Duel of the Music Queens Part One

This is a bit of a backlog article that I'm posting part of in hopes that it'll push me to finish it:

It did not occur to me until mid August, as I was collecting new music for the school year, that one of my favorite artists (Mizuki Nana), AND my favorite singer ever (Masami Okui) had both released albums this year.

And it wasn't until the start of September that I sat down and listened to them both and realized how cool it would be to compare the two albums, and see how they match up. Generally, I don't do this because generally there is an oranges to apples thing happening, but Mizuki-san and Okui-san are so alike this is actually a great chance to examine them a little bit and hopefully learn a bit more about my own musical tastes.

So, I'll be comparing the challenger Mizuki Nana's IMPACT EXCITER to Masami Okui's i-magination. (One track off though, the first track on Impact Exciter is an introduction.) YouTube links where possible. Here we go! (I'm new at this, so go easy.)

Match One: IMPACT EXCITER Track 2: NEXT ARCADIA vs. i-magination's Track 1: Starting Over.

NEXT ARCADIA: Huh. A piano introduction? Okay, this track already has an edge. I love a good piano. (*looks at both Sara Bareilles albums* Yep.) It's a very upbeat song, where Mizuki-san does a bit of experimenting by making her voice sound automated at the beginning of each verse, slowly becoming more and more natural until it's all her.

The piano remains prevalent, and is the main instrument, which is fantastic--you can tell it's one of those songs that's really hard to play but if there was a music video the pianist would be doing all sorts of tricks--jumping all over the place, standing on top of his seat and playing between his legs, so on.

Mizuki-san displays a fantastic vocal range on it as well. Masami-sama (yes, that's her name for me) will have to work very hard to beat this. (Reminds me a little bit of Cosmic Love, one of the songs that sold me on Nana Mizuki.)

Starting Over: Another upbeat song. Its reminiscent of another song she did that I can't place right now...but Masami's pacing in her songs are generally about the same. Calm, upbeat beginning that lulls you into a very fake sense of same-ness, then all of a sudden she kicks it into overdrive, doubling the energy in both her vocals and the music.

...Got it! It sounds like "Key"! ...Not a bad place to rip from, really.

Gah...the only thing cooler than Okui-sama on vocals...is Okui-sama pulling double duty and doing background vocals as well. The echo is a nice touch, pushing what's already a great song to me into amazing levels. There's a combination of an electric guitar, drums, and a piano here that should become an awful cacophony, but the arrangement just gives the song an overwhelming feeling to it that leaves me wanting to go fetal from the multiple, absolutely wonderful mindgasms.

I love how Masami always finds room for a guitar solo in every non-ballad. Except maybe....Red...what...just happened....3:30-3:50 is like a gut punch of awesomeness. >_< I said Masami would have to work very hard to top Arcadia, but I never believed she'd deliver.


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