Video of the Month: Snow White/D

Live performance of D‘s  “Snow White

Out of all the videos I’ve watched in…well, probably all year, to be honest, I have to say this live footage of D’s Snow White was overall the most striking out of everything. The visuals are low-key, the sound quality is really bad– altogether it’s more or less like watching it through a hazy film, and the song itself is pretty mellow– but despite all this, I haven’t seen anything so striking in a good while. Sure, I’ve heard a lot of songs that beat Snow White in amazing-factor, and seen some incredible live footage that trump its visuals, but still…

Here it is: it is a performance that would have made Malice Mizer proud– in their Gackt days, no less. It was the quintessential Visual-Kei performance. Asagi comes out of this unidentifiable object– something like a cross between a chandelier, a coffin, a bouquet, and a garden arbor. As he sings, he slowly descends the stairs to the stage where ‘rose-bushes’ have been arranged, and the band stands calmly. He is dressed in an elaborate ensemble that would make Snow White weep. By the peak of the song, Asagi has reached the stage and stands there, doing little but hold the mic and sing. Through most of the song, snow is falling on the stage, encouraging the gentle moodiness of the piece and the atmosphere together. They have arranged the performance perfectly to both capture the ideal of the Visual performance, and to support the perfect ballad.

The use of piano created just the romantic melancholy the whole thing was screaming for, and the way they eased into the other instruments was delightful and well-timed. It all melded neatly with the vocals, and got more rockish as it went on without disturbing the tempo or feeling. I really enjoyed the way they tied the piano and vocals to the music with the bass line.

The vocals were some of the most original I’ve heard– again, in quite a while. The way he begins beautifully– but in standard Asagi style (although he does let up a bit to suit the mood and melody), and then when he hits the chorus– well, just listen to it and you’ll see. Opera-rockers are shaking in their boots right now– and rightly so. Dhas really earned honors with this one. Not only is it a beautiful new ballad– Asagi rocks Visual-kei’s European-opera roots right down to its lace stockings. That ‘experimental’ use of a totally different vocal style is what absolutely makes the whole song.

At the end, Asagi hollers out to the audience in his usual majestically macho fashion– but after the initial ‘return to cool Visual-kei kingship’, he dips right back into that well we just basked in and murmurs softly, Arigatou, thus creating the perfect conclusion. So even though he breaks the spell, as it were, he brings us right back into the magic with that one little word.

Positively brilliant.

Snow White can be found on the single Snow White. It is D‘s latest addition, fresh off the press January 21st, 2009. They’ve really polished up since going major, which you can see clearly when listening to Snow White and Birth and then going back to their older stuff…everything is crisper, cleaner, and have they even gone anti-hero? Oh who knows. Their newest single is truly a beauty– down to the album cover. The single comes with the songs Snow White, Snow White ~ Another Gift (an upbeat, faster, rock version of the song),  Night Ship “D”  (Live Version), Snow White (Voiceless).

Snow White - D

Album artwork

Check out my write up on  D here

D official website (Japanese)

Note: A Video of the Month series was never officially established on SG.

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