|Aika Yoshioka, Yoshio Ueno
|Oct 6, 2010
|2. Tatta Hitotsu no Tooi Michi
|3. Maikaze (instrumental)
|4. Tatta Hitotsu no Tooi Michi (instrumental)
Review: In just over a year, Yoshioka Aika has presented us with 2 albums and 4 singles, something that I am thankful for seeing as how her songs stand out from amongst the crowd by utilizing many traditional Japanese instruments while following the structure of J-pop. Lately however, maybe due to the strain of so many releases in such a short time, the amount of variety between her works has been kept to a bare minimum. She still stands out from other J-pop artists, but her individual works are unable to stand out amongst themselves. It does not help the slightest that her debut song, “Harari,” features heavy use of Japanese instruments, while her more recent works have been pursuing standard J-pop that put in those Japanese instruments for the sake of it, almost like a token effort to keep people like me listening.
However, “Maikaze” provides a relief from that. Its short introduction is enough to tell me that this is the single that finally manages to stand out. The serene atmosphere created by the Japanese flute is gracefully taken over by guitar riffs, while still allowing the Japanese instruments their time to shine before the guitar fully takes over.
Yoshioka, for her part, shows that her singing technique is by no means inferior despite being a new artist. The fast, repetitive notes between 0:55 and 1:01, are handled deftly as she keeps her singing strong and clear, resulting in a performance that displays a controlled delivery and confidence, all of which make the listener feel at ease.
The other characteristic of any Yoshioka single is, regrettably, an unimpressive B-side. This one, like most others, sounds decent enough but is absolutely not memorable. Yoshoika’s performance with ballads has also been barely passable and without the elaborate instruments accompanying her, her voice almost has an annoying drone to it.
It is worth listening to the instrumental tracks, especially for “Maikaze,” the instrumental is really interesting even on its own, with quite a commendable array of instruments. One really got to admire the amount of effort the composer put into the piece. Oddly enough, the instrumental for the B-side feels better than the track itself, as the plain instruments and Yoshioka’s backing vocals bring across the piece in a much calmer fashion.
“Maikaze” on its own was highly enjoyable and puts me in high hopes that Yoshioka’s future releases will live up to this standard. However, the B-side really dealt quite a blow to the single as a whole, which is a real pity, seeing that “Maikaze” is easily the best A-side that she’s released thus far.
Hakuouki Hekketsurokus OP – Maikaze