|Nov 05, 2008
|1. Paradise Lost
|2. Yuki no Kodou / Beat of Courage
|3. Paradise Lost (off vocal)
|4. Yuki no Kodou / Beat of Courage (off vocal)
Review: Minori Chihara is well-known for voicing Yuki Nagato in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and given how Yuki is a character who speaks in an emotionally void manner, it’s surprising to learn that Chihara herself has a fairly good singing voice. Anyone who has listened to or been to any Haruhi Suzumiya-related concerts can testify to that and it helps that her live concert performances surpass Aya Hirano’s performances by a considerable margin. With that in mind, Chihara’s latest single, titled Paradise Lost, is an enjoyable listen because of how the catchy melodies, especially the one on the eponymous track, grabs at your attention. Although there are moments where the generic-ness of the tracks rears its ugly head, on the whole, Paradise Lost manages to deliver a decent listening experience.
Of the two tracks, “Paradise Lost” is the most enjoyable as it starts off with an aggressive-sounding introduction carried by the electric guitars and a heavy synth beat that plays in the background. Once the introduction has caught the listener’s attention, the instruments back off at 0:19 so that Chihara can enter and lay the groundwork for what’s to come. In this section, she sounds almost alone since the only notable instrument backing her up is a piano and together, the two give off a lamenting vibe. The song builds up slightly by adding more background instruments into the mix until it reaches its climax at the 0:52 mark where the song fully springs into action. At this point, Chihara just lets loose emotionally and the effect that she generates is a mix of anger and desperation as though she’s struggling against some unknown force. Finally the catchy chorus section makes way for a less emotionally charged part that nevertheless feels as though it’s urging the listener to soldier on with the collective struggle. The melody continues to capture one’s attention and as the song comes closer to the end, the feeling of isolation grows especially around 3:40 where Chihara’s solo sounds like someone making a last stand before concluding with a reprise of the introduction. In sum, this track is packed full of energy borne about through Chihara’s excellent delivery on vocals which manage to keep the listener’s ear up to the very end.
The transition over to “Yuki no Kodou” is a bit more jarring since this song is much more peaceful and mellow than “Paradise Lost.” The violins ease the listener into the piece with its wistful melody before Chihara makes her entrance, starting with a low pitch that gives the song a mysterious vibe. There’s this feeling as though Chihara is wandering around in search of something and the buildup suggests that she’s closer to her goal. At 1:12, Chihara finally breaks out and becomes far more expressive with her singing as though she was no longer shackled by what she was looking for and that she’s ready to move on and explore new horizons. The overall mood is generally more content and less combative, which makes for a good contrast with “Paradise Lost” as it serves a mellow, if just a bit too generic, way to close out the album.
It’s really hard to find any specific faults because “Paradise Lost” has this sort of energy that lends itself well to an action series like Ga-Rei -Zero- and while “Yuki no Kodou” is somewhat bland, it does enough to keep my attention. When you compare to a lot of the other B-side tracks, it’s actually pretty good. The album on the whole generally lacks the emotional impact to make it a truly great work, but if you’re looking for some music that manages to convey action and excitement without drawing you too deeply into the melody or lyrics, Paradise Lost fits the bill in that respect.
Opening – Paradise Lost