the brilliant green ~ Ash like Snow

  1. Ash Like Snow
  2. goodbye and good luck ★Piano arrange version★
  3. Ash Like Snow ★original instrumental★

the brilliant green (ザ・ブリリアント・グリーン), known as “BuriGuri” (taken from the katakana spelling), consists of three members: vocalist/lyricist KAWASE Tomoko (川瀬智子), bassist/songwriter OKUDA Shunsaku (奥田俊作), and guitarist MATSUI Ryou (松井亮). After their major debut in 1997, the band went on two hiatus, in 2001 and 2002, so that the members could focus on solo work. Kawase released 4 albums and 16 singles under the stage names Tommy february6 and Tommy heavenly6. In 2003, Kawase and Okuda were married, and in 2007, the band returned and is currently active.
Ash Like Snow is the brilliant green’s 17th single and was released on February 6, 2008. It peaked at 8th on the Oricon Weekly Charts.
[Note: BuriGuri is a little too popular to be reviewed in this blog, but since I really like this single and because ash has a special significance to me, I’d like to review it anyhow.]

Ash Like Snow, a hard rock song in a minor key, was used as the second opening theme to the anime Mobile Suit Gundam 00. (This song also appears as the final track on the brilliant green complete singles collection ’97 – ’08.) Excellent arrangement is what rock songs need to carry them, and this one soars. The quieter verses crescendo into the brazen chorus, which is supported by strong power chords. Vocal distortion is also utilized strategically, and the percussion performs its function precisely without being overbearing. As Kawase repeats “ash like snow” accompanied by only the syncopated electric guitar, the mood is
held in suspense and builds into the last two choruses. The final chorus is the perfect with the ends of lines falling in glissando and overlapping with the next line. The lyrics match the caliber of the music with lines like this one from the first chorus: この世界が形を変えるたびに/守りたいものを壊してしまっていたんだ (kono sekai ga katachi wo kaeru tabi ni / mamoritai mono wo kowashite shimatte itan’da; every time this world changes shape / all that I wish to protect is broken). The apocalyptic theme of the song coupled with ash falling, returning to the earth, is stunning and near-epic.
Language: Japanese with some English
Mood: lamenting, dark
Tempo: allegro moderato
Composition: A
Arrangement: A+
Overall: A+

goodbye and good luck ★Piano arrange version★ is a piano version (obviously) of BuriGuri’s second single of the same title. The brilliance of the juxtaposition of this song on the single is immediately apparent with the opening line, “It’s likely to snow tonight.” (Is it ash like snow? Is the world ending tonight?) Musically, this song begins as a well-written albeit generic piano ballad until the chorus, in which the chord progression (down to a diminished and back) is captivating. I don’t get the intentional and repeated loss of tone at the verses’ cadenzas, but it’s also in the first version, so it must be an attempt at originality. The piano part intensifies in the coda, but the finishing pitch bend is a poor way to end the song and does nothing but detract from it. Lyrically, the song is simple, but the plaintive lines about friendship are moving, for example: “Say goodbye and good luck / I’m with you all the way.” Though the words are not poetic (“I will miss you very much if you move”), they still evoke all the emotions associated with goodbye. In my opinion, this version is better than the original because the vocals and blend better with the piano, and the theme of this song fits better with the vocal/piano duet arrangement.
Language: English
Mood: nostalgic
Tempo: andante moderato
Composition: A
Arrangement: A-
Overall: A

As aforementioned, the placement of these two songs really makes for an impacting single. In one respect, it can be considered a double A-side because the original goodbye and good luck was the A-side of the band’s second single. (I don’t really understand the cover, though, and I think that Enemy‘s cover would have suited this single as well.) Here is one of BuriGuri’s best singles to date.
Overall: A

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