3 MAJESTY (Daisuke Namikawa, Daisuke Kishio and Tetsuya Kakihara) are back. “Color Palette” is a single that takes pride in its variety and strong performances.
Title: Color Palette Label: Universal Music Release date: 29/03/2017 Genre: J-Pop
君とShooting star (霧島センターver.)
Not too late
君とShooting star (霧島センターver.) (Instrumental)
僕の宝物 (霧島センターver.) (Instrumental)
Not too late (Instrumental)
Track by track analysis:
1 – 君とShooting star
Led by the saxophone, 君とShooting star is a song with a summer touch on it. The guitar riffs are laidback, mostly mixed with acoustic guitars, a noticeable bassline and hi-hat driven drums. The instrumental is rather simple but it’s more than enough to have a certain brightness and give that “feel good” mood/vibe to the listener. This is not a typical pop song for this group as synths are nowhere to be found this time around – the group benefited from this change of waters. The vocal performance is incredibly solid by all members. Namikawa takes the wheel on this one as the center. His soft mid tones were certainly a driving force for this song. Kishio upped his ante and delivered a solid performance that could rival Namikawa‘s with ease. But we need to commend Kakihara for his off the charts work, especially in the chorus in which he blasts his vibrato to keep things interesting. A song that is a bit different from what we’re used to from this unit but nevertheless, a song that impressed us. 4.5/5
2 – 僕の宝物
This R&B ballad kicks off slowly with a simple synth and acoustic guitar work. Strings, acoustic guitar and minimalistic drums join the sweet piano melody in the background making this slow paced, sweet melody. The vocal performance could have had more work put on it. As the center for this song, Namikawa‘s smooth, gentle mid-tones did a great job. Kakihara was once again at it with his vibrato and highly controled vocals. The issue lies with Kishio‘s unsteady performance. Whenever he needs to belt higher notes, he struggles and sounds way too nasal. Still, this song was a nice surprise for us, as the unit took their prince-like status to a song and made it sound fairly good. 4/5
3 – HI・KA・RI
Raging guitars take the front seat for “HI・KA・RI“. Showcasing a brighter sound resorting to raging guitars, the song progresses steadily through the quieter verses to the all out chorus in which both guitars, drums and bass change to a faster gear. The addition of synths didn’t hinder in any way this instrumental. Whenever he resorts to his mid-tones, his singing sounds incredibly good – the only issue is when he has to tackle higher notes or change his tone completely to sound “cute”, for example. This time around Kishio‘s vocal performance was steady, fitting with the instrumental’s energy. 4/5
4 – Not too late
In a mix of electronica and rock, Namikawa tackles “Not too late“, one of the best songs featured on this single. At first we’re presented with quiet verses focused on a dirtier sound provided by the synths and heavy guitar riffs gated in the background. This emotional song has a rather steady tempo that shifts only a bit in the bridge. The chorus is powerful and paced properly to convey the emotions correctly. Namikawa‘s performance is stellar on this song. He was able to give his touch to the lyrics and thankfully the instrumental was good this time around, not making his effort go to waste. If you’re a fan of electronic rock songs/synth-rock, than this song is like an oasis for you, especially given this unit’s trademark sound. 5/5
5 – バラの伝言
And to complete this release we have Kakihara‘s emotional ballad. A gentle piano melody in the background sets the mood for this song. Acoustic guitars, bass, minimal synths and strings complete the lineup for this instrumental. For those asking where is the percussion: it’s there but it’s rather minimal, a simple kick, snare, hi-hat configuration played by synthetic drums. Kakihara is all kinds of impressive for this track. Between his trained vibrato and his complete control over tone, he still gifts everyone with falsetto to enrich the song. We’re left with a feeling of his vocal performance being way superior even to the instrumental he was given – even if it all sounds perfect. 5/5
Namikawa got the center position for this release but it was Kakihara that stole the show. His growth has made him the driving force for this unit – regardless of him being in center position or not -, his vibrato and technique have surpassed his 3 Majesty peers, making it rather impossible for them to shine properly. After listening to this single it’s more than noticeable that not Namikawa nor Kishio can keep up with his growth and are quickly being left behind. This, of course, comes with a cost. Some songs that could have been great are left in mediocrity because , at times, there’s laziness or lack of technique, but at the same time we have greatness in the mix with consistency.
These two measures make most of their songs oscillate in quality unless everyone puts an effort to deliver a great performance. We find that Kishio gives his all in almost all performances but his lack of technique tends to hinders some of his performances – for example in 僕の宝物. The same can’t be said when he tackled his solo song but that was because he played safe and used the tone within the range his able to sing from. On the other side, Namikawa in the past couple of years has been displaying a lazy singing tone. We’d love to see him challenge himself and actually improve his singing beyond his already known vocal control.
Besides these remarks about the vocal performances we need to point out that this unit has a lot of room for improvement and we’d love to find every single one of the members to be on the same level as Kakihara is right now, that would easily put them way above their labelmates X.I.P..
In the end “Color Palette” is a strong release with good instrumentals that range from fast rock songs to mid-tempo pop tunes and slower acoustic tunes that will put your emotions in check.
“Color Palette” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.