Vampire Knight ED – Still Doll – Review

still doll

Album Title: Still Doll
Anime Title: Vampire Knight
Artist: Kanon Wakeshima, Mana
Catalog Number: DFCL-1467
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: May 28, 2008

Track Title Artist Time
1. Still Doll Kanon Wakeshima 3:18
2. Kuroi Torikago Kanon Wakeshima 2:54
3. Still Doll (Orgel Version) Mana 2:13

Review: In many ways, Wakeshima Kanon’s debut single, “Still Doll,” stands out amongst those produced by other artist. For one, it is not often that one hears the cello providing melody lines in J-pop and what makes it more impressive is that the cello is played by Wakeshima herself. Secondly, if I were to describe this whole single in one word, the word will be “eerie.” Finally, the exact genre of music is hard to classify; it combines elements of classical, waltz, rock and techno all in just two songs.

“Still Doll” already presents us with something very unique in the cello introduction which, when accompanied by the orgel, creates a strong impression. The light and crisp tinkling of the orgel that accompanies the richness of the cello works to bring out a sinister feel in the form of a dark, ambient atmosphere. The cello chords stay very consistent throughout, which oddly enough, is what keeps me wanting more because normally, I look out for evolving music during a track, perhaps through a change in scale, beat or instruments. “Still Doll” does not show much of a change throughout the whole track, but its sheer perplexity of the image conveyed succeeds in drawing listeners in.

From listening to “Still Doll,” it is evident that a lot of effort was made to give a distinct feel, from a 3/4 timing to cello triplets. I’m very happy that these efforts are not wasted though, because “Still Doll” is one song which listeners will not forget easily.

The B-side, “Kuroi Torikago,” is by no means overshadowed by “Still Doll.” While “Still Doll” uses a slow tempo to build its atmosphere, “Kuroi Torikago” is a very fast paced and tense track. The use of classical instruments set to a techno beat is also very catchy. The violin already succeeds in taking the center stage in this track, but it’s the inclusion of the contrapuntal cello melody starting around 1:29 that makes the whole track feel more complete.

The only track which I feel wasn’t necessary was the orgel version of “Still Doll.” The thing which makes “Still Doll” stand out is the way in which the cello and vocals bring out the sinister and haunting atmosphere. The orgel, without the heavy background, comes across as being too simple, like an empty shell devoid of any feelings. Though the sound of the key being turned does provide some sense of realism, the feeling that the only reason for this track’s inclusion is because the two other tracks amount to a grand total of only around six minutes is constantly nagging at me.

In both songs, an equal amount of emphasis is placed on the cello and on the vocals. Many times in other singles, you feel that the music sounds detached from the singing. However, this problem is completely averted in this single, with Wakeshima calling the shots in both the singing and the cello expression. Needless to say, the cello’s expressiveness and elegance are fully demonstrated in the two tracks.

However, hardly any single is without its flaws and although the cello is as emphasized as the vocals, a problem arises in that the weakest link in this single is actually the vocal itself. No one can have it all, and sadly, though Wakeshima’s cello skills are definitely top notch, her voice is thin, lacking richness and depth. On the plus side, she makes up for that many times over through her daring expression. There are many times throughout both tracks where Wakeshima allows her voice to sound forced or hoarse to express herself, such as at 2:02 in “Still Doll,” which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but which I really want to applaud her for.

If you really have a taste for something that is extremely out of the ordinary, both in terms of composition and delivery, you will definitely enjoy this single. For those who are unsure, I recommend starting out on “Kuroi Torikago,” since that track is lighter than “Still Doll,” while still giving you a taste of Wakeshima Kanon’s style.

Rating: Very good

Vampire Knight ED – Still Doll

Jen

I have been a contributor to Anime Instrumentality since late 2009 (blimey...). Being a lousy musician trained in cello, keyboard and voice, I feel obliged to censure the other amateurs who have the cheek to release their rubbish to the world, and to affirm those who actually deserve their salary. Nothing gives me more joy than listening to good music, though I admit that writing scathing reviews on bad ones comes close.

10 thoughts on “Vampire Knight ED – Still Doll – Review

  • November 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm
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    I remember hearing this song and instantly being struck by the dense, moody tones. I actually liked Wakeshima’s airy voice in this. I thought it provided a nice contrast to the instrumentals, without feeling terribly out of place.

    Reply
  • November 11, 2009 at 11:58 pm
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    I like the ED. It gives off a mysterious atmosphere that I guess is suitable for vampires that roam in the night.

    As for Vampire Knight, I didn’t really like it and found the characters too emotional.

    Reply
  • November 12, 2009 at 3:23 am
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    @ RP
    I agree with you that her voice suits these 2 songs perfectly. However, I feel that this voice will work against her later because it severely limits the range of songs she’s able to sing in the long run.

    @ Reltair
    Hi-5! I don’t think ‘didn’t really like’ the anime would describe how I feel. In fact, I kinda hated the anime. It was too drama and superficial to me. However, Vampire Knight has undeniably good music. =D

    Reply
  • November 13, 2009 at 12:53 am
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    I love how the strings made it all dark. And it suits VK so well!! The soundtrack is awesome and the singing. It’s just like icing on a cake everything about the song matches so well and it brings out the characteristics of vampire knight.

    Reply
  • November 13, 2009 at 1:06 am
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    Kanon Wakeshima really sounds a lot like ALI Project. Except that the background music support is just a tad better. It’ll be interesting to see how she develops and that she can avoid turning into another ALI Project clone.

    Reply
  • November 13, 2009 at 11:02 pm
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    I like this song too. It definitely sets the right low keyed dark mood.

    Reply
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