Not Your God*
Tiger in My Love
Castle Imitation (Album Version)
Hyouryū no Hane (Drifting Shuttleclock)
Suna No Tate (Sand Shield)
King Of Solitude
The album starts off with the intro-song Not Your God. This song is rather powerful in a sense. It has Chihiro singing in English (her English isn’t really that bad in this), backed up by a piano. Its pretty good.
The next track on the album is the awe-inspiring Koe (Voice). This is the type of song that really just goes straight through you in such a profound way. I like how subtle the arrangement is, its there but it doesn’t overpower even when Chihiro’s voice rises, it compliments her vocals perfectly. Chihiro’s vocal performance was really quite good, she gave off the right amount of emotion, her voice sounding wistful but strong at the same time. It just absorbs you. I love how the song seems to display an inner strength that gives off such a feeling of hope, it really does sound like a voice.
The next track on the album is the somber Rebel Luck. This song is really heart-breaking to me. I’ve always thought of this as being one of her more up in the tempo songs, so it tends to take me by surprise when it comes on and the pace is very slow and nearly mournful. The arrangement consists of a piano, that plays so well despite not doing much of anything and is seemingly playing the same notes over and over. Chihiro’s vocal performance in this song is very touching, I love the sure way in which she sung this, not doing more than what was necessary and that made this song all the more felt.
The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Tiger in My Love. This is a pretty interesting song from Chihiro, but it does kind of remind me of the original version of ‘shine’ and ‘little beat rifle’ only less boring and with more of an edge. The arrangement is a combination of the piano and drums and both really just pounds into you, it seems to be such heart behind them. Chihiro’s vocals were pretty strong in this, but at the same time a bit exasperating. I use to really dislike this song, but its grown on me.
The next track on the album is the somewhat dramatic Castle Imitation (Album Version). This is a really great song, I mean its just so powerful in a quiet way. The arrangement is one moving piano piece, I just really felt so moved by it, it really seemed to embody the harsh atmosphere of the song. This is also one of Chihiro’s best and most meaningful vocal performances to date, I mean when she sings the chorus its just so felt. I really can’t be in a down type of mood while listening to this, because honestly it would bring me to tears. Chihiro’s voice and the whole vibe of the song just comes across as so very painful to me and it makes me think of regret.
The next track on the album keeps the somewhat down-tempo tracks coming with Hyouryū no Hane (Drifting Shuttleclock). This is another good song from Chihiro, but I don’t think its one of her more stronger tracks that stand out. This features a nice and very fitting piano arrangement as well, which creates an atmosphere of being swept up by the wind. I felt cold listening to it and I think that was an appropriate feeling. Chihiro’s vocals are great in this, especially during the chorus. I’ll admit the song tends to get a bit exasperating towards the end, because its not long but it felt long to me for some reason and it ends kind of abruptly.
The next track on the album is the wistful Suna No Tate (Sand Shield). This is one of the first songs I believe I heard by Chihiro and honestly it just goes through me. The arrangement sounds like the wind, it really does, it was almost like I could hear the wind blowing over me and whispering to me, it made the whole atmosphere of the song very depressing. Chihiro’s vocals were nice, I mean for a song like this, she sung in a high tone and I think it was really appropriate. This song seems to talk of pain and longing and gave me the impression of someone giving up.
The next track on the album is the rather depressing King Of Solitude. This is one of my favorite song titles, it really makes you think. This is also one of my favorite Chihiro tracks and one of the first I heard by her. I never really understood the depth of this song until I watched the video, it made me think of the 1800′s with all the still shots and how everything just looked and seemed so old and lost to time, its one of my favorite videos because it really seemed to reflect the song. The arrangement is the piano and it plays rather somberly throughout, but it is one of the most fitting arrangements I’ve ever heard. Chihiro’s voice sounded sad, though she strained a bit I still always find myself hanging off her every word. This song always makes me feel so heavy.
The next track on the album is the rather powerful Borderline. This is a song that though good in its own right, after a while becomes a bit underwhelming. That doesn’t mean it isn’t good, it just means that I’m not as awed by it as I once was. This song is right up there with ‘gekkou’ and ‘infection’ in terms of intensity vocal wise. Chihiro gives a solid performance and I mean you really can’t help but feel everything she is saying, especially when she reaches the climax. This song use to really move me, it still does.
The last full track on the album is Castle Imitation. This is the regular version and honestly this is one of the first times I’ve ever preferred an album version over the original. This is still good, but it lacks the emotional intensity and depth of the album version.
The last track quite absurdly is an instrumental of Castle Imitation. What? Why!?
Rating: ** stars
Chihiro Onitsuka’s third album Sugar High is a good album, but that is really no surprise. However, I gave it a B because it offers nothing we haven’t already heard from her, its too short with only nine tracks eight excluding the regular version of ‘castle imitation’ and because there are three different versions of the same song in one is an instrumental. The stand-out track is without a doubt ‘king of solitude’ and Chihiro, though the album is brief had some really solid tracks on here and I found that I enjoyed them all. Sugar High is Chihiro’s last album that displays her powerful vocals (before she had her throat surgery) and though I felt she could have done more with it, it still stands out as one of her best albums.