I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Megumi Hayashibara -- Northern Lights
One of the first songs, if not the first, by Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ) I ever listened to almost fifteen years ago, “Northern Lights” is also one of Megumi’s most iconic songs. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorites today, even if it’s one of her concert staples (which means I end listening to it more than I like to think), but it serves, alongside “Give a reason”, as that ever-present hit song every successful artist has.
“Northern Lights” is a powerful and urgent song, but it sounds too much like a shounen/adventure theme song. In fact, it was used as the second opening theme for the Shaman King series, a funny and interesting anime based on a manga of the same name. Overall, I like how catchy and singalong it is and Megumi’s vocals are pretty good, but I think it’ll never be my favorite Megumi song again, just like it was in 2004.
Maybe I enjoy its slow version more, thanks to a down to earth arrangement and a focus in Megumi’s vocals. It’s strange, but the song became quite dramatic too, which is a nice change of pace if compared to the explosive original version. Unfortunately, the “<ballade version>”, as it’s called, is nowhere to be found on YouTube and similar sites.
Released as Megumi’s 41st single in March 2002, it reached #3 on the Weekly Oricon chart and ended selling 93,080 copies. Both the original version and the “<ballade version>” were included in Megumi’s “center color” album, released in January 2004. Lyrics were written by Megumi herself, while music and arrangement (both versions) were composed by Go Takahashi (たかはしごう).