Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology was released in Japan recently on the PSP. The game's ending theme, from artist Kana Uemura, is one big happy surprise. If you're ready to throw aside what you previously thought of Japanese Pop in favor of a "new wave" of modern-Asia-meets-modern-America, check this out.
"Paper Plane" (Kami Hikouki) is a bright and inspirational song. I did not at all expect a song like this. The song is bright and acoustic in nearly every way possible, and the production values are magnificent. Whoever worked with Uemura on this project had a good sense of balance and style.
With the B-Side, "Hey!" (Nee!), I could see more of the same about the composers, performers, and producers. This time, the song has a soft bossa-nova rhythm and a very cool jazz sound. I would love to be at a bar or outdoor club with some friends while Uemura sang a song like this. I only wish radio-friendly songs like these could dominate the airwaves where I lived, instead of the mundane rap and pop that usually blares out of the corporate stations.
I would hope I'm not alone in categorizing Uemura's voice and piano performance as something similar to Angela Aki, or English pianist/vocalists such as Tori Amos and Lisa Loeb. Uemura has added a very special sound to mark this unique installment of Namco Bandai's "Tales" series, and I couldn't be happier about the choice to partner this artist with that game.
Reviewed by: Patrick Gann