01 - Starry Heavens
02 - Neverland
03 - These Days
In Japan, "Starry Heavens" was used as the opening theme for Tales of Symphonia. It was done by the J-Pop band, Day After Tomorrow. Like other Japanese songs, Namco replaced it in the US with a completely different song. In addition to "Starry Heavens," their other songs, "Neverland" and "These Days," are included in the single, which is strangely entitled "moon gate" (usually singles are named after the premiere track on the disc). The band went on hiatus on August 2005, and one of the members, misono, went solo and she did the single for Tales of the Tempest. Just a little history there for you!
"Starry Heavens" started off very weak. It has generic melody and vocals, and seemed too much of an ordinary J-Pop piece. Minutes later, my impressions changed. The melody became increasingly interesting as the song builds. When the electric guitar solo occurred around 3:15, I thought that was very well done. It was a song with a rough start, but a strong finish.
"Neverland" was easily the best song in the single. The great use of electric guitar got me hooked to the song with a nice, slow tempo, and picked up the pace nicely when the melody got upbeat. From there, the guitars meshed with the techno beats, and they complemented each other very well. The vocalist sung in a happy-go-lucky tone in typical J-Pop fashion, but it made the song fun, and it worked well with the melody. What sealed the deal was the great chorus. It was very catchy, and the melody during the chorus enhanced the whole ordeal. That part of the song was stuck in my head for a while.
Compared to the other two songs, I liked "These Days" the least. I liked the easygoing, upbeat melody with a solid usage of electric guitar. It didn't stand out much to me, but it was a nice listen. The problem lies with the vocals. The vocals did fine in the other songs, but the vocals didn't mesh that well in this one. In addition, I didn't like the whole "Ohhhhhh ohhhhh, yeahhhh yeahhhh" which occurred frequently and got old fast.
I grew to like this Tales single a lot. "Starry Heavens" didn't give me a good impression of the band at first, but it picked up nicely. I greatly enjoyed "Neverland," and while I didn't like "These Days" as much as the others, it was solid. Give the single a shot if you see it around.
Reviewed by: Dennis Rubinshteyn