Release Date: July 19th, 2017

Track Listing

  1. Sayonara Dualina
  2. Black or White
  3. Sayonara Dualina (Instrumental)
  4. Black or White (Instrumental)

Review

Themed around the tragic ballet of Swan Lake, Houkago Princesses sixth single release (13th overall), Sayonara Dualina, is the groups own unique spin on the classic tale about a princess who is cursed to be a swan. Though their latest track does not adhere to the guidelines of the story completely, there is admirable effort to portray the idea of Swan Lake in the lyrics, and especially in its sound.

One of the most striking aspects of Sayonara Dualina itself has to be the vocals. Maika really takes center stage in this release, showing off a new height to her abilities as a songstress and hitting a pitch that Houkago Princess have not attempted before now. Maika fits the bittersweet, Gothic tone of the song, filling the instrumental perfectly at its quietest moments. All of the vocals sound great here, and it cannot be denied that both the solo and group lines are the key aspects of this entire song, but the instrumental alone is just as good.

Sayonara Dualina would not feel out of place in a concert hall, with or without the vocals. This may have to do with how effortlessly the composers have incorporated the Swan Theme into the track itself, in the beginning, the end, and the chorus. It gives the song a lonely feel in its updated state, whilst still maintaining an orchestral quality that fits Houkago Princess and their vocal style well.

The music video reflects the leading track beautifully, creating a cooler tone compared to past music videos. The dance sequences and a few alternative shots portray the melancholy feel of the lyrics, whilst the light and carefree dressing room scenes deliver a warmer attitude. Both tones do well to reflect the duality of the protagonists feelings in the song, ultimately delivering a bittersweet feeling. Of course, one of the most pivotal moments of the entire music video has to be when the members transform from a black swan, to a white swan, and vice versa, perfectly depicting the original ballet’s own idea of duality.

Black or White is the coupling track to Sayonara Dualina, and much like the groups past few b-sides, the song acts as a continuation to the title piece. Penned and sung by Maika alone, Black or White delivers more of an urban feel, though the instrumental is still very dependent on the classic tone of the Swan Lake Finale. The bridge is especially breathtaking, with Maika’s passion and devotion to the song clear. It is not as ambitious as what Sayonara Dualina is, but Black or White is still a beautifully sung track, and an entertaining listen. For all of the Maika fans out there, this song will be very pleasing for the ears.

As a single, Sayonara Dualina is a pleasing release. Both songs are memorable and striking in their own way, but Sayonara Dualina itself is both surprising and appealing for its use of high notes, as well as the incorporation of the original Swan Theme. This is a wonderful update of a beloved tale, and Houkago Princess do well to make it their own.

Sayonara Dualina (Regular Edition)

Sayonara Dualina (Limited Edition)