That would definitely be nice, wouldn’t it?
No other imagery can beat that, right?
I have a soft spot for sky-related lyrics, mainly about being under or looking up to the same sky despite their wistful vein, but here that notion is taken to a deeper level: we’re together, in the same time and space, side by side, under the vast blue sky — how can you not love that? I mean it under normal circumstances, NOT the creepy kind a la Yokoso, Wagaya e.
For a mystery-thriller drama, Aozora no shita, kimi no tonari certainly is a lovely title (too lovely perhaps?) and a fitting ending song. So far, all five episodes close with a cliffhanger and the trill into plus resounding drum beats effectively amplify the tension in those last few seconds before we cut to title sequence. This gripping section fades out to bleak-toned verses until there’s this jolt of energy once it hits “kimi to”. What follows is a chorus rife with positivity and reassurance, no less:
“There’s no sky I can’t fly to and reach
And no dream I can’t see or grab hold of
This ensemble is my life, my precious time
Stay by my side forever
There’s no colorless rainbow that won’t disappear
And there’s no person that isn’t necessary, isn’t important
Following the light I found, I want to be connected to you
There’s no wound that can’t be healed or erased
And no era that won’t change or pass by
Hoping for only truths in my life, wanting to find my time
I want to protect you forever
There are no lies that can’t be exposed or that won’t spread
And there’s no person that doesn’t get lost or make mistakes
There’s nothing to be afraid of, I want to be connected to you”
The shift isn’t jarring at all. In fact, the transition is so smooth i get this imagery of going through a long dark tunnel when the train you’re on makes a left turn and meets the exit which greets you with bright lights while listening to the song. The glissando provides an added oomph after “kimi to”. Even the keyboard that is played with accents and rather staccato-ishly in other sections glides on softly, gleefully, and legato-ly in the chorus. (Only Arashi can make me pay full attention to the background music, listen intently to the karaoke tracks, and painstakingly try to discern which instruments are used. Those scores are a keeper — they have a soul of their own, really.)
Aaand then the PV. The setting mirrors Bittersweet‘s — the five boarding a train (no backdrop needed as they shoot outdoors this time) with a somber look at the outset that changes into peaceful contented smile toward the end. I guess i’ll refrain from writing further comments on other aspects lest i’ll sound like a terribly broken record. So yeah, let me just say that i looove the BBQ portion for obvious reasons: them, together, interacting, rolicking, ear to ear.
If you’re more into the group’s upbeat dance numbers than the big empowering ones, you shall be happy with this single’s B-sides as the title track is the poppiest.
After sakura, Arashi gives us Dandelion (LE’s only coupling track) which has a groovy vibe, backed by elaborate ensemble (featuring various sounds, from simple finger-snapping to foot-tapping percussion to the staple strings, acoustic and electric instruments that’s added in per section). The heavily accented notes provide a nice contrast and complement to the vocal melody although they’re somewhat all over the place in the chorus. And while i am not usually fond of fillers, its “hoo-hoo~ chuchururu~” is totally stuck in my head i caught myself humming it at random times XD Next best part is the last line: “Ne, sou desho? Ima koso — Get up [x4], get up now!”
While Dandelion may not fall under familiar Arashi’s sound, their music has bent many genres and made ’em their own that no song ever comes off completely foreign. Here, the verses are sung with zest and hint of playfulness despite the lyrics, plus the Arashi-poi chorus and addictive tunes, it’s not hard to warm up to this hip number.
My favorite track beside AoKimi is Kono te no hira ni, soulful downtempo song with jazz and R&B influences. The overall feel, beats, and melody of it is a throwback to Super Junior’s From U — the way the lines are speak-sung somewhat flirtatiously, the swingy chorus — that some of its moves kept coming to mind as i loop this song. What i appreciate the most from them singing in mid-to-low register is the sonority of their voices, and we totally get that soothing quality here. Oh, the solos are really good too. When i thought i couldn’t get any giddier, the trumpet joins the club from the bridge onward, and then Ohno delivers the last line with such tenderness… the feels went through the roof. *Immediately hit replay* What a nifty piece, i don’t mind them recording more songs like this.
Next is Nando datte. Anyone else thought it’s Maou OST during its first five seconds? The dramatic mood quickly switches to high-octane, adrenaline-pumping rhythm. While the tempo and tension are somewhat dropping toward each chorus, it would make a great exercise companion. Nevertheless, the song is about prodding you to keep rising and going forward, no matter what, again and again.
Lastly, RE gives us Ura Ara Talk 2015 wherein Arashi answers five out of approximately 100,000 fan questions that came in. For me, the pull isn’t in the Q&A, although thoughtful, interesting, or even the prying ones are always welcomed, but in their talk because it feels as if we’re eavesdropping their private conversations, even if as Jun mentioned, it’s secret-janai talk XD
Kimi to kimi to tsunagatte itainda~
lyrics translation: yarukizero