01 - Follow the Nightingale
02 - say goodbye & good day
03 - Follow the Nightingale (Original Karaoke)
04 - say goodbye & good day (Original Karaoke)
The opening and ending themes for the DS title "Tales of Innocence" both come from vocalist "KOKIA." I'd never heard this particular vocalist before (at least, not to my knowledge); let's just say that I'm happy to have discovered her.
"Follow the Nightingale" is an amazing, four minute long odyssey through a variety of styles. It begins with a Gust-style chant part, that we must recognize as the chorus. The verses are slower and softer, typical ballad material; what makes it atypical is KOKIA's amazing performance, filled with subtlety and nuance. Then there's the bridge, where we actually get to "follow" this nightingale, through a strange opera-esque performance that might remind listeners of the old Star Trek opening theme. Ridiculous? Maybe. Beautiful? Definitely.
"say goodbye & good day" is a simple pop-rock ballad. Though I'd say it is clearly the inferior of the two songs, particularly in composition, KOKIA's vocal style more than makes up for it. Raw, breathy performance is found interspersed with over-produced, radio-friendly harmonies. The result is surprisingly good.
I am reminded of Hikaru Utada, but not because they sound the same; rather, because they both have unique styles and abilities that allow them to stand out. Again, nuance is key.
These two songs are included on the Tales of Innocence OST, but in their shortened "game edit" versions. For the full tracks, you'll need this single. The opening is over 4 minutes, and the ending is about 6 minutes. Is this single worth the purchase? If you're not interested in the OST, definitely. If you already own the OST, then it's only worthwhile if you really desire the full versions of these songs. But this is some excellent, excellent J-pop! Don't miss out on it.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann