Review | (2)you “MorningGlory”

Dear Vocalist 6th season

(2)you’s “MorningGlory” is a first full-length album with a strong identity and exciting punk-rock/punk-pop sound at its core.

Title: MorningGlory
Label: Rejet
Release date: 28/04/2021
Genre: Rock / Pop-punk

Tracklist:

1 - MorningGlory
2 - ブルーグレー
3 - Back of the throat 
4 - NAKED
5 - not too late
6 - 橙
7 - AWKWARD?
8 - I need your love
9 - Relationship
10 - SECRET♥DRAMA(Dummyhead mic drama track)

Track by track analysis:

1 – MorningGlory

Acoustic guitar riffs lead the way for “MorningGlory”. This is the first time that (2)you goes the acoustic route for a song.

The pacing is relaxed for the most part, with tempo increasing for the chorus with fast-paced drums and fun bassline in the background adding depth to this song.

Natsuki Hanae delivered a comfortable performance on top of his mid-to-high tones. This is a simple performance that didn’t ask of him to tackle tricky sections or tap deep into his wide vocal range.

2 – ブルーグレー

Blue gray” shines in this CD with an 80s synth-rock inspired sound that will make your jaw drop.

The beat is slow and muffled for the most part, focusing a lot on its bass sound, the synths are nostalgic and the bassline is impactful.

The chorus introduces electric guitar riffs, adding an interesting twist to this song as well as being an amplifier to Natsuki Hanae’s powerful emotional performance.

3 – Back of the throat

Hard-hitting bass-driven drums set an aggressive tone for “Back of the throat”.

The verses welcome powerful drums, shredding guitar riffs and a punchy bassline, creating an imposing vibe that carries over to the explosive chorus.

There, guitars, bass and drums go crazy, welcoming synths in the background, serving as an accent to the song.

I found the drums work to be particularly impressive in this song, as the bass pedal was delivering powerful fills to support Natsuki Hanae’s rough vocals.

Hanae’s performance will stand out for how unusually aggressive it is and how raw it ends up sounding. Impressive job on his end on top of a banger of an instrumental.

4 – NAKED

[As previously reviewed]

Following the trend of having synths in all Xtreme releases, “NAKED” mixes rock with electronica.

(2)YOU‘s trademark edgy pop-punk sound still dominates the instrumental. Splashy drums, distorted guitar licks, and riffs create an upbeat yet aggressive sound that is catchy on a first listen.

The insertion of synths, up until now with minimal usage in (2)YOU‘s music, ended up benefiting it, although this instrumental was already good enough to impress the listener without them.

The instrumental has a satisfying upbeat tempo, not too fast yet fast enough to excite the listener. In the vocal department, Natsuki Hanae gives a confident performance, with few incursions to his higher register.

As with anything pop-punk, this song is upbeat and catchy, add Hanae‘s performance and you get yourself of a great song.

5 – not too late

[As previously reviewed]

An inspiring piano melody sets the tone for this balladesque tune. not too late is a slow burn rock ballad with a focus on muffled guitar riffs – contrasting to the bright piano melodies – and slow-paced, snare-driven drums.

The song progresses quite nicely, with instrumentalization kept really tight, leaving enough space for vocals to explore it.

The chorus brings synths in an odd key that stands out with ease.

It is not something that works well with this song, especially when it has a classic rock ballad undertone to it – particularly noticeable as soon as the guitar solo in the outro kicks in.

As it is, “not too late” is a consistent track but far from a highlight.

6 – 橙

[As previously reviewed however revised]

A delicate piano melody sets a melancholic tone for “Daidai”.

Synths and a sampled beat make the verses have a stifled vibe, as Natsuki Hanae’s vocals shift from clean singing to slow, muffled pitch vocals in the background.

This song has short verses and even shorter choruses, with raging guitar riffs coming to the spotlight alongside splashy drums to give it a dramatic twist.

The break introduces smooth atmospheric strings in the background instead of a full-throttle guitar solo, something that will come across as unusual in (2)you’s repertoire.

Midway through this song, you’ll be all over the surprisingly romantic vibe to this song – much due to the lyrics – and Hanae’s stellar emotional performance.

7 – AWKWARD?

Muffled vocals lead the way for an explosive punk-pop tune in “AWKWARD?”.

Guitar riffs scream at you, drums pound in the background while the bassline bounces on top of it.

The pacing is fast and intense at all times, with the song going all out on its speed and aggression in the chorus.

Natsuki Hanae’s vocals are sharp for this performance. He added a rawness to his performance to better fit rock music – as opposed to his trademark delicate singing tone and style -, enhancing the quality of the song and the enjoyment you take from it. His vibrato shines and his rougher notes are a refreshing listen.

8 – I need your love

Toned down guitar chords and a pleasant piano melody serve as the intro and core to “I need your love”, romantic rock song by (2)you.

This was the first song released by (2)you in the Dear Vocalist franchise and, to this date, it is a fan favorite track, not to mention a track that aged pretty well.

The blend between drums – that are massive in this song – and the contrasting bright piano melodies works insanely well alongside the slow, melancholic guitar riffs on top.

The chorus is intense but always with a delicate edge to it thanks to the piano melodies. Natsuki Hanae delivers a passionate performance, showcasing his control and skills with both vibrato and long notes.

Top tier performance in what is one of (2)you’s best songs released to date.

9 – Relationship

Hands down the best song performed by (2)you and easily one of the best songs in the Dear Vocalist franchise is “Relationship”, thus it’s not surprising that this was the most voted song by fans of the maverick in love.

The verses are aggressive, with sharp guitar riffs and pounding toms-driven drums leading the way, slowly building up tension. That tension is unleashed in a slow, imposing fashion in the cool chorus that will have you shouting along in no time.

The solo in the bridge features dirty, low guitar riffs on top of splashy drums, adding another layer of power to this track.

Natsuki Hanae goes for a rough performance although there’s minimalistic touch done to his vocals that confer them a slight muffle that helps to sound rawer than usual. Still, when it comes to going up and down the scale he does so with no issues.

He adds a lot of flair to his performance but roughening up the delivery of his notes as well.

All in all, top marks for a memorable song that stills sounds as well as when it was released in 2017.


Final considerations

(2)you’s entry in the RAVING BEATS!!! CD series is quite the awesome one.

MorningGlory” is a first full-length album with a strong identity and exciting punk-rock/punk-pop sound at its core.

Back of the throat” is the obvious highlight in the new batch of new song, standing out for its extremely aggressive tone in the middle of an album that is heavily toned down in comparison.

The power in those drums, the boomy guitar riffs, the thunderous bassline and Natsuki Hanae’s vocals were beyond impressive.

Blue gray” brought 80s synth-rock to the spotlight, something that came as a pleasant surprise for me. Although (2)you has his fair share of electronic-rock tunes – or rock tunes with synths accents – a song like this had never appeared in his repertoire.

It is a refreshing song with a catchy chorus and a tasteful beat that you can’t find anywhere else in his repertoire.

This is the 4th entry in the RAVING BEATS!!! CD series that I review and, once again, among the new songs, there’s an acoustic tune, “MorningGlory”.

It seems that this time around, R.O.N was keen on bringing out a softer side for all vocalists in the franchise (a bit like how he made all vocalists venture towards electronica for the “Evolve” CD series in 2019).

MorningGlory” is a cool song to listen to however hardly a highlight in the middle of an album full of hit songs.

Out of the oldies, “Relationship”, “I need your love” and “Daidai” have a lot of character and are actually crucial pieces of music that illustrate (2)you’s strained relationship with his loved one (you, in the dummyhead drama CDs).

I need your love” is a blunt declaration of love, with the song fully embracing that through a melancholic instrumental and an emotional performance by Natsuki Hanae.

AWKWARD?” and “NAKED” add an edge to this CD, illustrating the aggressiveness and power that is inherent to (2)you, the rock frontman.

When it comes to the vocal performances, Natsuki Hanae shines at all times. His vocal range is put to the test plenty of times, with him delivering stunning performances rooted on his falsetto and vibrato.

More often than not, he roughens his vocals to meet the rock edge that the instrumentals require of him, delivering raw, emotional performances with a lot of flair. And his comfort and charisma are second to none as you can tell from his powerful performances in “Back of the throat”, “MorningGlory” and “Blue gray”.

Awesome entry in the Dear Vocalist franchise, an album that makes me wish we get more music from (2)you in the future.


MorningGlory is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
MorningGlory
ブルーグレー
Back of the throat
NAKED
not too late
AWKWARD?
I need your love
Relationship
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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