Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Nana Mizuki – Testament

Aleksandra Prijović’s run as Singer Of 2017’s Most Bombastic Song Named “Testament” didn’t last long…


Ian Mathers: I had no idea who Nana Mizuki was or of the provenance this song, and I still went “anime theme song” within 30 seconds. I haven’t really kept up with much anime since high school, but I can practically see the fight scenes and character portraits, assuming the visual language has stayed as similar as the musical one seems to have, and I can’t see listening to this in a vaccuum that often. If I knew/was a fan of the show, it’d get me pumped way up, but at 4 minutes I feel the hangover before I’ve even stopped drinking, you know?

Olivia Rafferty: Normally I can write about songs during my first listen, but for “Testament” I was thrown back in my chair. This song demands full attention, and it demands to be played loud. The scale of it is absolutely delicious: orchestra hits, sweeping strings, ominous chorals, dirty distorted guitars and electronic swoops. We’ve been given everything including the kitchen sink here, and what more could we ask for?

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Epic rawk guitars and dramatic strings to match — these are things you could use to describe Nana Mizuki songs from fourteen years ago or just last year. There’s more of a focused energy to “Testament” than her average anison (or anison-sounding) track, so it hits you like a huge gust of wind from the get-go. But as it goes on, its impact starts to diminish. By the time that bridge occurs at 2:40, I already feel like I’ve had enough of what this song has to offer. A rare case where the shortened music video is superior. One clocking in at 1:30 would’ve been fine too.

Ryo Miyauchi: If you’d told me that this was a leftover from Ayumi Hamasaki’s M(A)DE IN JAPAN, I would’ve totally believed you.

David Moore: Extra point for single-handedly raising the average 2017 Singles Jukebox BPM, I guess.

Patrick St. Michel: Anime theme songs need to convey a certain drama, which over the last decade has meant “lots of chugging guitars.” Nana Mizuki, a veteran of this industry, wisely beefs up “Testament” to be more than just J-rock runoff. She adds string swoops, a pulsing machine beat and plenty of vocal flair, letting her individual words get time to shine. Ultimately, this is still designed to be enjoyed as a minute-long opener before a show about idols fighting space aliens gets going, so there isn’t room to really explore more. But compared to most three-chords-and-done rock backing TV Tokyo franchises, this is solid. 

Sonia Yang: Mizuki was one of my favorite singers back in high school — having discovered her through one a minor anime voice role, I fell in love with her music instead. Wielding a husky vibrato (her original aspiration was to become an enka singer), she charmed me with cheesy retro tracks and sparkly anime theme songs alike. By the 2010s, Mizuki sat awkwardly in between the world of anisong and mainstream J-pop; too big to stay confined by the former but not quite daring enough to make a full leap into the latter. As a result, all her new singles after a certain point pander to a certain tired formula. “Testament” too falls into this trap, but it’s at least more inspired than some others. The driving synths and bombastic wailing remind me very much of the two singles she did in collaboration with T.M.Revolution, another legend in the anisong world. The verses and prechorus build tension wonderfully, but the chorus falters and loses some momentum, buoyed only by Mizuki’s powerful voice.

Katherine St Asaph: Best. “Cruel Summer” remix. Ever.

Ashley John: “Testament” is huge and booming, but careful enough that it doesn’t run away from itself. Nana Mizuki guides the song through warp speeds and slower interludes, but maintains control throughout. 

Tara Hillegeist: For all that “Testament” might feature a bridge about “wanting to protect that special smile”, it isn’t operating in a very pleasant register. Mizuki rushes her way through less a celebration of willpower and endurance and more a martial command — a Spartanlike dream of love so violent and singleminded that it still rings in the ears long after its chosen battlefield has gone. Nana Mizuki specializes in a certain kind of barbaric fauxperatic mode of pop song and this is no exception — even if the well hasn’t run dry she’s not managing anything new with the idea here. A rousing piece of vengeful symphonic-metal arrogance like “Forbidden Resistance“, “Testament” is not; like the late-night animated series it acts as promotional material for, it’s nothing but a petulant, tiresome retread that everyone involved with needs to either find a new perspective upon or outgrow already.

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10 Responses to “Nana Mizuki – Testament”

  1. You know everyone is just waiting for this sites clone-mind thinking takes on Swift’s LWYMMD before commenting. I can guess already what you all will say….it’ll be superfluous criticism about the song not having the sameness of other hits, unimaginative takes on it being a petty diss track, and an inability to actually delve into what she as the artist is trying to present from her own perspective.
    kinda like the media/critics are a serial harrasser of a woman who never admits his own culpability but continually ignores the woman’s autonomy and right to react to abuse of herself.

  2. stay tuned ;) ;) ;)

  3. gotta say that’s some primo bait

  4. *starts rewriting blurb*

  5. Cool, I cant wait to read the same tired takes about “she’s playing the victim again” “thd lyrics are a downgrade from her previous songs” “look at this poor attempt at shading” etc etc.
    hopefully someone on here has imagination and can listen and actually hear the message of the song. Im kinda dissapointed in the universal jumping on the train by most pseudo music critics and their inability to hear or say anything other than the politically correct “Taylor is a petty Trump supporting racist so her new song is undoubtedly shitty”

  6. katherine, on August 31st, 2017 at 7:17 pm Said:
    gotta say that’s some primo bait

  7. chonkers please stop commenting

  8. You know, I saw “7 responses” and went “cool, I wonder what people are saying about this song?” How fucking naive of me.

  9. sorry ian. hoping for better, alas, does not bring us better.

  10. lol @ ian