A Lasting Legacy
Without a doubt, when talking about avex’s girl group dream, there is one song that comes to mind. Quite easily their biggest hit, and the first ending to far-too-popular anime series Inu-Yasha, My will.
It’s always hard to limit an artist or a group to one song. Well, not if they’re one-hit wonders. But when they have potential, more than just a single hit, or are still active, how do you decide upon – or even just realize – the song that the person/group will be known for? It’s a pretty big speculation, after all.
Luckily for dream (or perhaps unluckily for the current dream), that song’s already been settled. Thanks to it’s tie-in with what was unquestionably one of the most widespread anime series ever, there will never be a shortage of people discovering the girl group for the first time. Unfortunately, thanks to the current state of the anime fandom and pre-teens’ ridiculous tendencies to be lazy, mislabel, and mis-attribute, there may never be a shortage of people thinking this song was sung by Hamasaki Ayumi or BoA instead. But go on, ignore the cranky old-timer (…wait, I’m only 19!) who’s discontent with the state of affairs in her fandom world today.
I confess I really wanted to get this done sooner, but with the rash of new releases, final papers for school, and finally getting out of school, I got bit sidetracked with my writing. And Life? Oh no, Life isn’t having any of this “dream” crap, it told me. But then I argued that it was on my MP3 player anyways, and when it failed to magically delete the files or distract me completely with the LIAR GAME soundtrack, Life gave up and let dream head on their merry way into my ears and my writing… and thus, this blog post.
So for all the trouble I’ve had getting around to this, the 3-nin combination of Matsumuro Mai, Hasebe Yu, and Tachibana Kana managed to win out anyways. They’ve managed to win many a listener with the titular song of this single, too – but surprisingly, my first exposure to them wasn’t My will. It was the B-side, w・h・y. So what better way to start off a series of posts on them than with their best known song and my first song?
o1/ My will (Original Mix)
Though she has since left the group, there’s no way you can ignore Mai’s contributions to it. After all, she wrote the lyrics for a good number of their songs – and this is one of them. (By the way, if you’re one of the MySpace inclined, she recently started her own – yes, yet another one – which you can find here. Personally, it kills my laptop, so I’m staying as far away from it as I can.) A synth love pop ballad that’s meant to be haunting, this is far from being dream’s best work but allows them to showcase their vocal abilities to the level they were at when this was recorded.
o4/ w・h・y (Original Mix)
As mentioned up there, this is my first dream experience – which was perhaps for the better, because this is an energetic dance club song that not only offsets the slower My will, but was more attractive to my 13-year-old-self as I was going into the world of J-Pop. Another love song, this is more empowering and optimistic, and the girls’ voices individually reflect that. But they sound best when they chorus the line together.
There are also 4 remixes along with the two instrumentals for these tracks. Because in the early part of the decade, whenever you bought a single from any artist produced by “Max” Matsuura Masato (yes, the same man behind Hamasaki Ayumi), you were technically buying a remix mini-album. No joke. On one hand, you’d probably think you’re getting a great deal – but on the other hand, it allowed them to charge more for the release. Matsuura’s a shrewd man.
But since I don’t like dealing with remixes and never know how to treat, we’ll leave them be. With or without them, this single is the essence of dream’s function as a girl group – decent pop, on both the dance side and the slower side. It’s a shame 3-nin didn’t last even longer to show us what they could really do.