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Review : Hero/Karakaze no Kaeri Michi by J-Fan

August 4, 2008
Hero single cover

Hero single cover

Reviewed by J-Fan Jpop Staff

Released: 12/11/02

Mr. Children’s singles have all been great lately. From “yasashii uta”, to their last single “Any”, they have given us nothing but irresistibly catchy and powerful singles. “HERO” slows things down slightly, with a much more sedated sound than their last four singles.

The opening instrumentals in “HERO” sound very cool. The soft rock guitar sound with the piano sound great together. As usual in Mr. Children songs, strings are added to the mix later in the song. Kazutoshi’s singing sounds incredibly powerful when you get to the fourth and fifth line of the vocals. The chorus, which immediately follows, is not quite as powerful. You probably won’t realize you’ve reached the chorus the first time you hear it. Kazutoshi reaches a very high octave, and his vocals sound a bit light and airy. Later in the song, he brings it down an octave and sings out a little more. “HERO” is not immediately as memorable as their last four A-sides, but you will begin to like it after a few listens.

The B-side track is an even slower song called “karakaze no kaerimichi”. There isn’t much to remember about it, except for the phrases in the chorus which end on very short notes. The phrases are cut-off abruptly, in a very whimsical fashion. This is relatively uncommon in Japanese music.

Although Mr. Children’s music always has a very mature sound, this single has an even more mature sound than usual. The theme of this single is fatherhood, and life experience. Most of their other songs are still basically about young love. The group members are actually pretty old, so they are just acting their age. This single doesn’t feel as young and hip as their previous ones though. In my opinion, this single is not as good as their previous single, “Any”, but it is still a good single that Mr. Children’s fans should be happy with.

Overall Rating: 7 – Not bad

Hero – LIVE at AP BANK FES 2005. Sakurai broke down and cried, unable to sing; the audience sang for him until he was able to resume.

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