Posted by: 愛撫 | 09/29/07

Single review: MELL – Virgin’s high!

I sure put this sucker off for a while, eh? Since the first preview clip of it was made available, my relationship with Virgin’s high! (enough laziness, I’m actually including the damn exclamation mark from now on) has been fairly less than healthy. I think the fact that my reaction to the Sky Girls opening video was a post titled “Virgin’s high short version up, song frankly terrible” tells that story pretty nicely – but now that the single’s out, have my opinions about the song changed?

Well…

MELL– Virgin’s high! (2007, Geneon)

 Virgin’s high! cover

Tracklisting:

1. Virgin’s high!

2. kicks!

3. Virgin’s high! -instrumental-

4. kicks! -instrumental-

The review:

Before I get to Virgin’s high! the song, I’d like to note that Sky Girls, the anime it’s attached to, is utter garbage. Based off an OVA which was itself only created to cash in on a hot line of trading figures (‘Mecha Musume’ – look the line up if you’re into moe girls, military hardware and weird combinations of the two), Sky Girls is nothing but cliché after horrible cliché driven home with all the understated subtlety of a nuclear explosion.

With that as background, it’s only natural that Maiko Iuchi approached the prospect of writing the opening theme for Sky Girls with that same level of beauty and grace. Opening with a tired barrage of hair-metal guitars and godawful Engrish (“Please call me maiden sky girls, rising crazy?” is an actual quote), Virgin’s high! starts off as just about the ugliest-sounding song I’ve has ever produced. The awful guitars do thankfully go away from time to time, but there’s no changing the fact that I can’t name a single official I’ve track with an intro that sucks anywhere near as much as the one for Virgin’s high! does.

And it’s just when those guitars go away that something amazing happens. For no apparent reason, Virgin’s high! stops trying to be Red fraction about 3 minutes in and instead focuses on MELL’s rarely heard-from cute side. It’s only some 30 seconds before the endlessly bland array of power chords comes back in full force, unfortunately, but those 30 seconds of synth-fueled bliss are nearly enough to redeem the single. MELL makes as convincing a denpa singer as any of the other I’ve girls (and she’s certainly far better-suited for it than Eiko), so it’s unfortunate that her cute songs are so few and far between. Even more unfortunate is that Virgin’s high! spends so much time trying to be hard when its only good part comes from an abrupt (and all-too-brief) style change, but with any luck it might just be an indicator that MELL’s next single will be a little less Red fraction and a little more FLY TO THE TOP.*

And, well, after Virgin’s high! there’s kicks!. It isn’t bad, but being damned with faint praise is just about all it deserves. The beat isn’t bad and the verse sections aren’t either, but the chorus is absolutely dreadful. Oh, and the random Engrish thrown in amongst the predominantly-Japanese lyrics makes me wish I wasn’t fluent in English myself. Why? Well, I figure if I wasn’t so intimately familiar with the language sentences like “my name is pain” might not make me want to hurt myself so. And if I didn’t want to hurt myself while listening to MELL, then that would very much be a good thing. Alas, such is not the case. “My name is pain” is an absolutely horrible line, and the fact that it’s rhymed with “rain” makes me want to take up a sign, fly over to Japan and start protesting MELL’s continued insistence on writing her own lyrics.

Overall, Virgin’s high! has its one moment of brilliance and brief flirtations with tolerability throughout the rest of it, but its overwhelming flaws coupled with an unimpressive B-side makes this one MELL’s worst single to date by a very wide margin. Which is a shame, but that’s how it goes.

(* for those unfamiliar, FLY TO THE TOP is a MELL song from 2002 notable for being approximately the cutest thing she’s ever done. You can hear it on the I’ve Girls compilation album ‘Disintegration’, and she also performs it live on the I’ve at Budokan DVD.)

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Responses

  1. well that was my opinion as well that this single was her least successful single but I think I miscalculated… yes the songs are a bit miserable but I can’t believe that it positioned itself high in the Oricon daily rankings… I haven’t seen it’s first position but when I saw it first in #9 position, there was a down arrow in it signifying that it went down. I don’t know its first position but I didn’t expect that it will position that high… I thought my eyes were lying at me. (Currently it’s in the #11 position in the Oricon daily rankings, it went up 1 position).

    and another thing that really sux in these songs are MELL’s english… It wasn’t that well-made unlike Red fraction (but there are still some wrong grammars in this song as well but not as noticeable to Virgin’s high! and kicks!). And the PV of kicks! is not that impressive…

    IMO, even if it does position itself high in the Oricon charts, this is still MELL’s not-so-good single. O_O

  2. I’ve not heard much of MELL’s songs before, since I’ve only started listening to I’ve like a year ago. Virgin’s High(what does the title imply anyway?) is ok for me. I liked the chorus, and I totally hated the engrish.

    kicks! is fairly average. I’d prefer it if they don’t make her voice waver at the end of the line in the chorus, if you know what I mean.

    Still, this is the first time I’m listening to MELL, so my opinions may be abit flawed.

  3. Re: §oL (cool name, by the way)
    MELL has done better in the past. If you want to hear a better sample of her current sound, no vain and Red Fraction are great, if you can stand the Engrish.
    Outflow, sabaku no yuki, Last In Blue, and Spiral (especially Spiral) are great if you’re interested in hearing more of MELL’s dark trance style.

  4. I myself like MELL and her songs… it’s just that this single — it lacks some sort of elements that is contained on her previous songs… And the english words in the lyrics are not so good… I think it would be good to just stick with Japanese… but Red fraction was great. I mean it’s really great because IMO, it’s one of her successful single…

  5. I have a small question. What is a denpa singer…? I searched online and no results actually came up, except for some electronic recording devices.

  6. kazumi: ‘denpa’ (lit. ‘radio waves’) is a subgenre of Japanese electronic music characterized by hyperactive cuteness both in vocal delivery and backing music, basically taking the Japanese ‘tsundere’ archetype (loud and obnoxious, but ultimately tender) and applying it to music. When it comes to I’ve, essentially all the songs from Kaori Utatsuki and KOTOKO’s SHORT CIRCUIT compilation albums fall squarely into the ‘denpa’ category… But, honestly, for my money you’ll never get a purer example of the genre than MOSAIC.WAV’s “Megane de ne!”, available for sampling at http://www.sham.jp/studio/product/05meganedene/cd.shtml

    By referring to MELL’s ability as a ‘denpa singer’ there, I was mostly just saying she’s every bit as capable of pulling off a ‘cute’ sound as the other members. Hope that cleared it up for ya.

  7. ohhh…are denpa vocals that cutesy trance-esque voice quality? because I think MELL and Eiko sound most like that. Lia seems to be the only I’ve singer that doesn’t have the trance-y voice…

  8. Ermm… ‘Cutesy trance-esque’ vocals? If you could name some songs that show what exactly you’re talking about that’d be great, because quite frankly you lost me there.

  9. I don’t see what’s wrong with kicks!. I think it’s way better than Virgin’s High!. Nor do I get your problem with the chorus, I thought it was nice to see her really pushing her vocals to the limit, similar to her style in no vain. I liked it, anyways.

  10. hard to explain but…if you listen to MELL’s song Proof, there are times when she sounds cutesy in high notes and her voice doesn’t seem…human?

    instead of sounding like the ‘normal’ j-pop vocals, I would think that her voice BECOMES part of the trance instrumental. her voice blends and flows with the background like one entity.

    j-pop vocals tend to ‘stand out’ from the instrumental, but MELL’s voice seems to have a trance-like quality and it ‘mixes’ with it. Eiko’s and Kaori’s as well. KOTOKO stands out a bit, and Mami Kawada’s voice is a bit more solid-sounding, and less ‘ethereal-like,’ but then again, I’m only familiar with her anime songs.

    Lia is different because her voice sounds more like a j-pop voice, rather than a trance voice.

  11. kazumi: I get what you mean, but that’s not really denpa. Denpa’s just kind of hyperactive and cute, not really ‘trance-like’ in any way.

    clowezra: kicks! is actually kinda starting to grow on me. Wouldn’t quite go as far as to say I like it, per se, but I don’t really mind it. Then again, I didn’t like no vain that much either and the songs are quite similar.

  12. […] – Virgin’s high!/kicks! (September […]

  13. Guess im the only one that really likes kicks! I thought that was a pretty good song, especially coming from MELL. Ironically enough, I didn’t like Red Fraction at all. In the kicks! PV, I personally like what MELL is waiting and from time to time there would be scenes where you can see her face clearly, she’s very pretty.

  14. Correction on my last comment, Waiting with *Wearing.

  15. guess im the only one who liked virgin’s high…mell needs to work on her english


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