Angel Beats OP/ED Single – My Soul, Your Beats – Review

Album Title: My Soul, Your Beats! / Brave Song
Anime Title: Angel Beats!
Artist: Jun Maeda, Aoi Tada, ANANT-GARDE EYES, Lia
Catalog Number: KSLA-53
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: May 26, 2010
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
1. My Soul, Your Beats! Lia 4:35
2. Brave Song Aoi Tada 5:25
3. My Soul, Your Beats! (TV Size) Lia 1:35
4. Brave Song (TV Size) Aoi Tada 1:48
5. My Soul, Your Beats! (Instrumental) Lia 4:35
6. Brave Song (Instrumental) Aoi Tada 5:25

Review: The soothing piano melody in the opening few seconds of Angel Beat’s OP, “My Soul, Your Beats”, belie a rather intense song from Lia.  Upon a transition of harsh electronic repetitions, “My Soul, Your Beats” expands once Lia starts singing. Her vocals are smooth and continuous, but they make for a contrast with the rhythmic harmony underneath it all, carried most noticeably by the playful cello vignettes that strike with mischievous regularity.

There’s a very brief moment of tension before the chorus breaks out and the song immediately intensifies even more.  Lia’s voice is multitracked and a subtle guitar riff underneath it all signifies a more serious turn in the song.  More importantly, the violins follow Lia’s singing by becoming smoother and more deliberate, giving the whole chorus an uplifting feeling.  This is repeated again in the final two choruses, but there’s a contrast, as the violins leave Lia’s melody and strike in a way that almost resembles lightning falling down with regularity.  The entire motif of the song is rather interesting because the melody carried by Lia’s singing is smooth and continuous, while the harmony that underlies it all is rhythmic and staccato… much like the beat of a heart.  The finale of the song is the same quiet soothing piano melody that the song began on, bringing it entirely full circle.

There’s one thing that doesn’t work about this song, though, and that’s the bridge in the middle of the song.  It’s not bad, but it doesn’t fit in with the song at all, and feels like it’s been wedged in. When you’re suddenly whisked away to a strange place before being whisked back to “My Soul, Your Beats’” familiar chorus, it makes the entire thing feel like an unnecessary distraction.

“Brave Song”, from Tada Aoi, makes for Angel Beat’s sweet ED, and it’s a soothing, soft and relatively relaxed song most of the way through.  The song is simple, no where near as sophisticated as “My Soul, Your Beats”, but it’s uplifting by design, and its power is in its emotional straightforwardness.  The refrain of “Itsuka hito ha hitori ni natte/Omoide no naka ni ikiteku dake” is repeated a couple of times during the song, which says, in no uncertain terms, that “Brave Song” is a lonely song.  But, the feelings it evokes almost run counter to that, and despite the melancholy of the lyrics, it is ultimately an uplifting and sweet tune.  It’s bitter-sweet, which is fitting for the anime it concludes.

Rating: Very Good

Angel Beats OP/ED Single – My Soul, Your Beats

About the author

Sorrow-kun Guest Contributor & Editor-in-Chief of The Nihon Review.

18 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Charles says:

    Thank you for reviewing these songs – they are a large part of why I found myself liking the Angel Beats! anime so much. I particularly liked how you pointed out the contrast between the singing in “My Soul, Your Beats” and the staccato-like music.

  2. Chikorita157 says:

    Wow, the review came several months after I reviewed it. I guess you had to get rid of the bad taste from the last album…

    The opening was pretty good, but it was cetaintly not 100% perfect. However, I did like the ending theme and it had an extended intro in the Angel Beats Original SoundTrack.

  3. Hey ya’ll, Sorrow-kun reviewed this one. Full credit goes to him. Not me. =D

    The biggest thing I took away from this album was not Lia’s vocal awesomeness – that’s pretty much a known quantity at this point. Rather, I was pretty impressed by Tada Aoi’s performance. She’s gone quite the distance from that GSG Il Teatrino ED. In that ED, she sounds sorta like Ryou Hirohashi; expressive, but not as expressive as she could be. Here though, she definitely shows off her ability to channel the soothing emotions, in effect, perfecting what she’s shown glimpses of being capable of doing.

    So yeah, Tada’s performance was excellent and it’s good to see another artist to keep an ear out for.

  4. Shadow says:

    Nice review! One of my favorite Spring season anime themes, and another Lia classic. The only issue with her Angel Beats OP I had was it seemed her voice would strain at times (like at the chorus), more so than in her works for Clannad After Story and Air. I agree about the bridge, it really didn’t fit with the rest of the song. I thought the piano was probably the best portion of the song. Overall, I thought this was a strong entry from her, although slightly below Clannad After Story’s OP and Air’s OP.

  5. mrwan says:

    Good review. Compared to the other Key openings, My Soul Your Beats is indeed very ‘intense’, as if the piano keys were being jabbed at, to the point there is a sense of urgency felt, in both the rhythm and in Lia’s vocals. But I don’t think Lia is that kind of singer. The music is way too fast and aggressive for Lia’s voice to really shine. Lia’s previous Key openings had more soul, but I can’t really feel it in this effort. Otherwise song’s quite catchy though.

    Which is why I loved Brave Song, which was everything the opening wasn’t; those soft vocals by Aoi Tada exudes a feeling of hope, which got stronger and more spirited towards the end, as if to vindicate herself. I like how the strings were gradually laid on thicker, and towards the end was very strong, yet tender.

  6. Sorrow-kun says:

    @Charles
    The entire Angel Beats soundtrack, which zzero reviewed earlier, is one of its strongest facets. The anime itself has its issues, but I liked it overall. I’m stretching to find bad things to say about its music, though.

    @Chikorita157
    I’m still grappling with this whole “writing about music” thing, which is why I only got around to reviewing this now.

    @zzeroparticle
    I’m a pretty big fan of the GSG Il Teatrino ED, though I like the Lia version best. The song is about the only thing of the GSG sequel that I liked.

    @Shadow
    “Tori No Uta” is one of the best anime theme songs of all time, IMO, and I say that with a completely straight face. “My Soul, Your Beats” is no where near as good as it, but that’s hardly saying a bad word about it. I slightly prefer “My Soul, Your Beats” to “Toki wo Kizamu Uta”, but only slightly. But, show me a bad Lia song. I’ve yet to hear one.

  7. Sorrow-kun says:

    @mrwan
    I agree that this isn’t quite as good as some of Lia’s other songs, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great in its own right. It is, comparatively, something different for her, but I saw a very deliberate intent with how the song was made, and I thought Lia did what she’s always done: excellent singing, done with emotion. “Brave Song” is really interesting, because the lyrics are so lonely, but the song somehow remains uplifting.

  8. chikorita157 says:

    @zzeroparticle
    It was very late at night, and I didn’t notice… but nice review nevertheless. ^^;

  9. Valence says:

    The songs are really fitting for the show, in my opinion. It just feels that way…

  10. Yi says:

    Bittersweet is such an appropriate term for this song and the anime. Great review!! I agree totally. I really like Brave Song. And I really like the OP too. These two really worked for me and worked in the anime.

  11. Shadow says:

    While I put “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” ahead of “Tori no Uta” and “My Soul, Your Beats” third, I find all of them rather close in quality and always great listens. Lia has also made several slower almost ballad like songs, which I tend to dislike compared to her more upbeat and mid-tempo stuff. “Light Colors” from the Tomoyo After ~It’s a Wonderful Life~ game is another great song I put right in my top 4 from Lia.

  12. chikorita157 says:

    @Shadow

    I have listened to several of Lia’s songs outside of Key… some techno stuff and the calm stuff and I like them as well because of how nice her voice is.

    Outside the opening and ending themes, I find the Cornwall Summer Mix of Natukage really nice.

  13. chikorita157 says:

    @Sorrow-kun
    I know that reviewing music could be a difficult thing since you have to describe what you heard into words… It’s somewhat difficult for me to do even though I have a musical background.

  14. zzeroparticle says:

    @Sorrow-kun
    A bad Lia song might not exist… so why don’t we just settle for jarring in the form of “Torch” :p

  15. Reltair says:

    These two songs are one of the main reasons why I liked “Angel Beats!” so much. ^o^

  16. HeartClover says:

    I love My Soul, Your Beats, but I prefer Toki wo Kizamu Uta just a bit more and Tori no Uta is third.

    Also, about Torch (and I apologize for going off topic a bit):
    I really like this song, but it isn’t as captivating as Lia’s other songs, so I would say it is my least favourite (but it isn’t bad at all). I would say what made me dislike it was that it was the ending for Clannad After Story, which had a lot of emotional episodes, so Torch’s energeticness just didn’t fit.

    • @HeartClover
      Yeah, there really isn’t much else out there that compares so favorably to Toki wo Kizamu Uta in terms of how well she expresses the emotions inherent in the music. Also, I don’t think you’ll find many who’ll disagree with your thoughts about Torch.

  17. Shyilio says:

    I LOVED it too but can someone please put the written notes onthe internet, because I want to play My Soul, Your Beats on the piano but I need the notes written down soI can play it in my piano1 class and I cannot read notes very well

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