a sense of loneliness and longing and does so in such a way that’s nothing short of being stunningly beautiful and depressing at the same time. The depths to which this song hits at one’s emotions is just astounding and it’s definitely a testament to the richness of Lia’s voice that brings with it a sort of expressiveness few other vocalists can match. Everything about this song, from the vocals and the piano interlude 1:50 to 2:00 to the refrain that wraps up the song is just poignant and came pretty close to reducing me to tears a few times. There aren’t many songs that have that sort of effect, which demonstrates how well this track does when it comes to delivering a solid, emotional impact upon the listener, making it a wonderful listening experience.
Any song that comes after “A Song Engraved in Time” just simply won’t compare and it’s even a steeper climb for “TORCH” since I wasn’t enthralled with the piece when I watched the ED sequence. Its jumpy, celebratory introduction is a jarring transition compared to the heavy, emotional moments that “A Song Engraved in Time” put forth. However, if you force a separation between the two pieces, I think you’ll find “TORCH” to be a decent, competent track even though it’s certainly nowhere as good as the track that preceded it. The opening notes certainly give this song a festive air packed with energy that oddly reminds me of music from any given Mario Kart game just before the race begins and if you’ve paid attention to that ditty, I don’t think the comparison is too far off. Lia enters at the 0:15 mark and the mood shifts from an energetic piece to one that’s a bit mellower where you can sense a buildup, though it’s more subtle this time around. The buildup culminates at 1:03 where the melody shifts back to its joyous introduction before starting the second verse.
As I stated before, “TORCH” just doesn’t have the same kind of pull and by having Lia on vocals, the song is passable only because she’s a very good singer. Furthermore, whether it’s because I’m only concentrating on the music instead of being distracted by the accompanying or some other factor, “TORCH” is actually more tolerable in its full version than in the series. It doesn’t change the fact that it will forever lie in “A Song Engraved in Time’s” shadow, but at least it’s not as bad as I had initially made it out to be when I first heard it.
It’s albums like this that serve as a reminder of the power that music has upon people. While it’s easy to dismiss most anime OP/EDs as bland, uninspiring J-pop, there are enough songs out there that grab on to you emotionally to make the process of digging through lots and lots of anime music worthwhile. And in this instance, the sheer beauty and poignancy of the music puts “A Song Engraved in Time” in a class of its own.
Rating: Very Good
Opening – A Song Engraved in Time
Ending – TORCH