Running at full speed, we’re not afraid of anything
After Namida no Mukou’s success, Stereopony’s third single I do it came to solidify Stereopony’s name in the Japanese music industry. Born out of a jam session with fellow musician and renowned artist YUI, I do it is considered to be a dream come true on Stereopony’s part, as neither girl could ever imagine working together on a song with such a household name like YUI so early in their careers. Whether it was a stroke of luck or an earned gift, the girls had the opportunity to learn with an experienced musician and step up their game to YUI’s level; they did this wonderfully. The single was released on April 22nd, 2009. Credits for lyrics on all the songs are given to AIMI, while YUI was credited for music only in “I do it”.
1. I do it
2. Signal ga Ao ni Kawaru Toki
3. Namida no Mukou ~AIMI Acoustic Version~
4. I do it ~Instrumental~
“I do it” is the single’s leading track and the result of the collaboration between YUI and Stereopony. According to AIMI, the creative process was a little difficult to go through, due to YUI’s different approach to music. That is something remarkable and I would like to point out, because we are talking about a then-19-year-old girl, still a freshman in the music industry, and already standing her ground in front of a seasoned artist like YUI. It shows character, self-confidence and a little bit of stubbornness, which is something I came to recognize and be so fond of in AIMI. It may have been a small gesture, an offhanded comment, but it spoke volumes to me. Thinking about it, that is one of the reasons why I love Stereopony so much even to this day.
Going back to the song itself, “I do it” turned out pretty well for Sterepony’s first collaboration project. It carries much of YUI’s trademark in both music and lyrics, despite the credits saying she only participated in the music writing. Being a fan of YUI’s too, I’m happy with how well AIMI’s voice sounded accompanied by YUI’s characteristic guitar riffs. It is a fast paced, guitar-weighted song, showing how well Stereopony’s style moved into rock. Not that they weren’t considered a rock band before, it is just that their style was not as clear as this song showed. The lyrics are loaded with this feeling of anxiety: the kind that is familiar when you don’t really know what is ahead for you, but you have to keep going anyway. So with a renewed determination, you just charge ahead. It talks about courage and determination and it is a great song to sing along to, if you feel like screaming the things that have been stuck in your throat for a while. Overall, it is a strong leading track and great addition to Stereopony’s repertoire.
On the other hand, I do it’s B-side does not impress much. “Signal ga Ao ni Kawaru Toki” is a calm, slightly acoustic song, in which NOHANA’s bass make a noticeable appearance, setting the pace. While the music is good and sweet, with AIMI’s voice accompanying the melody, the lyrics talk about the one-sided pain one goes through when an important relationship ends, but there is no closure. It leaves you feeling more of the resignation than the angst in the end. Overall, it is an ok song, just not as remarkable as the leading track. And for that reason alone, it is easily forgettable. Besides, I have never heard of this song making an appearance on Stereopony’s live performances, which is important in my book.
The last and final track of the single reminds us of another great hit. “Namida no Mukou” makes a comeback in this third release in an acoustic style, now softened by the hands pulling the strings on AIMI’s acoustic guitar. It is no longer an angst-filled song, but a mellowed-out version of Stereopony’s second single, which is surprisingly soothing. The only hints of angst come from AIMI’s vocal performance. The lyrics stay the same. All in all, I enjoyed this arrangement.
In the end, despite carrying a strong hit like “I do it”, Stereopony’s third single feels unbalanced and somewhat forgettable. Seeing from a different perspective, one would only remember the leading track and be ok with it. This does not sit well with me, though, as I like to see the whole for its parts. And what I see is the B-side being the weakest among them. Thankfully, this is a rare occurrence when it comes to Stereopony, so I’m looking forward to working on the next single’s review.
I do it – 91%
Music – 94/100
Lyrics – 88/100
Vocals – 90/100
Overall execution – 93/100
Signal ga Ao ni Kawaru Toki – 81%
Music – 85/100
Lyrics – 79/100
Vocals – 81/100
Overall execution – 80/100
Namida no Mukou ~AIMI Acoustic Version~ – 87%
Music – 92/100
Lyrics – 83/100
Vocals – 85/100
Overall execution – 88/100