I intended to review this newest single from Sakamoto Maaya back when it was just released and arrived at my house from CDJapan (07/25/12), but never got to it. So here, finally, is my full-of-praise review. What a surprise right?
Because I love all things Maaya and have very few songs that I don't care for from her. I thought the secondary track on this single was one of those songs but, like many others that did not stand out to me right away, it grew on me with time.
More Than Words is Sakamoto Maaya's latest collaboration with Kanno Yoko, her old 'mentor,' if you will. Everyone, myself included, always seems to nearly die of excitement whenever the two work on a song together because Kanno is a fantastic composer and Sakamoto has one of the loveliest voices. This single evoked the same reaction.
|Front of the actual CD case/booklet.|
|Back of the CD case.|
|Inside of the CD case - You can see that the design and color scheme from the cover/booklet are preserved on the CD itself.|
More Than Words consists of two named tracks and a surprise bonus track. It does not have the usual karaoke/instrumental tracks of the main two tracks like most of her singles. Additionally, the limited edition includes a DVD of the "More Than Words" PV. For those who purchased the first press edition from CDJapan, an additional autographed postcard is included. To my surprise, I also received a poster which was not mentioned on CDJapan at all. I'm not sure if it is another first press bonus or a basic gift with every More Than Words purchase.
The first track is that from which the single takes its title, "More Than Words." It is the main theme song of the new season of Code Geass, an anime I am not familiar with at all. In fact, the only anime I've followed that involves Sakamoto (as a voice actress - she does not even perform any music for this one) is Arakawa Under the Bridge. In any case, I adore this track. When I heard it on YouTube here, I became even more impatient for the single to be released. It's a pretty mellow song, starting off slow and picking up "speed" via the textural addition of some interesting percussion near the end. Is it just me, or does it have the same atmosphere/sound of "Ongaku" (which I also love)?
|Here is the sleeve that came with this single, featuring the characters from Code Geass.|
The second track is "Dekoboko March (Tairetsu wa Kimi ni Tsuzuku)." Phew, that's one long title! (Though not her longest - yes, I'm talking about you, "Watashi Wa Okano Uekara Kabin Wo Nageru"!) Actually...looking at them...they look about the same length, lol. Anyway, when I first heard this song, I thought it was one of her super cheerful, almost kiddy-ish songs, like "Action" and "Magic Number." But after listening to it more, I've grown to like it a lot. It is indeed a march, with a persistent percussion line, and it has a very catchy chorus. I also love the addition of the separate, communal singing in the background, starting about 1:45-ish from the end. I feel that it really brings the spirit of a march into the song.
And now for the surprise bonus track!! A live version (though, my apologies, I'm not sure when it was performed) of "Kinobori To Akai Skirt." I was pleased with this track because it is from one of her older albums, Lucy, from before she was touring live left and right. I was about as excited as when I found out "Koucha," another Lucy track, was one of the performances during her live tour "Gift." Lucy was one of the albums I first heard from Sakamoto, and so being able to hear tracks from it being performed live now is something I always appreciate.
As mentioned before, the limited edition came with a DVD of the "More Than Words" PV. This particular PV is quite lovely in my opinion. It has an artistic edge to it with the projections of waves (which reminded me of both the heartbeat and music) and these cold, metal rings rotating as if you're walking through a gigantic sphere of webbed metal. I also like Sakamoto's makeup/hair/dress in this video. For most of her PV's, her hair is "dressed up" with waves, her makeup is very brightening, and her clothes (especially her shoes!) are quite loud in color and style. But in this video, her hair is completely straight and parted in the middle, her makeup is so natural it appears as if she's wearing none, and she is wearing a simple white, strapless shirt+short combo with a transparent white veil draping down from the waistline. Sakamoto is now 32 years old and I feel that most of her videos try to make her appear very cute and pretty. While I am not saying she is neither pretty nor cute, I do appreciate how her true maturity shines through in this video.
Now for pictures of the first press bonuses. The first is the autographed postcard. Of all things, I was most excited for this because in my mind autographed and signed are close enough to almost be interchangeable. I need to wonder, though - is one supposed to get the same feeling from a semi-mass printed signature as they are from a true, pen-to-paper signature? Is there a big difference in the fact that a signature is done on the spot, multiple times, while the copied autograph only involved the name being written by hand once?
*BEGIN DIGRESSION* What comes to my mind at the thought of signatures is Stephen King, whom I've wanted a signature from but have never been able to afford/tough out. I always thought a signature gained meaning because it meant you were near that person physically, watching them sign whatever it is they were signing and handing back to you. But after trying for a King signature, I started seeing otherwise: some King books are released as signed editions in limited quantities. Meaning you can essentially purchase his signature (for a price between three and four digits, of course). Is a printed signature, then, as sought-out for - as special - as the inked signature? Because I viewed this autographed postcard as a postcard signed by Sakamoto, whom I may never get to meet in person, forget actually getting a true signature from.*END DIGRESSION*
...Yeah. Here is a picture of the postcard:
And, without much to say, here is a picture of the poster, which I have yet to hang on the little bit of bare wall left in my bedroom. As you can seem, it is the same picture as the postcard, only it is, of course, much larger (perhaps 3x2 feet or so?) and includes 'thumbnails' of both the regular and limited editions of More Than Words on the bottom right corner. Essentially, it is like one giant advertisement! :)
Overall, I really enjoyed Sakamoto's More Than Words single and highly recommend it to all Sakamoto fans and nonfans alike. It is balanced with both a slow/dark main track and an upbeat/brighter secondary track, and the bonus track is both fun for old fans and informative (of her beautiful singing capabilities, I mean) for new ones. I don't think there are any first press editions left on CDJapan, though that is no surprise because I'm reviewing this now, months later. e_e Well, that's about it.
Until next time! :D