[ r e v i e w ]by ERIK
So, this is my first time ever reviewing songs/releases and, while I'm no expert in music at all, I used to love reading reviews of I've discs. That was part of its golden ages and, no need to say, but already saying: I miss those days! At that time, I was just discovering I've Sound and stuffs like this are nostalgic to me. I hesitated for a long time to try this, but I finally want to put this up and bring reviews for the newest I've releases because this is a new golden age!
If you also love I've and would like to write a review for any of their releases, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, it will be my pleasure to publish here reviews from other I've fans too!
Now, to the review!
This is RINA's 6th EP (or maxi single, if you also prefer the old classification style), featuring composers Kazuya Takase, NAMI and... RINA! Yes, you read it right: RINA debuts as composer. Huge! Below, check it out the tracklists, which comes in two editions: a regular edition, with release date yet to be announced and a limited edition that was released digitally to I've Fan Club members on 2021/11/22.
I sense a strong influence from previous and great songs from Kazuya Takase, like Shine your light, now is the time and X-encounter. As for this last one, I really enjoyed the Maon Kurosaki vibe on the verse "尖ったり恥じったり焦っては弱った" (togattari hajittari asette wa yowatta), which got me thinking how versatile RINA's singing ability is and only on this EP she proves this more than once. Influences aside, you can clearly see, not only by this particular track, but also when listening to RINA's previous singles LiAR KiLLER and sweet basil, that Takase is committed to bring new sounds to his songs. For me, the best part was the "8-bit"/"chiptune" style sound played during the chorus. It made me briefly nostalgic toward my videogame memories and I hope to hear more from stuffs like this on future releases.
2. CélesteLyricist & Composer: RINA / Arranger: C.G mix
Céleste marks RINA's debut as composer. If this is the next step of her musical career, it's still unknown. However, after listening to the full version of the lead song of this EP, I'm definitely looking forward to hear more from RINA as composer. This track's arrangement is a classic C.G mix ballad, although, RINA's composition brings a fresh and heavenly sound to it. While aiming at writing her first song, this is only overshadowed by the unique vocals she puts on this one. Once again she proves versatility and singing skills by daring high notes, providing not only voice and songwriting for Céleste, but also life itself. A whole new level on RINA's musical career is now unlocked and I'm really excited to see what comes next.
3. chewing gumLyricist: RINA / Composer & Arranger: NAMI
My favorite track from this EP. I'm a declared NAMI fan, so, no surprises here at all, because I really appreciate the melodies that NAMI writes for her songs and this one is also no exception. It kind of resembles me a bit of her first SHORT CIRCUIT DS song Flash!! and I should say that I'm enjoying a lot how NAMI is using synthesizers on verses and bridges, like what she also did on RINA's previous single SPICE GAME, providing atmospheric sounds.
4. I pray to stop my cry -White little devil mix-Lyricist: KOTOKO / Composer & Arranger: Kazuya Takase
One of many I've jewels. I'm really glad they did a remix for this song and, I must say, I'm loving to see classic songs being remixed more and more. Technology and equipments evolves in time, and with them so does the music, so, it's always nice to see what gems like this can turn out 20 years later. When previews were released, I was initially having a hard time believing I would enjoy this remix, because I noticed some kind of drumming/tapping sound similar to what was present on Namida no Katachi and that wasn't exactly my favorite sound in the world. However, when the full version came, I actually found myself enjoying this arrangement pretty much. Mami's little sea style remains my favorite version of I pray to stop my cry, but I won't say that White little devil won't take its place in my heart, because it definitely sounds good and the new melodies that Takase put into the instrumental are the song's highlight to me.
In terms of vocals, RINA's singing style in Céleste is the biggest winner of this EP. It just reinforces how incredible and skilled RINA is as a singer. As for being the lead song, I would think that coming up with a slow ballad is a risky move, since it's more likely to expect leading tracks to be all that trance and upbeat thing. Although, breaking the fourth wall, Céleste can take the lead for itself just relying on RINA's vocals, but it also does in a new and fresh melody composed by RINA herself, for the very first time, opening new and exciting possibilities for sound creation at I've Sound. Overall, this EP is filled with amazing tracks, with NAMI doing great as always and Kazuya Takase innovating on his songs. Also, remixing classic I've songs as they've been doing is a very right direction for I've in my opinion, as the new versions comes with great and new arrangements. I hope this release reaches many people as soon as possible!