Review: My very first thought after listening to Clannad ~After Story’s~ opening was something along the lines of, “Wow. Did I just hear that?” After a quick re-listen to confirm my initial reaction, my expectations crumbled like a saltine cracker. I have heard “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” being described as extremely “heartfelt and touching” or “stunningly beautiful and depressing at the same time.” Well, it certainly was depressing. Lia’s magnificent voice was rendered useless throughout most of this song because of the odd rhythm and various melodies that seemed to refuse to let her voice flow smoothly through. I could imagine her in the recording studio with a slight crease between her eyes trying to concentrate and pinpoint exactly what this song was trying to convey, and failing to.
The beginning of this song is wonderful. And that, pretty much, is the extent of it until you reach the very end where only the instruments remain (as in the last couple seconds of the song). The moment Lia’s voice enters is the exact moment where this song fails. And it’s definitely not because her voice sounds bad! The odd seven or eight note melody that comes in does not transition from the happier sounding introduction very well. This section (0:16 – 0:38) confuses me because I can’t seem to picture the feeling that is trying to claw its way out. It also ends on an upward trend. It seems as if the song is saying, “Watch! I’m getting ready TO DO ABSOLUTELY…nothing.” and ends up just repeating the same melody over again. But the good thing is, after this, it leads into the chorus section which happens to be the second most appealing part of the song. It fully utilizes Lia’s magnificent vocal ability by allowing her to fill her lungs with air and beautifully wind up and down through the higher ranges. Unfortunately, it comes to an end too quickly and plunges into the worst section of the song. I’ll admit that, by itself, the four note repetition isn’t so terrible. What makes it ungodly is the fact that they had Lia sing the exact same melody on top of it in possibly the most emotionally devoid voice I have heard in a very long while. I kind of understand what kind of message the composers were failing to get across. Perhaps, they should have had Lia do a very light and staccato(if you will) voice over the melody instead of a heavy, legato voice. But alas, it was not to be. Well! Since the song repeats the same melodies after the halfway point, just rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
Indeed, I was thoroughly disappointed with this song. Tori no Uta is definitely still my favorite Lia song and, while many others will continue to rave about “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” and denounce me because of my distinct enmity and lack of understanding towards it, I really don’t mind! I am still a great Lia fan and that shouldn’t change for quite some time.
If I could compare “Toki wo Kizamu Uta” to Torch, I would have to say that Torch would win hands down every single time. The opening and the ending songs are truly on opposite sides of the spectrum. The light and cheery sound of the ED reflects much of what Clannad is all about; having fun while living life to it’s fullest without any regrets. The catchy tune is a great head bobber and quite an easy thing to get stuck in my head. Lia’s clear voice rings through this song extremely well and, even better, her vocal range is used in a wonderful manner throughout. I really have nothing to complain about here!