single review: hitomi “SAMURAI DRIVE”

The final single in the ‘huma-rhythm’ series, skipping over “I am / innocence” as I previously reviewed it, sees hitomi tackling on cover territory with “SAMURAI DRIVE”.

With a fierce space-like image that will be further referenced in the album it’s part of, on top of it all with a sleek sexy samurai outfit, “SAMURAI DRIVE” is sticking to a fabulous concept and theme not seen in prior singles. A cover of an original track from Japanese rock band CUNE, “SAMURAI DRIVE” continues the pop-rock trend established in her previous singles, but with a bit of an edge.

Is this final lead-up single to the album going to slay us with its samurai drive, or are we in for a bumpy ride? Let’s take a look!


hitomi
SAMURAI DRIVE
Released: 2002/01/09

SAMURAI DRIVE
7 (SEVEN)
innocence (regenerated version)


hitomi promoting SAMURAI DRIVE

SAMURAI DRIVE

Rating: 5 out of 5.

SAMURAI DRIVE” is a cover of Japanese rock band CUNE’s original track, which was previously a B-side for one of their singles “Hoshi wo Mitereba”.

With that said, hitomi amps up the original, giving it a bit more of a speedy edge to the original’s more mellow-rock vibe. Rather than reliant on guitar and drums, the song incorporates ska-like trumpets and horns, megaphoned-in vocals, and the instrumental is much louder; yet, hitomi belts with power throughout, and even if she isn’t able to reach the notes as high as she possibly could, it still doesn’t hinder the song in any shape or form. In fact, she made the song all hers.

It’s a fantastic track, and the original is just as great, but hitomi’s edgier, almost futuristic take on it is just absolute fun, and it is probably no wonder this is one of her more well-known songs. Drive this single into our brains more, Miss Samurai. We live.


7 (SEVEN)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Initially, I put “7 (SEVEN)” off because I didn’t want to hear a mellow track; it almost started off like one of her tracks from the 90s, which I was never fond of. Boy, was I wrong for writing it off right from the get-go, though.

“7 (SEVEN)” takes on a similar sound that many of her recent songs in this era were already taking on, though there’s more of an airy summery feel to this one; add to that this song is produced by famed Do As Infinity producer, Dai Nagao, so if you, like myself, were wondering how this track sounded so much like a Do As Infinity song of its timeframe, then… well… that explains it!

This is a fantastic song, and it’s one that I only wish I actually took more care to listen to. It’s got this hopeful and free vibe that you’d definitely hear in Do As Infinity music, and to add hitomi’s vocals to something of the sort, it just feels like a great combo. If my ranking was seven stars, it’d get the full 7.


innocence
(regenerated version)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

innocence (regenerated version)” ends the single on a mellow note, taking “innocence”, of which I reviewed here, and completely flips its piano-and-guitar-heavy instrumental for a more acoustic sound, with some additional synths in the background that quietly soothes.

It’s a very calming effort; it definitely has a soothing vibe to it, especially since it completely takes away the more epic sounds of its original’s piano-and-electric-guitar melody. It’s pretty, all while still sounding inspiring.

Of course, the chorus hits a little more, with a joint effort by percussions, electric guitar, all while the acoustic guitar goes – it’s a great take. That said, it’s not quite my favorite version of “innocence”, but who knows? I may regenerate myself to come to like this more.


OVERVIEW

Another fantastic single in the series. We’ve also reached the final single with “SAMURAI DRIVE“, so you know that means I’ll be looking at the album very soon!

I’m giving this one a definite recommend – “SAMURAI DRIVE” really takes it home, here, as its take on CUNE’s great rock track is also just as fantastic, and it really makes it hers. “7 (SEVEN)” might be a DAI reject, but that does not mean it is a bad song, at all; in fact, it’s an amazing hitomi song that I wish I knew earlier. Lastly, “innocence (regenerated version)” is an interesting take on its original, and one I might find myself listening to on occasion!

If being a samurai is this cool, then consider me signed up.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

MUST-LISTEN: SAMURAI DRIVE, 7 (SEVEN)

For more hitomi reviews, visit the archive!

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