Posted by: 愛撫 | 01/05/08

I’ve Sound Calendar: 2007 year in review

As many of you already know, 2007 was a big year for I’ve – the long-awaited second volume of denpa compilation SHORT CIRCUIT, KOTOKO’s tenth maxi-single, the first Comiket-exclusive I’ve compilation in 2 years and Kaori Utatsuki’s debut single all came out this year, and those are just 3 of the year’s big releases. This is going to be a long post, so to read the rest of it you have to click the ‘read more’ link right there at the bottom of this paragraph.

First order of business; the release list. Excluding eroge soundtracks and the like, here’s the master list of I’ve Sound releases in 2007, reviews linked to where applicable:

KOTOKO – Kirei na Senritsu (March 7)

Love Planet Five – Tenjou wo Kakeru Monotachi (April 4)

Mami Kawada – LIVE & LIFE vol. 1 DVD (April 4)

Mami Kawada – Akai Namida/Beehive (May 9)

KOTOKO – Hayate no Gotoku! (May 23)

KOTOKO – Starlight Symphony DVD (May 23)

MELL – Proof/no vain (May 30)

KOTOKO & Kaori Utatsuki – SHORT CIRCUIT II (June 22)

Kaori Utatsuki – Shining stars bless☆ (August 1)

Mami Kawada – Get my way! (August 8 )

Eiko Shimamiya – Naraku no Hana (August 22)

MELL – Virgin’s high!/kicks! (September 26)

KOTOKO – Shichitenhakki☆Shijoushugi! (October 17)

Mami Kawada – JOINT (October 31)

Kaori Utatsuki – Chasse (November 21)

KOTOKO – Real Onigokko (December 19)

I’ve MANIA Tracks Vol.I/SHORT CIRCUIT II Premium Show IN TOKYO DVD (December 29)

Second, the year in memorable blog posts: this blog hasn’t been around for a full year yet, but I don’t think I’m being egotistical when I say that there have been some pretty damn good posts on here. Now here’s three of my personal favourites:

Virgin’s high short version up, song frankly terrible

The first real discussion topic in I’ve Sound Blog’s short history, my snarky dismissal of Virgin’s high! based on a clip some 30 seconds long pretty much set the tone for the blog in general. It’s also worth noting that I was apparently a better writer 6 months ago because instead of going on a diseased, formless rant about cover art before a preview of the single is even released I felt it sufficient to just write 2 paragraphs saying “Virgin’s high! sounds like crap and Sky Girls sucks.” Oh, for it to be early July again…

I’ve Data File 04: Eiko Shimamiya

It was hard gathering information for my I’ve Data File entries and I’m likely going to heavily re-write most of the girls’ pages in the near future, but with Eiko something clicked somehow and I wound up with an actually decent bio. That, and I love the picture of her I found for the article.

Single review: KOTOKO – Shichitenhakki☆Shijoushuji!

Whether or not the title was spelled correctly is anyone’s guess, but I think of my reviews written thus far Shichitenhakki stands out as the best. My definition of ‘denpa’ in the opening isn’t quite as informative as it perhaps could’ve been, but if you’ll allow me a moment to compliment myself I don’t think it’ll be easy for me to top my rant about scene. Good thing Takase redeemed himself a couple singles later, because that song truly was godawful.

And now, the real meat of any year-end review: The Hastily Made-Up Faux Awards Show! The only ‘section’ worthy of having capital letters in its title, apparently. As with every blog’s faux awards-show portion, the categories for the following ‘awards’ are pretty much made up as I go along, but that just means it’s spontaneous! And also possibly unreliable. Actually, probably unreliable. Let’s get to this before I overexplain myself any more.

Biggest surprise of the year:

Kaori Utatsuki – Change of heart

The last thing I expected of Change of heart was for the song to actually be any good. I’d pretty much never liked a Maiko Iuchi song before, and Kaori Utatsuki was never my favourite either. Yet somehow the Iuchi-produced B-side to Chasse turned out to be one of the best songs of the year, so much so that it actually ended up somewhat overwhelming Chasse itself. Without a doubt, Change of heart was the surprise of the year.

Compilation of the year:

KOTOKO & Kaori Utatsuki – SHORT CIRCUIT II

This category was something of a giveaway because there were really only 2 I’ve compilations in 2007, but even with more competition SHORT CIRCUIT II would’ve come out ahead. I mean, with SC2 boasting classics (relatively classic, at least) like Princess Bride! as well as the stunning Double HarmoniZe Shock!! (and a few other fun originals), how could I’ve MANIA Tracks even dream of competing?

Producer of the year:

Tomoyuki Nakazawa

While pretty much everybody in the I’ve camp did some exceptional work in 2007, nobody was as consistently brilliant as Nakazawa. It’s no surprise, then, that Nakazawa is currently responsible for arrangement and composition for most of Mami Kawada’s Shakugan no Shana themes as well as Eiko Shimamiya’s songs for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni – two of the hottest franchises Geneon has their name on, and both made all that much better through Nakazawa’s contributions.

Single of the year:

Mami Kawada – JOINT

While Shichitenhakki and Naraku no Hana may have been better A-sides, both those singles were marred by unimpressive B-sides. JOINT, however, has no such problem – ‘triangle’, the single’s B-side and Shakugan no Shana season 2’s ending theme, was one of Kazuya Takase’s best songs this year. Of course, next to the glory that is JOINT it’s hard to even remember that the single has another song on it, but it’s there and it’s actually quite sweet for what it is.

Song of the year:

Eiko Shimamiya – Naraku no Hana

I don’t really think there’s much to be said about Naraku no Hana’s sublime brilliance that I didn’t already say in my review, but here goes. In Naraku no Hana, Eiko Shimamiya found the perfect balance between the almost mystical style of her solo albums and the more straightforward rock of songs like Automaton. Both lyrically and musically telling the story of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai in 6 minutes far better than the anime itself managed to do in 24 episodes, the song is a work of subtle beauty rare amongst anime songs and sure to be remembered long after mistakes like Virgin’s high! have been swept under the rug. Which reminds me…

The obligatory anti-award: Disappointment of the year

MELL – Virgin’s high!

Granted, Maiko Iuchi’s name on a song isn’t exactly a guarantee of quality by any means, but that doesn’t mean a song of hers has to be this bad. MELL previously had one of the best track records of all the I’ve girls, not releasing much but hitting it out of the metaphorical park when she did have a new song, but then came Virgin’s high!. I won’t blather on for too long about how bad this song is, but considering the singles that came before it it’s a damn shame that Virgin’s high! was as terrible as it was.

And that’s all, folks! Hope you enjoyed the year-end review, and I hope to be doing this again next year. It was certainly one hell of a year for I’ve, and while things might not be as hot in ’08, only time will tell how things turn out.


Responses

  1. Hmm… Nakazawa did do JOINT, Naraku no Hana, and Little Busters. Can’t disagree much with your producer of the year, then.

  2. Aww, Virgin’s high. I thought it wasn’t too bad. And I agree with JOINT being best single of the year. Real Onigokko comes close!

  3. hahaha “Virgin’s high short version up, song frankly terrible“ topic was definitely one of my memorable and favorite posts of yours because that’s where I first encountered Aibublog. XD

    “I’d pretty much never liked a Maiko Iuchi song before, and Kaori Utatsuki was never my favourite either.” – DMC

    ^ well yeah I agree but La clef is much more good. And I like some of her remixes she did with Mami Kawada’s “eclipse” (TSUMAMIX) and KOTOKO’s “Onaji Sora no Shita de” (MIXED UP). Although she’s not very remarkable this year and that I agree with you.

    “Producer of the year:
    Tomoyuki Nakazawa” – DMC

    ^ Well I halfly agree but I think C.G mix also does the job for Shichitenhakki. But then Nakazawa has produced more songs this year compared to C.G mix I guess so you’re still right.

    “It’s no surprise, then, that Nakazawa is currently responsible for arrangement and composition for most of Mami Kawada’s Shakugan no Shana themes.” – DMC

    ^ Well not just the Shakugan no Shana themes but I think almost all of Mami Kawada’s songs are produced by Tomoyuki specially the ones in the SEED album.

    “Single of the year:
    Mami Kawada – JOINT” – DMC

    ^ Well said. I highly agree with that.

    “Disappointment of the year:
    MELL – Virgin’s high!” – DMC

    ^ Hahaha I agree here but whether you believe it or not, Proof/no vain is currently MELL’s least successful single in history and I can’t believe Virgin’s high!/kicks! did even better in the Oricon charts. >_< But IMHO, Virgin’s high!/kicks! is her weakest single.

  4. hey just want to say I agree with most of what you write, and thanks for doing this! You totally shot to the top of my RSS list with your superb coverage of all things I’ve. Thanks and good luck for 2008.

  5. If anyone’s curious as to the runners-up in each category:

    Second-biggest surprise:
    KOTOKO & Kaori Utatsuki – Double HarmoniZe Shock!!
    (I was expecting the big SC2 exclusive to be far more denpa than this – but I’m glad it wasn’t, because Double HarmoniZe was amazing)

    Second-best compilation:
    I’ve MANIA Tracks Vol.1
    (Yeah, there wasn’t any other compilation to give this award to. But that doesn’t mean I’ve MANIA Tracks is without its charms, collecting some of the better hard-to-find tracks from the I’ve vaults and a previously unheard version of “philosophy”)

    Second-place producer of the year:
    C.G mix
    (He may not have been as high-profile as Nakazawa or Takase, but Shichitenhakki was great and his eroge tracks can’t be ignored either – under the darkness, anyone?)

    Second-best single of the year:
    KOTOKO – Real Onigokko
    (Choosing between this one and JOINT for ‘single of the year’ hurt. Probably the closest second in the list.)

    Second-best song of the year:
    KOTOKO – Shichitenhakki☆Shijoushugi!
    (This song is what joy sounds like. End of discussion.)

    Second-biggest disappointment of the year:
    KOTOKO – scene
    (Really now Takase, what the hell were you thinking? scene was never suited for release. Especially not as the B-side to a single as great as Shichitenhakki.)

    Also, thanks to everybody for their support throughout the year, and I hope you’ll all be with me for 2008 as well.

  6. I love your blog! May I link to you on my I’ve Sound page? =)

  7. Be my guest, Sydney.


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