Makoto Furukawa‘s “from fairytale” shows charisma and powerful vocals in full swing in a flamboyant jazz-rock masterpiece.
Title: from fairytale Label: Lantis Release date: 23/12/2020 Genre: Jazz / Rock / Ballad
1 - Overture -Act 1- 2 - 切嵌とfairytale 3 - 道化師と♠︎（sadness） 4 - miserable masquerade -Re:andante- 5 - スピカ 6 - 地図が無くても戻るから 7 - Interlude -Act 2- 8 - 気ままに見えるかい？ 9 - パトスのカタチ 10 - 愚者の跳躍 11 - 本日モ誠ニ晴天也 12 - 勝鬨 13 - for fairytale
Track by track analysis:
1 – Overture -Act 1-
A slow-paced piano melody plays in the background as someone goes through a book, slowly passing the pages until strings, brass, and timpani make their big entrance, setting the tone for the very 1st act in this album.
2 – 切嵌とfairytale
Mosaic to fairytale kicks off with a lot of intensity, with the drums setting a really fast tempo to this track as the playful, jazz piano melodies raise the tension to the track.
The bass is a mix of electric with contrabass, something that really makes the groove really punchy and addictive.
That intensity tones down slightly for the verses, with Makoto Furukawa strutting to the stage with a charisma that makes it impossible to take your eyes/ears off of him.
Brass shines – especially the saxophone – and the funky guitar riffs add color to Mosaic to fairytale.
The chorus is explosive and insanely classy, with lyrics as catchy as the instrumental itself. You’ll find yourself dancing and singing along to this track in no time.
The outro counts with a contrabass solo, one of the very first times I’ve had the pleasure to listen to that majestic instrument getting its own spotlight.
On the vocal end, Makoto Furukawa goes for an insanely good performance, filled with flair and charisma on top of his powerful vibrato and consistent mid-to-high tones.
3 – 道化師と♠︎（sadness）
The alluring touch of jazz with fancy vocals on top in Dokeshi to sadness. The perfect mix. Jazzy piano and fancy brass melodies introduce us to this exciting tune.
Between the 6/4 beat to the jazzy piano melodies, funky guitar riffs, groovy bassline and fancy brass – and alluring saxophone and cello -, to even the several tempo changes, this song is a blast.
As far as vocals go, Furukawa delivers an outstanding performance, matching the fast speed of the instrumental while adding his own flair to this song.
A thoroughly impressive performance of yet another memorable song in his repertoire.
4 – miserable masquerade -Re:andante-
For this release, Makoto Furukawa seemed to have re-recorded or had the vocals polished from his debut single, miserable masquerade.
miserable masquerade -Re:andante- is an up-tempo, hard-hitting be-bop jazz tune.
The instrumental starts off slowly, with a delicate piano melody setting a quiet, relaxing tone to this song however, as soon as the intro transitions into the verses, there’s an explosion of colors, rhythms, and melodies to explore.
In the good old fashion of be-bop jazz, the complete focus was put on its fast tempo and the mix of intricate melodies that are as chaotic as they are in harmony with themselves.
This makes miserable masquerade an instant upbeat tune, channeling a bit of euphoria through its erratic melodies to the listener. Trumpets and double bass played an important role in shaping this song into the crafty classic jazz piece we have in hand.
The drums are playful and extremely technical, setting the song’s incredibly fast tempo.
Jazzy piano melodies and bluesy guitar licks add the final layers of excitement to this instrumental.
The improvements between the original and the re-recording / re-arrangement are marginal, there are parts in which those are noticeable.
His performance is vibrant and refined, delivering sweet low tones and powerful vibrato-ed vocals. miserable masquerade is a classy energizer that needs to be listened to time and time again.
A note that the song’s tail sounds slightly different, making for a smooth transition to Spica.
5 – スピカ
Acoustic guitars and sweet piano melody do the honors for the Spica.
This track has a melancholic tone, something that the solemn strings flesh out. Latin percussion makes its way into this track to give it a classy, danceable sound that you could find in Salsa or Latin Jazz.
The verses are tasteful, flowing in a gentle way, with dreamy piano melodies in the background while strings, acoustic guitars, and drums create a beautiful soundscape.
The classy piano solo in the bridge had me begging for more, much more. The way it was handled was pretty simplistic but I feel like the little detail is on how it arrives in a part of the song in which there is a lot of tension in the air and it comes to ease that tension in a pretty classy way.
It is as if you are slowly removing the air from the inside of a balloon, instead of the usual way in which you handle a solo – blasting your way through.
Nice, gentle touch that many won’t value but it is in these small details that you find just how good and how much care was put into Makoto Furukawa’s music.
The chorus is subtle but thoroughly emotional, with Makoto Furukawa going for a passionate performance that further enhances those feelings, tackling higher notes as well as relying heavily on his stable and refined mid-tones.
6 – 地図が無くても戻るから
A melancholic piano melody serves as the backdrop to Furukawa‘s emotional, vibrato-filled vocals.
This is a subtle ballad that starts off stripped off but, slowly, introduces the listener to a whole different dynamic, taking this song to full-fledged, acoustic ballad territory.
Chizu ga nakute mo modoru kara adds strings, slow-paced snare-driven drums, and simple, melodic guitar riffs to turn this song into a full-fledged ballad.
Furukawa‘s vocals are filled with emotion. You can feel pain in his performance, something that makes him far outshine the instrumental, taking the stage for himself as the solemn cello plays in the background.
His powerful vibrato adds yet another layer of drama to his performance, sounding raw as Furukawa interprets the lyrics to deliver a masterful performance.
A spine-chilling ballad with a stellar performance on top.
7 – Interlude -Act 2-
The interlude is here and now the sound is heavier, more dramatic yet with a twinge of hope underneath. The story continues.
8 – 気ままに見えるかい？
Kimama ni mieru kai? changes things around in tone and pacing gives a picturesque twist to this release.
This song brings to the spotlight the rustic fiddle melodies on top of his delicate, slightly alluring jazz sound.
The verses are mid-tempo, counting with a mix of quiet and high tension parts. The slow, quieter section focuses on its groovy, bass-driven sound, playful guitar riffs, and simple drums.
The high tension parts are led by the fiddle, an instrument that, not only adds a unique twist to this song but also adds a fun layer to this song.
Usually, the fiddle is a pretty intense but, at the same time, quirky instrument that has a tonality that many people aren’t fond of. Thankfully, the instrument flows well with the rest of the song, being pretty tasteful at the same time.
The chorus is intense and fast pace, flying by in an instant.
Makoto Furukawa goes for an energetic and passionate performance with a lot of smooth mid-tones and powerful vibrato accents – less than usual but all in good places.
A pretty unique and unexpected track that ended up working pretty well in this album.
9 – パトスのカタチ
Makoto Furukawa pens the lyrics to the b-side in this release, Pathos no Katachi.
Pathos no Katachi adds another layer of allure to this single, bringing to the spotlight Latin instrumentalization and influences on top of his, already, colorful jazz sound.
The verses count with a seductive bassline and passionate acoustic guitar melodies played in Flamenco style as well as bongos and Cajon complementing the bassy drums in the percussion department.
An accordion and piano add flair to this track, further fleshing out the song and leaning a lot towards Latin-Jazz, especially, tango-congo style of music.
This is a more danceable brand of jazz that fits Makoto Furukawa’s vocals like a glove.
His performance is addictive and bewitching, melding with the warm Latin-inspired rhythms with his urgent, passionate, vibrato, and consistent mid-toned vocals.
10 – 愚者の跳躍
Things change around ever so slightly for Gusha no Choyaku. It seems like it has been quite a while since fans last got to listen to Makoto Furukawa tackling a rock song as a solo artist.
Gusha no Choyaku doesn’t shy from its bass-driven sound, raising in tension and in pacing as you flow through the song. Funky guitar riffs paint an urgent and intense soundscape for this track.
By the time you get to the chorus, the instrumental is exploring high octane guitar riffs and an up-tempo beat.
The shredding guitar solo goes head to head with a massive bass line, a head-to-head that makes the bridge of this track shine.
On the vocal end, Makoto Furukawa keeps up with the fast-paced, intense instrumental and does so with a lot of flair and confidence, especially noticeable in how effortless his performance sounds as the instrumental hurriedly goes through its dealings.
There’s also a lot of vibrato in Furukawa’s performance. This is no novelty but I really enjoyed the way he went for vibrato on those low notes in the chorus. Awesome touch in a cool song.
11 – 本日モ誠ニ晴天也
Dimly lit lights paint a classy and exclusive atmosphere inside of the classy jazz club you’re transported into for Honjitsu mo Makoto ni Seiten nari.
On stage, a jazz band gives life to a danceable and alluring atmosphere through playful brass melodies, a groovy contrabass/bass duo, accordion, bluesy guitar riffs, and upbeat drums that make the song go by in a flash.
The verses flow in classic be-bop jazz fashion but counting with slower-paced sections in which cheeky piano melodies add another layer of fun and allure to this song. A nice touch by the drums, including jazz brushes, further contributing to the bright and open jazz sound in this track.
Honjitsu mo Makoto ni Seiten nari’s beat is infectious and, when you reach the chorus, you are long gone dancing along to it.
There are a wide variety of ways to incorporate sax in a song, especially in a jazz song, some make the song enhance its classy tone, others focus on fleshing out the allure in the track, and in other cases you can have it added for another layer of fun.
In Honjitsu mo Makoto ni Seiten nari, the sax makes its entrance in the bridge with an outstanding solo riding on a lot of tension, making the best of the song’s mix of class with allure.
A pity that the solo is brief though, the jazz geek in me wanted another bar of similar length, making the solo longer and exploring a bit more the sax’s colors.
As it is, this solo is the perfect addition to the song.
Wrapping up the song, the listener is presented with a fancy bluesy guitar solo that steals the spotlight from the instrumental.
Makoto Furukawa is in his element for this song, delivering a charismatic and confident performance filled with flair and a whole lot of his alluring vibrato.
12 – 勝鬨
Kachidoki adds yet another dramatic twist to this release. This time around shredding guitar riffs, a deep bassline, intense drums, and a shamisen go at it to create a pretty unique, fighting-inspired soundscape.
The shakuhachi gives yet another traditional Japanese touch to this instrumental, something that fits pretty well with this song.
The verses are fast-paced, not leaving much space for you to process what is happening. The pre-chorus raises in tension, with traditional Japanese instruments coming to the spotlight. That tension builds up and explodes in the powerful, fast-paced chorus.
Kachidoki counts with a pretty solid and fancy bridge in which there’s no particular instrument on the spotlight, instead, it’s Makoto Furukawa that takes center stage.
The vocals are urgent, intense, and pretty raw at times, with Furukawa going for a performance that is pretty draining. I imagine that this is the type of song that, in a live setting, would be performed during an encore but never at the beginning as he’d be drained in no time.
Intense, fun and pretty exquisite, Kachidoki does a pretty good – albeit overdone in the music industry – blend of rock and traditional Japanese.
13 – for fairytale
A melancholic piano melody and slow-paced acoustic guitar riffs set an emotional tone to “for fairytale“. Strings smoothly joined in, fleshing out the song’s gentle and emotional tone.
The verses are slow-paced, with the strings and piano creating a perfect bed for Makoto Furukawa’s passionate and moving performance.
The chorus is subtle and, once again, extremely slow-paced, fitting well with the song’s ballad approach. It carries a lot of warmth and tenderness that, along with Furukawa’s vocals, lullaby the listener.
This is the kind of song perfect to showcase Furukawa’s control over his vocals – which he keeps insanely steady while tacking a song as emotionally intense as this one – as well as his ability to fit different types of songs.
It doesn’t look like it but ballads are a rather thing in his repertoire but, as far as his performances go, it’s safe to say that he could continue to release a ballad or 2 from time to time as he absolutely nails these.
Makoto Furukawa’s “from fairytale” is a pretty flawless album. Let’s go over the reasons why it is such a good album.
It is split into 2 acts.
The 1st one is jazz-oriented, classier, more suggestive, and intense without showing all his cards, it’s the sound Makoto Furukawa has used us to.
The 2nd act is more eclectic and certainly more intense than expected. Rock makes its comeback to Furukawa’s repertoire and an emotional ballad find their way into this section.
Splitting a release in several acts or having intermission/interlude songs is something that used to be done a lot in the past – 80s for example – and has gone off “trend” in what we now call “modern music”.
Makoto Furukawa brought it back to make it possible for his album to transition through music genres and vibes as if we were talking about chapters in a book.
This is a neat and genius idea that makes songs that, otherwise, wouldn’t fit the release, ultimately, fit it. If this 2-act system hadn’t been added to this album, Kimama ni mieru kai?, Gusha no Choyaku, and Kachidoki wouldn’t have fit this album.
At the same time, Makoto Furukawa shows his lyricist side in “from fairytale”, penning all songs in this album aside from Chizu ga nakute mo modoru kara and Honjitsu mo Makoto ni Seiten nari.
His lyrics are playful, classy, alluring at times and serious at others and, in the end, full of mystery, something that works wonders with his unique jazz-rock sound.
He’s taken a liking to be-bop and Latin jazz, with both jazz subgenres being instrumental in making “from fairytale” shine.
It was surprising to find rock once again in his repertoire. The last time fans got to listen to Makoto Furukawa performing rock music had been in “miserable masquerade” in 2018.
Although ballads are not Furukawa’s focus, he has the vocal chops and control necessary to tackle these kinds of intense, emotional songs. That results in spine-chilling performances in Chizu ga nakute mo modoru kara and for fairytale.
Mosaic to fairytale is a really strong leading track and, out of the new songs, is the best in this album.
Spica brought a much-needed new shot of Latin Jazz to Makoto Furukawa’s repertoire. It is an entertaining and tasteful song that left me wanting more.
for fairytale brought ballads back to Furukawa’s repertoire whereas Gusha no Choyaku and Kachidoki brought rock back with completely different approaches.
Kimama ni mieru kai? may stand out as an oddball due to its rather quirky fiddle melodies but it ended up being quite the surprise, as this song works pretty well within the album.
Out of the returning tracks, Dokeshi to sadness is still the best jazz track in Furukawa’s repertoire, after that, it’s impossible to rank all other songs as the quality is pretty high in the execution of the jazz sound you encounter in Furukawa’s music.
Plenty of awesome tracks to choose from in “from fairytale”. Each chapter is more exciting and intense than the other. The lyrics progressively more emotion as you go through the album.
When it comes to the vocals, Makoto Furukawa shows everyone why he is, currently, one of the best singers among male seiyuu. His control over his tone and pitch is second to none, his technique is pretty much flawless, his vibrato a massive feature that is warmly welcomed in any song of his, and his emotional range makes it possible for songs to be moving.
“from fairytale” encapsulates 2 awesome, eventful years of a solo career for Makoto Furukawa, a solo artist that keeps on growing and improving himself, as well as slowly being more involved in his music, penning pretty much 80% of the lyrics in this album.
With the quality found in the lyrics, I wonder how it would be if Furukawa took another step into controlling his music: composing. I’d love to hear what a song composed by himself would sound like.
“from fairytale” is a massive release that fans of jazz will be delighted with. It is an album catering for those that are fans of robust baritones with a lot of warmth and depth like Makoto Furukawa.
from fairytale is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.