Otsuka Ai [Kurage, Nagareboshi (クラゲ、流れ星; Jellyfish, Shooting Star)] (18th Single)

December 19, 2008

Kurage, Nagareboshi (クラゲ、流れ星; Jellyfish, Shooting Star)
Ame no Tsubu, Waltz ~LOVE MUSiC~ (雨の粒、ワルツ ~LOVE MUSiC~; Raindrops, A Waltz ~LOVE MUSiC~)

Otsuka Ai’s 18th single starts off with the a-side Kurage, Nagareboshi (クラゲ、流れ星; Jellyfish, Shooting Star). I’ve grown use to Ai-chan’s odd name titles and I just now find them so endearing and I know that they all hold a special meaning, and are just a part of her charm. I was excited for this song, moreso than the single, because Ai really knows how to deliver some ballads. I wasn’t too impressed with this one, and actually think it may be her weakest ballad to date. The arrangement is a very simple piano arrangement, but its gorgeous and makes you think of a still black sea. Ai-chan’s vocal performance was what broke this song down in the end. I like her voice, I think its incredibly unique, and one of the only high-pitched voices I can actually tolerate, but sometimes it wears a bit thin. It just sounded like she had a cold, or a sore throat most of the time. It makes the song sound very weak and fragile, and not in a good way, but a: ‘she really needs to take five and go swallow a cough drop’ way. I still like this song though, because its quite the lovely track despite Ai’s vocal inconsistencies.

The next track on the single is its first b-side H20. I say this is a pretty up-beat song, but not in a good way. I mean you’re mostly annoyed throughout, and when it ends you just find yourself forgetting about it all together. Water is my favorite element, but I don’t really care for H2O… pity they’re the same thing. The arrangement is typical rock, maybe punk rock, who cares, it was basic and forgettable. Otsuka’s vocals were painful and I found myself hardly caring about her performance or this song for that matter. It seems lazy and plays like filler, and on a single that is just no good.

The last track on the single is it’s second b-side Ame no Tsubu, Waltz ~LOVE MUSiC~ (雨の粒、ワルツ ~LOVE MUSiC~; Raindrops, A Waltz ~LOVE MUSiC~). This is a down-tempo, that plays a bit better than the a-side, because Ai-chan goes with low tones, instead of those high strain-y tones and it really brought a bit of depth and sadness to this song. Its still weak, kind of on the boring side and has an even simpler piano arrangement than the a-side, but I still found that I liked it.

Rating: ** stars

Otsuka Ai’s 18th single Kurage, Nagareboshi was pretty weak for a 5th Anniversary single. Kurage, Nagareboshi was nice, but Ai-chan’s bad vocal performance really takes away from the enjoyment of the song. H20 just disappoints because it plays like filler, very annoying filler. Ame no Tsubu, Waltz ~LOVE MUSiC~ was decent, but a bit boring and forgettable. Still, I give this album a B- for effort. I’ve heard worse singles.


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