OLIVIA – a little pain

by Rinoa on July 4, 2006 · 40 comments · AddThis

a little pain promotion

a little pain promotional clip
Artist: OLIVIA inspi’ REIRA
Product Code: CTCR-40237/8
Release date: 2006.05.31
First Press: Sticker
Debut Ranking: #8
Label: cutting edge

Indies princess, OLIVIA released her first single since her hiatus in 2004 titled “a little pain“. This was also her first single in four years. After her relatively obscure and unsuccessful album, “The Lost Lolli”, Lufkin disappeared from the entertainment scene for around two and a half years without any single inkling of her future plans. Olivia would later mention that she had needed a hiatus after her hectic release schedule and the depression arising from low popularity. This left her fans from all over the world extremely disappointed.

Many were those who speculated that Lufkin’s career was over. However various fans kept holding onto the hope that Olivia would make her comeback someday. She was still appearing once in a while due to the media. She appeared as a guest on a few concerts later on in 2005 but never suggested a possible comeback. Olivia spent most of her time with her siblings in the states and tried to readjust her life. After a long silence avex updated Olivia’s website with a new layout in March and announced the release of a new single. This news was met with a lot of excitement by her western fans. However this wasn’t the only exciting news for Olivia fans.

The mangaka Yazawa Ai was the one selecting the two artists to represent the anime version of her ultra-popular manga “NANA“. Various other artists were selected by avex to interpret the character of Trapnest’s lead vocalist Reira. However when a staff member at avex gave her a copy of Olivia’s “Sea me” and “Into The Stars” singles Yazawa claimed that “It can only be her!”. It goes without saying that both NANA and Livi fans were ecstatic about this announcement. Olivia’s releases are beyond unique and creative and she also produces rock music which fits the Trapnest image well. Nobody was disappointed with this release or the choice of Olivia as representing Reira. After such a long hiatus, Olivia Lufkin returned back with an excellent single and managed to gain the attention of Japan again.

Since Olivia has been moved to cutting edge, which is avex’s indies sub-label, the promotion for this single was rather limited. Olivia only performed this song twice and was featured in a few magazines and online websites. However Olivia showed no inclination towards pushing this single to become a mainstream hit. Later on, avex organised a “NANA Street Live” to promote Oliva and Anna, who was representing the character of Nana. A few concerts organised exclusively for Oliva were later set to promote her releases.

a little pain” was a rather successful release to Olivia’s standards who is far away from being a mainstream artist. It was her first single to rank on the top ten charts. This single ranked at #8 and sold 20,162 copies in the first week. Overall it sold 39,000 copies which were a positive improvement from her previous single releases. Oricon currently records this single as her highest selling single. This is quite a feat for a returning artist, since they tend to become less popular rather than the opposite after a hiatus. Due to the NANA tie-in, Olivia also managed to attract a wider fanbase in Japan.


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

a little pain

After her darker and grungy themed releases, “a little pain” carried a more soothing tone and a more positive mood. In an interview Lufkin mentions how during her release of “The Lost Lolli”, she was depressed and how she saw the world in a bad light. This was reflected in her releases which resulted in a drop in her popularity in Japan. “a little pain” in a way reflects a new version of Olivia who now feels more happy and at ease with herself and her music.

Olivia has tried to get into the persona of Reira to create a song which fit her personality perfectly. In order to do this, she read the manga and made sure that the lyrics fit the feelings of Reira herself. The lyrics vividly describe Reira’s discomfort, pressure and loneliness she feels as an artist which reflect Olivia’s career in the past when she was in the spotlight. Olivia felt lost as a popular artist because she was pressured to release on a tight schedule and this also led her to have a lack of a social life. In a manner it was as if she was singing for herself. This must have been the reason why Olivia was so enthusiastic to work on this song. Olivia stated, “It was fun to sing as another person. Like an actress”. She wrote many songs but they sounded too western and dark. She felt the lyrics for “a little pain” fit the style of a top Japanese band. The lyrics were written by Olivia in English. Consequently they were rewritten in Japanese with the help of Kawamura Masumi.

The song itself seems to be a hybrid of ethereal orchestral instruments and rock resulting into an interesting rock ballad. Nonetheless the song still managed to have pop influences, without sounding like a typical mainstream release. It goes without saying that Lufkin’s vocals were beyond impressive and simply angelic. Her beautiful and emotional vocals blended flawlessly with the intrumentals. I have really loved how her voice has managed to convey the hope and raw emotion which Reira feels. I find this song is the perfect reflection of Reira’s mind and Olivia’s past career.

iPod iPod version (0 MB)

The promotional clip of this song was really beautiful and extremely artistic. A lot of imagery was used within this clip with symbolism inserted within them. There was an extreme use of the symbolism of flowers linked with spines which seemed to indicate that every beautiful thing has it’s ugly hidden side. In the clip Olivia eventually gets hurt by the flowers but still seems to be attached to them. Colours also dominate this clip. Although it certainly has a gothic touch, with dark tones and historical costumes, soft colour tones are inserted at some scenes, giving it a fairytale atmosphere.

Rating: ★★★★★


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

tears & rainbows

tears & rainbows” has some elements from “a little pain” but has a completely different style. It opens up with a solo piano and Olivia’s soothing vocals take over, without drowning the piano’s notes. Minimalistic instrumentals are used and there is a constant use of layers which create a mysterious and haunting atmosphere. It has a similar style to her sister, Caroline Lufkin’s music, especially since Olivia uses the genre of subtle electronic-pop.

This song is yet another collaboration with her brother, Jeffrey Lufkin. They composed the song together and Jeffrey was in charge of the arrangement of the song. It’s quite reminiscent to her older ballads, such as “Cupid“, “Alone in Our Castle” and “Ballerina“. Despite the fact that it is not a powerful song it’s an intricate piece of art with a melanchonic mood which will mesmerise any listener. I find it’s a perfect song to relax to, because the atmosphere created by this song is simply unworldy.

Rating: ★★★★½


Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

let go

let go” goes back to rock, but takes an edgier direction. It takes up the interesting and catchy trip-hop genre. Olivia’s vocals are less polishes and immersed with emotion, suggesting bitterness and supressed anger. It’s also rather reminiscent of her older and darker releases, with a western influence. I am especially fond of the chorus which is rather infectious and will make the listener yearn to dance along with it.

Similarly to “tears & rainbows“, this song’s creative aspects were a collaboration of Olivia and her brother. Olivia and Jeffrey composed the song and he arranged it. In the BARKS interview Olivia mentions how she and her brother enjoy hip hop music and thus this song seems to carry a lot of influence from this genre.

The lyrics are rather intricate and have the darkest tone in this single. This is a trademark of Olivia’s lyrics. They are mostly in English and speak about various hateful memories and fears in the past, probably hinting a relationship turned sour. Olivia writes that a person must let go of these negative experiences and move on rather than living with these emotions. I assume that she is relating her past experiences which have influenced her and led her to see the world in a different light. Interestingly enough this style of music is fairly popular in Europe but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t appeal so much to the Japanese audience and this is why it was included as a b-side song. My only gripe about this song is that it is too short for my tastes.

Rating: ★★★★½



a little pain” is definitely her best single to date. All tracks managed to convey a world of their own and a very personal side of Olivia. Despite the fact that this single was rendered to be more appealing to the masses it still carried the signature style of Olivia. I feel that finally Olivia is starting to be more in control of the direction of her musical career without losing her creative style.

After her hiatus, this opportunity to work for NANA was the perfect opportunity to expose her music and recreate a fanbase. I’m rather happy to see the direction Olivia is taking, since I’m enjoying how she has still remained a creative musician and has started displaying an effort to please a wider fanbase.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½


Regular CD Edition
CD Version
CD+DVD Edition
CD+DVD Version

CD Tracklist

  1. a little pain
  2. tears & rainbows
  3. let go

DVD Tracklist

  1. a little pain [Music Clip]

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Pages: 1 2

Related Posts:

  1. OLIVIA’s Wish "Wish/Starless Night" is Olivia's second and last NANA single. This single was announced in August, after it was decided that Olivia would sing both the opening and the ending theme songs for the second season of NANA. Thus avex announced the release of a double A-side single.......
  2. Into the Stars The word about “Into The Stars” that, weirdly, it’s her less selling single, topping only at #99 for one week. Don’t think though that this has to do with the quality of this single, at all. Olivia isn’t as popular as those icons that come in our mind when we think about the Japanese music industry, although that makes her even cooler. “Into the Stars” is also the last production she made in Japanese.......
  3. The Cloudy Dreamer After Olivia Lufkin’s hiatus, many fans were eagerly awaiting a release which was credited to OLIVIA only. The NANA releases were satisfactory enough, but everyone knew that Olivia’s style moved towards a different and more unique direction. Also Olivia’s fans wanted music which reflected Olivia’s personality rather than Reira’s. In January 2007 Olivia finally released her highly anticipated 5th mini album titled “The Cloudy Dreamer“. However Olivia had another surprise up her sleeve, since “The Cloudy Dreamer” moved towards a different direction from her previous mini albums.......
  4. GLAMOROUS SKY Yazawa Ai's masterpiece manga "NANA" has been gaining a lot of attention this year: first with its very own tribute album, a dedicated café, and now a movie starring Nakashima Mika herself as the rocker-chick Oosaki Nana. To play with the "realism" of the movie a single has been released entitled "GLAMOROUS SKY" under the psuedonym "NANA starring MIKA NAKASHIMA". Staying true to the style of Yazawa's character, the single contains four rock tracks, the title track being composed by the famous rocker HYDE himself.........
  5. Tsukiko Amano – Karasu Tsukiko Amano released five singles to commemorate her 5th anniversity. They were all released simultaneously on the 31st May. Each single featured a different style which she has used throughout her musical career. In the end all her promotional videos were meant to be connected. Karasu was the first single to be released from the anniversary collection.......

About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

{ 2 trackbacks }

A Little Pain « song hunt UNITED STATES
February 7, 2007 at 6:02 am
Sunday Blog Roundup » Ray Mescallado Archives UNITED STATES
August 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

stephanie lee gilmour AUSTRALIA October 23, 2010 at 3:39 am

hey olivia,
i am such a big fan now!
i am gonna tell all my friends tomorrow about you
hopefully you can do a concerte at australia nsw newcastle and i will come for sure!
my favourite song of yours a little pain,
i am in year 7 and i am learning japanese(nihongo) with sensei cunningham
and i can now write and speak in japan
and i love everysong of yours now!
i now am obsessed with japanese stuff and me and ebony and jessie my friends are going to go to japan in the future visit mount fuji go shopping in tokyo and watch some sumo wrestling! its funny!


Aimi AUSTRALIA April 5, 2009 at 6:59 am

Tears and Rainbow was my favourite outta those songs, its amazing how minimal the instruments can be but so full and beautiful without them…she can pull it off coz she can convey emotion just through voice.


andreoli November 15, 2008 at 9:44 pm

I love olivia is my favorite singer.
and NANA is the best series in the world!
please if someone know if the second season of NANA get out please tell me andrea_momo94@hotmail.com
olivia I love you!!!!


janeth AUSTRALIA March 19, 2008 at 8:38 am

i really love the anime nana…. and i love the song “a little pain”. it really suits her voice…


elly! December 21, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I’m a great fan of the anime Nana and I LOVE sooooooooo much this song!!! ;) the anime gave me the opportunity to know olivia’s amazing voice!! *__*
it’s possible to have the original english text of little pain that olivia wrote before it was traslated in japanese?? thanks!!


Flick UNITED KINGDOM November 18, 2007 at 11:36 pm

I like all 3 songs from this single… and am very glad she’s taken a different direction to the Reira style. I would agree that Let Go is definitely more appealing to the european audience, but Tears & Rainbows is actually quite nice as well. the highlights for me would be ‘a little pain’ and ‘Let Go’.


Rae Lee UNITED STATES September 22, 2007 at 2:54 pm

Alright I will admit that I love Olivia’s song “A Little Pain” , and I am currently working on an AMV (anime music video) for it. I will also admit that I DEFINITELY love her song “Ballerina” I am currently working on making an alternate opening theme for one of my favorite animes (Princess Tutu) However I can’t find the translations to the song anywhere. If anyone can send it to me please do! My e-mail is Ketsuekiko_soshi@yahoo.com … If you wish to contact me via Post Message on Youtube my user name is RaeKitsuneProduction.

Thanks in advance,
Rae Lee


jenny MALAYSIA June 26, 2007 at 9:28 am

“a little pain” this song somehow bring back memories to me!
“tears & rainbows” well i do not quait like the song d……..
“let go”this song is soo different than the two songs!! well a feel this song is not that nice to hear to me!!!


hina FRANCE June 24, 2007 at 11:03 am

i love OLIVIA!!! she’s so beautiful and she got a magnificience sound voice and so originalious and she got so much taste!!


cri ITALY June 2, 2007 at 11:46 am

i love this song and the mixture of japanese and english is simply amazing *_*


Irlanda May 13, 2007 at 6:15 pm

OMG!!! she’s amazing…!!!


Junn NETHERLANDS April 30, 2007 at 4:11 pm

Yeah sure, that interest me…

Though I have to check and find more info about the concert in France. Man I’m just afraid I ain’t have enough money to travel to France to watch her… but it probably would be like a one in a million lifeyear chance… so I better not mis it somehow…



Rinoa April 26, 2007 at 7:46 pm

Hey Junn. I’ve read how Olivia is interested in creating a musical career overseas. On the other hand she is scheduled to have a concert in France on July. Thought it would interest you.


Junn NETHERLANDS April 26, 2007 at 7:18 pm

There is no doubt that Olivia has talent. If it was not for Nana, I probable missed her as a artist. [Thank you Yazawa Ai!] I’ve never heard an artist who could put so much emotions in his/her songs before.

Her style is unique and beautiful. I really hope she keeps on gaining fans, so that she keeps on releasing songs she like. I find it a bit dissapointing to know that the main Japanese folks doesn’t seem to like her music as much as they should. =P Time will change…

I really love this single “A Little Pain” . It suits Reira perfectly and it present Olivia herself pretty well! Though I must admit I love the song “Tears& Rainbows” more. Probable because of it’s mysterious atmosphere. The way she sings the song, so much depths in it, truely amazing… all the emotions. Somehow it’s like you can feel it. Very dreamy.

Many friends of mine are also fond of Olivia after hearing her! They are actually going to buy her album! I’ll keep on promoting Olivia to everybody I know! Caus she really deserve to be popular in my opinion. Even a girl from my work, who has nothing with ” strange foreign” music admitted that she somehow was attracted to Olivia. Isn’t that a good sign? [ I live in the Netherlands].

I really hope that someday in the future Olivia will break through in Europe and USA. Man can’t wait to go to her concerts then! I keep on hoping for that moment to happen. I really do. [Though the chance is pretty small at this moment]

And about the fact that Olivia will gain more popularity outside of Japan [in time], I have no doubts about that. Caus she already does…


Rinoa April 11, 2007 at 3:49 pm

I agree with you nemtudom, since Olivia started working with NANA, she started getting discovered even more. She herself was surprised when she attended the PMX event in USA, where she saw she had a small fanbase for her. There were even talks for her to tour in certain overseas countries though it’s probably improbable.

Although she probably has finished working for NANA, I hope she shall continue getting attention in the future with some decent tie-ins.


nemtudom HUNGARY April 11, 2007 at 1:43 pm

Long time ago someone commented, that Japan is not the only place on earth, and people are starting to know Olivia worldwide. It’s true, i really love her voice and all of her songs, the old and the new ones. I’d love to buy her albums but it would be really hard to get them here in Hungary.

I think because of the inspi’ project more people recognized her, it was good for her popularity.
Little pain has a melody that you can hardly get you out of your mind. This song can win more people’s sympathy.

I do love her rock-alternative-indie rock styled songs also, but actually poppy songs are more popular.


Nessa SPAIN April 8, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Olivia is the best!!!


Carpdragon UNITED STATES March 1, 2007 at 2:41 pm

The choice of OLIVIA to do a song for NANA was, I think, primarily due to the similarity of style between OLIVIA and Reira. OLIVIA seems to fit the profile of an artist similar in musical choice and performance to Reira. Plus, as Naru pointed out, she was almost cast to play Reira in the movie version.

In general, most of my friends who enjoy a “different” sound in the Japanese music scene (particularly my Japanese friends) find Olivia a little overwhelming at times, but as a musician quite interesting and even revolutionary. It should also be noted that in the last two years, there has been a broadening of the styles used in Japanese pop.


Keiko UNITED STATES February 23, 2007 at 11:40 am

A Little Pain is such a beautiful song.
And the music video is amazing!
I listen to it every day


Yuki SWITZERLAND January 6, 2007 at 6:10 am

wohoo i love that song ^_^


kaoru December 31, 2006 at 4:29 am

Olivia is practically good. And her new single is probably the best songs she did. Her music video was great too, but kinda weird in some parts. But I won’t argue anyway, the song’s great.


blazing_frost December 8, 2006 at 10:02 am

when i first heard ‘a little pain’, i was mesmerised by this song.. it was so beautiful!!!!! i cant find the album frm singapore n i really want to buy it!! tears & rainbows is a really sweet song too. i wonder how ‘let go’ will sound when its sung purely in english. btw, (this is out of point) i jus bought a new ipod n i dunno how to save movies n music videos in my computer, then transfer to my ipod. i really want to know how rinoa put the ‘a little pain’ mv up on this blog. please teach me!!!

thanks in advance n take care!! :)


Legna UNITED KINGDOM December 6, 2006 at 7:26 am

I definately agree there Chongo. anything is possible!
and being a genuine girl that she is, she will keep working hard to get there.
even people in my circles(music)have heard of her name!
just make sure you guys n girl keep suporting her and buy her works.

Legna @ http://www.xetonrecords.com


CHONGO UNITED STATES December 2, 2006 at 3:31 pm

wat i personally think is that since i just heard Olivia Lufkin about three days ago for the first time, i actually loved her song A Little Pain. even though i havent heard her last album, she seem to grow more mature as a person and in her songs, i strongly believe she will make her comeback and rise a singer like UTada hikaru and Ayumi hamasaki. anything is possible for her carrier


Painful UNITED STATES November 29, 2006 at 4:37 pm

OLIVIA’s “a little pain” has inspired me and is truly one of my top favorite J-Pop songs ever. (And it’s a LONG list….)


baked UNITED STATES November 6, 2006 at 1:52 am

I love the track ‘a little pain’. It has to be one of my favorites XD

btw, anyone know where i can get ‘tears and rainbows’? Or where i can get a hold of a copy of this single?


Simon October 12, 2006 at 9:35 am

i love this single
olivia is really great singer
have you guys seen the NANA street special performance?
love the live rather than studio ver.
waiting for the WISH single


Paula September 29, 2006 at 3:57 pm

You know, there are very strong swirling rumors she’s going to have a concert at PMX this year… Actually, Yahoo JP even mentioned it already…

http://www.myspace.com/pacificmediaexpo >> it’s in the conchair’s blog


abluelilac UNITED STATES September 28, 2006 at 7:06 pm

has anyone found the lyrics to Let Go? i’d love it if anyone could post them or e-mail me. thank you :)


Yukariiii September 27, 2006 at 11:11 am

Olivia’s voice gives a certain effect that makes you want to hear her voice more and more. She has a way of putting you in a trance. Listen to it for a while, and you’ll never get it out of your head. Very very suited for NANA, no doubt=]


Kazfz August 21, 2006 at 5:44 am

Rinoa just added the lyrics here, have fun with the song !!


Juuria August 21, 2006 at 12:19 am

hey could someone please post the lyrics of a little pain, please

take care


Leanne UNITED STATES August 2, 2006 at 12:29 am

I’m so happy that OLIVIA is back, as she really has been one of my favorite female artists for a long while now. I’ve only watched 2 eps of “NANA”, but when I heard it as the ending theme song, I didn’t really think it was too special. However, I’ve grown to really love this song. Quite different from the pop-metal-rock-trip-hop of “The Lost Lolli”. I really enjoyed the PV, too! You’re right about it being beautiful and quite artistic. OLIVIA looks quite beautiful herself as well. Even though during some parts she reminded me of (a much prettier) Alanis Morissette.

I also liked the soothing feel of “tears and rainbows”. She’s always worked so well with ballads, I think. “let go” is more my style, even though, like you said, it does seem heavily “western” — the chorus. I really love her voice in this song. Nice to see brother-sister effort on both these tracks.

What I also think is impressive is that OLIVIA, an indie alternative-rock-pop artist made her way out of ORICON’s indie charts and onto the major! An incredible feat for an indie artist.

The single cover is way cool, and if I happen to see it anywhere, I’d definitely pick it up. Can’t wait for a next single from her! And awesome review. :)


Legna UNITED KINGDOM July 26, 2006 at 6:27 pm

eyn’s comments do hold a certain truth behind them, but artist tend to automatically develope and change their style over a period of time anyway and music as an industry goes round and round in circles every so often. Olivia’s music is very good and has the ability to transend to all sort of difo audiences. i dont believe she need to become more of anything else just to please mainstream Japan(ie:more pop…more alternative) dont forget, as great as it is,Japan isnt the only place on earth! there are more and more people discovering Olivia’s music worldwide… and their will always be people who like music if its has a good sound, and she does.
she is sticking to what she enjoys making. if one tries to change to often when it comes to production they will lose direction and she is onto a good thing right now….”if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!”

Ollie @ Xeton Records


Kaiser July 23, 2006 at 10:24 am

I love this sit cause i am one of the no1 fan of Oliva I luv her beautiful voice but can upload more pictures?


Gia UNITED STATES July 14, 2006 at 7:45 pm

I just finish watching the anime Nana and then “a little pain ” music video,the naime was so good and i learned that from the look of some 1 doesn’t mean that that’s how they r,cuz my impression of the rocker Nana is that she would be mean but she’s not,i wonder if Olivia was born in Japan or some where rlse,cuz her Japanese is really good and also her english


Naru UNITED STATES July 9, 2006 at 1:11 am

I had no idea that Yazawa Ai asked her to do a song for NANA o_o Kinda makes sense though, since when they movie was coming out a lot of people speculated that OLIVIA would be cast as Reira. I had no idea who she was, but being the NANA fanatic that I am I picked up this single. It definately had a TRAPNEST feel to it as well as Reira’s emotions. The fact that she wrote it in English first makes it very like TRAPNEST, since Reira does write songs in English and the other members have to translate it into Japanese so they can release it as a single. I personally dislike the character of Reira in NANA, but TRAPNEST has the better songs that have been released “inspired by”. (Otsuka Ai’s “Cherish” Yuna Ito’s “ENDLESSS STORY” and a few others I think by Do As Infinity and ZONE…)


eyn CANADA July 5, 2006 at 1:42 pm

OLIVIA is probably one of a kind in the J-Pop scene simply because of her musical background and her strong belief in producing music that she like, even if that means she’s going to suffer her popularity she could easily gain just by going with the flow.

The tie in with the NANA anime is a great way to bring her back to the spotlight again after her hiatus, but I’m not sure if she can keep the spotlight on her with her music style, as they probably don’t appeal to the Japanese audience.

Anyway, this single does strike a balance between pop and alternative, and I think OLIVIA either needs to change her music style to become more pop or continue to sing some songs composed by other Japanese composers just to stay closer to the mainstream music. I think by blending pop and her alternative music style, it will be easier for her to gain fans and eventually get them to actually enjoy her otherwise hard to consume music style for the Japanese.


Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: