Amnesia OP Single – Zoetrope – Review

Zoetrope Yanaginagi

Album Title: Zoetrope
Anime Title: Amnesia
Artist: yanaginagi
Catalog Number: GNCA-0250
Release Type: OP/ED Single
Release Date: January 30, 2013
Purchase at: CDJapan

Track Title Artist Time
01. Zoetrope yanaginagi 4:20
02. Hoshiboshi no Wataridori yanaginagi 4:02
03. replica yanaginagi 2:18
04. Zoetrope (Instrumental) Shinya Saito 4:19
05. Hoshiboshi no Wataridori (Instrumental) Shinya Saito 4:02
05. replica (Instrumental) yanaginagi 2:18

Review: In her short stint with Supercell, yanaginagi has gifted us with a great many solid works, from the moving stories of unrequited love in ‘Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari’ and ‘Utakata Hanabi’, the optimistic ‘Perfect Day’, to the bold and energetic ‘Rock’n’Roll Nandesu no’. However, since moving on to her solo career, her works have lost their magic. I found ‘Vidro Moyou’ too plain, ‘Ambivalentidea’s’ melody lines too disjointed, and the awkward incorporation of a jazzy piano in ‘Laterality’ that never quite fit in with anything else rather annoying. Repeated listens may make them grow on me, but I don’t feel any urge to put in that time. ‘Zoetrope’, in returning to the simplicity characterized by her older works, is what manages to pull me back into the fold.

The very beginning of ‘Zoetrope’ brings yanaginagi’s beautiful voice to the fore, expressing a feeling of emptiness. The guitar then picks it up from there, and sets the energy level for the rest of the track. Despite its rather simple structure and lack of anything wildly original, it does an excellent job in merely getting everything just right: yanaginagi’s passionate delivery was spot-on, the dominance of the percussion drives a sense of urgency, and the various instrumental melodies within the piece are all written masterfully, using those instruments for what they do best. For instance, the violin tremolo at 1:34 creates a climax before the next stanza comes in, while the crisp piano segments between various stanzas gracefully link one portion of the song to another. There are many more such instances, be it with the chimes or electric guitar, which would be impossible to list due to sheer quantity. Collectively, the feeling one gets is that every aspect of the song is purposeful and managed, making it an impressive piece in every right.

The two B-sides do not give me as much to write about other than the fact they are pleasant and uplifting, in spite of how similar they are to standard J-pop. I would attribute this largely to yanaginagi’s impeccable ability to deliver optimism and innocence through her songs, creating heartwarming pieces that gently wash over the listener. Among the two, I personally find ‘replica’ more memorable despite its simplicity. Here, yanaginagi is accompanied by just a piano, which allows her delivery to truly shine as she takes the lead, letting her voice guide us as she seeks comfort despite loneliness and uncertainty.

When it comes down to it, this single wins no awards for being novel, though it remains an enjoyable listen. It does not do an awful lot, but what it does it does well.

Rating: Good

Amnesia OP 1 – Zoetrope

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.

4 thoughts on “Amnesia OP Single – Zoetrope – Review

  • March 2, 2013 at 10:03 am
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    ‘enjoyable, if not original’: I think that is fair. I do like Zoetrope, though. Been listening to it a lot on the bus as I head in to work.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2013 at 10:53 am
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    >However, since moving on to her solo career, her works have lost their magic.

    Eh, she’s still releasing nice collaboration albums. I suppose they aren’t exactly linked to her solo career, but they are post-supercell.

    Jun Maeda & yanaginagi
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnPN8qWsaJI

    MANYO & yanaginagi

    Reply
  • March 3, 2013 at 1:26 am
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    Yeah, I guess one downside to tuning into my local classical station is that my expectations have amped up significantly. I’ve had a hard time really letting this song draw forth any sort of tangible reaction. It’s just a bit too simple for my tastes. Passable, sure, but anything more and eehhhhhh…… the composition just doesn’t strike too strong a chord with me 😡

    Reply
  • March 7, 2014 at 9:36 am
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    Nagi Yanagi’s single Aqua Terrarium (lyrics by Chiaki Ishikawa) and its second track are great, but its third track although fun is too similar to what has been performed by other people already. Nagi Yanagi sang Aqua Terrarium at Animax Musix 2013 day 2.

    Reply

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