This CD single features two songs by The Alfee, a rock group from Japan that has been releasing hit songs since 1973. The first track, roughly translated as The Bell of Hope as the Morning Breaks, was the theme song for a Japanese TV drama titled "Salaryman Kintarou," and instantly became a hit. This single CD was a top seller for months following its release.
Kibou is a very uplifting song, creating a sense of inspiration and hope for the future. It's solid rock beat and string accompaniment blend together, creating a symphonic rock sound unlike most songs I had heard up to that point. The closest example I can think of for a western rock group with which to compare them is Electric Light Orchestra, though neither really sounds like the other. They seem to have similar attitudes about their music creation, however.
Beginning of the Time is very much a heavy metal song, and completely different than the first track. Created as the "image song" for the 1999 Osaka International Women's Marathon, it evokes imagery of the difficulties faced by entrants in the marathon, inspiring them to stick it out and not give up no matter how hard the struggle becomes. The lyrics only enforce this with words such as "Go! Fight! Keep on running to the fight!" (in English, no less).
The Alfee stands as one of the best when it comes to Japanese rock. They can hold their own against any western rock group, and have done so for over 30 years now. I highly recommend this CD single to anyone curious about Japanese rock.
Tracks: 1. Kibou no Kane ga Naru Asa ni (5:27) 2. Beginning of the Time (5:17)