The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2009) OP – Super Driver – Review

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya OP - Super Driver Album Cover

Album Title: Super Driver
Anime Title: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Artist: Aya Hirano
Catalog Number: LACM-4631
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: Jul 22, 2009

Track Title Artist Time
1. Super Driver Aya Hirano 4:20
2. Aishite! Aya Hirano 4:18
3. Super Driver (off vocal) 4:19
4. Aishite! (off vocal) 4:17

Review: Given the whole Endless Eight fiasco (just as planned?), this album just has so much going against it, mostly in terms of its association with what’s currently airing and to Aya Hirano’s inability to sing well. While I’d like to be able to get into “Super Driver’s” upbeat atmosphere, I simply cannot because for all the energy that both the singer and the background instruments try to inject into the song, the whole process feels forced, resulting in a performance that is neither compelling nor enjoyable.

The main issue I have with “Super Driver” is that Aya Hirano’s expressiveness as she sings it feels manufactured. From the lyrics, it looks as though she is aiming to convey the excitement of exploring new opportunities on one’s own terms, but I’m not buying it at all. The song itself feels too formulaic and mechanical; while the drums and bass in the beginning do an adequate job of catching one’s attention with its beat and the electric guitars infuse some energy into the song decently, all of that is written off because Hirano’s approach to the song is suspect. Her expressiveness appears muted. For example, when she sings the lines:

jibun de mitsuketa myself
suki ni natte touzen
kudaranai yarikata kette
subete wa atashi ga kimeru!

I had expected a forceful delivery so as to demonstrate how resolute she is on seizing the day as she builds the song up to the chorus section. Unfortunately, her delivery falls flat, sounding as if Hirano was going through the singing motions rather than giving it her all by putting in some genuine emotion into the song. When the chorus does come, it just comes off as being unsatisfying as all that energy that’s supposed to be present fails to materialize. I didn’t feel a rush of adrenaline or a sense of excitement while listening to “Super Driver” and when you amplify the sense of lethargy that I derived from the first verse and chorus by stretching it to over four minutes, the song really becomes grating as it overstays its welcome.

“Aishite!” isn’t really all that much better, but at least it isn’t worse than “Super Driver.” The song is underwhelming because its melody is best described as bland, but inoffensive J-Pop. There really isn’t much in this song that stands out aside from the call and response section that sounds just a bit campy (especially when you hear the female voices respond) but once you finish listening to it, you’ll not likely remember much of anything about it, good or bad. As such, “Aishite!” cements its role as a throwaway song.

There really isn’t anything positive that can be said about this single and the most negative thing is that it’s just boring overall. I’m not sure whether the excessive amount of studio editing or Aya Hirano’s delivery is at fault in this instance, but it never quite recaptures the amount of energy and excitement that I had derived from “Bouken Desho Desho?.” This single, like the rest of the current Haruhi airing, only makes us want to go back to a time where the franchise was still fresh and enjoyable.

Rating: Not Good

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.

0 thoughts on “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (2009) OP – Super Driver – Review

  • July 28, 2009 at 7:45 pm
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    “This single, like the rest of the current Haruhi airing, only makes us want to go back to a time where the franchise was still fresh and enjoyable.”

    Sums it up perfectly. =/

    Reply
  • July 28, 2009 at 7:54 pm
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    This review pretty much agree with my opinions… The OP Single and the current Endless Eight airing is a complete disaster… which is very sad….

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 12:28 am
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    @Reltair
    It’s actually kind of annoying that I even had to write all of that. What a disappointment it’s been.

    @Chikorita157
    I’m not sure I’d label the OP a complete disaster, but if you were making a cross comparison to all the Haruhi songs that have been released, “Super Driver” is by far the most lackluster of the lot.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 1:23 am
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    “Aya Hirano’s inability to sing well”

    Scathing. Though you’re quite right. The more I hear of her, the less I’m impressed by her ability as a seiyuu. I think time is going to eventually say that she’s a seiyuu who achieved her success by being at the right place at the right time, rather than her talent compared with her peers.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 5:00 am
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    It might have been more interesting if they gave us an ominous-sounding OP….ONE THAT REPEATS THE SAME CHORUS 8[MILLION] TIMES.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 9:50 am
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    @zzeroparticle
    Maybe disaster was the wrong word… but Super Driver does not live up to the likes of Bouken Desho Desho or God Knows/Lost my mustic and it’s a big disappointment…

    Although I like few of the songs she sung, most of her songs are either mediocre or not that great.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm
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    Seems like the hype with Hirano Aya is over…

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm
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    God Knows probably raised the bar a little too high for Hirano, and if everyone’s expecting that sort of quality from her consistently it’s only natural to be disappointed.

    I wouldn’t say it’s particularly bad, it felt just like a majority of the jpop out there.

    Reply
  • July 29, 2009 at 10:16 pm
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    @Sorrow-kun
    Definitely agreed that she’s way overrated as a seiyuu. That is, she’s not bad, but she’s not as good as most people will give her credit for. As for her singing… she’s never really been that great of a singer anyways and I think that the only way she’s been able to achieve the success she has with some of her songs has been through studio tweaking.

    @lelangir
    I was thinking this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGRHs1BClhw

    @Chikorita157
    Yeah, I sorta knew what you were getting at. Even if those songs are a high bar to try to measure up to, it’s still no excuse for this huge drop in quality.

    Also, right on when you note that most of her songs are ridiculously mediocre. Hyakko’s ED and Daughter of Twenty Faces’ ED have been grating on the ears.

    @inhert
    I’m not exactly mourning over this and I’m not sure many people are. Welcome to show business where the ability to deliver consistently is what is of prime importance.

    @depthcharge101
    Well, most of the J-Pop I listen to are related to anime in some way, so I don’t really get a chance to hear out mainstream artists all too often and when I do, the music isn’t that great anyhow.

    I suppose not all artists can be like Nana Mizuki who is capable of consistent performances.

    Reply
  • July 30, 2009 at 11:25 am
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    A shame, I liked it. But then again I like everything.

    I SAY, I SAY, MY HEAVEN.

    Reply
  • July 31, 2009 at 11:06 am
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    @Omisyth
    Yeah, I’m just not feeling the energy that I think I was supposed to feel. :\

    Reply
  • August 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm
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    Yeah, I want to chime in myself with the rare “I really like this song” opinion.

    I really like the energy in the song and am quite fond of Aya’s voice.

    Then again, I’m in the minority that hasn’t totally hated Endless Eight (don’t love it, but certainly don’t hate it…think it was an interesting artistic experiment).

    Of course topping the first seasons awesome songs was never really going to be possible either.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2009 at 12:12 pm
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    I really didn’t get your point.
    Both songs were great. Guitar, bass, drums and vocals…

    Maybe people thought that she would sing a better song than God Knows, but this is a quite hard to do. I didn’t expect that, so I’m not disappointed.

    Reply
  • August 24, 2009 at 7:04 pm
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    @Ivan
    I think that even if you took God Knows out of the equation, the song is still pretty bad when you listen to it within the context of anime music in general. There are far better OPs that are worthy of attention than this one.

    Reply
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  • September 12, 2009 at 8:11 pm
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    I’m gonna have to side with the few people that like this song, i liked it, i have to listen to it every day in the morning, or i won’t have any energy……so i like it, and not only that….I LOLd AT Endless eight and actually liked it(surprising, isn’t it)….i think your hopes were just TOO high up zzeroparticle

    Reply
  • September 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm
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    @Razgriz
    There’s really no expectations at all. If all anime OP/EDs were enjoyable listens, I’d be the happiest person ever. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t work that way so you’ll get some occasional flub like “Super Driver” is just business as usual.

    Besides, music is one of those subjective elements. Somehow, I never felt that energy that you described, so that’s why I gave it a low rating, but I was somehow able to feel it in “Tomare” and therefore gave it a high rating.

    Reply
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