Sung by: Maaya Sakamoto
Composer: Yoko Kanno
Relation to anime: ending song to Wolf’s Rain (2003).
Released as single in 2002.
Released as part of compilation Single Collection + Nikopachi (Maaya’s second singles collection) in 2003.
Released as part of Wolf’s Rain OST Vol. 1.
The lyrics can be found here in full.
The song opens with a long deceptive major chord from what sounds like a live orchestra. As we find out later, this musical prelude is a variation of the backing that comes later in the song. The first motif is played twice with complicated harmonies in the background, then it resolves into the real backing, which is a repeated minor piano chord. This reminded me somewhat of songs in the style of Western musicals or Broadway. Like, where a character sits on the stage and sings a long sad solo about how their life is miserable or something. Except that the lyrics are a bit too obscure to be from a Broadway song.
This intro is not really that long, just that you might be slightly startled by the abrupt change into piano chords if you couldn’t really hear the song properly. In any case, Maaya starts singing.
been a long road to follow
been there and gone tomorrow
without saying goodbye to yesterday
An example of mismatched lyrics and melody: “saying” has the wrong emphasis. I mean, you don’t say saYING, you say SAying, right? Maybe I’m being too picky. That being said, Maaya still somehow manages to sing it in her style AND match it with the rhythm of the words, despite not actually being able to speak English. Maybe it’s just something you pick up when you sing a lot? Who knows. Anyway..
are the memories I hold still valid?
or have the tears deluded them?
I really could not understand these two lines. Also, I guess it’s not necessary for every line to rhyme. Um. Sadly, Maaya’s pronunciation of these is not really that great.
maybe this time tomorrow
the rain will cease to follow
and the mist will fade into one more today
Around here the melody develops a more uplifted feel, despite remaining in the same minor key. The same words are used to rhyme, but they work in context, I think. Although, what does that last line mean? Was it supposed to be, “and the mist will fade into another day” – if so, why not just use that? or was the emphasis on the use of the word “today” meant to match with “yesterday” in the first section? Who knows. Oh, they used “day” to rhyme again.
something somewhere out there keeps calling
Maybe I have bad skills at working out what song lyrics are, but for some reason this line, whenever I heard it, always made me think she was going to sing “something something something” as if she’d forgotten the words. Like I do. Anyway, after this line there is a “comma” or a pause. It must be meant to provide suspense, and it works. I’ve always wondered how the people who write the backing to songs do it. It’s one thing to write a melody. After that, you have to expand it. My songwriting sucks, so I’m in awe. Moving on.
am I going home?
will I hear someone
singing solace to the silent moon?
This song is actually quite poetic.
Also, I think I should say that moon develops five syllables here. At first I thought she was singing “singing solace to the silence, ooooo” but it turned out to be moon. I guess it works either way.
zero gravity. what’s it like?
This line is really strange. Really, really strange. I wonder why they chose to make the melody this way because it really doesn’t fit the lyrics. I guess it’s meant to be her just thinking to herself but for some reason, it just doesn’t sound right. I mean, the emphasis is just wrong.
am I alone?
is somebody there beyond these heavy aching feet?
still the road keeps on telling me to go on
Maaya holds the last note – that is, “like”, and a chorus of Maaya-like people join in to sing “am I alone?” in a wispy sort of way. They hold this too, while Maaya comes in again with “is somebody there…”. After the next line, there is another pause, as before. Actually, the melody is the same.
something is calling me
i feel the gravity of it all.
I really like the way the composer ended this verse (I’ll call it a verse, because I can’t really tell if this song has a chorus or not. It’s more a ballad-type song, I think), by doing what he did at the start, only in a better-sounding way. It really fits the words, because the melody had lapsed into major again momentarily, and then she’s pulled back down by the gravity of it all into minor.
After this the orchestra comes in again with the melody, while Maaya “aah’s” tunefully in the background. It’s pretty much the whole verse again, except shortened, and then an improvised-sounding piano bit to finish it off, and the orchestra join in on the last few chords. For some reason, it finishes on the dominant chord of the major key that it began in. It sounds vaguely unfinished but then, many songs are like that and I shouldn’t complain so much.
There is a nice feeling to this song and I like the way that the lyrics aren’t repeated at all throughout the whole song. It’s an average-length song, three minutes and a bit, but they still somehow managed to plan it so that the lyrics are only sung once. I think it’s done really well. Although, when the orchestra comes in again with the melody, it sounds somewhat overdone and is reminiscent (again.) of a song from a musical. Not that musical songs are bad, they’re just quite dramatic and I think don’t really suit Maaya’s singing. Apart from the orchestral interludes, though, gravity gets a high rating from me.