Gaku Yaotome “Associate” (Review)

Through the sweet and playful melodies of jazz music, TRIGGER‘s Gaku Yaotome delivers one of the most refined performances in the 12 SONGS GIFT series.

For those that have been out of the loop: “12 Songs Gift” is a series of solo songs that started being released in this past January. A total of 12 singles, one for each member of IDOLiSH7TRIGGER and Re:vale, are scheduled to be released throughout the year. The solo songs releases coincide with the character’s birthdays.

Title: アソシエイト (Associate)
Label: Lantis 
Release date: 16/08/2018 
Genre: Jazz-Rock


1 – アソシエイト

Track analysis:

1 – アソシエイト

Associate is the first entry in the 12 SONGS GIFT series that fully explores the flamboyance of jazz-rock.

Piano melodies full of swing create a refined soundscape that catches the listener’s attention. This core is swiftly enriched by a groovy bass line, blues-y guitar licks and brass, elements that shaped this instrumental into the entertaining piece Associate is. In a series filled with ballads and melancholic songs (with the exception of three dark horses that explored upbeat melodies and different music genres), the introduction of uptempo melodies and syncopated chord progressions, characteristical of jazz music, is welcomed change. In return, these additions make “Associate” stand out for its upbeat and classy vibe, unique in this series so far. The chorus is infectious, the bass line makes the song danceable, the guitar solo and licks are meant to be enjoyed. The soundscape created by this instrumental will certainly take the listener to a jazz club, a place filled of life, improvisation and upbeat, playful melodies. The instrumental might not be the most original and unique in the franchise but it is a fresh addition that keeps things interesting for this 12 SONGS GIFT series.

If there’s a voice in the IDOLiSH7 franchise that is a perfect fit with jazz-rock it’s Wataru Hatano‘s. Time and time again he’s proven to be quite adept at performing jazz-rock songs. And just like all those jazz-rock performances of his, this performance is filled of emotion and groove to the point that its addictive. The sweetness in his vibrato, as well as those rich mid and low tones of his, shone for this performance. He captured perfectly the fun and refinement of jazz, ending up delivering a passionate performance.

As catchy and exciting as this song actually is, when comparing it with all other songs released so far in the 12 SONGS GIFT series, this song ends up not standing out as much as we’d expect. This happens because the standards are incredibly high for this series, one in which each release challenges not only the character, but also the seiyuu as well as the listeners with new soundscapes and unique performances. Associate might fail to be memorable but it still stands as one of the most passionate and unique entries in the 12 SONGS GIFT series, a song you shouldn’t miss out on.

Final rating:

This song is available for purchase at iTunes US.

Vanessa Silva
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).





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