Chiisana Hoshi cover art (crop)

Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星

Chiisana Hoshi / 小さな星 : “tiny star”

chiisana / 小さな
“small”, “tiny”
hoshi / 星
“star”

Update 2014-06-17: Translation added

I’ve featured Chiisana Hoshi before, as the original indies version. Oku Hanako took at least two of her indies songs and made them into arranged and resung singles; one of these songs is Chiisana Hoshi, released as a single on November 29, 2006.

The new version sounds softer, but at the cost of restricting her range and sounding a little pitchy. I also have a thing for deep piano notes (as evidenced by my latest composition as of this post, The Poem), and unlike the indies version, this doesn’t quite have it. Having said that, it’s still quite nice to listen to and there are times when I’d prefer to listen to this version over the indies version. Overall, fairly well done.

Lyrics →

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Kagami / 鏡

Kagami / 鏡 : “mirror”

“Kagami” is perhaps Oku Hanako’s best-played song. Its hikigatari nature means there’s nothing to distract you from her singing and playing. This is one of those songs where an arrangement would do very little to enhance the piece. When I listen to this song, I barely notice it’s hikigatari, anyway.

Just let yourself get carried away with this one. If you don’t quit before the interlude, get ready to be wowed.


奥華子 – 鏡.flv by nokia972000 [YouTube]

I could just fall out of my chair! That was amazing! Perfectly timed, great dynamic contrast, well-played musical accents; just perfect. Just the right amount of “oomph”, too.

I have no words to describe that interlude, but to give a gross understatement, it was really, really, really good. The bridge would have been very easy to rush, and she nailed it. And just after the bridge, there’s a pedal thud; it may seem small, but it’s very important as it fills the gap.

The song ends with perfect finishing touch: her vocalizing. I’m already awestruck by the rest of the song, and this just “hits the spot”. She caps it all off with her signature arpeggiated chord, leaving me in silence with time to soak it all in.

“Kagami” is definitely one of my favourites.

Lyrics→

Koi / 恋

Koi / 恋 : “love”

Don’t be fooled by the title: this isn’t a happy love song (yes, I have a translation). One of my friends even said that the lyrics are melodramatic, after having read the translation. You’re probably wondering why I would post such a song on Valentine’s Day. I would argue that there are many types love on Valentine’s Day; the reciprocated romantic love is the common one that comes to mind when thinking about today. Unrequited love is one such love that doesn’t have as much attention in the mainstream. Sure, it gets its place in the old Peanuts cartoons, but when was the last time you saw something about unrequited love in Valentine’s Day messages?

Like many of Oku Hanako’s other songs, unrequited love is the theme of the song “Koi”. As I would expect, especially with songs of this theme, she sings this with a certain genuineness; I remember reading in one interview that doing songs about unrequited love comes naturally to her. Despite the lyrics, the song sounds pretty cute and she sings it perfectly. Her playing isn’t anything “to sneeze at”, either. I don’t mean it in a negative way, but this is your typical Oku Hanako hikigatari song. Well done, Oku Hanako!


恋 (Koi) – Hanako Oku [zing.vn]

For completeness, I’ll mention that there is an arranged version of this song that appeared in her 2012 Best album, “Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-“. I won’t be posting that anytime soon.

Lyrics →

Ai wo Mitsuketa Basho / 愛を見つけた場所

Ai wo Mitsuketa Basho / 愛を見つけた場所 : “the place where I have found love”

ai / 愛
“love”, “affection” (less selfish than koi / 恋 )
wo / を
a particle which indicates the previous word is the direct object of the following word. It is an accusative case particle.
mitsuketa / 見つけた
the perfective form of mitsukeru / 見つける , meaning “to find” or “to discover”.
basho / 場所
“place”

EDIT: This song was used as the ending of Hibike! Euphonium episode 8.

“Ai wo Mitsuketa Basho” is one of the few new songs on her 2012 “best” compilation, Oku Hanako BEST -My Letters-. According to the letter included with the album, this song was inspired by Yasashii Hana no Saku Basho / やさしい花の咲く場所, her major debut single. This song features a light arrangement that’s very nice to listen to while you’re doing work.

I’ve posted many heavy songs last month, so I figured it was time for something a little lighter. Besides, what better way to start off Februrary than with a song about finding love? I was even able to find a translation this time!


愛を見つけた場所 [music.163.com]

I didn’t have as much to say as I usually do. Perhaps I’m still “recovering“.

Lyrics →

Tori to Kumo to Ao / 鳥と雲と青

Tori to Kumo to Ao / 鳥と雲と青 : “blue clouds and birds” (Google Translate); “birds and clouds and blue” (Generasia)

tori / 鳥
“bird”
to / と
particle meaning “and”
kumo / 雲
“cloud”
ao / 青
“blue”

“Tori to Kumo to Ao” is the 11th track of Oku Hanako’s 2006 major debut album, “Yasashii Hana no Saku Basho” / やさしい花の咲く場所 , but this isn’t its first appearance. I was surprised to find out that it actually has its origins as one of her indies song on vol.1 (2004), her first minor indies single; the album version is arranged and probably resung.

I really like “Tori to Kumo to Ao”. She sings it very cleanly and it sounds like it comes from the heart. The song has a relaxing feel to it, although the lyrics might be about sadness or loneliness (working from a machine translation again).


鳥と雲と青 (Tori to Kumo to Ao) – Hanako Oku [zing.vn]

I’m impressed: this song appeared really early in her discography, yet I think anyone not familiar with her discography would say this is one of her later works. Furthermore, the material on her newest single, Fuyu Hanabi / 冬花火 bears some resemblance to this song (the whole single, not just the title song). I’d consider this one of her best, and maybe even somewhat ahead of its time.

Lyrics →