With Elder's Club members Nacchi and Ayaya's single releases becoming few and far between in the last few years this looks to perhaps be Nacchi's final single as a H!P soloist as March looms ever nearer each day. 😦 First thing of note for me was that happily Tsunku penned her final release writing both the lyrics & music and I say this for two reasons…the first being for some time now Tsunku's writing attention has wavered away from the solo acts in H!P and even some of their units so it was nice seeing that he wrote both the title and coupling with tracks….secondly, this is Nacchi, H!P's/Momusu's very first spotlight member and one of the most stable building blocks one could ever hope for so with that surely Tsunku must pay extra attention to everything that Nacchi has meant to H!P over the years. ^ ^
"Screen" caught me a bit off guard in that it was really a "grower" of a single….not one that immediately captured me although I must note that it's coupling with track "Sayonara sae ienu mama" was ♥ at first listen….many probably already know that I'm so much the sucker for a good ballad!♪♪ Eventually "Screen" did win me over completely though and that with just a few listens on repeat and you really have to love that little jingly "Japanese" riff that opens the song and appears in its interlude moments. And the real hook for me was the ever present driving rhythm which accents the song at the perfect moments such as the lead in to the chorus for a bit of that extra dramatic appeal. The composition is also a perfect match for Nacchi's vocal range and she really displays her sweet vocal touches with vibrato and emotional texture…two notable nuances which only a few H!P members possess. "Screen" however isn't one of Nacchi's better singles even by a stretch but still a very solid release which is further enhanced by the presence of both a mid tempo song and a…dare I say the "B" word?…Yes~! a ballad! (^o^)/♪♪
As mentioned earlier I fell in ♥ with this track immediately! Vocally even a bit more impressive than it's predecessor, "Sayonara sae ienu mama" has a beautiful and slightly sad longing in its chorus which Nacchi performs perfectly. The melody is a much more melancoly to sad one so the balance of having a much more upbeat song alongside in its title track works really well here….or perhaps it's just that I've had this single on repeat for a good part of yesterday afternoon and this morning :P….sending me into a mixture of emotions of night and day all in a span of about nine minutes at a time. With this being quite possibly Nacchi's final H!P single I'd just like to take a moment to reflect on ballads and what I feel is still Nacchi's best one ever………..that being……………..
…"sora LIFE GOES ON", the b-side to "Yume naraba." Also this cover I think is Nacchi's most cute too! The scan above is actually the jewel case's jacket cover as this single comes in an outer slip case. Reminds me of a time when all Nacchi single releases came with wonderful extras such as posters, special packaging and cards…..hmm where has it all gone? In fact Ayaya's recent releases have undergone much the same fate as UFA is content with just providing them with no frills packaging and no first press extras to speak of but such was not the case going back a bit. I just realized that "Yume naraba" and "sora LIFE GOES ON" was released in mid 2005 which was way before this blog existed so I haven't shared these before…..the pretty cards which came along with its first pressing:
In the initial series these H!P cards were actually being numbered in order, these being #'s 128-132 but after awhile UFA abandoned numbering them and their flipsides began to represent whomever was on the opposite side of the card instead of using a universal "H!P" theme for all of them as was true with the initial series. Trading cards…another thing that H!P has abandoned in opting for the bonus disc instead (sigh…).
And since I'm spreading the "B" word here with wreckless abandon 😛 I thought it would be appropriate to share just a few of what I consider to be H!P's very best ballads…..those being performed by the incomparable Ayaya. ^ ^
I don't think I previously uploaded these so here's the most beautiful ballad of them all, "Egao." (*´∀｀*) ♪♪ But I won't ramble on into why I love "Egao" so much as I previously posted those thoughts here when the single was released. ^-^
Ayaya is really in my eyes the princess of ballads and she has so many more incredibly beautiful ones to choose from with the likes of "dearest", "Happiness", "Watarasebashi", "Suna wo kamuyouni…NAMIDA", "The Last Night", "Sougen no hito" and the list goes on and on but before I turn this Nacchi post into an all out Ayaya one I'll restrain myself here! 😛 "Suna wo kamuyouni…NAMIDA" & "Happiness" are below… ^ ^