Monday, 2 August 2010

Ho-kago Tea Time - Utauyo!! MIRACLE and NO, Thank You!

Ahh, where would we be without K-ON and its near-constant stream of energetic music? Probably with more money in our wallets and more bandwidth to spare on our Internet connections most likely. Anyhow, the second half of K-ON!! also brought with it both new opening and ending themes, and now of course both tracks (and a pair of B-sides) are out as singles.

Continuing the tone set by Go! Go! Maniac earlier in the series, Utauyo!! MIRACLE gives the word "hyperactive" a whole new meaning, featuring Yui's voice actress at her most ridiculously bouncy and then sped up for good measure - Indeed, late in the track you can't help but fear that she might actually explode or turn out to be some kind of over-powered nuclear weapon sent to destroy us all. But then she starts singing about love, and it's all okay again.

That aside, I hate to admit to it but Utauyo!! MIRACLE really is hugely addictive - You don't want it to end up stuck in your brain yet it ends up there without fail, driving you bonkers with its cheery, carefree lyrics and making you want to re-enact segments of the show's current opening... although only when nobody else is watching. I don't want to call this track good, but damn do these people know how to make catchy tunes, even when it's served up at a frankly ridiculous speed.

Backing up that track is the similarly energetic Kira Kira Days, although when I say "similarly energetic" it's thankfully not quite as energetic. To be honest, it's a pretty forgettable B-side in terms of both tune and lyrics, although ironically this still makes it the kind of track that would happily sit as the theme proper for most other modern anime. Still, aside from being "bouncy" there isn't a lot to say about it.

Of course, all of that is simply a starter for the main course that most K-ON!! fans have been waiting for - The release of the fantastic NO, Thank You! as a full-length single. Even aside from its superb animation as a closing sequence to the anime, the song itself is pure brilliance. At least, it is in its TV sized format... sadly, the full-length version of the track regularly threatens to lose its way, seguing off into unwelcome territory at least a couple of times and ruining the mood and groove it's set for itself. That isn't to say that it's bad - Everything that is great about NO, Thank You! is still present, correct and sparkling with polish and energy (the "proper" kind of energy, no chipmunk voices here), it's just that I was hoping for more from the full-length song. No, perhaps more to the point I was expecting more of the same wonders offered by the first ninety seconds of the TV-sized version, and any deviation from that is almost criminal, however brief. There's no doubt in my mind that this is a great track of the highest order, and its TV-sized version certainly beats out Don't Say Lazy in my book, but this full version? It just doesn't quite do it for me, although it does come close, and it's superb in its own right.

Sat next to that pantheon of a tune is Girls in Wonderland, which again sounds pedestrian in many ways when set against "the proper stuff" - Still, it's another well-crafted slice of pop that fits in okay against its A-side without ever threatening to eclipse it. Again, it's kind of forgettable, but at the same time its perfectly decent to listen to and garner some enjoyment from, so I can't really complain.

Anyway, that's my opinion out of the way so come on guys and girls, who wins in the best K-ON closing theme stakes for you - Don't Say Lazy, Listen or NO, Thank You?


Martin said...

Can't say I really *like* either of the second season's opening themes, but this one is at least listenable (as in, I don't skip through it like I did with the other one).

The end themes, in contrast, are great...a nice marriage of song and imagery. Between the two of them 'No Thank You' wins by a nose...shame I stopped buying CD singles years ago though. If all the OPs and EDs were released as a mini-album/EP I'd certainly try to order a copy.

Krungie said...

Fans that were eagerly awaiting the full version of NO, Thank You! like me, were probably disappointed. As Hanners said, the TV-sized version was just magic to the ears. But the full version was constantly speeding up, slowing down and just confusing listeners. Personally, I was hoping for a full rock song kinda similar to Don't Say Lazy. Heck even Utauyo!! MIRACLE was rocking my socks more than its ED counterpart.

I think that with all that hyperactiveness put into Utauyo!! MIRACLE our creators just didn't have enough juice left for NO, Thank You! This is probably the only time that the OP song was better than the ED. Needless to say, NO, Thank You! was also genius. But try to stick to one theme (and speed) please.

Skull said...

It's the small things that make songs memorable, like in MIRACLE Yui spinning around and Mio's "stomp stomp" in Listen!!.

In NO, Thank YOu! I'm constantly flashbacking to all the gravity defying floating.