Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Otsuka Ai – SMILY / ビー玉 [8th Single]

Posted on: July 20, 2008

Otsuka Ai’s eighth single, entitled SMILY / ビー玉, was released on 05.11.05. While SMILY was used as the CM song for Lion’s Ban Powder Spray, ビー玉 was used for Lion’s Shokubutsu Monogatari Herb Blend Shampoo CM.

SMILY, an uptempo happy fun song, is the first A-side. The song begins with the hook, filled with “la la la” and the repetition of the word that begins each phrase makes it stand out. The chorus features a little more vocal strength from as she sings in a very cutesy voice. Although some might be put off, it’s actually a nice fit with the overall atmosphere of the song. Although the song is pretty simple, it does have a nice feeling to it that just makes the listener want to smile along with Ai.

ビー玉 is the more relaxing A-side. Opening the song is a very pretty and interesting instrumental before the first verse starts. Her vocals sound very nice as she sings the verse. The chorus stands out a little more as her voice gets into a more cute feeling, still bringing to life the beauty of the lyrics.

In order to promote the single, a PV for SMILY was made and it’s definitely one of Ai’s stranger videos. The video features various older men dancing and Ai almost getting hit by a truck. However weird it might be, it does communicate that happiness that the song is all about. The third verse is a nice change of pace as the guitar is really spotlighted and the following pure instrumental sequence sounds gorgeous, putting an emhasis on just how creative the instrumentation is. This is the stronger A-side and definitely hits the listener stronger.

Single Ranking: B +

Otsuka Ai’s 8th single is a combination of two songs that show off two sides of Ai. The first A-side is the happy and peppy song, SMILY, just made for smiling to. ビー玉 takes the listener onto a more relaxing feeling that resonates with the listener better.

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