Path of Independence
Hoshi Tsumugi no Uta
Kodoku no Mukou
Sora ni Namida wo Kaeshitara
Sayonara Watashi no Natsu
Tenshi no Hashigo
Ima, Kaze no Naka de
Ame no Sasayaki
Campanula no Koi ~Acoustic Version~
To be free
1. Path of Independence
I knew coming into the album this was going to be a nice light album and the first song which is the title track added to that mindset. I love the slow, but grand build for the song and when she gets to the chorus it goes from a piano melody to more of an orchestral feel. I also liked that line of ~I have nothing, nothing left to feel~ near the end of the chorus before it adds more instruments like electric guitars and more percussion. Pretty song for sure and grows into a powerful tune in the end.
As part of the double A-side that closed before the album, Nocturne is of course the Japanese version of “Campanula no Koi”. However, it is in its own distinct identity because it’s also different in the arrangement. To me the added bass and background vocals added more color to the song and of course Ayaka herself sounds great here. I seriously ended up enjoying this more than it’s sister so that says something.
3. Hoshi Tsumugi no Uta
As the second A-side of the era, Hoshi Tsumugi no Uta does make things a little bit more of a happier ballad and it really does sound like a great song to listen to at night simply just by going by the single’s cover. While it doesn’t have a powerful climax like the previous two tracks, I’m still happy with what we got with this song…simple acoustic ballad…me likey!
4. Kodoku no Mukou
As it was the A-side released after our last track, I’m still kind of unimpressed with this track because of the rather blah arrangement and Ayaka’s voice sounds off for some reason like she had a cold during the production of the song. Nothing against or anything, but she has way better ballads than this (especially on this album).
5. Sora ni Namida wo Kaeshitara
Then after that we get her 4th single’s tracklist but backwards next starting with the B-side. After that borefest from “Kodoku no Mukou”, it was nice to finally get into some upbeat songs and this song was such a great choice to add on the album. It really fits the summer vibes the single was showing off and I love the bouncy rhythms and Ayaka lightened up and gave a fun performance with this tune. Just what I needed!!!
6. Sayonara Watashi no Natsu
While I do think this song is a bit slower than “Sora ni Namida wo Kaeshitara”, this also has summer vibes too but it’s not as lighthearted since I feel like there’s a bit of slight more serious vibe going on in the lyrics. I guess I liked the B-side a bit more than this, but it’s ok because this song is also quite good.
Going to the B-side from “Hoshi Tsumugi no Uta”, this song is also upbeat like the previous two tracks, but unlike them this doesn’t feel like a summer song and actually sounds good if Ayaka ever wants to try a pop/rock sound again one day. Ayaka sounds great and the song’s breezy vibes work for me this time around. Definitely one of the better B-sides of the era.
When the album was released this was a new song, but afterwards was relegated also to be a recut single so it doesn’t get bolded in the review. After the last three songs, it’s good to go back to something a bit more Ayaka-like with ballads and I felt this song had a more dramatic vibe that fits with “Path of Independence”. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t have minded just an instrumental and well it came true as the single was released. I loved this song!
9. Tenshi no Hashigo
I will say that I’m surprised with the lack of new songs on the album for sure. Getting into our 3rd new song out of 4, Tenshi no Hashigo was really weird because I felt it would’ve been better in between “Ima・Koko・Watashi” and “Akane” because it has a lot of things that remind me of both tracks. I like the fact that it’s upbeat and yet uses a lot of strings throughout as well. Not as good as other songs, but I like it for being a new track.
Back into some old songs with the B-side from “Kodoku no Mukou”, Ichibanboshi is quite nice of a song when it’s placed far away from it’s A-side. I’m not sure how to classify it because there’s this shuffling sound throughout mixed with piano/strings and it feels like a ballad all over. It’s a nice song, a bit lengthy, but nice overall.
11. Ima, Kaze no Naka de
Moving into the first A-side of the era, it’s been a long time since I’ve listened to this track. After such a lengthy era, Ima, Kaze no Naka de doesn’t seem like much anymore since most of everything released after it has been more eventful and longer lasting. It feels like the buildup from “Path of Independence” is here, but not there at the same time…it’s kind of odd. It’s nice of a song, but there’s better A-sides on the album IMO.
12. Ame no Sasayaki
Our final new song off the album appears next and I’m not fully impressed with this because it feels like “Ima, Kaze no Naka de” but a little more on the sad side. I mean with the mood switch it kind of does stand out on the album, but I still feel rather unmoved by the arrangement so it kind of comes off as forgettable in the long run.
13. Campanula no Koi ~Acoustic Version~
I still find it strange than Campanula no Koi had to be added in the album even though “Nocturne” was there. Of course I like this song since it’s the English version and all, but being a new version made me wonder what this was going to be like and it’s a lot more emptier than I thought it’d be. The piano arrangement is nice and all, but it just feels lonely and not as good as “Nocturne” was…
14. To be free
Closing the album up is one of the B-sides from “Ima, Kaze no Naka de”. It does make a good closer because it’s one of the slower songs with a nice orchestral feel to it. Ayaka also does a great job singing as well giving it life and power in the right places. Definitely a nice piece to end a nice lengthy album, at least to me it is.
Song of Avoidance
As it is Ayaka’s 5th studio album, it’s kind of sad this album only really had four new songs plus an edited track and added so many older songs on it. Otherwise, it’s not a bad album and it shows a nice amount of versatility within her music. Now what sucks was that after Akane’s release, Ayaka decided to go on this “my Classics” business…I hope she returns to original music soon!