|Album Title:||Still Doll|
|Anime Title:||Vampire Knight|
|Artist:||Kanon Wakeshima, Mana|
|Release Type:||OP/ED Single|
|Release Date:||May 28, 2008|
|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