Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII: Why - Ayaka
Released in conjunction with Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, this vocal single showcased the featured vocal theme "Why" from the game. It was a collaborative effort by Ayaka and Yoshihiko Nishio, and arranged by L.O.E. So, what do I think...
The first track I'll mention is "Clap & Love". For some reason, Ayaka's voice reminds me of a Japanese Kelly Clarkson. It's very deep and very powerful. I love the focus on clapping, some nice guitar work, and the occasional group chorus that accents the vocals. Sounding a bit like a gospel work, it's quite an interesting track, although I'm not entirely moved by it. It is fun though!
"Peace Loving People," which is a live recording, starts off with Ayaka addressing the crowd. It's another great song if you ask me. I love the happy, bubbly feeling, with a hint of a rustic atmosphere from the acoustic guitar. There also seems to be a hint of a Celtic nature, although not strong, from the violin sections. It's one of my favorites on the single.
Lastly, I'll mention "Why," the track featured on the Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII game. This track takes a much softer approach to the other pieces, fitting in with the standard Final Fantasy vocal performance. Once again, Ayaka's voice is quite powerful. Keeping in tune with many of Ishimoto's rock tracks, this one also focuses the electric guitar, much better than his tracks, mind you. The contrast between the powerful vocals and the subtle piano is another thing that catches my interest. The electric guitar solo is also quite nice.
There are also karaoke versions of "Clap & Love" and "Why" in case you feel you could be the next American Idol.
Ayaka's single for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII features a lot of good performances. All three songs showcase Ayaka's powerful voice and her compositional skills. While there isn't much on the CD to begin with, you might be better off waiting for a full album release from Ayaka, sure to feature at least a few reprises, but it wouldn't be a bad thing to pick up either.
This is Ayaka's sixth single and the normal edition was released on September 5, 2007 while the CD+DVD edition was released a week later on September 12. This single reached #5 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and it has sold 67,157 copies. "Clap & Love" was used as theme song for the drama Jigoku no Sata mo Yome Shidai, while "Why" was the theme song for the Square Enix video game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. Here are my thoughts about the release, originally published in my J-Pop music blog Beyond the Sea.
On the normal edition of the single, "Clap & Love" is the first track. The most surprising thing about this song is Ayaka's lower pitched vocals. I know that her voice is naturally 'husky', but it's even huskier in this song. I did like that it does make her voice sound more soulful though. As for the music, it's very poppy and it mixes clapping sounds with upbeat electric guitar. The song's use of the vocoder to create an artificial voice at the beginning and end is also a very cool addition.
On the limited CD+DVD edition, "Why" is the first track. I guess my expectations for this song were a little too high since it was the theme song to a Final Fantasy game. The song sounded very average and bland compared to "Clap & Love". However, Ayaka still delivers an excellent vocal performance.
On both editions, there is a live version of "Peace Loving People", the B-side from the Real voice single. This song has somewhat become a staple at Ayaka concerts because she always performs it near the end and always does a little talk before singing it. She also talks during the instrumentals of the song and you can hear the audience clapping in the background. That's exactly what you get in this fantastic live recording.
Whyayaka, Yoshihiko Nishio
Clap & Loveayaka, Yoshihiko Nishio
Peace Loving People (Live Ver.)ayaka, Yoshihiko Nishio
Why (Instrumental)ayaka, Yoshihiko Nishio
Clap & Love (Instrumental)ayaka, Yoshihiko Nishio
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