Single review: “The♡World’s♡End” by Yui Horie

CD only cover

Yui Horie is a Japanese pop artist and well-known idol seiyuu. She is sometimes affectionately nicknamed “Hocchan” by her Japanese fans. The♡World’s♡End is her 19th single.

Release date: 12th of March, 2014

Track list:
1. The♡World’s♡End
2. Han’eikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡
3. The♡World’s♡End (off vocal ver.)
4. Han’eikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡ (off vocal ver.)

1. The♡World’s♡End
A gentle, almost fragile introduction comprised of vocals and a delicate xylophone tune suddenly erupts into a convulsion of la la’s, sharply-strummed strings stuck in an infinite looping melody, and a beat that’s quite quick yet quite vague at the same time. The composition is maintained while Yui sings an identical vocal melody as the very beginning of the song, and she then promptly sings a set of several lines in rapid-fire action, serving as the chorus. Unfortunately, the aforementioned part of the song is either badly mixed, or purposefully made to sound mostly like background music with understated main vocals, yet I cannot comprehend the reasons for the latter. Soon after, however, the composition is changed up with a marching band-esque beat, as well as quirky brass and woodwind instruments, but still retaining the sharply-strummed strings. From there, a playful pre-chorus leads into a now slightly jazz/swing-influenced chorus. For the bridge, it is first another set of lines sung in rapid-fire action, but then the flow of the song is slowed down and toned down with whispery background vocals behind bells and the familiar marching band-esque beat right after. Yui finishes the song by repeating the chorus twice, and the song closes with the now-recognizable combination of la la’s, strings and a beat that can be described the same way this whole song can be described: quite quick yet quick vague at the same time.

2. Han’eikyuu-teki ni Aishite yo♡
The B-side follows suit and opens with another (extended) gentle, almost fragile introduction comprised of vocals, only this time accompanied with piano instead of a xylophone. Almost a minute into the track, beautiful strings make their entrance to accompany the pre-existing elements, but are stopped short for a sample of Yui’s voice acting skills. Suddenly, the song bursts into a bright, high-spirited instrumental segment, and as badly transitioned it is, it’s a good change from the ballad-like nature of the passage that opened the song. Handclaps rightfully accompany an undeniably catchy verse; the chorus is made up of the same bright, high-spirited instrumental from earlier, now combined with the lines sung just before the spoken section of the song towards the beginning. Thankfully, the song does not change much as we progress through, with the exception of the bridge in which Yui sings alongside a piano accompaniment, transitioning into an odd section of echoing filtered spoken lines. The instrumental, much to my delight, crescendos into the final chorus, before ending with a few notes from a lone right-side electric guitar. Overall, I think that anything NOT sounding playful and upbeat should have been cut, and that definitely includes the opening passage of piano, strings and vocals. I think it’s best not to juxtapose two different styles in this case. Either way, however, this one is the better song of the single.

Ironically, as the follow-UP single to Golden Time, The♡World’s♡End is a step DOWN. The A-side, while being the second opening theme for the anime Golden Time, is a confusing mess of many different emotions, moods and instruments. And the B-side, tied as the second ending theme for the same anime, can be spoken of in almost the same way, but to a lesser extent. To my disdain, most of the single felt vague and had no definite sound. I mean, I know I asked for more variety in my review of her previous single, but this is just a bit ridiculous.

Rating: 2/5


Single review: “Golden Time” by Yui Horie

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

Track list:
1. Golden Time
2. Sweet & Sweet CHERRY
3. Golden Time (off vocal ver.)
4. Sweet & Sweet CHERRY (off vocal ver.)

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.

Rating: 3/5