|Album Title:||Crow Song|
|Anime Title:||Angel Beats!|
|Artist:||Jun Maeda; Girls Dead Monster: marina|
|Release Type:||Insert Song|
|Release Date:||April 23, 2010|
|Purchase at:||CDJapan, Play-Asia|
|1. Crow Song||Girls Dead Monster||4:08|
|2. Alchemy||Girls Dead Monster||4:16|
|3. My Song||Girls Dead Monster||4:53|
Review: The buildup to the band scene in the first episode of Angel Beats! was auspicious. I was in awe of the artwork and animation and began inching forward in my seat so that I wouldn’t miss a single detail. Then the music started playing, marina made her entrance, singing as Iwasawa, the rhythm guitarist and vocalist for Girls Dead Monster, and I began to cringe.
Jun Maeda’s compositions are completely undone by marina’s singing in “Crow Song.” The song starts out strong with the percussion and instrumental parts building a foundation filled with excitement and energy. You get fired up, thinking that whoever will come in will deliver something memorable like Aya Hirano’s performance when she sang “God Knows.” Instead of getting someone eager to fuel the crowd’s energy with their passion, you get someone who clearly doesn’t want to be at work that day, someone who treats singing as a day job filled with drudgery and blah than a channel through which they can convey their innermost thoughts and feelings. Maybe this is how it really is out there in the music industry and if this is true, at least most of the artists I enjoy listening to do a good enough job of faking it.
Initially, I was willing to give marina’s performance some leeway since her intonation felt like that of a folk singer and that in “Crow Song,” she’s aiming for a fusion of folk and rock. But as I listened further in, her delivery becomes messy; her high notes sound flat and the chorus part feels lifeless and bland. The result is that it leaves you feeling lethargic, which is unlikely to be what this song was aiming to be with its lively rock instrumentation.
“Alchemy” is better, but that’s not really saying all too much. From the way this song starts, you feel some hope for this album’s quality since marina’s singing sounds more comfortable at lower registers and that maybe, just maybe she was singing outside her vocal range in “Crow Song.” As you listen further, you’ll find that marina’s managed to put forth a passable performance and the only thing that nagged at me is the way the song transitions from one section to the next. Perhaps someone well-versed in music theory can tell me why the shifts are so jarring since each switch feels like a mismatch if you compare it to the previous section. If you were to look at each section as a separate entity though, you’ll find it to be perfectly decent. Nothing that would really stand out, but nothing that would make me shake my head in disgust either.
Last up is “My Song,” a ballad featuring marina backed by an acoustic guitar. Here, her voice seems distant, as though it’s weighed down by regrets. She channels that emotion well enough that you would get a basic idea of what she’s feeling, but it never rises to the point where you’d feel touched by the performance. This extends to the emphatic chorus section where she belts out the lyrics before moving towards the end where her voice grows softer, creating the impression that she’s exhausted. The second time around feels a bit more grating since it doesn’t express the depths of her pains, both physical and emotional too well. One should not mistake loudness for passion since it’s all in the intonation and she doesn’t convey that too well, but if this song represents her death knell, I suppose we can forgive her somewhat for sounding tired as she uses the last remnants of her energy.
Somehow, I feel that the decision to use marina was a budgetary one; she’s an indie singer who probably didn’t cost a whole lot to hire for this project. You get what you pay for: mediocre singing through her uninspiring barrage of blandness. Let’s just hope the same fate doesn’t befall Angel Beats!, which has been engaging thus far.
Rating: Not Good