Posted by: 愛撫 | 11/19/09

Single review: Mami Kawada – Prophecy

In which all accusations of fanboy favouritism are (hopefully) put to rest.

川田まみ (Mami Kawada) – Prophecy (2009, Geneon Universal)

Tracklisting:

  1. Prophecy
  2. a frame
  3. Prophecy -instrumental-
  4. a frame -instrumental

The review:

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.


Responses

  1. Pure disappointment for both Prophecy and a frame. All in good time wasn’t better, too. All I need now is waiting for INITIATIVE to see how Nakazawa’s going. I don’t know how Ozaki gets into composer but maybe he should go back being only guitar arranger for his own goodness.

    “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”.”

    Surely the guitar riffs sounded much like Maiko’s trademark, but Maiko’s half-muted guitar in KOTOKO’s HELLION was great.

  2. Holy crap that’s harsh. But I think it’s a fair statement. When I reviewed PSI-Missing and Masterpiece, I found both of those to be an underwhelming state of affairs with Masterpiece just being really bad in general. Just from reading this, I’m dreading giving this album any playtime at all for fear of getting put into a catatonic state or something.

    Thanks for the heads up!

    • And I was amazed there were more people who think PSI-missing was way more superior than masterpiece. UNBELIEVABLE.

      • I wouldn’t say PSI-missing was “superior” but I do like it more than materpiece. I guess if you look at them critically, masterpiece is really arranged much better, but I like PSI missing’s tune better.
        But overall both were quite “fail” compared to the rest of Mami’s discog.

        I like Prophecy also because of the tune…Yes, the mixing during the non-vocal parts were pretty bad. However, I like the chorus and the verse. Mami also did write rather powerful lyrics for the song (imo).

        I probably am biased because I like all her Shana songs. I just love the part in the OP when “unmei ga waratteiru no kikoeru” and Shana runs and jumps off the building and her wings come out! LOL

        Oh well. To each his own?

    • “Masterpiece just being really bad in general.”

      But masterpiece was awesome :(

  3. i dont know about details.. but this is quite “not good”… rrr.. just another anime single release…
    the other mami’s single of shana is better…

    well maybe they run out of ideas or nakazawa doesnt give a shit anymore like aibu said.. but, i surely hope for another good music from these guys, not this “very normal” single… xD

  4. Maybe it’s a good idea if they did not include Takeshi Ozaki w/ the composition. I reviewed some of the Nakazawa-alone-composition-with-NakaZaki-arrangement songs I have here and they sounded right to me. Only these songs have the discrepancy including All in good time.

    • Yeah, that’s what I noticed, too. This *is* the first time Ozaki made his composition (with the help of Nakazawa), though, so it could be forgiven. Hopefully he’ll improve his composing skills if he wants to compose for future songs.

  5. Boring, that’s it.

    On another hand, come on! PSI-missing is not bad! It’s a matter of taste. Some songs like most of UZU-MAKI’s are really bad, but PSI-missing is closely related to sheer taste. That synthesizer arrange is simply addictive! It’s obviously NOT at all like rock-y JOINT, it’s different, it’s trance. Stuff is not bad just for not being JOINT or rock-mode Mami Kawada.

    Still, Prophecy sucks.

    • “PSI-missing is the kind of song that sycophantic fanboys will defend until the end. Even though it’s lazily-crafted garbage cribbing extensively from Kawada’s last single but lacking the heart and energy of both JOINT and its vastly underrated B-side triangle, “[I’m] just being too hard on it, it’s a good song.”

      Good.

      Good?

      No, it’s not very good. At all.”

      (from PSI-missing review)

  6. As I said before, Nakazawa has taken Maiko’s place as the not-so-good composer recently.

  7. I’m starting to see a correlation between how pretty Mami appears covers and how interesting the song is going to be. Mami looks stunning on the covers of Prophecy, masterpiece and PSI-missing but they’re not the most interesting of songs while SAVIA doesn’t even feature Mami on the cover at all and it’s probably one of the best things I’ve has ever done.

    So in short, if the cover is pretty = song boring? :p

    • It would be quite funny if I’ve’s next critically-acclaiming hit sported a blank CD cover in correlation with this analogy.

      Oh wait.

    • Mami in PSI-mising cover is beautiful. masterpiece and Prophecy covers are NOT.

  8. As for the single. 2 listens is enough.

    I kind of wish Aibu made another joke review for this song given how much of an uninspiring piece of work it was.

  9. I found this single a little boring and for me PSI-missing is way, way, way better than masterpiece.

  10. Hm, I like the discrepancy between people who prefer masterpiece and those who prefer PSI-missing. I’m going against the official stance and will say PSI-missing is better than masterpiece as a personal opinion. The initial verse of masterpiece grates me for some reason, and I prefer the darker songs anyway.
    Neither are as good as JOINT, but both are better than Prophecy. There’s a spark of something in Prophecy, it’s just way too faint. It’s a step back in intensity from her previous two singles, which is opposite of what I wanted to hear.
    Since a couple others mentioned it, “All in good time” popped up on youtube. Aibu will hate it, I like it, but then again, I loved “My Friend,” so there you go.

  11. I uploaded the Futa-Ane video to my Youtube account. It’s farily PG, so no need for a NSFW tag.
    So far I AM liking Ms. Kirishima. I think she’ll make a great addition to I’ve. Maiko’s composition is also surprisingly very solid.
    Anyways

    I now present: two HeaRt by Airi Kirishima!!

  12. I wouldn’t say everything on masterpiece was bad jellyfish is pretty enjoyable but Prophecy is rather terrible though I can’t help but think this is a beginning of this whole ordeal considering with Black Lagoon getting a second season and MELL having another single and album on the way we could get some kind of flop like this though with KOTOKO getting back on track and MELL’s Rideback wasn’t as terrible as it could of been the upcoming releases couldn’t or might not be as bad as this whole thing is. I just wish we could get a good single with a good video as well from Mami again hopefully soon the last time we had a good video from her with an awesome song was portamento. Maybe with an album release will we get something rather amazing.

    One can hope right

  13. I think this review is the most entertaining thing about the single :P

  14. I love mami kawada. I think her voice is cool. My fav song is the Shakugan no Shana OP Joint, insert song Akai Namida, and the newest Masterpiece. Mami beats Kotoko any day, lol, in looks & voice.
    But i agree the rest of her songs in SAVIA/SEED are damn forgettable.


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