Finally… another double A-side single. Calling is for Aiba’s currently airing drama, Last Hope, Breathless is for Nino’s soon-to-hit-theatres movie, Platinum Data. A commendable move given how they decided to release Face down and Your eyes back-to-back despite being the theme songs for two dramas aired concurrently. Being packaged together, these two A-side songs share a drab, mysterious nuance.
Not saying that exuberant, bubbly songs like Wild at heart or Troublemaker are inferior gems, or dismissing heart-tugging ballads like Akashi, Gift, or Ashita no kioku, but dark, broody but also sleek Arashi draped in black is inevitably alluring. Sans camera appeal and smile deprived, their stage presence is still swoon-worthy and squeal-inducing. *ohmaigawd Nino~ since when he became this hot?*
Oh yes, I’m referring to their recent live performance at Music Station. Gone is the cheeky Nino; sporting dark hair and the shortest cut I’ve ever seen on him, he pierced eyes down to the heart, that smoldering stare of his. You look chubbier too Nino, but what – was that a black… dress beneath your blazer? @_@
Whilst Nino’s exuding charm in every turn, Sho’s overshadowed in the whole performance as it’s too Jun-centered (Nino too rarely got individual shots in Calling). He barely had moments though the camera managed to catch his signature half-smiling-while-singing face. On a side note, (gotta comment on it) his hair’s gotten longer and kinda bushy – not really a fan of it.
Gotta wait for their Hey!hey!hey! performance (if there’s any) (this show ended last year(!) and i wasn’t even aware of that *facepalm* My baaad~).
Okay, onto the songs. They aren’t put together to be compared, but we can’t help it right? =p
Calling’s intro is intriguing enough it’ll catch your attention from the get-go. The prelude has a distinct mystical aura before the screeching electric guitar breaks in, soon followed by Arashi-san barking their lines a bit too hauntingly. Arousing for sure. Tension slows down during the verses, builds up through pre-chorus with hints of synth, then bursts into powerful chorus. *bop head* The drumbeat is fast and heavy, and with that gruff half-whispering filler lines in between, it leaves you no room to breathe. Energy level’s locked at brimming; it keeps you excited till the final paradiddle.
A very rockish song – and I friggin’ love it! (Even the karaoke version is a treat to listen to on its own!) My heart still goes thump thump minutes after the song ends. It’s a great song that will only be perfected by rasp rapping for the bridge. If only, oh if only…
Breathless, on the other end, starts out quietly; its heart-esque drumbeat intro is similar to Face down’s. Tempo remains constant through the verses and pre-chorus, and is elevated slightly during the chorus. It is more melodious and slower-paced (that I’d anticipated from its preview). So what’s leaked on the preview is the true highlight of the song – the rather vernacular yet interest-piquing oh-oh-wuoo~ prelude and that jump sideways-fist-pump choreo in the chorus.
What’s noteworthy is how Nino goes for the kill as he belts few solo lines during the final chorus (seemingly an octave higher), which then serves as the song’s climax. And oh, the coda’s pretty good as well. The rest lacks tang – the drumbeat invaries through and through what sounds good in the beginning turns out bleh in the end; the verses and pre-chorus are bland and are incoherent from the chorus the two parts sound like different entities. However, with 40-second cycling choruses and at 4:59 minutes long, Breathless drags on for a bit too long it gets tiring upon repeated listens.
Calling is more heart-pumping and energizing, while Breathless has better choreography. The former adds a different twang to what Arashi’s produced so far, while the latter feeds on familiar flavor – little wonder (if) it wins more ears.
Oorai!! (Alright?) is goofy, feel-good type of song like Gori muchuu, Fight song, or Energy song. Playful tunes with semi-rap lines and instruments like trumpet is incorporated into the song, conjure up festival-ish feeling. Won’t be surprised if it’s being performed in their tour concert this year. Full of love is a mediocre mid-tempo song. Too plain and uninventive it gets brushed off my brain. Nevertheless, the B-side songs add balancing air so the heaviness of the title tracks ain’t too overwhelming.
Rating: Calling/Breathless only – 4.5/5 | Single album – 3.5/5
>>Wew, this took me a quarter day to finish. I watched the performance for n times, then listened to the tracks for n times BEFORE finally jotting my thoughts down. All while the songs were still on loop. Or in between getting distracted by the PVs – the monochromatic pitch-black Breathless and the ragged, vibrant Calling. Never thought it’d take me that long to write about, well, technically two songs; however, I did try to find the most appropriate word
– including thumbing through dictionary – to describe the elements of each oeuvre. I hope this does the single justice.