I'm personally no crybaby, but I could feel a speech-impeding lump forming in my throat when this track surges into its vocal and orchestral climaxes. Whoever composed the melody and the orchestral parts is a musical genius and should stay with Arashi forever and ever. The melody itself has a great shape, swooping and climbing, full of tension and release; and with this musical arrangement, which I absolutely adore, it packs quite a punch in all the right places.
To listen to the song on Youtube, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCyoKKZmAxg
I do advise you to buy the album from cdjapan, just because Arashi's music tends to get taken down from Youtube pretty quickly due to copyright reasons, so it's always best if you just be a good fan and buy the real thing!
The song begins with orchestral buildup (mostly strings and wind), which swells right into a deftly moving Ohno verse that hits a moderately high note before winding back down. Aiba then picks up the answering verse with a beautiful brass (can't tell what kind because I'm not a musician) accompaniment steadily augmenting the tension. A few repeating piano notes add some melancholy into the mix, too. Aiba's voice trails off like light mist in the highest range I've ever heard him sing in.
Then, we hear a group of voices (I don't think it's all five, but I could be wrong) that leads us (complete with the sparkly sound effect) right into the uplifting chorus (here, it's definitely all five) of "Hey! Ima omoi no mama ni..." The second "Hey!" line lifts us into "愛を歌おう" with a delicious melodic jump-and-hook on the "uta" syllables. There's some nice descent on the "ah"s but we're back on the tension plateau with "hibike." A repetition of the "Hey!" surges and then an omfg-so-perfect-I-could-cry succession of running notes that end in a dangling and delicately high "Mou sugu." The focus is so intense here that all orchestral backdrop cuts off at this line so all we here is the bare naked five voices. Cannot wait to see this moment in concert.
Verse 2 begins with Sho's somewhat husky voice, which (surprisingly) could perform the pitch jump with a nice echo effect added as the melody dropped back to the lower register at the end of the verse. Nino (sounding very sexy in the low, I may add) picks up the answering verse, and though his voice gets a little lost in the instrumentals at the higher pitches, we can still follow the delicate string of his long note at the end when MatsuJun comes in with the lead-in. Then, it's the chorus again, which is pretty much the same as the first round.
Right after the 2nd chorus, we have the rhythm slowing down with a transitional verse that starts with "Sail away..." It's got backup in the form of an willowy voice that wouldn't be out of place in a fantasy film soundtrack. And then, what should come but the eagerly anticipated Sakurap! It's steady, and he plays around with the similar sounding syllables as usual before the instrumentals swell and suddenly stop.
Aiba, with velvet in his voice, enters with what sound like Nino and Jun harmonizing in a low verse that quickly ascends (and in ascending, morphs into a Nino-dominated harmony) and ends on that familiar high note dangle from "mou sugu." The "Hey!"s surge up in their full power again for the final run of the chorus. The last "Hey!" line ends with an "I love you." instead of the "mou sugu" which is just oh so perfectly light and tender in contrast to the power melody before it. A swoooooooon-worthy line.
And just in case you weren't already swooning, the strings and winds decide to then swell with bits of Sho rap sandwiched in there as the music builds and builds and builds and builds.... and finally climaxes in full fanfare around Arashi's harmonizing voices like it's the end to a timeless Disney movie.
I don't understand much Japanese myself, but I took the time to find the translated lyrics online (http://yarukizero.livejournal.com/158354.html) and they do complete justice to the power of the music, tender but not cloying, uplifting but not without a bittersweet wistfulness. Lyrically, it's got that hint of poetry I love in my Asian songs. Sigh, why so perfect, Arashi? This song is an emotional opening number to the album and a beautiful anthem to love in every way. Yes, I will be listening to this on repeat for the rest of the night now. Ah, if only my copy of LOVE would arrive already!
Note: I am a complete amateur when it comes to music or sound-mixing or movie making or just about anything in the idol business, so whatever I write on this blog is really just me trying to make sense of how my untrained eyes and ears are picking up the awesomeness that is Arashi. So basically, don't use this as a source for your music theory projects, kids. Try nekobot's Listening to Arashi livejournal blog instead if you want a real pro's opinion on things (http://listening-storm.livejournal.com/).