Country Road
International Title
 Whisper of the Heart
Music By: Yoko Honna
Record Label: Tokuma Japan Communications
Running Time: 12:09 Discs: 1
Release: October 2004 CD Number: TKCA-72758
Anthony Romero
Thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

This disc is a reissue of the older 1995 single, and its quite rare to see singles re-released like this. The CD has three tracks, with the focus being the pleasant Japanese version of "Country Road" by Yoko Honna, which helps sell the disc but the added content weighs it down.

The problem with singles is that they are short, meaning what little content is there has to be really great or it leads to a very vapid experience. The main draw here delivers, which is the Japanese version of John Denver's 1971 "Take Me Home, Country Roads". This version is done by Yoko Honna, the lead female actress in the film. She sells the song pretty well, having a soothing voice that gives away her young age as she was only 16 at this point in her career.

Sadly, the other two tracks falter here. "The Window in Half" is a radio drama style track, with Honna explaining her living situation in her parent's apartment. The delivery is dry; the music is either boring, at the start, or overpowers the dialogue and drowns it out. The last minute is actual singing, but it lacks the charm of "Country Road" and by that stage feels too late. The final track is a karaoke version of the title song. It starts off with a odd chorus version of the song, rather than a true karaoke version. The chorus, although trying to mimic the idea in the movie of being a group song, doesn't sound pleasant. The rest of the track is okay, but does giveaway that the selling point of the song is Honna's vocals and without it the track feels flat.

As a side note, the version of "Country Road" on this CD is slightly different than the one on the Whisper of the Heart - Soundtrack (TKCA-70648). The difference is that on the full soundtrack, the score cue "Dawn" bleeds into it a little as the two tracks are merged. On this CD that's not the case so the first two seconds sound a little different. Its nit-picking, but if someone is a hard core collector its worth noting.

Overall, I'm not really sure why this single was re-released. It would have been much better had the karaoke track simply been included on full soundtrack and called it a day. Regardless, as a stand alone experience I can't really recommend this one and would advise to stick with the full soundtrack and enjoy Honna's "Country Road" from the end of that release.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Country Road
  2. The Window in Half
  3. Country Road (Original Karaoke)