Anime, Japanese, Reviews

My “Hearts Grow” Three Sizes After Listening To This Single: Sora (Review)

January 9, 2010 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook My “Hearts Grow” Three Sizes After Listening To This Single: Sora (Review)on Twitter

I hope everyone appreciates that Grinch pun.

My little brother introduced me to J-Pop act Hearts Grow a few months ago. See, the younger Gann sibling happens to be a *huge* Naruto nut. When Hearts Grow got their song “Yura Yura” played as an opening theme for a new season of Naruto Shippuuden. So he showed me the music video for the song, and I was hooked.

So hooked, in fact, that I needed to hear more. That’s why I got this single for “Sora,” which also serves as the opening to a TV anime. Birdy the Mighty DECODE, an anime I’d never before heard of, uses the song “Sora” as its season 1 opening (note Jayson already reviewed the ending theme “Tane” from no3b). After the jump, check out my review for the Hearts Grow single “Sora.”

J-Pop singles don’t come much more polished than this one. “Sora” features some incredible female vocal performance, both on main melody and additional harmony tracks. The band (standard guitar, bass, keyboard, drums) sounds extremely tight. It’s the kind of thing that you dream about hearing pulled off, well, in a live performance setting. The chances of that happening are slim to none, considering just how touched up the recording is. I cannot overstate this point: the recording is so clean, I have to ask if more studio time was spent with musicians recording, or by engineers mixing this thing to perfection.

That’s not to say the band isn’t talented. The mostly female pop/rock group seems to have a good sense of what they’re doing. Just thought I’d throw that in before continuing the review.

The “Sora” single is a full four minutes, compared to the Birdy the Mighty TV opening version, which cuts the song to just under 90 seconds. The full version of the song is totally worth it. Each repeat of the chorus is slightly different than the last, and the bridge to the song is extremely catchy. The whole band has a great sense of rhythm, including the vocalist. She’s firing off those multi-syllabic Japanese words like a pro. I love it.

The single’s B-Side is “Mirai Sketch” (Future Sketch). Usually I am fond of the B-Sides I find on J-Pop singles, but this one just didn’t grab me. It’s more of the same, just with a less catchy melody.

And of course, karaoke version of “Sora,” in case you wanted to sing along (or do an in-depth study of the instrumental backing to see *just how clean* it is).

Want to hear (and see) more of the increasingly-popular Hearts Grow for yourself? Just search on YouTube to see what comes up (not sure what all there ought to be there for copyright reasons, but surely some of it is legitimate…). Enjoy, and feel free to comment!

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