Performed by: Maaya Sakamoto
Lyrics: Chris Mosdell
Composer: Kanno Yoko
Relation to anime: insert song in Wolf’s Rain (2003).
Released as part of Wolf’s Rain OST Vol. 2.
You can find the lyrics here in full.
The song opens with a (probably synthesized) harp plucking a melancholy tune in the higher register. Unlike gravity the instrumental introduction is kept simple and is actually in the same key as most of the song. The harp continues to play throughout the song, although it doesn’t really have a solo role except for in the opening. I am glad though. I think that the sound of the harp suits Maaya’s voice perfectly. Also, it sounds a little like tuneful rain, which is quite appropriate for the lyrics.
Tell me what the rain knows
O are these the Tears of Ages
That wash away the Wolf’s Way
And leave not a trace of the day?
Maaya sings in a breathy style for most of this song, and for some reason it sort of echoes. Maybe it’s the microphone, though I don’t actually know how they record songs, so maybe she didn’t have a microphone. It just echoes so much…The orchestra does too, later, when it comes in. At this point she’s just accompanied by solo harp.
Luckily for me this song is in English, so I don’t have to deal with weird translations and also it flows a lot better when I’m trying to analyse it. Although I have to say that this song doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched the anime – if anyone knows what the “wolf’s way” is, please tell me! also, why are the “Tears of Ages” capitalised??
They’re very pretty lyrics though.
Tell me what the rain knows
O is this the flood of fortune
That pours itself upon me?
O see how I drown in this sea
I can’t say much for Maaya’s pronunciation here. I don’t think she really does justice to the lyrics of the song. The breathiness fits the mood well, and she captures the loneliness and confusion, and as always her pitch is flawless, but… (Make that just confusion. As I said, I really don’t get this song. It maketh no sense. >_>)
The dodgy pronunciation and poem-esque language combine to make it difficult for people to make out the lyrics and therefore their feeling for the song might be different from what was intended. For example, in the last line of this verse, “O see how I drown in this sea”, I really thought she was singing, “see how I drown in the sea”. Taken out of context (and it was out of context. I couldn’t understand much of the lyrics), one might think that she was singing about how she was drowning in a literal sea. Or a sea of her tears or something. Whereas, she’s actually singing about the “flood of fortune/that pours itself upon me”. I don’t actually understand that either, but the point is that I wish Maaya could pronounce english better. She really doesn’t need such a big range, so I think she should try to pronounce better instead.
Hark, hear the howl that eats the moon alive
Your fur is on fire
The smoke turns the whole sky raven black
And the world upon your back will crack
This verse has a sense of desperation about it, probably because Maaya emphasises the “h” alliteration in “hhhhhhhhark, hhhhhhhear the hhhhhhhhhowl that eats the moon alive” with more breathiness. More examples of Maaya’s large range and also even dodgier pronunciation, joy.
Interestingly, the backing has been increasing steadily up til this point, adding strings, wind and piano too, with the faithful harp always in the background. *listens to it again* Amazingly I did not notice the instrumental backing at all, and won’t unless I listen carefully. Obviously, Maaya’s voice either 1. stands out so much that you don’t notice the backing or 2. blends so well with the backing that you can’t tell the difference. Hmm. In any case, I really like the backing in this, it’s really well done. Much more subtle than gravity.
Maaya’s tone changes in the last line into…I don’t know what. Like a pencil, all clear and kind of jagged. I prefer breathiness actually. At least it blends better. And it fits the mood. Even if she sounds rather wimpy sometimes.
Also, Maaya divides herself somehow and holds some notes and then sings over them. It’s quite odd, I don’t think that there are backing singers so she must record herself several times. There is some “ooh” -ing but there are also instances where halfway through a line she’ll sing normally and then she’ll hold one note and then start singing again, divided in two. Or even three sometimes. It’s strange, I’ve never heard that happen before. It makes me wonder how she performs it live.
Ahem. Answer to that: she doesn’t. This isn’t really a song that you can sing live anyway.
Instrumental interlude. Quite a short one. It’s very pretty actually with piano playing the tune of the first verse in chords and strings harmonising. This ends with a questing major chord leading up to a pause, after which Maaya sings the last lines like she’s dying.
Where will you go
Now you’ve no home?
Let the rain wash away your last days
I was wrong before to say that people wouldn’t understand the song’s meaning. You can pick it from the overall mood anyway. Though the details are somewhat…lost.
The question in the last lines is so powerful, and Maaya sings it even more breathily than the previous lines. It sounds like a divine enquiry to the listener.
Also, Maaya sounds like she’s about to cry. I wonder if she sings this song and then starts crying. Probably not, too unprofessional.
In the last note the orchestra is actually louder than Maaya. I approve of this, because the harmonies can come out more fully then. The chord itself is A minor, consistent with the key of the song, but with the 2nd (B) added. This creates a note of doubt and unease for the listener. I think it’s a perfect ending to such a troubled and melancholy song.
This is a beautiful song and I’m really sad that it’s so short, only 1:41 mins. If anyone finds a longer version anywhere, could you please tell me? Although, I doubt that there is a longer version, since the lyrics are complete as they are, and I guess it’s better that it’s not extended just to be standard length. It’s a very haunting song, more so because I can’t understand what she’s singing about.
While I don’t think this is one of Maaya’s best songs, singing-wise, it’s good. By itself. Although, I don’t know who else could sing it better than Maaya. It’s just so….complete, with the perfect backing and all. This is one of my favourite songs, actually. And no it’s not boring. So. ><‘