Single Review: Border by ClariS

20150526-231602.jpg Release Date: January 7, 2015 (sorry I’m late. I didn’t know this existed until recently)

ClariS is a J-pop duo made up of members Clara and Karen. Previously, it was made up of Clara and Alice, but Alice left and was replaced by Karen beginning with this single. To clarify, this is Karen’s debut single as a part of ClariS, after Alice’s departure. ClariS became known on the japanese video sharing site (a la YouTube) Nico Nico Douga as “アリス☆クララ” (Alice☆Clara) in 2009, but changed their name to “ClariS” in 2010. Because they are only in high school, they have not revealed their identities and are only drawn as illustrations. Notable works include Connect, Luminous, and Colorful for Puella Magi Madoka☆Magica, Irony for Oreimo.

Border is the 11th single by ClariS, and is the ending theme for the anime Tsukimonogatari.

1. Border
2. Reflect
3. カイト (Kite)
4. Border ~instrumental~
5. Border (TV size)

1. Border
Border starts out with who I’m guessing is Karen singing, with just guitar for instrumental. As she repeats the notes (but different words), the bass and drums come in. Clara replaces Karen and has a different part, but is still just those main 3 instruments as the instrumental. The chorus is (obviously) more exciting than the verse, and the notes are longer and more drawn out. Karen has the last line of the chorus for some reason, but it still sounds fine. The song transitions back into the verse, which sounds pretty much exactly like the 1st one, without the solo guitar for the instrumental. It has a down verse for a little bit during the 2nd half (Clara’s part) of the verse, but picks back up for the chorus. The 2nd chorus sound pretty much the same, except for it going into the bridge afterwards. The instrumental bridge has a nice synthesized acoustic guitar, and then the drums come in. and ruin it. The vocal bridge has Clara having lead for most of it, and Karen coming in at the end (like at the choruses). Speaking of the chorus, the song has a down chorus for the first 3 syllables, but picks right back up afterward. Chorus is the same (as always), except for overdub at the end of it. The song’s outro is a guitar riff, with the duo having almost a 2nd bridge during it. The song’s ending is a cold lyrical ending, which means that it ends a capella. Overall a good song for ClariS, and is a little more rock than the other songs I’ve heard from them like Nexus.

2. Reflect
Reflect starts out almost dubstep-like with synthesizers and a rockin’ beat. Karen has the verse, with the beat still going. However, she sounds a little weak on the high notes. Clara, like in Border, replaces Karen for the 2nd half of the verse, though she can sound a little weak on the high notes as well. I’m wondering if it’s the song, and not them. Anyway, the song sings the same thing that they sang at the beginning for the chorus, but has more oomph to the background (background vocals, more instruments, etc.). The second verse is very much like the first, but the beat sound is gone. This is beneficial because at this point in the song, one is probably getting tired of it. It’s back when she sings the next part, however. The song continues with no change for the next part of the verse and chorus. For the bridge afterwards, Clara continues with lead, and has an echo. For the next part of the song, it plays a down chorus, with the vocals through a filter. The filter is gradually removed as the instruments come back in. The song ends exactly how it began, with the synthesizers going full blast. Again, this is yet another song that is more rock than others. However, it can sometimes sound like it’s trying to be a dubstep remix, which can make it sound a bit generic, which doesn’t necessarily mean bad (in my opinion).

3. カイト (Kite)
カイト starts off a little like a slower tempo Luminous, if you replaced the piano with synthesizers. Clara starts off the verse, and does a key change in the middle of it. Karen comes in harmony when Clara repeats the part. After a short violin riff, the song replaces the instrumental with (a different kind of) synthesizer for the second half of the verse. After more violin, the song heads into the chorus. The chorus is more connected then the verses, but it hits a flat note in it which ruins it. To redeem themselves after they do that strange note, they have an even better part for the rest of the line. They repeat this for the rest of the chorus (including the note offense). More violin comes after the verse, with Karen doing the 1st part of the verse instead of Clara. Other than that, the 2nd verse and chorus are pretty much the same. For the bridge, it begins with going back and forth between piano and synthesizer (+a little violin). After doing that, the piano takes the lead, which sounds pretty good in comparison to the rest of the song. For the final chorus, it goes into a higher key (but still offends with that note). For the ending, it has more violin, and that’s pretty much it. This song is basically a combination of a slower tempo off-key Luminous with the style of the verses of LiSA’s Waratte Hoshikute (which is a bad thing). Though for some reason, some of the piano parts (especially during the bridge) remind me of some song from Pokémon. Almost like they have some form of nostalgia to them. Anyway, other than the piano parts, this song is definitely the worst song on the single by far.

4. Border ~instrumental~
Title is self-explanitory.

5. Border (TV size)
This is the 1:30 version of the song that played at the end of Tsukimonogatari’s episodes. To tell the truth, I’m not that much of a ClariS fan, and the sole reason I heard of them was from Madoka☆Magica. Despite that, this single is pretty solid and worth listening to (except for カイト/Kite). My favorite track on here would probably be Reflect.

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3 thoughts on “Single Review: Border by ClariS

  1. By nostalgia, did you mean that it’s because “Kite” sounded like a Pokemon song and is that because it would be an older Pokemon song? Interesting idea for a group (although perhaps for Japan it’s not as unique) despite what you’ve expressed as the inconsistent quality of the music.

    Liked by 1 person

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