Continuing I’ve’s weird new trend of doing music for live-action movies, this latest MELL song has been attached to director Mamoru Oshii’s new film “Kiri ~KILL~” or something, but does it really matter what the movie’s called? Didn’t think so. Review below the cut.
MELL – KILL (2008, Geneon)
2. On my own
3. KILL -Instrumental-
4. On my own -Instrumental-
Coming off a string of pathetic flops, the original I’ve girl has a rare vantage point in terms of expectations for this new single: her recent efforts have been such disappointments that it seemed wrong to expect anything above another dismal failure from KILL. So maybe it’s just a result of these lowered expectations, but I’m inclined to say that KILL is the best single MELL’s put out.
“But Aibu, what about Red fraction?”, the peanut gallery doesn’t ask. Well, what about Red fraction indeed. The truth of the matter is, Red fraction was an awesome song, but KILL edges it out in terms of the B-side, and this reviewer is forced to eat crow for saying that the single would be just as bad as Virgin’s high! was. But as I dine on kleptomaniacal birds on a regular basis, this doesn’t bother me too much so let’s get on to the part where I talk about the songs and why they’re good.
First off, KILL. The single, the main attraction, the first track. It’s no Red fraction, but it’s debatable if it was even trying to be. Despite what the title might imply, the A-side is really more of a fun bitchy pop-rock track than anything legitimately brutal, but therein lies its charm. The MELL we hear on KILL is one we haven’t heard from in a long while: the MELL who realizes that maybe it’s not actually all that great an idea to take oneself so bloody seriously all the time. While it’s no FLY TO THE TOP, she does certainly seem to be having fun this time around, and, as anyone who listened to her solo album can surely attest, that isn’t really something she does all that often. But you wouldn’t know it from listening to KILL. The way that MELL’s playfully exaggerated ‘bossy’ voice commands the listener’s attention suggests a degree of comfort she lacked on failed experiments like Virgin’s high!, boding well for the prospect of more songs in this style in the near future.
The arrangement for the song is admittedly less punchy than it perhaps could have been, but once again we run into the benefit of coming off a string of failures as the song is still one of the best that Kazuya Takase has done this year. Takase’s guitars don’t go anywhere they haven’t before on admittedly more impressive songs and there isn’t much of a memorable instrumental hook to keep the song in your head, but it gets the job done and doesn’t distract or take away anything from the vocal. So, really, this counts as a victory for Takase, as you couldn’t say anything of the sort about, let’s say, BLAZE.
And, as is tradition when Kazuya Takase and Tomoyuki Nakazawa work together, Nakazawa’s contribution to the single is far better than Takase’s. B-side “On my own” is arguably the best ballad MELL has done since her memorable “Permit”, and a precious rarity amongst slow I’ve songs based entirely on the premise that it does not suck horribly. I’d be a liar if I claimed that it presented anything more revelatory than a reassurance of the knowledge that MELL is actually a fairly accomplished singer (which may have been forgotten on the heels of MELL-on-autopilot single Proof and the afore-dissed abortion Virgin’s high!), but not every good song needs to be a revolution. Nakazawa’s arrangement is similarly nothing new, but another complex and layered arrangement from Golden Boy Nakazawa is never unwelcome.
All in all, a great single, but not necessarily one that will be remembered as one of I’ve’s best.