Kiyoharu ~ MELODIES


Kiyoharu (sometimes KIYOHARU or 清春),whose full name is MORI Kiyoharu, was born in 1968 and is one of Japan’s foremost singer-songwriter-guitarists. He is the former vocalist of the visual-keu band Kuroyume (黒夢) as well as the band Sads. He began his solo career in 2003, and he composes, sings, plays guitar, and also designs clothes. (Well, he was in a visual-kei band.) As he has been in the music business for over 15 years, he has become a very influential j-rocker.
MELODIES is Kiyoharu’s 13th single and was released on October 31, 2007.

MELODIES is one of those musically mystifying songs that switches between major and minor keys. However, this one is backwards from most; the verses are in D major, and the chorus is in its relative minor, B minor, so no modulation is clearly heard. At times, the major/minor sound is even ambiuguous because of the accidentals, which Kiyoharu uses very smoothly and naturally (naturally in that it is not a rough and sudden accidental, but fits with the chord structure well). As is a problem with the rock genre as a whole, the words can be hard to distinguish because of volume of electric instruments, but it can also be because I am not extremely proficient in Japanese. Despite the parts in which the vocal clarity is lost, Kiyoharu utilizes heavy nature imagery (more than the average Japanese song). The music itself is plenty enthralling, especially during the bridge, in which the guitars expertly weave minor and major chords. Whether is it just the acoustic guitar or the full arrangement of all the band instruments, this song’s energy never lets up.
Language: Japanese
Mood: reminiscent, desolate
Tempo: andante moderto
Composition: A
Arrangement: A
Overall: A

BLOOD TREE, despite its interesting title, is quite a letdown after the title track. Its nonstop grunge and dissonance gets to be grating very quickly, and both the melody and “harmony” are uncontrolled, making it seem like an acid-trip track. The sound is very Westen, and I think it would make a good Guitar Hero song. However, the muffling and distortion of the vocals only detract from the song and add to the cacophony; the random electric guitar chord at the end is only a reminder of how unworthy this song is.
Language: Japanese with some English (I think)
Mood: angry, trippy
Tempo: allegretto
Composition: C
Arrangement: C-
Overall: C-

I think that the songs on this single must be taken separately, and I am disappointed that Kiyoharu did not write a better piece to be coupled with MELODIES; even a blander song would have been better. While the A-side shines, the B-side only scuffs it.
Overall: B