Yui Horie is a Japanese pop artist and well-known idol seiyuu. She is sometimes affectionately nicknamed “Hocchan” by her Japanese fans. Golden Time is her 18th single.
Release date: 13th of November, 2013
1. Golden Time
Light bells and quiet pulsating bass introduce the opening theme for an anime of the same name. As Hocchan’s familiar idol-esque vocals join in and a small group of people happily yell out ‘YAY!’ (which the song could have done without, to be honest), we start to hear the synths and percussion clearly, and we quickly get into the song. While the track is driven by the playful beat, the uplifting strings add a layer to the otherwise typical arrangement. What I really liked was the start of the final chorus, where we hear an irregular, (slightly) dubstep-influenced portion which was interesting to hear in a cute pop song like this. The vocals are definitely put into the spotlight here, being significantly louder over the instrumentation. Golden Time emanates happy, cutesy vibes, which I think is very fitting for the anime. While the producers could have been just a tad more creative with this, it is still quite an entertaining song worth a few listens here and there.
2. Sweet & Sweet CHERRY
How very convenient that Golden Time‘s ending theme is the B-side. Opening with a lullaby-like piano melody, a rough beat and whimsical string lines, Hocchan enters with mellow vocals to match the easygoing atmosphere. The beat dominates during the first verse, but the strings reign from the first chorus onwards (with the exception of the pre-chorus), which is soft and pleasant to the ears. Frequent bass lines underneath the strings keep everything bouncing along; without them, the song would sound awfully empty. In regards to the vocals, at the age of 37, she manages to sound very cute, even seeming quite controlled when using a higher register. The general tempo does not change throughout the track, so I would have liked a bit more variety in that as an element in the song. Ultimately, it ends the way it begins — with the lullaby-like piano melody, slowing down to a halt.
Another cutesy single is welcomed into Hocchan’s discography, which frankly isn’t a bad thing. That just means that fans get more of what they listen to her for. From my perspective, the two tracks are on the same level as each other, and are quite nice overall, so bonus points for consistency. Overall, not bad.