Stereopony – Namida no Mukou Review

Stereopony - Namida no Mukou

Beyond the tears and the pain is the bright future!

Like their debut single, this new single also has ties to anime; in this case, Gundam 00, the second half of the second season to be exact. I suppose I should get this out of the way now: of the four songs used as openings in Gundam 00, this one is probably my least favorite. It just does not seem like a song that belongs in Gundam. L’arc~en~Ciel has been at the “song-for-anime” thing for a while now, so “Daybreak’s Bell” is to be expected from them; plus, the song stands alone, not even as an anime song. I jumped for joy when my favorite band, the brilliant green, managed to finally get into an anime series until I discovered Stereopony. The mix of sounds works great on albums for them, but discourages me from attending an UVERworld concert, which worked great for them for their contribution to the first half of 00′s second season. But the first time I heard “Namida no Mukou” on American television back when Gundam 00 was shown on Syfy, it was not like I was jumping for joy or anything. It is, in no way, a knock against Stereopony; it is simply in my opinion, after UVERworld knocked it clear with another good anime song. L’arc~en~Ciel’s contribution with their song works as one of theirs and as one for an anime. With Burrigurri finally getting into an anime, Stereopony just had too much to live up to.





Namida no Mukou

Moving on, as a song for Stereopony, “Namida no Mukou” fits the bill. The girls are clearly more comfortable in the recording studio now, and it shows in the song. They obviously did not just go home when the engineers said they could; instead, they stuck around to give input to how the song was mixed. You can clearly hear the different guitar parts, Shiho’s drums and Nohana’s bass from time to time, rather than the champloo that “Hitohira no Hanabira” was. (For the uninitiated, champloo is an Okinawan dish where things are just randomly thrown into the pot and in the end unless you kept track of what was in there, nothing particular stands out in it.) Just like the dish, you could barely hear individual instruments in “Hitohira no Hanabira”, even if you knew what you were looking for. This is not the case with “Namida no Mukou”. The cold opening grabs you the instant the song starts and the feeling lasts until the end. The song has lots of angst-filled lyrics, but it reminds us that the only way to move on is to let out our fears and our sadness first. We have to hurt before we can heal.

Stereopony no Tabi wa Tsuzuku

Next up is “Stereopony no Tabi wa Tsuzuku”, which is a happy counterbalance to the angst-filled title track. Unfortunately, Very Good Days! still has no lyrics available. Personally, I never heard this one live, with the exception of a video of their first show. “Namida no Mukou” was always on the set list for the anime conventions the girls played, complete with footage from the anime the song was featured in. I know the song’s title, which translates to “Stereopony’s journey continues”; this is an inside joke on all their CD covers, and it surprises me that the girls never played this either to open live shows because Stereopony’s journey was continuing with each show, or as an end song of a regular set, even though there usually was an encore, as sort of a “see you next time”.

Hitohira no Hanabira ~AIMI Acoustic Version~

Rounding out the single is an acoustic version of “Hitohira no Hanabira.” This version is much different than its more popular cousin, and almost has a Spanish flamenco feel to it. It’s a very nice song.


REVIEW RATINGS

Namida no Mukou – 76%
Music – 80/100
Lyrics – 70/100
Vocals – 80/100
Overall execution – 76/100

Stereopony no Tabi wa Tsuzuku – 73%
Music – 80/100
Lyrics – 60/100
Vocals – 80/100
Overall execution – 73/100

Hitohira no Hanabira -Acoustic Version- 80%
Music- 100/100
Lyrics – 60/100
Vocals- 80/100
Overall execution- 80/100

OVERALL RATING: 76%

Namida no Mukou is a great second release for Stereopony. They have managed to conquer their fear of studio engineers and know how to put their foot down to have the song arranged the way THEY want it, instead of going home and hoping for the best. But as a song for an anime, for a Gundam Series at that, it sadly falls short.


Destonus is a Very Good Days member from Massachusetts. He moderates the Stereopony, Draft King, and AIMI discussions, the Music Discussion forum along with Dereko, and manages the Very Good Days Encyclopedia Project. Follow him on Twitter at @destonus.

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