Air: Natsukage – Lia
Air: Natsukage – Lia
Key Sounds Label
August 10, 2001
Buy Used Copy
The soundtrack for Key’s visual novel Air was a major hit in Japan, thanks to both its theme songs and instrumental music. In her professional debut, now-established artist Lia was responsible for singing the three theme songs for the title. To commemorate her debut, Key also released a vocal single featuring an arrangement of the instrumental “Summer Lights” and the exclusive B-side “nostalgia”.
Key were wise to recognise that “Summer Lights” was well-received on the main soundtrack. The vocal arrangement “Natsukage” retains the longing melody and expressive piano-based opening of the original. However, it shifts from the worldly flavour of the original in favour of a more spiritual aura. The ethereal synthpads, echoing vocals, and sonorous strings all emphasise this aspect, while ensuring the track is even more expressive and radiant than the original.
While the instrumentals are consistently rich, vocalist Lia is definitely the star of “Natsukage”. She brings so much humanity to the melody with her distinctive semi-operatic voice. Even more impressively, she ensures the transition from instrumental piece to vocal ballad is a smooth one. The track develops in a stunning away throughout its six minute playtime and each listen will reveal new subtleties and interludes, each as beautiful as the next.
The B-side “Nostalgia” is much more gushing than “Natsukage”. Lia emphasises all the drama and tragedy in the melody with her tear jerking performance. The only accompaniment for the first two minutes are wailing strings and fragile piano passages. The pop beats that eventually emerge are a little tacky, but drive the piece towards an impressive climax. This is another fantastic display of Lia’s talent and at least as good as the A-side.
Overall, this is an excellent vocal single thanks to a combination of excellent arrangement and a wonderful performance. Those that enjoy highly expressive ballads should consider listening to these songs. Those wishing to purchasing these songs may want to consider the album Key + Lia Best instead; while three times the price, it features 14 songs, including both “Natsukage” and “nostalgia”.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on January 18, 2016.