|ARIA the NATURAL Vocal Collection
|ARIA the NATURAL
|Yui Makino; ROUND TABLE Feat. Nino; Eri Kawai; Erino Hazuki; Chiwa Saito; Ryou Hirohashi; Chinami Nishimura
|September 6, 2006
|1. Barcarolle ~a capella~
|2. Undine ~Hikigatari~
|ROUND TABLE Feat. Nino
|5. Mangetsu no Doruchie
|6. Ame Furashi Hana
|7. Kami to Hairpin to Watashi
|8. Second Season ~Kibou~
|9. Natsu Machi
|ROUND TABLE Feat. Nino
|11. Euforia ~Hikigatari~
|12. Smile Again
|13. Dekkai Shiawase Desu
|Erino Hazuki; Chiwa Saito; Ryou Hirohashi;
and Chinami Nishimura
Review: The music to the ARIA series has been filled with peaceful, mellow tunes which fit right in with the its laid-back atmosphere. This characteristic extends to the BGM composed by Takeshi Senoo and the Choro Club and the songs performed by Yui Makino, ROUND TABLE feat. Nino, and Erino Hazuki, and Eri Kawai’s enchanting voice conveyed through her various barcarolles. Although many of these songs can be found in other ARIA albums, the ARIA the NATURAL Vocal Song Collection still has plenty of tracks not found elsewhere as well as some rearranged tracks, making this album worth checking out.
The Vocal Collection opens up with Eri Kawai’s Barcarolle which, while short, does a wonderful job of setting the tone for the rest of the album with its dreamy, ethereal melody. The next track which follows is Yui Makino’s Undine, which plays during ARIA the ANIMATION’s opening sequence. It was a wonderful change brought forth by scrapping the background music in the original and replacing it with the piano playing softly in the background while letting Yui Makino’s voice take over much of the melody. Its tone is still as soothing as forever and it creates an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re drifting in a gondola along Neo Venezia’s canals.
Symphony is a bit more upbeat and energetic and while it is a pleasant song, it still remains unchanged from its original version. To complement Symphony, Rainbow, also opens up with the same sort of evocative atmosphere of a world that has plenty of possibilities out there to explore. Both songs’ use of the acoustic guitar to accompany the vocalists’ works adds further to the serene mood in ARIA making for an enjoyable listen.
The calmness and serenity makes a departure and is replaced by Ame Furashi Hana, which is a bit more melancholic. It creates an introspective mood as it moves at its own slow, deliberate pace. Kami to Hairpin to Watashi sounds like a song I would expect to hear in a piano lounge with the occasional violin accompaniment. The tone here is more subdued, but still a nice change from all the optimism. While listening, keep a lookout for the point where the Chiwa Saito stops to let the background instruments play because of the interesting melody that the piano picks up for just a bit.
At this point, the tone shifts as Eri Kawai’s performance of Second Season ~Kibou~ brings the album back to its laid-back themes. This song, like most of Eri Kawai’s performances, does a wonderful job of maintaining the feeling that the listener is drifting gently along with the currents. No matter what she performs, she still is able to add on to the serenity, something that she’ll repeat again on Coccoro. Her performance on Coccoro bears special mention for the way the staggered voices evokes the feeling of gentle waves brushing up against some distant shoreline.
This rendition of Euforia takes a bit of inspiration from Undine by employing the same changes in this rearrangement, but the result of that is not quite on par with the original because of the lack of the background chorus emphasizing the euphoric nature of the song. Smile Again follows Euforia as it gives off the vibe that the singer is saying farewell. There is definitely a bittersweet quality to this melancholy song.
The album finally ends on an offbeat mood with Dekkai Shiawase Desu which was sung by Akari, Aika, and mostly, Alice (with a touch of President Aria’s bunyuus). The melody sounds really upbeat, pleasant, heartwarming, and captures the characters perfectly. Needless to say, it was the perfect way to end this album.
Overall, the ARIA the NATURAL Vocal Song Collection is filled to the brim with excellent tracks which do a wonderful job of complementing the series’ mood and atmosphere. While those seeking energetic tracks should look elsewhere, those who enjoy easy listening will love this album immensely. And for those who fell in love with ARIA’s music, getting this album is a foregone conclusion.