- Forget-me-not ~Watashi wo Wasurenai de~
- Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? (CD only) or Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? (Kanzen-ban) (CD+DVD only)
- Sylvatica Nante Iranai!
- Mayuki no Teaching
- Gensou Genwaku Innocence
- Princess Marguerite
- Aru Niwashi no Monogatari
- Hitoribocchi no Snow
- TRUE OF VAMP
- Kyoudou Gensou Utopia
- Mou Nakanai to Kimeta
- Himitsu no Hana ga Hokorobu (CD+DVD only)
- Sousou Shuukyoku “Stigma” (CD+DVD only)
- Anata wo Aishita Kioku
- Eien no Mayuki no Owari
- Shoujo Junketsu
1. Forget-me-not ~Watashi wo Wasurenai de~
Opening the album, we get a very somber and depressing intro with orchestral instruments. I really do enjoy these darker arrangements already! Seems like Sakura is the first to sing and as such she’s a pretty strong vocalist and her lighter almost flippant vocals are pretty to hear. Once the chorus opens up, the rest of the cast joins in and adds a more unsettling tone of a stageplay and I quite enjoy it! It’s a different way to open things up, but has definitely added more interest to the rest of the songs. Though the ending passage to go on a bit too long for me, but it’s suspenseful!
2a. Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani?
As it seems that the next song is the leading song for the stageplay (as it was put on “Petit Best 15”) Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? unlike the first track, just kicked down the doors and gave us a pretty damn dramatic song. Most of the solos went towards Riho, Ayaka, Nyon, Sakura, Fukuchan, and Meimi which is nice because I definitely think they were at the time the most well-known voices of their own groups. I really like the energy from those 6 and the chorus isn’t so bad either as the rest of the cast joins up. Very cool song and I can see why it was used to promote the group.
2b. Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani? (Kanzen-ban)
On the rerelease of the album (though it included the DVD of the play itself), we get a slightly edited version of the tune. At first glance, I wasn’t sure of what changed exactly, but I do know that it is 10 seconds longer than the version above. There actually is an interesting addition and that’s this weird chanting slow chorale section after the first chorus and interlude. Kind of weird outside of context because it doesn’t add much to the overall song which is still pretty ass-kicking.
3. Sylvatica Nante Iranai!
Though things change from the strong kick to something a little more playful with Sylvatica Nante Iranai! While it is mostly a song centered around Riho, we do get solo lines from Ayumi, Zukki, Kanana, Takechan, and Rinapuu but they seem to mostly sing together most of the time (at least those 5 get a solo). I do like the kind of creepy, but upbeat deep in the forest vibe I got here and Riho was pretty decent here. Quick song, but pleasant.
4. Mayuki no Teaching
Then we enter the kind of weird place with Mayuki no Teaching. It seems a bit more regal, but also sounds somewhat bumbling for some reason. Being a duet between Nyon and Fukuchan, I actually found this kind of forgettable since the arrangement is like I said bumbling and kind of humorous in the slow way. On top of that, I don’t think either girl shown much vocal strength here either which ended up making me somewhat frown, not the best.
5. Gensou Genwaku Innocence
Next up, it seems we return to that foreboding and depressing sound we heard from “Forget-me-not” but the difference is that this is an Ayacho solo and while I never thought of her as a strong vocalist (especially in S/mileage), her solo is actually pretty good as she doesn’t stress her vocals as much as she usually does (although the chorus is pushing it as her voice is thin and she’s taking big breaths). As short as it is though, the arrangement was eerie, but really unique…a love/hate relationship.
6. Princess Marguerite
Then we come to the song that I pretty much loathe on this album, strangely enough doesn’t seem to fit either (lucky in the stageplay it does). Mostly a Masaki solo, it does also include 3 Kenshuusei at the time: Nanami Tanabe, Kaede Kaga, and Rikako Sasaki. As the shortest, it also left the worst taste because Masaki was using her squeaky baby vocals and I’m not a fan of that. It’s almost disney-esque especially with Masaki playing said princess and singing about herself. Just doesn’t work for me and while I do like that it’s the only song to feature these three KSS, it’s still just blech.
7. Aru Niwashi no Monogatari
Then we get into some acoustics with the next track. After the abyssmal “Princess Marguerite”, this is pretty refreshing. Predominantly sung between Riho and Sakura it’s a decent ballad between the two and they don’t harmonize too much. Though there is a patch of lyrics where the rest of the cast sings for some bars but that area I kind of forget about because I’m more into Sakura and Riho’s vocal sections. It’s not a bad track and another that’s ultimately short so it doesn’t leave too much of an impression sadly.
8. Hitoribocchi no Snow
So a sort-of solo for Ayumi comes up next and it kind of has the same bounce and tendencies with “Sylvatica Nante Iranai!” and “Himitsu no Hana ga Hokorobu”. While I don’t think it’s as memorable as the two because Ayumi’s vocals are kind of flat and lack some emotion (in my opinion). Masaki, Rinapuu, Zukki, and Takechan do have a solo each as well which is pretty nice and all 5 do start to sing together. My favorite is the ending where they start to repeat the title and it slows down to the finishing point. OK song overall.
9. TRUE OF VAMP
For a title to be in all caps, I was curious because well that and the fact ~vamp~ is in the title. Sung between Riho, Ayacho, and Meimi. Now we’ve had Peaberry to see how Riho and Ayacho worked and while their song was boring, they sound pleasant to each other. With the already powerful voie from Meimi, I definitely was curious and Meimi showed off some emotional punch to Ayacho’s lighter vocals and Riho’s well…she was there haha. Together they sounded epic and gave a strong performance. Great song!
10. Kyoudou Gensou Utopia
What’s this?!? A Duu solo on here? That’s amazingly surprisng and really cool that she got to have this spotlight for a bit (which does follow her heavily on “TRIANGLE”). I will say I wish the song was in more of the dark and dreary arrangement for some reason. I still do love Haruka’s voice in the song has her husky vocals are interesting and adds depth and maturity. Her time singing is pretty short though as the cast starts to singing the chorus before we get a long instrumental ending. Overall, Kyoudou Gensou Utopia is simple, but I enjoyed Duu’s presence.
11. Mou Nakanai to Kimeta
Next up is a Meimi solo and I was surprised she was given the minimal arrangement as this song has. Just a lonsome piano and some low-lying strings to play around with. While this showed a lot of Meimi’s skills and it’s just very impressive because she could be a powerhouse when it comes to things like this. For as ridiculously simple this song was, I think it showcased Meimi perfectly!
12. Himitsu no Hana ga Hokorobu
So the rerelease of the OST included two extra tracks and I was surprised at the inclusion (and started a trend in H!P with stageplays sadly). Having a similar sounding arrangement to “Sylvatica Nante Iranai!”, Himitsu no Hana ga Hokorobu features Ayumi, Zukki, Rinapuu, and Takechan singing and ironically they sound nice enough to have a track like this…though it’s funny they name various characters within the stageplay but I guess I’m used to it. I quite liked this song and the quartet surprised me in a good way!
13. Sousou Shuukyoku “Stigma”
The other exclusive song seems to take from “Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani?” in which it’s more rock-centered and a bit more gothic-style (especially the whole pipe organ intro). As it’s sung by Riho, Nyon, Sakura, and Meimi…this quartet was more seen as a powerful bunch and this song definitely had that kind of powerful and grandiose kick. It’s a pretty kickass song and another of my favorites from the album!
14. Anata wo Aishita Kioku
Honestly, this was about the time where I was still unsure of how Kanana and Rinapuu was turning out, but this song blew me away (at least for Kana). A duet between Sakura and Kana…I was SO surprised at how mature Kanana sounded and honestly, if not for Meimi in this play, Kana had the best vocals from S/mileage! As she’s got the most lines, her voice had seriously got mature and she even sounds better than Sakura :0. The song itself is pretty straightforward, but the kind of marching punch is cool too. Still vocally I was impressed heavily!
15. Eien no Mayuki no Owari
Next up, we get a Riho solo and I was curious with it’s muffled arrangement (kind of like machinery working). I was enjoying Riho’s placement here and while I enjoyed the buildup and instant drop-off back to the rickety beat, it’s a different kind of song. After a bit, the cast starts to sing the remaining lines and it’s OK, but I think I would’ve preferred this to have entirely just been Riho. A rather dark song about death though, so it’s a cool song, but could’ve been better.
16. Shoujo Junketsu
Finally we’re at the end of the album and we have Shoujo Junketsu (which I believe was the final tune). As an all cast song, it’s actually kind of weird as it’s as dark and somber like the rest of the stageplay (well disregarding the more playful songs). With the rock elements included, I was kind of hoping for some kind of closure, but this one kind of dragged for me, but I don’t think it’s a bad song…just after an album like this, it’s kind of difficult to put this somewhere high.
- Sousou Shuukyoku “Stigma”
- Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachthani?
- Anata wo Aishita Kioku
- TRUE OF VAMP
- Kyoudou Gensou Utopia
Song of Avoidance
So as I’m beginning to review H!P’s stageplays of recent times, I thought to begin with the one that really kicked the uprise for them, LILIUM. I think why everyone really loved this soundtrack and OST is pretty much of the fact that it was such a departure from H!P’s regular releases that anything out of the ordinary was welcomed and so LILIUM’s more goth-lolita vibe turned out to be pretty awesome. Also, it showcased (at that time) a very strong assortment of vocals and a lot ended up impressing me or being a surprise that they had such talent (Meimi, Haruka, and Kana…I’m looking at you! Overall, great album, but there were some meh songs.