2Wink‘s youthful and bright electronic pop sound presented us with one of the best pop choruses released this year, however it also brought a bit of inconsistency to the table.
A brief intro:
Soma Saito voices the twins in 2wink. UNDEAD consist of Toshiki Masuda, Yuki Ono, Wataru Hatano and Kei Hosogai.
Title: Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3rd Series vol.5 2wink Label: Pony Canyon Release date: 04/10/17 Genre: Electronic-pop
1.TRICK with TREAT!!(with UNDEAD) 2.WONDER WONDER TOY LAND
Track by track analysis:
1.TRICK with TREAT!!(with UNDEAD)
“TRICK with TREAT!!” is a playful pop song with a taste of Halloween’s typical eerie vibe but executes it in a sloppy way. The bulk of the instrumental consists of timpani, glitchy synths, simple bassy drums, some guitar bits and Halloween inspired piano melodies. Of course, there’s much more to this instrumental – playing in the background – but what stands out in the end is the mix between eerie and preppy that we get from listening to this song. These two contrasting tones/vibes don’t work that well together – at least in the way they were mixed for this song – and what we get is neither a bright song nor a dark Halloween one. It might have sounded better if some of the elements from either the dark or bright tones were toned down giving the spotlight to the other. With everything working at the same time the song managed to sound a bit odd and confusing at times.
The vocal performances count with UNDEAD featuring. The tough rockers came to this song only to serve as backing vocals and spout some awkward lines in the middle of it all. We’d be okay with them as backing vocals, but those lines were just an overall bad decision to add to this already confusing song.
On the other side, Saito is performing as both twins. We can easily tell the differences between both with the contrasting singing tones. His energy is felt throughout the song, but it isn’t enough to save this confusing song. 3.5/5
2.WONDER WONDER TOY LAND
If the previous song was confusing, this one is like an oasis on this release. WONDER WONDER TOY LAND brings to the table a quieter, simpler sound that shows once again why simple music works better than complicated, over-the-top songs.
The instrumental is the first thing that will standout on this song. It’s fresh, addictive, youthful and danceable from the get-go. A sweet piano melody leads the way joined by a mix of glitchy and saw synths, soothing synth pads, progressive bass leads and an equally progressive inspired percussion/beat. The song’s instrumental is, by itself, incredibly entertaining. The highlights are the chorus and outro. The chorus is an attention grabber with fantastic progression and pacing, as a matter of fact, this mid-tempo progressive pacing worked out perfectly on this song. I might have mentioned that this chorus is an attention grabber but that isn’t solely due to its instrumental. This chorus would be nothing without Saito’s performances. The sweetness in which he coats his singing (for both characters) stands out as soon as he sings the first verses. His execution, control and versatility are certain to impress you.
This is the type of bright song that everyone can enjoy. Yes, it’s bright but it is executed in a way that its brightness is far from overwhelming to the listener. It puts a smile on the listener’s face while being incredibly entertaining at the same time. This is a gentle, laidback and danceable electronic pop song. The lyrics are easy to understand and relate to, the beat is addictive and the chorus will get stuck in your head in an instant. Easily the best song on this release and owner of one of the best choruses I’ve had the opportunity to listen so far in 2017. 5/5
2wink’s release came just in time for Halloween, even if its overall execution left mixed feelings.
After listening to this release multiple times, I’ve concluded that this single could have explored some concepts in a better, richer way or at least incorporate in an interesting way.
TRICK with TREAT!! could have been a great track if:
- UNDEAD weren’t featuring on it;
- The whole Halloween concept was better executed;
- If only there was balance between the music and vocal performances.
About UNDEAD’s featuring: I understand that they are, indeed, the right group to have performing a Halloween themed song, however to feature on a song by a group known for its electronic pop sound and just occasionally shout some things in the background and spout some weird lines… That simply broke the flow of the song and didn’t add anything worthy of our attention. Their featuring sounded too out of place. These two groups have nothing in common and nothing was done in order to make both coexist without awkwardness.
The Halloween concept vs bright pop concept: 2wink are known for their preppy pop sound. While a preppier sound can actually work for an Halloween themed song, what we got were a whole lot of ideas but nothing really concrete, well executed or at least executed in its entirety. The same measures of all elements will only lead to an overall confusing sound with nothing to focus on and no highlight.
The lack of balance between the instrumental and the vocal performances was yet another problem for this song. The instrumental didn’t deliver anything close to the quality of the vocal performances.
Thankfully, this release has two major highlights.
“WONDER WONDER TOY LAND” is a gem of a song. Laying on an enjoyable synth driven instrumental and progressive beat, this song is filled with brightness but at the same time is engaging, laidback, danceable, presenting good pacing and avoiding any major outbursts of cheesy brightness. On our side, we can only say that we couldn’t ask for anything better than this. Everything was toned down for this performance and, in the end, the song as a whole benefited from it. There’s not much I can add to what I wrote above. This song has such a great vibe that makes it instantly enjoyable to listen and sing along to.
When it comes to the vocal performances we need to point out that Saito handles his vocals in a rather interesting way. As someone that had the first contact with 2wink through this release, I can say that the twins’ performances might be done by the same person, however those are totally different in their essence. It starts with the different keys and tones, something Saito can handle well with his versatile vocals, and it ends with the different feelings behind each performance. There was never one moment in which the vocals were presented in a weak or sloppy way, as a matter of fact, the vocals are yet another highlight.
As a whole, this single suffered from inconsistencies. Those can be worked in future releases and easily overcome. From what we heard with this release, the potential behind this unit, their whole energy, that easygoing and bright aura that makes the listener feel good, we certainly want to hear more from 2wink.
“Ensemble Stars! Unit Song CD 3rd Series vol.5 2wink” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.