Tuesday, January 23, 2018
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LookBack: Stereopony Music Vol. 9

Somewhere in the past, there are memories left behind riding on the wind…

As usual, I am inclined to agree with my counterpart; “OVERDRIVE” the song, just like “OVERDRIVE” the video, feels like a summer drive to the beach. I can imagine Stereopony enjoying themselves there on a beach blanket, perhaps the three of them braving the water and fleeing because the water is way too cold, only to play the title song on their beach blanket. Since my chances of getting to the beaches of Okinawa are relatively slim and the chances of spending it with Stereopony are slimmer still, I can still enjoy lazy summer days outside with this song on my Zen Player and tablet. This song starts off slow and then -excuse the pun- kicks into overdrive as Shiho’s drumming comes in and Aimi joins in on guitar. The lyrics talk about spreading your wings and pursuing your dreams, which is much deeper a meaning than the easy care-free feeling the song invokes for the both of us. My one regret is that the CD version is missing the small part where Aimi sings a capella, something that might have made the former much better.

“Yume” continues the pattern of a slow verse followed by an upbeat chorus. But like my counterpart, I too cannot make sense of where Shiho is going. Aimi sings the lyrics with passion but reading a translation of the lyrics leaves me confused as to what Aimi/Shiho is singing about. My best answer is that this song should be entitled “nightmare” rather than “dream” because Aimi/Shiho says that she is powerless even in her dream, and is searching for a way out even when she is awake or for someone to show her the way out in the dream. Now that I think about it, after starting so strong with “Overdrive”, confusing lyrics combined with some lackluster music and vocals drags this song down and by extension, the single.

I can liken CD singles to innings in a baseball game. Going by that analogy, “Overdrive” had a lead-off single, only for “Yume” to ground into a double play, so it is now up to “Niji Bashi” to get a hit to keep things going. Fortunately for the Okinawa Hydrangeas, “Niji Bashi” manages to reach second base at the very least. Shiho’s drumming is energetic but almost drowns out Aimi’s vocals, and then Aimi drowns herself out with her own guitar. “Niji Bashi” makes up for “Yume”, but not by much with the way it was mixed so Shiho’s drums, Aimi’s guitar, and Aimi’s vocals crash into each other instead of having the vocals ride on top of the instruments. The lyrics encourage us to believe in ourselves despite the criticisms people may make about our choices. Even though they may get us down, as long as we keep pushing forward, we will eventually reach our goals. ButterflySparkle also points out that there is an actual Nijibashi in Tokyo, and says, “It is very spacious and yet secluded and has water courses and panoramas. So it goes with the theme of the song that the journey on the rainbow bridge is in fact some place where you can get freedom yet it’s [also] a place where you can gather your dreams and head for the bright future.” With that in mind, the theme of the single to push forward and metaphorically spread one’s wings carries on to some degree.

This single is, dare I say it, a step down from what we expect from Stereopony. My counterpart cites the B-side choices as the main problem, and I would agree with her. After starting off so strongly and charging forward with “Overdrive”, “Yume” slams on the brakes so quickly and the single barely has time to catch its breath before it goes charging into “Niji Bashi.” I point out again that their B-sides rarely find their way into their concerts, or at least into the two I attended. With only three songs to a single, everything has to mesh, and unfortunately, it doesn’t this time. Of all the B-side songs that Stereopony recorded in the course of their career, only a handful stand out in my mind and I look forward to having them come up in my playlist, and all of those are destined to be covered in future installments, so I bring this volume to a close.

Somewhere in the past, there are memories left behind riding on the wind... As usual, I am inclined to agree with my counterpart; "OVERDRIVE" the song, just like "OVERDRIVE" the video, feels like a summer drive to the beach. I can imagine Stereopony enjoying themselves there on a beach blanket, perhaps the three of them braving the water and fleeing because the water is way too cold, only to play the title song on their beach blanket. Since my chances of getting to the beaches of Okinawa are relatively slim and the chances of spending it with Stereopony are slimmer…

Review Overview

OVER DRIVE - 95%
Yume - 76%
Niji Bashi - 76%

82%

82 Okay, I guess... The title track is great, but the two songs that accompany it could have been arranged better or replaced with more fitting songs all together. Fortunately, my second favorite album and my third favorite single are coming up, so Stereopony have a chance to redeem themselves. I thought this was my lowest score, but checking back, there is if I recall a three way tie for last place from the first few reviews I did for this project.

User Rating: 4.4 ( 2 votes)

Break Down

Break Down

OVER DRIVE – 95%

Music – 95/100
Lyrics – 95/100
Vocals – 95/100
Overall execution – 95/100

Yume – 76%

Music – 80/100
Lyrics – 70/100
Vocals – 80/100
Overall execution – 76/100

Niji Bashi– 76%

Music – 70/100
Lyrics – 90/100
Vocals – 70/100
Overall execution – 76/100

About the author

Destonus is a Very Good Days member from Massachusetts. He moderates the Stereopony, Draft King, and AIMI discussions, the Music Discussion forum along with Dereko, and manages the Very Good Days Encyclopedia Project.
 

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One comment

  1. Like all artists, they have their good releases and their comparatively weak releases – this was one of them for me. Niji Bashi has a pretty intense instrumental, but it was drowning out Aimi’s vocals a tad too much.