Single review: “Birth” by Eri Kitamura

Limited Cover

Eri Kitamura is a Japanese voice actress and singer under the KING RECORDS label. Birth is her sixth single.

Release date: 7th of August, 2013

Track list:
1. Birth
2. Lifetime Trader
3. Birth (Off Vocal Ver.)
4. Lifetime Trader (Off Vocal Ver.)

1. Birth
Beginning with a Kalafina-Consolation-esque musical swell, and a combination of an evocative organ, indistinct bells and English chanting, within a few seconds, explodes into an anison-metal track, before everything falls silent and Eri begins to sing quietly with a striking piano accompaniment. This doesn’t last long, however, as a strong instrumentation of edgy electric guitars and drums take precedence over the piano and Eri’s vocals become louder and more forceful to balance with the high-powered arrangement. The chorus allows strings to enter, which, while they are pushed to the background, gives the chorus a slight uplifting feeling. The bridge includes a choir singing in an indecipherable manner, subsequently giving way to an impressive guitar solo. The final chorus has Eri singing with a lone piano, but then, with a short & deep violin flourish, we hear the same metal-like instrumentation with Eri’s strong vocals in anticipation for the choir to close the song… Did I mention this was the opening theme to Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi?

2. Lifetime Trader
Soft cymbal taps, bells and plucked chords introduce the song with a subtle gothic feel, which Eri’s confident, almost presumptuous whispering, quickly cuts short. We are then all of a sudden, put into the center of a cacophony of aggressive rock-based instruments, together with Eri’s disturbingly bitter vocals, completely different from her strong performance in Birth. The chorus is the epitome of her sour singing, and the supporting eager male shouts do not do anything to help. The bridge is unnecessarily chaotic and littered with a disharmony of instruments, as well as weak, struggling beeping sounds. The only redeeming factor in my opinion, is the arrangement in general, obviously excluding the bridge though. There are only a few, rare times where Eri’s vocals aren’t that bad, but overall, this song is just a big no for me, unfortunately. Not a very good B-side, if you ask me.

Firstly, thank you to Yuki Nagato of Japanese Melodia for recommending me to listen to Eri Kitamura! I’m glad that this single wasn’t my first encounter with Eri’s music, otherwise I would have been like, “um…” and that’s it. I was very impressed with the A-side, and ‘very impressed’ is what I was expecting. Of course, I had fairly high hopes for the B-side too, but it significantly fell short of what I wanted to hear. In short, Birth is a YES, but Lifetime Trader is a NO for me.

Rating: 3/5