- Shining Star ☆Wasurenai Kara☆
- Daitan ni Ikimashou ↑Heart&Soul↑
- Get Wild
- MY WAY
- 19 GROWING UP -ode to my buddy- (Limited only)
Why not, the song is a pretty badass track and an amazing debut for Nami! Being the Gundam SEED theme definitely shocked me too and yet it fits the series so well. Nami being so young when this released, Believe showed off a lot of her skills right from the start from singing to dancing so no wonder why she got such a fanbase from this. The track itself, is anison of course, but it’s got some edgy guitars and transitions that furthered itself from being ordinary. It always pumps me up whenever I hear this and still is one of my favorites from her today.
As the ending theme to the same series, Realize was a much lighter affair, but still contained a lot of the same things as “Believe”. It’s just that the tune was more upbeat and bright and the synths were a bit more in the front as well. I thought vocally, Nami did much better here as she had a much broader range and could emote a little better (even if she still kind of lacked it overall). As a pair, these two songs are classics with one another…If one thing, it does remind me of a girl next door song hahah.
The first song with no tie-in, Prayer was still surprisingly anison in its arrangement. Being a little slower than “Realize”, Prayer was trying to go for something like a ballad or maybe a mid-tempo, but due to the beats and the guitar riffs, it doesn’t snuggly fit in either spot. I don’t think her voice was quite as radiant as it was in the previous track, but it kind of worked here. I mean I still do like the song, but after having it so long, I’m noticing the little things haha.
4. Shining Star ☆Wasurenai Kara☆
Ending the “greeting” era singles, Shining Star is the oddball of the four. I mean it sample “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for one thing and the track is definitely dependent on synths to get it by which is a total 180 from the anison pop/rock sound of the previous three singles. For some reason though Nami’s vocals got better from “Prayer” which is a solid thing to hear. I did feel like it was a bit off as an A-side however, I still am not a big fan of the backup vocals used in the chorus…made a song that was already chintzy become cheesy.
5. Daitan ni Ikimashou ↑Heart&Soul↑
Maybe I shouldn’t have spoken too soon because Daitan ni Ikimashou was the first single from her “Make Progress” album. Being a cover of an A*Teens song, “A Perfect Match”, this song was way out there. If I thought “Shining Star” was a bit cheesy, then this was moreso. It’s VERY Western sounding, but luckily Nami changed the lyrics around to be different from the original. I will say, that I found this mad catchy though and Nami is sounding like she’s having fun here which is a plus of course. I just can’t the fact that it’s a cover out of my head.
After those two singles that tried to push her away from being an anison artist, Reason happens and of course it’s a Gundam SEED DESTINY theme! It’s a lot like “Believe” with the kind of darker feel and the energetic dance motif it gets (which is her strong point). It’s pretty awesome once again and with Nami’s vocals maturing, she was able to have a stronger performance out of it which is much appreciated. I definitely loved this one, but it was the next A-side that really caught my attention.
Used as the theme for the PS2 game, Radiata Stories, Fortune was an amazing surprise. Yes, it screams anison, but Nami sounded perfect with this track that kind of sounded like it could’ve been another Gundam them. I’m really loving the arrangement that includes a whole lot of strings and synths together. Also, it’s a great song used for lives as it pumps up the crowd funny enough. Definitely one of my favorite Nami songs!
Ending the “Make Progress” singles, we have Heroine which takes out the strings and shoves guitars in the arrangement, but it’s still not a rock song…but sounds like a grittier anison song. Nami is really pushing herself in the song with a lot of shouting in the chorus and it does kind of rubs me off a bit. It’s not bad, but it’s quite rough to listen to.
9. Get Wild
We enter the final album represented on the best album. Starting with Nami’s cover of the famous Get Wild from TM NETWORK. This was a pretty faithful cover of the original and once again I feel like Nami’s vocals are 100 times better than what it was in “Heroine”. The tune is a bit more current sounding with a lot of extra punch with the beats and synths. I really enjoyed this cover a lot and surprised she’d cover it but happy she did!
10. MY WAY
However, I wasn’t expecting the next A-side she’d release to be so…strange. I’ve never been a huge fan of this A-side (to be honest it still ranks as the lowest of her SONY era). The song feels oddly slow even though the arrangement is engaging enough to be slightly faster. Add on the anison riffs and it’s just strange. Nami sounds good though which is a plus, but the song (and its accompanying PV) was just not working for me.
Sunrize also marked a couple things for Nami, this was a double A-side with “MY WAY” which was a first AND this song didn’t get a PV which meant it’s the only A-side with no PV. Sunrize is more or less what we’ve been getting a lot on this album which is anison music. In the long run, Sunrize really didn’t do much for me and while I seldom use generic to describe Nami songs this era had a LOT of weak songs with blips of genius.
Then we get pulled back for ANOTHER Gundam SEED DESTINY theme with Result. Just like “Believe” and “Reason”, Result has the same dark vibe that really excited her fans and be it so because the track was quite cool (despite the likeness to Ayu’s “UNITE!”). The track had a lot more drums involved here and I liked that about this one…it had more punch and Nami’s vocals just sound so serious. Another great hit, though I think the three other Gundam themes she did have more nostalgia about them.
As the final A-side of this album, Sanctuary was used as the theme for KIBA and this was definitely another anison-laced song. However, I thought Nami sounded amazing in this song. She had such a good tone and with the arrangement flowing behind her, it was a strong song for her and one of the best ones from “Speciality”.
14. 19 GROWING UP -ode to my buddy-
On limited editions of the album though, we get an extra song…though it’s not brand new (it’s a cover of a PRINCESS PRINCESS song that was used on their tribute album released 3 months before Nami’s best album). I had totally forgot its existence so coming back to it had me curious. The song is upbeat and filled with tons of synths as well. Though I can’t say that I’m for Nami’s shouting once again…seems a bit much. Still I suppose it’s a nice bonus.
Song of Avoidance
- MY WAY
Ahhh, Nami’s first best album (yeah, she’s due for another one, but with her label jumping that might not happen anytime soon). Going back to her glory days (her first three albums), Graduation was a nice walk down memory lane…although I will concede that it’s a hard listen since most of the songs are set in the same style as one another. While I wished she held this album until have her label change (include the “Don’t Stay” singles here), it’s a good collection (plus the DVD has all the PVs)!