Mamoru Miyano “Encore” (Review)

Mamoru Miyano‘s Encore promises exciting and up-beat instrumental pieces, sweet and melodic vocal performances and some unexpected tracks to the mix.

More information regarding the single.

Title: Encore
Label: King Records
Release date: 29/05/2019
Genre: J-Pop/Dance


1 - アンコール
2 - ぼくはヒーロー
3 - Never Friends
4 - FIRE

Track by track analysis:

1 – アンコール

Encore kicks off with some low-tone notes in the piano and some timpani to add a little more to the ambiance created from the first second into the instrumental piece. Seen from another perspective, it is almost as if the instrumental piece in the intro was planned out with the idea of giving the spotlight to Mamoru‘s vocal performance from the get-go, and if that was it, the plan was well executed and the intention has been felt.

The intro continues to be rather focused on Mamoru‘s sweet vocals, especially when he delivers some vibrato. The percussion is behind the momentum and emotion that is built up in the this stage of the instrumental piece. The piano that was once in the low notes has now changed its preferences and jumped to the bright notes that not only do bring a different tone in the instrumentalization, but also work as a signal for the listener to understand that we are building up the momentum with the percussion and some subtle strings, with an whimsical appearance.

The chorus, on the other hand, retains the strings, now more prominent, and we have some wind instruments as well. The same bright piano aforementioned keeps its presence felt with a solo like performance. High pitched notes delivered from the piano and strings have the become the perfect stage for Mamoru himself to make use of his higher vocal register. The aftermath is a sweeter and even more melodic vocal performance, something that does not come as foreign to Encore‘s instrumental piece.

Encore delivers this airy and bright, but not over cheerful instrumental piece that gives place to a different approach to Mamoru‘s usual “sound”. This time around we have something close to a musical/live performance with an orchestra type of song with Encore. There is no denying that Mamoru‘s vocal performance in the outro of the song demonstrate his vocal prowess. 5/5

2 – ぼくはヒーロー

[As previously reviewed]

“Boku wa Hero” certainly has a different “sound” than what we are used to listen to when it comes to Mamoru‘s songs, and that is understandable as the one’s behind this track are Tomomi Narimoto & Keiichi Kondo in charge of composition and lyrics, respectively.

“Boku wa Hero” has a whimsical instrumental piece, with several changes, be it regarding the track’s tempo or the main focus of the instrumental piece. This track’s intro is rather interesting, as the main focus remains on the trumpets playing, almost as if announcing that something important is about to begin, which by the way goes in line with what Mamoru intended to convey, “Everyone can be a Hero if they have something important to protect“. And from this grandiose intro, the track’s instrumental piece evolves into something with a bass that is hard to miss, a piano that charms its way in and out of the instrumental piece whenever needed.

When we mention that this track’s instrumentalization is rather whimsical, we meant it. Not only do we shuffle from different approaches to the song in different moments of “Boku wa Hero” but the tempo also follows. If the pre-chorus in this track had a slightly funky influence, provided by the bass, the chorus itself has nothing of that.It returns to the brass and more up-beat approach, this track takes on a 180 degree turn in a split second. 4.5/5

3 – Never Friends

Never Friends combines the R&B genre with the usual danceable instrumental pieces we normally get from Mamoru, but with some hints of tropical EDM, and with a high-pitched piano, which makes us think that this track incorporates all the genres Mamoru has explored more recently, even in this single.

This track incorporates several synth pads and what sound like claves to its instrumental piece. Although the instrumentalization itself does not change much from start to finish, the main focus in Never Friends remains with the percussion and the synth pads that add more of the tropical EDM vibe that is undeniable in this track. The fact that the piano was incorporated in this track was something that added a hint of R&B touches that fit like a glove with Mamoru‘s vocal performance. 4.5/5

4 – FIRE

FIRE kicks off with some intense drum performance and synth pads that add a heavy mood to the instrumental piece. Much to our surprise, the instrumental quickly shows signs of a possible rock oriented approach, but that idea is kicking overthrown by the heavy synth usage and clear EDM instrumentalization present in FIRE. This track has a completely different vibe from what we are used from Mamoru. More keen on the trap percussion and vibe, this track has an instrumental with quite a lot of changes between genres.

The chorus seems to come back to the slightly more rock oriented approach, with Mamoru‘s voice manipulated, more specifically sounding muzzled. While that is happening we have guitar and triplets playing in the background. Not long after that we have once again the guitar riffs and some synth pads that add a sort of eerie vibe to the instrumental. What came as a surprise in this track was Mamoru‘s rapping endeavors. FIRE has all the elements of the trendy k-pop idols songs, but with Mamoru‘s touch to it. 4/5

Final rating:

Encore is a single with a lot to say, be it for the choices made or the outcome of some tracks, but overall it is a single worth listening.

Starting by mentioning that Encore, the title track, impressed as it sounded as if it was created with the purpose of bringing Mamoru‘s vocal performance to the spotlight and to do so with class. With a simple yet delicate and melodic instrumental piece, Encore captivates the listener at the first listen, and after that it will be no surprise to listen to it on repeat as the song is just that good, and the same applies to the vocal performance. By now, Mamoru‘s fans know that he has no issues singing those melodic high notes or deliver vibrato on the spot. What perhaps you were not expecting was for him to end the song with such sweet notes.

Boku wa Hero was not composed by the usual people behind Mamoru‘s songs so it is no surprise it does not sound like the usual. Still, even after knowing that, one cannot deny the fact that the track itself has a certain energy that makes one up-beat, and although it is not danceable material, Boku wa Hero is one of those tracks that you could easily listen to any time you need that extra energy.

When reaching Never Friends is when things start to change. Back in the day, Mamoru made endeavors in the R&B genre and with the way he sings there is nothing bad to mention, on fact we discovered how melodic he could sing. Now, fast-forward to Encore, we have Never Friends incorporating that genre with tropical EDM, something we have already experience with Exciting!, though that track had a faster tempo. Not that the mix was not well executed, however perhaps did sudden change in his “sound” will influence future releases.

FIRE is the black sheep in this release, not because it does not fit in the single, but because of the several and different genres found in the track’s instrumental piece. Shuffling from the trap to EDM then to pop-rock, this track has a little for every taste. The idea of making the song kick off with its focus on building up the ambiance was interesting and something we do not listen to as often in Mamoru‘s repertoire, but at times the change between genres made it a little difficult to listen to the track. On a side note, Mamoru‘s rap added more flavor to the dark instrumental piece.

Encore has proven that Mamoru is making some changes in his “sound”, although we can say it is still in the experimenting stages. One thing is certain, we can look forward to something surprising in future releases.

Encore is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Nadine Silva
Nadine Silva
Former The Hand That Feeds HQ reviewer (2014 - 2019). Rocker and passionate about a good bass line or low vocal, Nadine is now shining in a different team, rocking and dazzling in the IT industry.

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