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Shinku/Ai no Uta

Shinku/Ai no Uta

by Rinoa on September 30, 2007 · 13 comments · AddThis

talkin' 2 myself photoshoot
Promo Photo for Shinku
Artist: Hitomi Shimatani
Product Code: AVCD-31285/6
Release Date: 2007.09.05
Debut Ranking: #6
First Press: A.C.E.3 Sticker
Genre: Crossover, pop
Label: avex trax

Hitomi Shimatani might no longer be one of the best sellers in the J-Pop industry but she still manages to stand out with her magnificent vocals and her enchanting aura. This has enabled Hitomi to get several interesting career opportunities. Approximately two years ago, Hitomi Shimatani released the powerful single, “Garnet Moon“, which managed to become a brilliant hit in Japan. Most of the credit is probably due to it’s tie in with the game “Another Century’s Episode” but it certainly did manage to attract the popularity of the younger audience with its’ fresh approach.

In early June, the summer single “Neva Eva” included a slip promising an upcoming “big project” which roused the curiosity of her fans. On the 29th June, avex announced that Hitomi would yet again release a single for “Another Century’s Episode“, this time for the third and final installment. This announced was met with excitement and a lot of anticipation. Furthermore this single was released a day after Hitomi’s 27th birthday.

The game was met with a lot of hype. A.C.E. updated their website frequently with exciting content, including promotional clips and a double poster featuring Hitomi in one. On the other hand, it’s pretty evident to see how avex barely bothered with the promotion. My impression is that they relied on A.C.E. to promote the single and did the bare minimum. The result was that the promotional campaign was relying solely on the fact that this was a tie-in with a game and nothing else.

Offshot
Hitomi promoting jewelery

While I watched the promotional campaign of this single, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Hitomi appeared in a few variety shows and magazines which seemed to be targeted towards adults and later on performed the song twice. The wardrobe choice seemed to be very limited and rather mediocre, considering that Hitomi’s fashion sense is usually trendy and appealing. She adopted some bizarre “hippie style” with oversized vests and gowns, which looked outdated and made her look older. Basically their target seemed to be gamers and adults.

On the packaging aspect, the single happens to be yet another standard release, with nothing special in particular apart from an A.C.E.3 sticker as a first press extra. “Shinku/Ai no Uta” would surprisingly debut at #6. Once avex noticed that this single was selling fairly well on the charts, they desperately tried to cover up their lackluster promotional campaign by announcing on a very short notice that Hitomi was having a handshaking event, along with signing the fans’ singles. Unfortunately this was not enough and Hitomi would once again fail to reach the top ten in the weeklies. It would rank at #14 on the first week and to date it has sold around 17,037 copies.

 

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1. Shinku

Shinku“, meaning “crimson” is the image song of A.C.E.3. It successfully carries the futuristic tradition in a different direction. In a few words, it blends in two genres that Hitomi has used in the past: techno and crossover. The result is an enticing hybrid; with the use strings combined with electronic synths, a regal and dramatic dance track was produced. Surprisingly this song has fit perfectly with the theme of the game, especially since it carries an epic and post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

The song immediately starts off with a mid-tempo and powerful tone, where both her vocals and the background instruments which are succeeded by a magnificent chorus. The chorus brings about a mixture of triumph and rush of energy. Needless to say Hitomi’s vocals hit each note perfectly with grace and ease, most particularly in the chorus. On the other hand, the verses still manage to contain a lot of quality and variety throughout the whole song.

The whole arrangement is particularly interesting, since the musical instruments seem to build onto each other to gradually create the dramatic atmosphere. Hitomi mentioned how they spent a lot of time to record this song. They redid the song over and over until they were satisfied with the result, since Hitomi wanted to produce a very strong song, with an extreme aura. Overall this song is a very strong and distinct track and I feel it’s her strongest since “Destiny – Taiyou no Hana“.

The promotional video of this single was aired a few days before the release and happens to be one of those clips which promise a lot and lead nowhere. The promotional video was set in a manor in the woods, emanating the ethereal setting to reflect the song. Certain elements within the setting were quite appealing, most particularly the Gothic atmosphere, which was inserted with the decorations. I really loved the candles, which lit up the dark room, creating this mystical feeling. Most of the imagery focused on earth colors, while Hitomi wore a white gown and silver boots, giving the implication that Hitomi was some goddess or forest fairy.

Several scenes from the game were inserted, which contrasted strongly with the focus on the colour crimson. The most frustrating aspect was that this video had a lot potential but only managed to come out as mediocre and uneventful. There were many aspects which simply gave this video a low quality standard. The recycled camera angles, the repeated footages and the fact that there was one outfit only were terribly boring and showed an obvious lack of creativity. Furthermore the fact that they had a huge space to experiment with and only came out with a few scenes was truly a huge let down.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

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2. Ai no Uta

Ai no Uta“, meaning “Love Poem” is the ending track of A.C.E.3. It has certainly managed to create that sense of closure with an entirely peaceful atmosphere. Basically this song is a piano solo accompanying Hitomi’s vocals. With a slightly traditional oriental touch, this song is quite enticing for ballad lovers, who appreciate vocal quality.

Hitomi described it as “the ballad which heals after the fight” and would mention how hard it was to sing this song due to the fact she wanted to hit the notes perfectly and transmit her feelings at the same time. Compared to the title song, this track might feel to simplistic but I enjoyed how this simplicity managed to make the listener focus entirely on Hitomi’s beautiful vocals. What was a bit disappointing was the generic title and the fact that it offers nothing particularly new from her typical ballad B-sides, in her singles.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

3. Shinku (A.C.E.3 version)

This track can probably be referred to as a rearrangement. It is a shortened version of “Shinku” with certain changes. This version was used within the game. As if to make up for being so short, the song is quite intense. The track starts off with a short dramatic orchestral intro which blends in with the actual song. Throughout the song, the orchestral elements are rendered more intense, giving off a more obvious “crossover” vibe.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Conclusion

Shinku/Ai no Uta” seems to be a return to her crossover roots, which has been met with mixed feelings. In the last few months, Hitomi has been trying to regain a more mainstream fanbase but has been fairly unlucky with this task. It seems that this new single has been more successful on the charts and this probably means that Hitomi will release other crossover releases in the future. On a certain extent, this is good news, since this genre has produced several beautiful tracks.

Overall I would say that “Shinku/Ai no Uta” is a fairly solid release for Hitomi’s standards, with a few shortcomings. However I felt really let down and disappointed with this single, due to the fact that avex marketed this single with a lot of promises and the outcome had little substance. The claim of a “big project” is definitely an overstatement. This single had nothing particularly special apart from the tie-in and avex made sure it stayed that way. It is probable that the bulk of the promotional costs were on A.C.E.3 and avex tried to get away with it, by working on a very tight budget. The result was a bit tacky.

The promotional campaign was not really well organized and it showed. Most of the promotion of this single seemed random and lacking. The fact that only two live performances were scheduled was simply a shame, since performances tend to boost sales a little. Once again, this single seems to have suffered the fate of Ayumi’s “talkin’ 2 myself“, where the musical content was utterly fantastic but the rest left most disappointed. I’m a bit sorry for Hitomi since this single is by no means a bad release, but it had a lot of selling potential which was lost due to bad promotion and an outdated image. Let’s just hope this won’t become a trend for avex.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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

CD Tracklist

  1. Shinku (Original Version)
  2. Ai no Uta
  3. Shinku (A.C.E.3 version)
  4. Shinku (Instrumenta)
  5. Ai no Uta (Instrumental)

DVD Tracklist

  1. Shinku
  2. Shinku (Offshot)

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Related Posts:

  1. Garnet Moon/Inori Garnet Moon was Hitomi Shimatani's 17th single. It was a continuation of the overall mature-sexy image from 2004. avex wanted to ensure that this single would be fairly popular with the audience by attempting to target this single towards the young adult audience.......
  2. PASIO Hitomi Shimatani's latest single is released in November, with an ethnic and latin flavour. Will it be successful or will it flop? One can only wait and see.........
  3. Kaoru Amane’s Taiyou no Uta Kaoru Amane's single has created quite a huge hype within the Japanese audience. This beautifully constructed single broke many records and has brought the dorama 'Taiyou no Uta' to life.......
  4. Harumachibito/Camellia After a long silence, Hitomi Shimatani returned in 2006 with a double A-side single, which would be a continuation of her 'crossover' genre releases.......
  5. Osaka no Onna "Osaka no Onna" is the debut single released by the artist Hitomi Shimatani. This single, which was released in the Enka market, would become Hitomi's first step in the entertainment industry.......

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.

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International Wota » Blog Archive » [Blogs] Channel-Ai on Shimatani Hitomi Single UNITED STATES
October 2, 2007 at 7:02 am

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Haruka Tenou October 11, 2007 at 3:28 am

hey rinoa! long time no see lol…well, i REALLY enjoyed seeing that little arguments these plp had over poem and song…cuz yeh that do as infinity song shinjitsu no uta DID make me question all that mess…but still wats in the past is done with…..and once again BRAVISSIMO with the review, beacuse its suuch a trend wit AVEX to be like cheap and stingy wit our blessed Hitomi and that DOES deff affect her sales and overall image. Thanks for teaching me another word lol i never knew the word for crimson was shinku, and that EXPLAINS sooo much why theres a red couch lol. umm, the game, IS GREAT, and im frikkin greatful shes singing in it. and once again, ai no uta is just dull…o one question ok, u know the song “aika” or “ai no uta” from the CROSSOVER album, like wit the 8second solo pause she does lol in the chorus ok..well, wats the actual name of that song? aika or ai no uta i dont really know….O, and wen u gonna post up prima rosa live 2007 dude! im soo waiting on it, and wen i get that email, im just going to DIE!

Reply

Rinoa October 8, 2007 at 4:58 am

Fine. I don’t want to get in yet another argument here. That just was my impression when I saw the fight going over and over something so small like if it’s a “song” or a “poem”. I mean, it’s not like a big deal or a gigantic difference anyway. It’s just the title of a B-side song.

You’ve made your point now. Thank you.

Reply

redracer October 8, 2007 at 4:53 am

I’m sorry, but I don’t consider anything I have said to be rude, let alone ‘completely rude’ !!!

All I was trying to do is make a point based on the information I had been given ….

Reply

Rinoa October 8, 2007 at 4:45 am

Um.. okay. Seems sljinu is right and I think that it should be left it at that. I think now it is clear that in this context “Uta” can be correctly considered as “Poem” :)

Thanks sljinu for the clarification and for your message. That was really nice of you and I’m glad you are enjoying my reviews. I’m actually recovering right now. Hope you listen to Hitomi Shimatani more, because she has a lot of other great material!

Reply

redracer October 8, 2007 at 3:07 am

Yes, I am well aware of that, but I don’t have a dictionary with every variation of 1,000’s of different kanji. I’m sure that the blog owner does not want us to argue about the intricacies of the Japanese language here !!!

Reply

sljinu AUSTRALIA October 7, 2007 at 8:22 am

Yes I am actually. Are you aware of the fact that there are alternate readings for kanji characters? What you said is correct, the word for poem is ’shi’, however there is also an alternative reading which is ‘uta’.
It’s just like how in English, there are various words which have the same meaning. I think most languages would have the same thing, and in this case, they chose to use “uta’.

Reply

redracer October 7, 2007 at 8:14 am

As I said before, if that is the case, then why is the title not ‘Ai no Shi’ ? Do all the dealers in Japan who are selling this item and have called it ‘Ai no Uta’ not know Japanese ???

Are you Japanese ?

Reply

sljinu AUSTRALIA October 7, 2007 at 7:57 am

Sorry, how about you try looking up the kanji 詩 before you start accusing me of being wrong. This is indeed the kanji used in the title ‘Ai no Uta’ and it definitely means “poem”.
On a completely unrelated note, it’s always great seeing a fellow Aussie on Channel-Ai!

Reply

redracer October 7, 2007 at 4:20 am

Sorry slijinu but that is NOT correct – ‘poem’ is ’shi’ and you can check it in a Japanese dictionary. I have also verified this with Japanese people. If the title was ‘Poem of Love’, then the title should be translated as ‘Ai no Shi’ …. and I have never seen it written that way.

Reply

sljinu AUSTRALIA October 7, 2007 at 3:00 am

Well no doubt your reviews are still as good as always! You got me listening to Hitomi Shimatani now, hahaha. A bit sad to hear that you were sick on your birthday but I hope you feel better soon!

By the way redracer, ‘uta’ can mean ‘poem’ as well as ’song’. I mistakenly thought that Do As Infinity’s “Shinjitsu no Uta” meant ‘Song of Truth’ but the kanji used was for ‘poem’ so it actually meant “Poem of Truth”. Rinoa is correct! =P

Reply

redracer October 5, 2007 at 3:45 am

‘Uta’ means ’song’, not ‘poem’, so the title is ‘Love Song’ or probably more correctly ‘Song of Love’.

Reply

octocoffee September 30, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Yay! My nudging was successful! A very nice review, and I have to say I agree with you on most aspects of this single. Songs were great, but everything else was pretty lacking. It makes me wonder what would’ve happened if avex had contributed more to the promotion…would it have fared better?

Reply

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