a review of insane dream / us by Aimer

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It was hard not to keep my expectations up when I first heard the collaboration between Aimer and three amazing, established artists. Taka from One Ok Rock. TK from Ling Toshite Sigure. Yojiori from Radwimps. All three have been in the industry for much longer than Aimer has and with time and artistic integrity, have built their own unique styles. While it is an incredibly feat to have come this far, it is also the underlying problem with this double A-side single. When an artist creates a song for another, it may not necessary fit the vocals or style of the intended recipient.

insane dream gives the same feelings as previous more epic/rock singles like StarRingChild and RE: I AM. It's much more intense and overpowering than what I prefer to hear from her. Not that she can't pull it off because she has shown that she can rock a rock song in Brave Shine. Even though this song was created with Aimer in mind, the end result doesn't convey that at all. I was expecting something else, something that would highlight more of Aimer's strengths, something to call her own. It's hard to categorize this in her discography when it feels like it belongs in someone else's. The same goes for us.  The other A-side single has the same eerie and haunting vibes as Dare Ka, Umi Wo. In addition, the rhythms are fantastic and the ranges fast changing. However this song suffers from two setbacks. One, it sounds too much of older works, a rehash of previous songs.

Second, TK and the rest of LTS have a very distinct style. Because of that, it's difficult to really get into the track which is so typically TK. I can't really imagine anyone else singing it besides the composer himself. Sure, Aimer has a rather flexible ability of adapting to various genres but I believe she hasn't quite mastered that. Maybe rather, it's not a matter of mastering or rather a matter of limitation. tone, on the other hand, is the kind of simple ballad I really look forward to hear from Aimer. It feels emotionally heavy, bittersweet in lyrics and sound. The extended notes in the chorus drags your attention, pulls you down with the stirring of feelings once buried deep inside.

To conclude, despite the hours and effort put in by the duos, the original composer's mark is too overwhelming and takes away from my enjoyment of both A-sides. They're not bad songs per say, slightly average if anything. A lack of originality and a case of identity crises takes away from my enjoyment of these two pieces. I wonder how things play out for the third installment with the lead vocalist from Radwimps.

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