A3ders! “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu☆Blooming!” (Review)

A3ders! are back with a new single after last year’s massive success that earned them a Gold Record. However, when you listen to “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu☆Blooming! you’ll wonder if this is really the same unit that last year released a top tier pop song.

A3ders! is a special unit part of the A3! franchise that consists on all troupe’s leaders: Kodai Sakai (Spring), Takuya Eguchi (Summer), Chiharu Sawashiro (Summer) and Atsushi Tamaru (Winter).

Title: 春夏秋冬☆Blooming!
Label: Pony Canyon
Release date: 07/03/2018
Genre: J-Pop


1. 春夏秋冬☆Blooming!
2. A3!ボイスドラマ「リーダー会議2」[DRAMA]
3. 春夏秋冬☆Blooming! (Instrumental)

Track analysis:

1. 春夏秋冬☆Blooming!

Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu☆Blooming!” is an exciting pop tune with minimalistic orchestral accents. Well, that’s what we wanted to say about this song when we listened to its first 30 seconds. The truth is, this is a confusing song. We’ll start to explain: an upbeat piano melody leads the way with mid-tempo snary drums, a discreet bassline and simple guitar riffs. Everything’s fine with this. Simple, bright, upbeat, just like what you’d expect from an A3! song. In the background, there are a couple of orchestral elements to raise the instrumental’s tension and drama, mainly strings and timpani. Although everything about this instrumental sounds good on a first, quick listen, we must say that as soon as you hit the chorus, you’ll be faced with some issues. First things first, there’s way too many things happening on that section. We not only have the typical pop-rock elements – drums, bass, guitars and drums –  but we also have timpani and strings in the mix, among other hits and bits of instruments in the background, only noticeable with further listens. All of those elements playing at the exact same time (with almost no difference in volume) turned the chorus into something difficult to digest. Timpani, for example, consume a major part of the chorus, adding unnecessary drama to what initially was an overly bright instrumental. Well, to make things worse, if you listen to this song not in its instrumental version but the full version, you’ll notice that, with vocals on it, it gets even messier in the chorus. There are instances in which, in the chorus, we couldn’t even understand what was the producer’s main focus for that part – whether the instrumental or the vocals -, taking into account just how messy the mixing for that part was.

The vocal performances were nothing out of extraordinary, leaving technicality in the backseat in favor for a more relaxed approached to this performance. They played safe which is completely acceptable, especially if you take into account just how stable each member is in the vocal department. You could say that this performance should be a walk in the park for them. However, when listening to this song, we couldn’t help but to notice that the quartet couldn’t match the instrumental’s tension and tone. A quick pause on our side was enough to understand that, with an unbalanced instrumental such as this one, it’d be almost impossible for the vocal performances to match it, unless someone was willing to go the extra mile and do something that would standout. Putting this aside, we need to mention that A3ders! have at least one thing that plays in their favor on the vocal end: rich and unique voice colors. Everyone has a unique singing tone and technique, making it easier for them to individually standout. Unfortunately, the instrumental muffled the vocals for the most part, almost erasing their presence.

All in all, “Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu☆Blooming!” tried to deliver something exciting with some hits of drama on it but ended up executing it in a messy way. The vocals, although incredibly good, ended up suffering the consequences of having a disappointing instrumental as their backdrop, this ended up hindering the whole song and lowering its listening value. It’s as simple as this: this single pales in comparison with their first single, “MANKAI Kaika Sengen”. It still has its interesting points but mostly fails to truly engage the listener.

Final rating:

春夏秋冬☆Blooming!  is available for purchase on CDJAPAN.

"A3! (Game)" Theme Song: Title is to be announced / A3ders! [Sakuya Sakuma, Tenma Sumeragi, Banri Settsu, Tsumugi Tsukioka (CV: Kodai Sakai, Takuya Eguchi, Chiharu Sawashiro, Atsushi Tamaru)]
A3ders! [Sakuya Sakuma, Tenma Sumeragi, Banri Settsu, Tsumugi Tsukioka (CV: Kodai Sakai, Takuya Eguchi, Chiharu Sawashiro, Atsushi Tamaru)]

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Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder, content creator, and music reviewer. Basically, the only person managing everything at The Hand That Feeds HQ. Stumbling upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" in 2011 was the start of this journey. If music is thought-provoking or deep, you may find her writing almost essays (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). She's the producer and host of the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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