FictionJunction – everlasting songs

December 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM | Posted in FictionJunction | 1 Comment REVIEW
FictionJunction – everlasting songs

1. KAORI & KEIKO – Hoshikuzu
2. YUUKA – Kioku no Mori
3. KAORI – dream scape
4. WAKANA, KEIKO & KAORI – Gin no Hashi
5. KEIKO – Kaze no Machi e
6. YURIKO KAIDA – here we stand in the morning dew
7. KEIKO – syncronicity
8. KAORI – Hanamori no Oka
9. WAKANA – Mizu no Akashi
10. YUUKA – cazador del amor
11. YURIKO KAIDA – Himitsu
12. KEIKO – Houseki
13. KAORI – Yume no Tsubasa
14. KAORI – Michiyuki
15. ASUKA – everlasting song~japanese edition

♦ ♦ ♦

everlasting songs is the debut album by Japanese project group FictionJunction, released on February 25, 2009. The album is a compilation album of their songs and covers of songs that Kajiura Yuki wrote for other artists.The album reached #24 on the Oricon weekly charts and charted for four weeks, selling 10,427 copies.

The album starts with a KEIKO and KAORI song, with WAKANA clearly singing one of the background melodies. Hoshikuzu has a pretty long introduction, but the piano melodies and violins remind me a lot of Kalafina’s music (the project of two of the FictionJunction singers). KAORI’s vocals remind me a lot of WAKANA’s, but she has a nice timbre of her own as well. Her vocals go really well with KEIKO’s. This is quite slow and calm for an opening song, with those little xylophone elements, but since I’m used to Yuki’s music I think it works fine.

Kioku no Mori, YUUKA’s first song on the album, opens very mysterious and operatic before it turns into a very uptempo and danceable track. YUUKA has a very distinct voice, she’s like the HIKARU of FictionJunction in my opinion, but her phrasing is a lot better. The dance/rock hybrid of this track is the perfect contrast with the opening song, and actually I think they should’ve switched. Agressive track, but definitely in a good way.

dream scape is the next song, by KAORI, and now her lovely vocals really come out in this song. It’s quite a pretty track, it opens lovely with soft organ notes before turning into a pop/rock midtempo track with good lead vocals and stunning operatic background vocals by YURIKO. This song was apparently a tie-in with the Tsubasa Chronicles anime, I wouldn’t typify this as an anime song per se but it’s amazing.

WAKANA, KEIKO and KAORI collab on Gin no Hashi, but most of the time it’s WAKANA and KEIKO doing their perfect harmonizations here. KAORI doesn’t come out until the second half of the song kicks in. It’s another more agressive song and very much in the style that WAKANA and KEIKO pursue with Kalafina, a style that I really love. It’s mysterious, the electric guitars and percussion are perfect and the girls sound amazing.

I always loved KEIKO’s low alto voice, but in Kaze no Machi e she displays lighter and slightly higher vocals as well. Usually I like the mysterious quality in her voice when she sings the more epic songs, but in this soothing and calm ballad she sounds great as well. What a versatility. Her vocals work great with the soft piano melodies, cello and violin. When the background vocals come in, I get goosebumps. I never expected this from KEIKO!

And now it’s time for YURIKO KAIDA’s first solo on the album. here we stand in the morning dew has a typical Kajiura Yuki feel to it when it comes to the music, and vocally YURIKO apparently has a lower voice quite like KEIKO’s. She’s not the project’s best vocalist, but I think she does a great job on this track, displaying great vocal control. The music is another great mix of dance/rock and operatic background chanting, and although it could’ve been a bit shorter I don’t think this is half bad.

Probably the most agressive song on the album is KEIKO’s synchronicity. This song is all over the place with the agressive electric guitars, dance beats and synths. The weird little synth loops throughout the song can get a bit annoying after a while, but the rest of the musical composition luckily overshadows it all, especially in the mysterious sounding bridge. KAORI and YUKI deliver great background vocals, and it’s always great to hear KEIKO take center stage.

Hanamori no Oka, used as the ending theme for OVA Hokuto no Ken, is a typical kind of winter ballad with soft strings, echoed effects, bells and dramatic percussion. The song is sung by KAORI, and she has become one of my favorite singers of FictionJunction. This song is a real masterpiece and right now it’s already one of the most unique songs on the album. I love it when the little flute solo comes along every now and then, it makes the overall song even more magical.

Another favorite singer of mine, WAKANA, sings Mizu no Akashi. She definitely displays the best vocal techniques and control, she also does it now in this quite simple song with just a piano and some strings. I always find that WAKANA’s vocals work best in tracks like these because of her great vocals. Too bad that this is her only solo song on the album, she did a great job and she proved to be the best FJ vocalist with this amazing piece of work ❤

YUUKA is back big time with the epic cazador del amor. YUUKA cries out very convincinly in this grand song drenched in huge strings arrangements, percussion and electric guitars. When you describe this song, the first word that comes into mind is ‘explosion’. There’s mysterious music everywhere and although I’m not a big fan of YUUKA’s high pitched vocals, she did good on the vocals in this track that’s just all over the place.

At first I though YURIKO’s Himitsu was gonna be more uptempo, but it appears to have some kind of music box feel to it, kinda like a lullaby. I’m a bit on the fence with YURIKO’s vocals here since she sound a bit nasal and just fails to fully capture me. Her timbre is nonetheless perfect for calm ballads like this one. The music becomes a little broader near the second half when percussion and an amazing flute solo are added, so I think this song can definitely grow on me over time.

Even KEIKO can have a bad day, or so it appears. Not that Houseki is a bad song, but her vocals have sounded better, such as in Kaze no Machi e. Her vocals in the verses are good, but when we get to the chorus it seems as if she has difficulties with the melodies. When it comes to the music, I don’t like the fact that the song has a constant flow without crescendo’s, build-ups or segments where the song slows down. It has its charm, but I don’t think I will ever fully enjoy it.

KAORI gets to have two solos in a row, of which the first is Yume no Tsubasa. Most of you will probably know the English version ‘tsubasa’ for the Tsubasa Chronicles, but I haven’t heard that version so I’m just gonna judge the song by the Japanese version. KAORI again displays amazing vocals, and both she and the arrangement keep me interested throughout the entire four and a half minutes. The song eventually builds into this amazing explosion of electric guitars, background vocals, KAORI’s adlibbing and uplifting melodies. Did I just hear the best song on the album?

Michiyuki is the next KAORI song, and it’s a lot more subtle than the previous track. KAORI displays great control over her vocals when she opens accompanied by a piano melody. Later, background vocals by YURIKO and YUKI, some strings and a violin join in. Actually it’s like another winter ballad again, just like her other song Hanamori no Oka. It’s KAORI’s vocals that take me through this lullaby, and although the music is not bad, it needs some variation.

Last minute, we have ASUKA singing everlasting song~japanese edition. ASUKA left FJ right after the release of the song, and I’m glad she did since she doesn’t really have attractive vocals in my opinion. YURIKO’s background vocals are perfect again when she sings the operatic vocal melodies, but ASUKA just lacks vocal technique while the music itsself is actually quite pretty and ambient. Such a shame the vocals ruined it.

I had hoped to find more epic songs in the style of Kalafina on this album, but apparently they have a signature style of their own that isn’t like FJ’s. This was such a long album, almost 80 minutes in length, so I have the feeling this album took me forever to review. It’s clear I liked the songs that featured WAKANA, KEIKO and KAORI best, in my opinion they are the best vocalists in FJ. YUUKA isn’t bad either, I’m curious about her solo project, YURIKO is only good when she sings operatic background vocals and I’m just glad that ASUKA is gone. Harsh, but true. Most of the songs on this album were good, there was enough variation in the tracklisting. The problem with the solos was that they were unevenly distributed (KAORI got four while WAKANA got only one), but most of them put the girls in their well deserved spotlight. Good album, but I think I’ll stick to Kalafina after all.

Favorite tracks: Kioku no Mori | dream scape | Kaze no Machi e | synchronicity | Hanamori no Oka | Mizu no Akashi | Yume no Tsubasa

3½ stars


1 Comment »

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  1. Watching the Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles anime made me really fall in love with them and their music! Great voices, beautiful songs, and nice arrangements! Thanks FictionJuction for making Tsubasa more enjoyable! 🙂 You girls are great! ❤

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