Otsuka Ai – ロケットスニーカー / One x Time [17th Single]

May 22, 2008 at 7:47 pm (Otsuka Ai) (, )

Otsuka Ai’s 17th single, ロケットスニーカー / One X Time, was released on 05.21.08. ロケットスニーカー was used as the ending theme for the Japanese dorama “Sanma no Manma.”

ロケットスニーカー is one of Ai’s regular upbeat and poppy songs. The song begins strongly with Ai’s vocals with a more laidback instrumentation before coming into the true sound of the song. The instruments used in the song differ from her traditional uptempo songs such as featuring the piano. The verses feature a catchiness that Ai’s vocals work well with and then the chorus comes. Unlike a few other uptempo and happy songs from Ai, the chorus doesn’t particularly stand apart from the rest of the song as there is no musical or vocal introduction to it. There is a section featuring adlibs from Ai but unfortunately, it doesn’t as strong as hoped. Overall, the song is a rough around the edges but it’s all right.

One X Time is a nice midtempo song. It begins with the piano playing accompanied by snapping before more instruments come into the picture to create a beautiful flourish of sounds. The verses start and Ai uses a lower vocal approach to work with the song. When the chorus comes, it doesn’t stand out as strong as hoped much like the previous song. However, Ai’s vocals are great in this one and the breathy approach that she sometimes uses works perfectly with the instrumentation. Overall, One X Time is nice but it could have been a lot more.

空とくじら, the B-side, is a nice slow song. The song begins with a guitar playing before the verse starts and Ai sings in a lower register. It works well with the music but isn’t as strong as Ai is capable of. The good thing about this song is that the chorus stands out with Ai’s vocals and the consistency of the instrumentation doesn’t hinder the song. The pure instrumental section is actually very nice and spotlights how pretty the instrumentation is. Overall, the song is pretty good and the instrumentation is nice, even if basic. Her vocals sound great and work well with the music.

In order to promote the single, a PV for ロケットスニーカー was made but unfortunately it didn’t turn out so well. The entire video consists of mutliple Ais in a space world. The video is very disappointing and the song definitely deserved more.

Single Ranking: B –

ロケットスニーカー is a nice uptempo track that has a relaxing element to it. The song’s problem is that the instrumentation is a bit too basic and sometimes, her voice sounds a little rough in conjunction with the music. Much like the other A-side, One X Time has something lacking about it that prevents it from being great. However her vocals sound great here and is a definite plus for the song. 空とくじら is a nice song that relies on the guitar as well as Ai’s good vocals. Overall, this single was missing some of Ai’s magic because the songs were “nice” and “okay” but they didn’t blow it out of the water like she can do.

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