Release Date: 2001.10.17
Peak Position: #1
Label: HAUNTED RECORDS \ Ki/oon \ SONY Records
Product Code: KSCL-411
First Press: 3″ (8cm) CD with picture label housed in a coffin shaped jewel case (Product Code#: KSDL-1223)
HYDE Official Web Site
In 2000, much to fans’ surprise, L’Arc~en~Ciel announced that they were going to be on a brief hiatus. Future plans for the band were unsure, but the members knew what they wanted to do individually. hyde was the last of the members to release solo material, and his can be considered as the most experimental of the group. In October of 2001 he released his debut single as HYDE titled “evergreen”. No doubt many fans of the band were surprised at the direction HYDE had chosen for his solo project. His singing style was gentler and his whole presentation became more relaxed and calm, and he even took to wearing simple loose clothing and suits. Let’s see how the (then) new HYDE fairs.
“evergreen” is beautiful in its simplicity musically, as well as lyrically: the lyrics seem to be calling to a loved one who had just passed. Unlike the rock tunes of L’Arc~en~Ciel, this song features instruments such as the harp, piano, and saxophone melding together with drums, percussion, and acoustic guitar to create a very pleasant and sweet melody. HYDE’s voice is extremely soft in this song, but his emotion is apparent nevertheless. I think one of the highlights of the song is during the chorus when HYDE splits the word “scenery” in the line “This scenery is evergreen” with a breath in between the syllables: it gives the chorus a distinct personality. Those who are fans of more dramatic ballads will probably not take a liking to this song, but if you are able to appreciate the song for what it is, you will realize it as a rare gem among most popular music these days.
Extra: The PV is also very simple. The ending kinda caught me off guard, though. See some screenshots here.
2. evergreen -english ensemble-
The c/w track has a completely different arrangement and composition than “evergreen” — not to mention the song is entirely in English. The first two seconds or so, the cellos sound directly from the theme song of “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”, but it quickly becomes its own song. Unlike “evergreen”, the english ensemble relies mostly on the piano and violin. Because of the instruments involved, one might think this was a more dramatic version of the title song, however, I beg to differ. This version seems to lack something that the original had put together so well. Compared to the myriad of instruments that complemented each other beautifully in “evergreen”, this version seems almost empty. While this version of the song may be a tad bit slower, I think that the original is more dramatic: from the wonderful melody to HYDE’s gentle cooing. Although the english ensemble is beautiful in itself, it lacks what made the original beautiful in the first place. HYDE’s english is not bad, and he has better pronunciation than most Japanese acts, but it almost sounds as if he has a lisp when he’s singing.
Conclusion: I think this was a strong debut single from HYDE. It gave fans a completely different view of him that they were never able to see in L’Arc~en~Ciel. In the band, everyone works together, and while hyde writes most of the lyrics, they all compose, co-produce, and arrange the music together; therefore individual creativity and effort is shadowed by the success of the band as a whole. With this single, it was all HYDE without the input of any of the band members. He had the freedom to go in his own direction, and while I suspect it must have been a bit weird for him at first, I’m sure that he was happy for the experience and the complete creative control he had over his work. With this single, HYDE showed his fans that he could create catchy rock music as well as create a soothing and calming piece with more traditional classical instruments. And he’s definitely succeeded!