single review: hitomi “IS IT YOU?”

Second up in hitomi’s ‘huma-rhythm’ set is the single “IS IT YOU?“, released in the last half of 2001.

Containing three songs, hitomi begs us the age-old question of whether who we’re looking for is you, wants us to keep an open mind, and then asks a new question: why? Continuing with the inspirational and orchestral pop-rock sound she now is putting into full force, hitomi aims to answer the many questions the single has.

So this begs the question: are you, the listener, the one? Is it you? Is she what you’re looking for? Let’s see!


hitomi
IS IT YOU?
Released: 2001/08/22

IS IT YOU?
OPEN MIND
WHY?


IS IT YOU?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With a strum of a lone guitar before expanding into a toned-down guitar and drum combo, “IS IT YOU?” starts off with a somber but soft tone, with hitomi delivering vocals so nicely.

We’re then thrust into the rest of the song: a tour-de-force of strings, heavy electric guitar, drums, all booming into one with hitomi’s vocals at power – it is a beautiful song; there’s emotion in its chorus, and the orchestral melody gives the song such an epic feel. The same pattern follows, but it doesn’t let itself get boring; in fact, an interlude picks things up, incorporating a full on pop-rock moment that has hitomi incorporating elements from “Fighting Girl” into the song, all while the orchestra tags along. It’s fantastic.

So, is it you that she’s been looking for? Because I feel like she’s now found you and has your full attention.


OPEN MIND

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I’ll be vulnerable at the gig here… I used to dislike “OPEN MIND” when I first heard it, and I think it had something to do with it introduction, because that usage of whatever stock/background vocal was so off-putting when I was younger.

Well, I certainly didn’t have an open mind at the time, but now, when I listen to it more and more over the last 15 or so years since I heard it (has it really been that long), “OPEN MIND” grows quite nicely on you. It’s a fun track, and it certainly has all the checks of an early 00s pop-rock jam, much in the vein of “Fighting Girl”. There’s a speedy electro element to it in the background, giving it a fun edge. The stock/background vocal of ‘daikirai, just do it, come on, come on’ is constant but it never seems to distract unless focused on.

“OPEN MIND” definitely is not A-side material, but if you keep an open mind, you might just find yourself listening to this in conjunction with “IS IT YOU?”… and I wouldn’t blame you for it.


WHY?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

WHY?” is actually one of my favorite hitomi songs.

I don’t quite understand ‘why’ myself, but perhaps it has something to do with how less of a pop-rock song it actually is, so it is refreshing after hearing a pop-rock type of song under different names one too many times. There’s more electro elements involved here, though the electric guitar also takes hold during the chorus. Its instrumental is simple in verse forms, with a staccato-like synth taking the front while a constant percussion beat goes on behind. It’s a fun song, and while I myself love it, I could see this not being others’ cup of tea.

Perhaps it’s also just nostalgia, as “WHY?” is one of the songs that really got me into hitomi in the first place, but whether it’s nostalgia or it’s how the song is crafted, something remains the same: it’s still fantastic. And I don’t have to really know ‘why’.


OVERVIEW

Another fantastic single from this era, for sure.

I’m beginning to wonder if ‘huma-rhythm’ is going to have all the elements of each of its singles in many of its newer tracks. “IS IT YOU?” might be a really good indicator, as there’s different elements for each of the songs, yet they all sound like they all flow together so nicely, so I’m hoping they flow incredibly well in an album format (all three do actually appear in the album).

That said, the single is a definite recommend. One of the gems that I feel, if you’re just starting with hitomi (whether it be right off the bat, or following a listen of “I am”), “IS IT YOU?” is a great stepping point.

So is it you that will also get into hitomi like I have?

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

MUST-LISTEN: WHY?, IS IT YOU?, OPEN MIND

For more hitomi reviews, visit the archive!

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