Summing up four years of career into this album is more than enough to notice the growth this unit has undergone. With an addictive and sweet pop sound, 3 Majesty release their first Best Off album titled “Prince Rep. Selection – 3 Majesty –“.
Title: Prince Rep. Selection - 3 Majesty - Label: Universal Music Release date: 22/02/2017 Genre: J-Pop
Show Up! (霧島司センターver.)
Farewell Snow (辻魁斗センターver.)
Only one (辻魁斗センターver.)
運命のLady (音羽慎之介センター Special Live ver.) (Bonus Track)
Track by track analysis:
1 - Show Up! 2 - YOU+I=LOVE 3 - Farewell Snow 4 - 運命のLady 5 - Butterfly 6 - INFINITY～君との未来～ 7 - Only one 8 - 桜色の約束 9 - Pastel Sky 10 - 運命のLady
Track by track analysis:
1 – Show Up!
As we press play on this album we’re presented with “Show Up!”, an upbeat and sweet tune already well known to the fans. The mid-tempo mild electronica-driven instrumental with some 70’s disco vibes to it kicks off, making it impossible not to dance along. Namikawa is the center for this song, making good use of his vocals to carry this vocal performance to a really good position. Fun without being overly cringeworthy, “Show Up!” is a good start to this album. 5/5
2 – YOU+I=LOVE
Center position changes once again. “YOU+I=LOVE” features Kishio on the spotlight. This song goes in the same direction as the first one, displaying disco synths, funky guitar playing, mid-tempo synthetic drums and a background piano melody that gives a bright mood to this song. Vocally this performance is surprisingly complete and engaging. Even though Kishio is supposed to be the center, we find that Kakihara’s smooth vocals taking the front seat midway through the song, ultimately blending well with Namikawa and Kishio’s nasal mid-tones for the unison chorus. Bright and classic at the same time, this song will display the unit’s strong sweet side. 4.5/5
3 – Farewell Snow
Now it’s time to have Kakihara taking the front seat for himself. “Farewell Snow” has a completely different mood in comparison with the previous songs, putting aside most of the bright elements – mainly the synths – aside for this pop-rock tune. This instrumental is by far the best to be featured on a 3 Majesty song. Raging guitars, delicate strings, a thunderous bass and powerful drums make up this addictive instrumental that is a breath of fresh air for a unit so rooted on their bright classic pop sound. Vocally, we need to point out that Kakihara really earned his stripes on this song. It’s true that all members have their center songs but they seldom showcase something that differentiates them from the rest of the group. In this case Kakihara went all out with his falsetto and vibrato to deliver his parts in such a way that it’s impossible to ignore him. For this song, everyone upped their ante and the vocal performances really stand out that aspect with both Namikawa and Kishio sounding on top of their game. A top song from a group that needed a breather from their trademark sound. 5/5
4 – 運命のLady
Mixing brass, bright pop and rock, 運命のLady keeps all the trademark elements that 3 Majesty has used us to but gives it an extra edge with the guitars in the verses (they are present in the chorus but are far from being the main element in that part). The only issue we find with this instrumental is perhaps the way the brass was incorporated on this song. It’s a bit overwhelming to have a full chorus, pre-chorus and even some of the verses with the same melody looping time and time again. Other than that, we need to point out that the bassline was once again one of the best parts in the instrumental. The vocal performance is a bit different from the previous songs, sounding a bit brighter than usual but somehow it took us a rather long time to feel engaged in this song. Something is odd with the vocal performance but we can’t quite figure out what it is. 4/5
5 – Butterfly
“Butterfly” displays one of the best instrumentals in this release. Funky guitars mix with the strings to deliver a smooth melody in which the piano, splashy drums and the bass give the final emotional touches. Exciting and thoroughly well crafted, this instrumental alone was enough to grab our attention. Kishio went the extra mile for this song, showing that despite him being often overlooked as a singer, he is skilled, tackling high notes without an issue, commanding the whole song from start to finish. There were some Feromen vibes on this song that we loved. 4.5/5
6 – INFINITY～君との未来～
INFINITY~君との未来~ is the only dance driven song featured on this release. Progressive synths, pads and vibes make up for most of the instrumental. Adding to this we have synthetic drums, gated guitars (really in the background during 90% of the song) and bass with several effects on. Different from most 3 Majesty’s songs as well as different from most of Kaito’s (Tetsuya Kakihara) songs, this song was yet another breath of fresh air that caught us by surprise. The vocal performance was befitting of the music genre, filled with energy and excitement. There were some vocal effects as well – manipulation mostly – that hindered a bit of the vocal performance. 4/5
7 – Only one
Slowing down things a little bit, “Only one” is a mid-tempo laidback pop song with a sweet and minimal instrumental. Relying only on a looping piano melody, minimal synths and synthetic drums, this song has that “feel good” aura stamped on it. The vocal performance was as gentle and sweet as the instrumental, not straining or forcing anything and resorting more to their strong mid-tones. A complete performance. 4.5/5
8 – 桜色の約束
桜色の約束 brings back the group’s usual bright sound but keeping it a bit quieter than usual. An upbeat piano melody leads the way for the synths and splashy drums to blend in and create this simple melody. Sadly, the vocal performances sound like they lack a bit of emotion, ultimately not contributing that much for the instrumental that was already quite calm and stale. 3.5/5
9 – Pastel Sky
Pastel Sky follows the same formula as the previous songs – quiet and sweet – and delivers it better than most of those. Strings, bass, piano and splashy drums are the main elements on this instrumental – that occasionally has some synth parts to enrich or add an edge to this song. I don’t why but this song has a “Mirai Chizu” (STARISH) vibe to it. Pastel Sky doesn’t seem to have any set center member although Kakihara and Kishio are battling for the spotlight from start to finish. Bright and sweet, this song managed to impress us. 4.5/5
10 – 運命のLady
We’ve already reviewed this track on this release but given that this is a Shinnosuke (Daisuke Kishio) centric version we felt we still needed to say something about it. The original version has Namikawa on the spotlight, an overly experienced singer with almost 10 years of solo career. The differences in both performances are clear: in comparison with Namikawa’s performance, Kishio seems to be forcing himself to hit some notes or even to use some specific tone. It’s not that he sounds bad, it’s just that it feels a bit weird as he tends to over nasalize his singing, not sounding that impressive when he tries to belt higher notes. This version, in comparison with the original is slightly weaker. 3.5/5
3 Majesty has grown up a lot since their debut back in 2012. Looking at this release and finding over 4 years of career encapsulated is more than enough to realize that now, no one sings in the same way as before. Namikawa has branched out his singing and has managed to fit better within the pop genre whereas Kakihara has embraced rock and jazz as a solo artist, polishing his vocals to the point that now he has both falsetto and vibrato, making it possible for him to, without an effort, add energy and power to whichever song he’s set to sing. Kishio has ventured solo as a pop rocker, is part of a pop unit, and now has his own rock band. The growth that each of the members has undergone is an important reason as to why this release sounds better than expected. When it comes to instrumentals, 3 Majesty have always had the same formula – make it bright but make it sweet -, once again that’s exactly what we got when we listened to this release. There were some instances in this release in which we were surprised with the songs presented. “Farewell Snow” for example, is one of the best songs we’ve ever heard from this group. The rock sound fits surprisingly – in reality it’s not surprising knowing each member’s music backgrounds – well with this unit. The other surprise was “INFINITY~君との未来~”, another song with Kakihara as a center. It’s seems that when it comes to his characters’ songs, everything is different, powerful and more daring. This song strays away from the group’s traditional bubbly sound, heading towards danceable territory with this synth driven dance song. Although it didn’t fare as good as we were expecting, it was still something we weren’t expecting from this group.
The rest of this album balanced things incredibly well. We don’t find badly crafted or overly annoying instrumentals with as much ease as we find in other groups. Usually keeping things simple, 3 Majesty have managed to impress without shooing away with over the top lyrics or instrumentals. This best off manages to showcase a unit that is usually overlooked by most seiyuu unit fans, a unit that is overflowing with talent and charisma. Top release.
“Prince Rep. Selection – 3 Majesty –” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.