In which all accusations of fanboy favouritism are (hopefully) put to rest.
川田まみ (Mami Kawada) – Prophecy (2009, Geneon Universal)
- a frame
- Prophecy -instrumental-
- a frame -instrumental
Well this is somewhat unexpected. Tomoyuki Nakazawa, apparently obsessed with the idea that PSI-missing was pretty bad but not quite uninteresting enough, has pulled out all the stops to make sure that his latest collaboration with trusty guitarist Takeshi Ozaki and vocalist Mami Kawada is the dullest thing I’ve has put out since U make Ai dream, and with that in mind, this new single is undoubtably a resounding success. It’s also a winner for making its awful predecessor sound like a decent song in comparison, as KOTOKO’s abysmal BLAZE at the very least had a pulse. Prophecy is on life support, and if this is what it’s come to then perhaps it might be best to pull the plug.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly who is most at fault for this latest mistake, as the people involved are all generally amongst the most consistent of the I’ve musicians and more than capable of rescuing an otherwise-dire composition from the oblivion of mediocrity. Kawada comes to mind as the most immediately-likely candidate simply by virtue of being the most noticeable figure, but further investigation has her largely doing about as much as can be done with the unimpressive composition. Her cracking voice on the chorus might grate on some more sensitive listeners’ ears, but fans are used to as much from I’ve: passion is often left unmatched by the girls’ pipes, and a strained vocal here and there is par for the course. And, really, seeing as songs like JOINT managed to become instant classics regardless of Kawada’s somewhat unfortunate lack of vocal power, it seems highly unlikely that it would be her performance sinking this one.
Similarly, guitarist and co-arranger Takeshi Ozaki makes an unlikely killer, considering the sheer number of songs (and, arguably, C.G mix’s sophomore album in its entirety) saved simply by the virtue of his guitar work, yet at the same time it seems hard to find much to like about his uncharacteristically muted playing on Prophecy. The lifeless mess of textural guitar riffing that permeates the song fails to elevate it above the level of “easily-forgettable mistake”, and bad mixing lends the guitar line a truly lamentable air of “Maiko Iuchi”. Treble-heavy when it should lean more on the bass, the electric guitars are far more unpleasant than they have any right to be, making it seem like Ozaki might just be the one who did the song in. But, seeing as we all know that Ozaki just provides window dressing for the songs he appears on, it becomes fairly obvious, upon further inspection, who the real culprit is here.
Tomoyuki Nakazawa. The golden boy’s been racking up quite the body count recently, first taking out Mami Kawada’s previously-spotless track record with the abysmal PSI-missing before moving on to tarnishing the good name of Eiko Shimamiya’s Higurashi singles on the endlessly dreary Chikai. Here, he’s taking out his own professional credibility, and if there were ever a Geneon single to suggest that, yes, Tomoyuki Nakazawa was indeed the same who created Ha!!!ppiness, it would be Prophecy. The song stands steadfast in its refusal to be interesting in any aspect, and as the mastermind behind its unholy conception it’s only natural for Nakazawa to take the blame. Muted synthesizers, muted backbeats, every aspect of this horrifically dull composition is inexplicably muted, and whatever the reason such a bizarre approach was used, it was almost certainly Nakazawa responsible for the decision. The song is deliberate in its lack of inspiration: whatever its reason, it wants you to forget it. Perhaps Nakazawa’s saying he wants out of Geneon, perhaps he’s saying he just doesn’t give a shit anymore. But whatever the reason behind his apathy, it’s hard to deny that it’s led to one hell of a boring single.
Things perk up slightly, but only slightly, on similarly-dull B-side a frame. If one were to be generous, a frame could almost be compared to a lighter version of SAVIA’s already airy sense, but even that faint praise seems excessive when dealing with a non-entity of this caliber. It’s an improvement on its A-side in every way, doubtlessly, but the comparison is somewhat akin to one blank canvas being superior to another on account of the fact that one had been left in the sun a minute longer than the other. Yes, the one that’s been left out for a shorter time might have the tiniest bit richer a hue, but to the untrained eye they’re still both just blank canvasses and neither are terribly interesting without anything painted on them. And, even though a frame is the better song, it still doesn’t quite achieve ‘memorable’ status. If this is really what the once-golden Nakazawa/Ozaki/Kawada team has come to, I’ve’s hopefully-inevitable split from Geneon can’t happen soon enough.