Posted by: 愛撫 | 02/09/08

BLAZE, Sociometry and thoughts on both

Well, guess this is as good a time as any to get around to this one… Regular reader ReSublimity asked a little while ago if I could post some thoughts on the short versions of the new Shakugan no Shana II theme songs “BLAZE” and “Sociometry” (both linked to here), and not being one to disappoint my readers (what few of them I have), here goes.

BLAZE:

KOTOKO and Kazuya Takase’s first song since the fantastic Real Onigokko as well as the follow-up to last year’s amazing JOINT, BLAZE had some pretty big shoes to fill. And, judging from this short version at least, those shoes are still a few sizes too big. While the song does perk up after the disorienting intro (KOTOKO’s pseudo-denpa performance in the beginning is actually quite similar to MELL’s similar turn on Virgin’s high!, but it isn’t used anywhere near as effectively as it was on last year’s failure of a single), it’s still far too generic an anime opening song to really be all that notable – if I didn’t know she was capable of so much more I’d probably have been more inclined to like the song, but as such it really just seems like she’s treading water.

Sociometry:

Ketsudan no entrance (image song from the recently-released PRISM ARK LoveLove MAXIMUM!) was something of a sleeper hit, far as these things go – not terribly impressive at first, but after repeated listens it revealed itself as one of C.G mix’s best. So it makes sense that he would want to replicate that success with Sociometry, but instead of being inspired by Ketsudan it’s more like Sociometry was flat-out recycled.

Recycled, except worse the second time around – where Ketsudan no entrance’s soaring vocals brought to mind images of fantastic battles with magic and giant robots and all sorts of other goodies, Sociometry’s midrange-heavy mix is thoroughly grounded in the comparative mundanity of the world as we know it. Taken on its own merits independent of Ketsudan no entrance, it’s probably a decent song, but when one has the advantage of previous knowledge regarding C.G mix’s production oeuvre Sociometry seems almost crass in its blatant lack of creativity.

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Responses

  1. serious step down from what we already had. they should have stuck with joint and triangle.

  2. Well most of C.G’s music sounds the same. As for Joint, Mami has already proven that she’s capable of doing rock, but she needs to get back to her roots.

  3. Looking back over the last year or so, my only favorite from KOTOKO is her Onigokko single. I really miss the songs she composed herself (Hane and Garasu no Kaze, anyone?)

  4. Same:
    “Well most of C.G’s music sounds the same.”

    Umm… No. Not really. Not at all. Even if every one of his songs in a particular style was completely identical, he still has a considerable number of styles: there’s his denpa stuff, more ‘action-oriented’ (however that works out) like his Prism Ark themes, Sociometry or most of his solo material, syrupy sweetness like Chercher, and even his trance work (although, being outside of the I’ve camp I wouldn’t assume you’d have heard any of that). To say that C.G mix’s songs sound the same (even with that ‘mostly’ thrown in there) reeks of bias and ignorance – how many of his songs have you heard, anyhow?

    “As for Joint, Mami has already proven that she’s capable of doing rock, but she needs to get back to her roots.”

    While I want another song like “radiance” as much as anybody, what relevance does this have to the topic at hand?

    Skan:

    You didn’t like Shichitenhakki? I admit, neither Kirei na Senritsu nor Hayate no Gotoku! were terribly impressive singles, but I for one thought Shichitenhakki was brilliant.

  5. It’s uplifting, but not in a good way, too much denpa always gives me headaches :S

  6. Nicely done :)

    Speaking of C.G Mix, I am now listening to Leaf Ticket.

    “serious step down from what we already had. they should have stuck with joint and triangle.”

    Not that serious.. I actually prefer Sociometry over Triangle.

    As for BLAZE, it might be disappointing for some of you but, it sounds great to me.

  7. I’m still not sold on BLAZE. It’s hard to follow up JOINT, especially when it’s intended to be stylistically different. I, and I bet a lot of other fans too, expected a darker form of JOINT, something like Real Onigokko, but instead, we got a darker form of… being? It’s almost a different audience. I think once the single comes out, it’ll be more apparent what this song is.
    As for sociometry, I have to agree that it sounds a lot like some of the tracks on “in your life” as well as Getsudan no entrance, et. al, and now that I think about it, it’s hard to imagine the energetic trance style of his arrangements of Welcome to Heaven! or Getsudan no entrance quieted down to the level of an outro theme.

  8. Well I thought BLAZE was just okay, but Sociometry would really grow on me, and I’m just waiting for the full single to really appreciate it. Even if it does some similarity with Ketsudan no entrance…

    I thought both songs suited the show, so I wasn’t really expecting anything like Real Onigokko (which was awesome) – I mean, Eiko’s singles for Higurashi had that creepy, awesome feeling that fits Higurashi. I would like an epic battle sound like Ketsudan no entrance or a heavy feeling sound like JOINT, but for now I’m content with their choice.

    I did feel weird about the denpa-to-normal-voice transition though. If it had to be denpa, I would’ve preferred an outright denpa song xD

  9. “To say that C.G mix’s songs sound the same (even with that ‘mostly’ thrown in there) reeks of bias and ignorance – how many of his songs have you heard, anyhow?”

    I’ve heard a lot of C.G mix’s songs. None of his non-I’ve songs. When I said his songs sound mostly the same, I meant that there’s no way you could mistake it for someone else’s work. I’ve never mistaken one of C.G mix’s arrangements for anyone else’s. As for Maiko & Tomoyuki, that’s a different story. I thought seduce & H!!!appiness were both Kazuya’s work at first.

  10. Sorry for the confusion there – it’s just that, when referring to a musician’s body of work, it’s generally offensive to say that their material “sounds the same”, but perfectly fine to say they have a distinct style.

    As for distinguishing the others, a helpful hint may be to pay particular attention to how the songs are mixed – Maiko Iuchi’s songs tend to be fairly noisy and topheavy far as mixing goes, with the vocals far in front and rather messy-sounding guitars featuring prominently in many of her songs. Tomoyuki Nakazawa, on the other hand, favours a cleaner sound with his guitar arrangements (and largely confining the guitars to the back of the mix – even on a rock-oriented song like JOINT, the synthesizers are still the most prominent instruments) and has the vocals on fairly even footing with the instrumental track. Kazuya Takase, well, he’s all over the place (after all, it seems a good half of all I’ve music was produced by him). But, going by my theme of pointing out guitars and vocal characteristics, his vocal tracks aren’t mixed too much unlike Nakazawa’s yet for guitars he tends to go for a far more artificial sound, more akin to industrial metal than to any sort of traditional rock music. Songs like Real Onigokko have him moving towards a relatively organic sound, however, so it might get a lot harder to tell in the future – however, one thing that will always set the two apart is Nakazawa’s signature synthesizer sound, those sparkling synths that made 421 -a will-, radiance and Naraku no Hana (among others) so memorable.

  11. Don’t worry! I really should have worded that better. Thanks for the explanations too. Kinda helps when listening to the songs now. And do you know anywhere I could hear C.G mix’s non-I’ve songs?

  12. C.G mix’s non-I’ve songs… Well, legally they’re only available on a few hard-to-find (probably out of print by now) trance compilations, but drop me an e-mail at dmckafka[at]gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do for ya.

  13. I rather like BLAZE, but I found it too cutesy as a follow-up to JOINT.

    I think Shakugan no Shana is an anime that’s supposed to get progressively darker in tone – maybe they should have used BLAZE first then switched to JOINT, since the latter is more powerful.

  14. I agree. Not all C.G mix’s songs are identical. Maybe similar musical elements can be distinguished but his non-I’ve songs are definitely different. xD

    If you’d ask me, BLAZE disappointed me a little because I was expecting a darker version of Re-sublimity or much close to Real Onigokko. But the chorus part is better.

  15. could someone PLEASE PLEASE tell me the percussion-like instrument used in the VERY beginning of the Sociometry?


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