alan’s 8th single, entitled 群青の谷, was released on 02.04.09. With lyrics written by Cocco, the song was written specially for victims of the Sichuan 2008 Earthquake. That location is also the setting of the promotional video.
群青の谷 is one of the strongest songs from the Voice of EARTH era. After back-to-back ballad single releases, this song is a breath of fresh air, taking elements of breathtaking traditional sounds and a more uptempo pace. The song begins with a very sweetly as the emphasis is on alan’s voice as she sings from the heart. Here, the instrumentation is very simple, just being the sounds of an acoustic guitar and a certain “doll-like” sound that stands out to the listener. Then the song’s true sound comes through as the pace picks up the instrumentation becomes more diverse. Again, alan’s vocals are amazing as usual and carry a certain freedom to them that will touch the listener’s heart. They’re even stronger on the chorus as she pours out the emotions, particularly on those notes which she holds with beauty. Since the music is so wonderful, it’s no surprise that the pure instrumental section really gets under the listener’s skin and pervades throughout. Near the end, alan effectively shows off her vocal range as she reaches high and hits those angelic notes that only she can. Closing the song is the same sweet and more relaxing sound that begins the song and it’s the perfect way to round out the song and tie it together. It’s a fantastic song and alan sounds so natural and comfortable on it that the listener can feel it.
In order to promote the single, a PV for 群青の谷 was made. alan shot the video in Sichuan and the video is a visual masterpiece. It begins with alan playing the erhu for a group of people and you can tell that everyone is into it as they are slightly swaying back and forth. At this scene (and throughout the entire video), the view is incredible and is a breathtaking experience. The rest of the video features two primary parts: alan wandering the town in a very pretty wihte sweater and alan essentially singing to nature, wearing a gorgeous red dress and a magnificent cover to keep her cool. With its various colors, it really reflects the ultramarine valley of the title. It’s an absolutely magical video that suits the song perfectly.
Single Ranking: A +
With a string of singles under her belt, it was a challenge for alan to deliver a song that would make itself memorable from the other seven ones. However the challenge proved to be very easy for alan as 群青の谷 is one of the best singles released thus far. It ties together traditional elements and an upbeat tempo to make a very standout track that touches the listener. alan’s vocals are no less than amazing as usual and she really brings the song to full blooming life.