Second opening theme for To Aru Majutsu no Index (successor to PSI-missing, Kawada’s last single release), ‘masterpiece’ is Mami Kawada’s first single release with a Maiko Iuchi-produced A-side. How does it fare?
Mami Kawada (川田まみ) – masterpiece (2008, Geneon)
3. masterpiece -instrumental-
4. jellyfish -instrumental-
Maiko Iuchi, this particular writer’s long-time nemesis, does a good work with her To Aru Majutsu no Index opening theme masterpiece. It pains me to have to admit this, but if I denied throwing the girl a bone when she really deserved it, I’d just be a big old asshole. And we can’t have that, now can we?
Beginning with a suggestion of a truly godawful guitar hook, this latest effort from Mami Kawada and the much-hated Iuchi had all the makings of an utter travesty. Yet, somehow, it actually works. Those guitars are on par with Iuchi’s worst, of course, but the (for lack of a better term) quirky vocal from Kawada fills the song with more personality than anything our good friend KOTOKO’s been up to for the last few years, wavering syllables at the end of the verses lending the song, to borrow a term from Guitar Hero, some serious star power. And Iuchi’s trademark grimy, noisy production lends the song a certain charm as well – it’s still polished to a degree, of course, but the relative dirtiness of the sound helps to create a feeling not too far off from garage-band rawness. Rocks pretty hard, as they say.
But of course, leave it to Tomoyuki Nakazawa to upstage Iuchi and not even seem to be putting any effort in while he’s at it. Fellow I’ve Sound Blog writer mentioned how B-side ‘jellyfish’ seems something like Nakazawa’s attempt at TRILL, a nicely danceable bit of electronic fluff dressed up with enough faux edginess for any three Aya Hirano singles. Like the aforementioned highlight from Kawada’s last album, the song is definitely one of Mami’s better ones, but Golden Boy Nakazawa seems set on cruise control with this track: formula borrowed wholesale from an earlier Takase work, guitars and synthesizers sounding pretty well exactly how they’re supposed to sound and doing it well. All in all, a far better effort than his last autopiloted song (the prepetually disappointing PSI-missing. Seriously, that song was bad), and a worthy addition to an unexpectedly good single.