February singles catch-up: Noriyuki, Hikki, Adam K

You know February has been bad for music when Noriyuki Makihara’s single “Firefly ~Boku wa Ikiteiku” is the best release all month. I mean really. The only work I know by this guy is 1999’s “Hungry Spider.” Isn’t he more of an adult contemporary artist? Jesus. By the end of the performance he looks like he’s going to pass out (but it’s so cute when he claps his hands, it’s forgiveable). Also, he’s not trying to be ironic with the sweater, is he? A brilliant song, though, subtly based on piano and consistently orbiting acousics and heavy drums (fake, real, who cares). I won’t bother debating this great song, it’s probably the one thing I’ve been the most sure about in the past four weeks.

So is it “Firefly” or Hikaru Utada’s “HEART STATION” that gets top billing? I honestly couldn’t tell you. The thing about Utada’s single is that it was leaked about five years too early for it to matter too much come February. That doesn’t necessarily dispute its greatness, it was just greatness a month prior. Lots of soulful crooning and breathing on the title track, plus a stunning piano loop on “Stay Gold;” I couldn’t ask for much more in my art-pop diva. Her album by the same title comes out later this month and it’s one of the few releases that are sure to make a splash this March (aside from Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours, which won’t make a splash anywhere, but which I’ll spend far too long gushing about anyway).

Best trance single this month is, by far, Adam K’s “Long Distance” (look, a shitty non-video). I don’t have words to back this up, and why should I? It’s an instrumental track that speaks for itself. First time I’ve heard harmonica (palatable harmonica) in a trance title without wincing. This paragraph now officially serves as nothing except proof that I listened to other singles besides Japanese pop this month (Son Ho Young is Korean, so there).