With the posting of this, behold the power of perfectly timed synergy! And I’m not just talking about the decade-plus in-the-making anime revival of one of THE defining magical girl and CLAMP titles via Clear Card, either.

Nostalgia III
AmaLee
“Catch You Catch Me”

One month earlier also played host to the latest album release from Amanda Lee, one of the most prominent and popular artists for English language covers of anime-featured songs. While her previous Nostalgia entries were grab bags, more or less, from past generations of anime, this one focused specifically on songs from magical girl shows (plus Angel Beats*), and no acceptable tracklist could ever exclude Cardcaptor Sakura in good conscience.

So therein lies the question: If one gets to choose just a single song from the series, which one do they go with? AmaLee, apparently, decided on the first opening theme, my personal favorite! And her rendition of it is simply delightful.

This does indeed mean I am featuring the English cover of “Catch You Catch Me” over the original by GUMI, which I still adore lots. But this new version, on top of AmaLee turning in a sweetly sung performance that is sublime and perfectly matches the bubbly mood, adds just the right variety and amount of oomph in order to hit the sweet spot even more.

AmaLee’s covers hit varying points of a faithfulness spectrum—hewing closely to the originals’ compositions on one end, rearranging things more radically on the other end, e.g. giving the alt-rock “God Knows” a slower, acoustic rendition—with mixed results, but this one makes an excellent call: Keeping everything practically identical.

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Almost the same bouncy, irrepressibly catchy piece of dance-pop. Still very very 90's. Still with the same carnival ride-like chord progression and vocal melodies, ending up surprisingly more sentimentally complicated than happy-go-lucky upbeat. However, the AmaLee version makes one minor change that is an absolute improvement over the original.

“Catch You Catch Me” is a thoroughly dated, product-of-its-time tune, but it’s enjoyably dated in a way that still holds up today...for the most part. The single place where that isn’t true is the drums. They don’t have much presence in the mix, and they sound weak, especially the snares.

This cover fixes that state of affairs! The percussion still retains the original’s light touch, but it now sounds crisper and punchier, and in general is much stronger. The snares in particular are finally done proper justice. That slightly modernized backbone is all it takes to give the entire song a whole lot more momentum and make it way more danceable. It’s a little harder to go back to the original now, knowing that this is being left behind.

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*For the record, that’s not at all meant to shade the series; I love Angel Beats

Also, here’s a little thing I did a few years ago where, succumbing to the weakness of a fateful epiphany, I mashed up Maroon 5's “Sugar” with the “Catch You Catch Me” instrumental.


RedStripe Loved Trax—originally from days of Tumblr past—is a series about the music Justin adores, with special emphasis on songs from (or introduced by) video games and anime.