KOTOKO – Loop-the-Loop (2010, Geneon Entertainment)
3) Loop-the-Loop (Instrumental ver.)
4) 雷鳴が鳴く頃 (Instrumental ver.)
I was hesitant to listen to this single because oh god, here comes KOTOKO sailing in with another anime theme single with a bright and colourful cover (a nautical theme this time, parrot included). The premise of this single from the offset sounds eerily similar to a few other things in KOTOKO’s catalogue.
I have never really been a fan of KOTOKO’s denpa work. It’s never really been my cup of tea. However there are a few gems in there, somewhere. Plus there is something vaguely enjoyable about them as a whole – as long as they don’t go horribly wrong.
Loop-the-Loop doesn’t go that way, thankfully. The title song does for the Short Circuit series what Epsilon no Fune does for the older I’ve Girls Compilations – a throwback to the sounds of previous times but with enough appeal to please and pull in new fans. It’s a rock styled pop song with KOTOKO actually sounding quite enthusiastic but not grating – I stress this, KOTOKO does not sound strained or completely unenthused or just plain bad which is something that threw me off completely. Though I could live without the random synths accents in the background, they’re not completely jarring and Icould look over the fact that there. The only thing that throws me off about this song is the end – where KOTOKO manages to make herself sound like a train.
I think part of the reason that this song works is because the hand of Nakazawa Tomoyuki is all over it. He’s credited alongside KOTOKO for composition and Takeshi Ozaki for arrangement. Personally he is one of my favourite of the I’ve producers and teamed up with Ozaki, they can actually make a half decent song with guitars in it that doesn’t sound completely messy. (I’m looking at you, Takase and Iuchi.) Not to mention that because Nakazawa is not C.G mix, this is not hilariously cheesy in the way a song like blossomdays is. It actually sounds genuinely cheerful and happy.
The b-side, Raimei ga Nakugoro is an innocuous little number. With KOTOKO composing and C.G mix arranging, it’s a simple affair of KOTOKO again, showing off why she is one of I’ve’s star players – she is expressive and a treat to listen to in this song. I remembered happier times in which I actually looked forward to listening to a new KOTOKO song rather than automatically hesitating at the thought. Plus it isn’t a ballad, but a mid-tempo song. Despite some awkward pitch correction/harmonization (I can’t even tell) in the background of the chorus, it’s not exactly the most distinct song in I’ve’s catalogue but it’s worth a repeat listen if it ever comes up on shuffle.
The crux of what makes this single good however, is what ultimately makes it indistinguishable from her other work in a similar vein such as daily-daily Dream and Special Life!. Both Loop-the-Loop and Raimei ga Nakugoro mesh the good parts of I’ve’s production from earlier days without being innovative about it. They’re both good songs – don’t get me wrong but there are times I wish that both songs would just be more adventurous in what they do. A more memorable hook, mostly. I want to be able to remember this song’s chorus but when I try, I draw a blank. That didn’t stop me enjoying them, and that shouldn’t stop you either.