Review | IDOLiSH7 Franchise “BLACK or WHITE 2022″

“BLACK or WHITE 2022” contains four sets, with IDOLiSH7, TRIGGER, Re:vale and ZOOL flaunting their unique dynamics, sound, and concepts.

As a reference:

IDOLiSH7 consists of Yamato (CV: Yusuke Shirai), Iori (CV: Toshiki Masuda), Mitsuki (CV: Tsubasa Yonaga), Tamaki (CV: KENN), Sogo (CV: Atsushi Abe), Nagi (CV: Takuya Eguchi), and Riku (CV: Kensho Ono).

TRIGGER consists of Gaku (CV: Wataru Hatano), Tenn (CV: Soma Saito), and Ryunnosuke (CV: Takuya Sato).

Re:vale consists of Yuki (CV: Shinnosuke Tachibana) and Momo (CV: Soichiro Hoshi).

ŹOOĻ consists of Touma (CV: Subaru Kimura), Haruka (CV: Yuya Hirose), Torao (CV: Takashi Kondo) and Minami (CV: Koutaro Nishiyama).


Title: BLACK or WHITE 2022
Release date: 08/03/2023
Label: Lantis
Genre: Rock/EDM/Pop/Funk-pop/Disco/Acoustic



1 - Prologue of “BLACK or WHITE 2022” (Instrumental)
2 - Overture -FOUR SOLDIERS- (Instrumental)
3 - Poisonous Gangster -Album Edition- (ŹOOĻ)
5 - Bang!Bang!Bang! (ŹOOĻ)
6 - Utopia (ŹOOĻ)
7 - Overture -SEVEN STARS- (Instrumental)


1 - Overture -THREE KNIGHTS- (Instrumental)
4 - Crescent rise (TRIGGER)
6 - Overture -TWO WINGS- (Instrumental)
7 - SILVER SKY (Re:vale)
8 - NO DOUBT (Re:vale)
9 - Re-raise (Re:vale)
10 - YOUR RHAPSODY (Re:vale)
11 - Epilogue of “BLACK or WHITE 2022” (Instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

Note: the instrumental tracks – prologue, overtures, and epilogue – weren’t reviewed due to how brief they are.


3 – Poisonous Gangster -Album Edition-

[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] “Poisonous Gangster” brings to the table an edgy sound that is quite hard to find these days in the music business, at least done in such an overwhelming way as this one.

It’s a sound reminiscing of the early 00s daring K-pop sound or even the late 90’s western pop that some groups embraced.

Dark guitar riffs and licks, eerie synths and piano melodies plus slow-paced percussion create a powerful ambiance that is hard not to get entranced by.

This song was re-recorded for “einstaZ”, to include the vocals of Koutaro Nishiyama and Takashi Kondo. The song doesn’t lose its fierce, edgy flair, entirely on the contrary, it gets more intense now that the group is performing in full gas as a 4-piece lineup.


[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] “ZONE OF OVERLAP” takes ŹOOĻ through a darker and grittier sound, creating a stiffening soundscape.

A reverberating bass line, triplet and bass-driven hip-hop beat, impactful guitar riffs, dramatic piano melodies, and a crescendo in drama take this song into the most explosive chorus this group has managed to pull off to date.

ZONE OF OVERLAP‘s chorus is dark, glitchy, and intimidating, and a satisfying build-up to a song that has so much tension boiling since the intro.

That build-up in the bridge is so powerful and intense that you can’t stop staring in awe at what you’ve just heard.

This urban pop tune also features a powerful performance by all members, really embracing the whole “intimidating aura” that this song gives off.

Add to this good line distribution and a solid improvement by all members on the vocal end and we get the best song by ŹOOĻ to this date.

5 – Bang!Bang!Bang!

[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] Bang!Bang!Bang! strays a bit away from the group’s whole vibe but is way too cheery and electronica-fueled.

Although the group’s trademark edgy guitar riffs make way to this track, those are only there to add an apparent “edge” to a song that sounds so uncharacteristically of the group that it sounds like it could have been performed by TRIGGER or IDOLiSH7.

Bubbly synths, the generic electro beat, and the overall upbeat, bright vibe that exudes from this song – contrary to what is on the lyrics – sound off.

If you’re into ŹOOĻ going all pop-y, then this song will be up your alley, with an addictive chorus, simplistic verses, and consistent, quality vocals.

However, in comparison with ZONE OF OVERLAP or their first single, Poisonous Gangster, this song sounds too lazy and completely strays away from the differential element that makes this group so enthralling – their edge and menace that comes from their urban, rock meets hip-hop and pop sound and intimidating lyrics.

Bang!Bang!Bang! does not capture most of that, instead, it ventures to a completely different territory.

6 – Utopia

Atmospheric synths open the doors to the powerful “Utopia”. 

Despite its dreamy intro with a wide soundscape in front of you, the song quickly tightens the sound around you with intense, distorted guitar riffs.

On top of them, ZOOL’s members take turns in their trademark fashion, mixing clean singing with rapping.

However, things get drastically different when the chorus kicks in. 

The soundscape is back to its dreamy, wide, and even delicate self. It feels like a dream in the pre-chorus leading up to the bass-heavy chorus. 

The vocals are in perfect sync in this part, performing in unison and continuing to raise the tension as the chorus goes on. instead of releasing the tension, the performance continues raising it to no end.

That tension is taken and unleashed on the bridge. This section is difficult to describe in words – however, I’ll try. 

The soundscape darkens, bringing distorted bass, trap brass hits and heavy guitar riffs as Subaru Kimura (as Toma) raps with intensity, slowly fading away to a beautiful, ethereal second part in which dreamy synths and acoustic guitars serve as the backdrop to Yuya Hirose’s (as Haruka) emotional and delicate tenor vocals. 

The contrast between darkness and light in this song was so well pulled off – and came as a surprise – that it left me in awe.

Koutaro Nishiyama and Takashi Kondo add equal measures beauty and darkness to this performance, creating the perfect balance in this performance.

Strong performance by the quartet.


A classic in IDOLiSH7’s repertoire, “MEMORiES MELODiES” arrives with playful guitar riffs in the intro leading to the quieter verses.

In this section, guitars are funky, synths slowly take over, adding a bright touch to the instrumental while the drums and bass add a punchy, deeper edge to this song.

In contrast to the intro and verses, the chorus sounded – and continues to sound – lackluster. The brightness in it doesn’t match the song at all, sounding like it is a song within a song.

As far as the vocals go, the song has a chorus performed exclusively in unison and features verses with individual parts aplenty for fans to experience the 7 unique voices in IDOLiSH7.

Far from being IDOLiSH7’s best song released to date, “MEMORiES MELODiES” makes appears as an odd choice in this set.


[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] Mr.AFFECTiON is big on its progressive synths, glitchy synth hits and fills, a simple, bassy beat, and an upbeat main melody that takes this song to a whole new level of energizing (or energy-draining song if songs like this tend to drain you).

Be prepared for a really intense performance with a riveting piano melody and dirty synths that refuse to stop.

The bridge is made for this song to shine in a live setting.

Vocally, this group pulled off a synced and powerful performance that, together with the high-throttle instrumental, was overflowing with energy.


With a bright, hopeful tone, “TOMORROW EViDENCE” arrives with a pop-rock sound that is quite rare to find in IDOLiSH7’s repertoire.

This is a song that feels more like it belongs to MEZZO given how laidback and sweet it is, especially in the verses.

Expect guitars throughout this song to share the stage with beautiful piano melodies however, it is worth noting that the verses are dreamy and quiet, providing the perfect stage for the vocals to shine.

The chorus cranks up the tension and puts the group in perfect unison, delivering an inspiring performance that will put a smile on your face.

The songs features a guitar solo that opens the doors to a powerful bridge in which all members take turns, adding their emotions to this performance.

When “TOMORROW EViDENCE” ended, I was begging for more of this matured pop sound from the group.


The classic tune, the song that started it all. “MONSTER GENERATiON” wraps up this set on a nostalgic note.

Bright, simple synths paint the soundscape in beautiful colors. The vibes are good and the instrumental is ridiculously groovy, with the piano and bassline creating a danceable sound that is not only fun but also incredibly addictive.

The chorus will make you sing along to the group and I can assure you that by the time the 2nd chorus arrives, you will be joining in the singing.

“MONSTER GENERATiON” is one of those songs that has aged pretty well, sounding as fresh and interesting as when it was first released in 2015.

Strong yet nostalgic way to wrap up this set.



[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] “DIAMOND FUSION” takes TRIGGER back to their alluring, slow-paced yet catchy electronic pop sound. Progressive synths are a must for this kind of song, meant to set the danceable tone and hype the listener throughout.

However, the way the synths were used in this instrumental was rather fresh. The lead synth isn’t looping endlessly, it only comes to the spotlight to enhance certain elements – i.e. intro, pre-chorus – and add explosiveness to the build-ups.

The verses mix progressive synths with slow-paced dubstep-ish drum samples.

This mix did wonders for the whole pacing of the song. So, don’t expect any over-the-top dubstep drum loops or the sort, the drum samples used avoided any kind of ridiculous or annoying results.

The vocals are off the charts.

There’s no shortage of quality and variety. Rap parts, flourishes, some R&B touches, and high notes, all were performed perfectly as you’d expect from them. “DIAMOND FUSION” is an exciting addition to TRIGGER‘s repertoire.


[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] Dreamy synths join in to create a melody very reminiscent of T.M. Revolution’s early 00s sound. DAYBREAK INTERLUDE is old-school pop gold. It’s extremely well-paced (with a well-crafted progression), makes good use of the bassy synths, and delivers a killer chorus.

Guitar licks and riffs, progressive synths (that range from washy, stabs, ethereal, and many more), drums, and piano melodies blend to create the addictive, slightly ethereal instrumental we’re presented with.

If the instrumental sounds too simple for you on paper, then I let you know that that old-school vibe isn’t only for show.

The keytar and vocoder make their appearances in the second part of the song, completing the whole old-school pop vibe.

This is yet another dancefloor anthem with catchy melodies, simple synth work, and a lot of effort put into the vocal performance.

The performance is extremely entertaining and energetic, immediately grabbing our attention. You’ll want to sing along to this song’s chorus given how infectious it is.

And can we talk about Sato and Saito‘s powerhouse ad-libs and harmonizations in the background during the last minute of the song? Those were simply amazing and unexpected.

It’s indeed a “checkmate” for me. Yet another top-tier pop tune.

4 – Crescent rise

[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] Overdriven guitars, a clocking ticking, and an orchestral – strings and choir – crescendo add an ominous dimension to this song.

Crescent rise rides on top of those clock chimes, even if it is something barely noticeable on a first listen.

Dark, dirty synths help enhance that gritty, high-stakes vibe this song exudes.

The verses are led by a looping overdriven guitar melody as deep, washy industrial synths shape this song into the absolute banger it is.

Strings make their big entrance in the chorus, something that, alongside the progressive bass-drum-driven beat, makes the song rise in urgency and drama.

In the background, a wolf howls in what seems like representing the song’s center, Gaku Yaotome (CV: Wataru Hatano). Another nice touch in the instrumental is the pizzicato strings embellishing the 2nd verse.

Teamwork for this song is off the charts, with the verses’ high note canon, courtesy of Ryu (CV: Takuya Sato) and Tenn (CV: Soma Saito)  standing out for the novelty it is within TRIGGER‘s repertoire.

This is a song unlike anything in the group’s repertoire.

The dark tone, and the emotions in the vocals, all draw you in – that is, if the intro wasn’t enough to catch your attention -, in the end making you hit that replay button just to peel more layers of this song in order to understand all the underlying meanings in the lyrics and instrumentalization.

It is that good of a track. 


Wrapping up this emotional 4-song set is “BE AUTHENTIC”. And what a song this one is!

The group brings a sound that is not really something you’d instantly associate with them. Forget about heavy synths and look more for the sound the group has been experimenting with since “Hidden Region”. Mature, sexy, and groovy.

Yes, there is that allure and mature vibe in there however the groovy, funky sound is something that only recently has been changing in TRIGGER’s music.

The verses are quite minimalistic in their presentation, bringing a rhodes piano, bass and a simple, bassy beat to the mix. This provides the perfect stage for the vocals to shine.

And let me tell you, these vocals are not kidding around. Tenn (CV: Soma Saito) is the lead in this performance, with the vocal parts created around him to deliver what is a downright sexy song.

While all members are bringing a mature twist to their performance – more than usual – and their high notes and harmonizations in the background are both beautiful and extremely technical, the focus is clearly on Tenn and thus, on Soma Saito’s vocals.

R&B riffing appears right from the start, welcoming listeners in a sweetly dangerous way. Then, he brings those insanely high pitch vocals, as well as vibrato and falsetto to his performance while adding a breathy twist to his singing style.

Then, Wataru Hatano (as Gaku) and Takuya Sato (as Ryunnosuke) built around it and what you get is a cohesive, groovy, and highly technical performance that sounds simpler than it really is.

Worth noting that there are suggestive whispers going on in the background that only heighten the allure of this track however, if you are not a fan of such things, it may end up having the opposite effect on you.

The pre-chorus feels like a dream, pure and beautiful, however… do pay attention to the lyrics as it is far from being an innocent song.

The chorus is so tight in its bass sound and retro synth stabs that it feels like you are traveling back in time to the 80s. At the same time, I love the guitar work in this song. 

The funk and disco vibes are strong on this one. If not for the guitar work in this song, you wouldn’t have that mature vibe going on in it.

Yet another surprise in this song can be found in the bridge as the rhodes piano takes over for a solo on top of all the funky goodness going on in this track.

When “BE AUTHENTIC” wraps up, I can only say that I’m all in for TRIGGER maturing its sound to something this groovy and yet as alluring as when the group debuted.


[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] High-tension synths, fast-paced melodies, and a danceable beat are the greeting cards for this tune.

Perhaps what stands out the most in this song is the iconic piano melody in the intro – that later plays in the background – that is the centerpiece of this instrumental.

There’s no way this instrumental won’t hype up the listener with its energy and exciting progressions. Incorporated in the middle of the electrifying instrumental are delicate strings and powerful guitar riffs further enriching the instrumental.

Vocally, this duo showed that they not only fit this kind of upbeat, fast-paced electronic song but also they’re able to deliver equally exciting performances. Although their performance is overall incredibly good, it’s in the bridge that we have the song’s highlight.

Everything about it was perfect, the feel, the way the instruments played together as well as the way Hoshi and Tachibana‘s vocals flowed. If there’s a song that defines Re:vale, it’s this one.


[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] NO DOUBT brings to the table washy and dirty synths, a simple bass-drum-driven beat, and exciting guitar riffs.

When listening to this song there’s a contrasting classy, the almost regal vibe in the instrumental versus an edgy side that resides in those dirty synths and electric guitar riffs. Synths

The verses are rather well-paced, the chorus is addictive – one of the best from this unit -, and the bridge, although slightly off-putting due to its drastic transition, ends up growing on you with further listens.

In the vocal department, Hoshi and Tachibana venture into melodic territory, delivering a rich, catchy performance.

9 – Re-raise

[AS PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED] A delicate piano melody and suggestive trombone melody create the greeting card for this elegant and mature jazz-pop tune. Brass plays a major role in making this classy jazz bar soundscape come to life.

The piano melodies are playful, and the synths are minimalistic but play an interesting role in making the song stand out. Funky guitar riffs, a groovy bass line, and simple, snary drums and Latin percussion fills complete this sound. A saxophone solo adds quality notes to this song.

On the vocal end, this is easily the best we’ve heard of Re:vale. They are charismatic, and fun, and sing with a consistency and flair that will certainly stand out. Top marks for this classy track.


And closing off this set is the new song “YOUR RHAPSODY”. Re:vale brings an upbeat pop-rock sound that is hopeful and bright.

In a way, this song doesn’t sound like anything the group has released before, yet it feels right and very much on brand with the growth the group has undergone in the past couple of releases.

The verses bring legato strings and perky piano melodies to the background of this freeing soundscape. Leading the way is the guitar and banjo combo alongside the reverberating bassline and splashy drums.

The bassline goes crazy in the chorus, contrasting with the bright, higher-toned vocals by Momo (CV: Soichiro Hoshi) and Yuki (CV: Shinnosuke Tachibana).

The bridge puts the spotlight on the guitar solo which is overflowing with emotion. My only quip with it is that the solo was really brief and the song actually could have benefited from it being slightly longer. Other than that, this was a solid performance by the group, wrapping up its set in a cool fashion.

Final considerations

BLACK or WHITE 2022” brings in album format the battle for the crown of best group in the IDOLiSH7 franchise.

With 4 distinct sets and concepts, this album shines due to how unique each group is both in lineup, dynamics, sound, and concepts.

ZOOL blasts through the door with an imposing, aggressive pop sound with an urban, rock-inspired undertone. As a result, their 4-song set is powerful, overflowing with awesome guitar work and fancy synths, all in good measure.

The new song, “UTOPIA” sounds nothing like what ZOOL has released before. It is ethereal for the most part while still having a bit of the group’s darker, edgy vibe in it. I found the chorus to be quite impressive as the bridge is jaw-droppingly beautiful, something I didn’t expect to say about ZOOL’s songs.

As it is, ZOOL’s set wraps up on a powerful note, signaling their intent to grab that crown for themselves.

IDOLiSH7 arrived with a comfortable set which surprised me. If you talk about a set that can impress and win the BLACK OR WHITE award, I was expecting to find here “Everything is up to Us”, “THE POLiCY” or “WiSH VOYAGE”, songs that are a better representation of the group’s growth in the past couple of years while maintaining their original bubbly pop sound. 

Instead, the group decided to go the nostalgic route and brought “MEMORiES MELODiES”, easily one of the group’s weakest songs, and “MONSTER GENERATiON”, the jaunty classic tune. 

Out of this set only “Mr. Affection” and “TOMORROW EViDENCE” carry a lot of power but as a whole, IDOLiSH7’s set was far from impressive, especially taking into account how powerful ZOOL and TRIGGER arrived at it.

TRIGGER is pure allure and intensity in its razor-sharp, perfect sound and performances.

Their 4-song set is, easily, the strongest in this album. The songs chosen make the perfect bridge between each other, never lower the tempo – quite on the contrary -, and are big dance tunes in which the word “sexy” strangely sounds an understatement.

You can tell from this set that it is an ambitious yet a perfect representation of the group’s aim to rise to the top.

When it comes to the new song “BE AUTHENTIC”, TRIGGER doesn’t spare anyone, delivering what is one of their sexiest pop tunes to date. 

And to wrap up, Re:vale arrives with an interesting mix of the old and new sound, bringing back “SILVER SKY”, “NO DOUBT” as their representative high tension dance tunes as well as the funky jazz-rock tune “Re:raise” and the new track “YOUR RHAPSODY”.

When it comes to “YOUR RHAPSODY”, the group 

All in all, in my ears the battle was intense between all groups however, it feels that from how intense and cohesive their set is, TRIGGER would take the crown here. At least, if it came to me to decide that, that’d be the winner.

If I had to rank the sets quality-wise I’d say TRIGGER takes the crown followed by ZOOL, Re:vale, and IDOLiSH7. All sets had their charms and were clearly aimed at different types of fans within the IDOLiSH7 franchise. However, when it comes to the consistency, intent to win, and the sheer raw quality of the performances, there is no way TRIGGER doesn’t get the title.

Still, I’m not the one deciding it and as a whole, I enjoyed this CD a whole lot. It is the first time that fans of the franchise get a double CD that feels like listening to a concert, having 4 sets with opening tracks, prologues, and epilogues. Those helped to add a cinematic feel to this CD as well as, yet again, highlighting that feeling of listening to a concert.

While there are strong and lackluster sets within this CD, all end up showing the intentions of each group as well as where they are now story-wise. I won’t be spoiling anything but it came as no surprise that the most intense, passionate, and dead-set on winning sets belonged to ZOOL and TRIGGER.

As “BLACK or WHITE 2023” wraps up, listeners are presented with 4 unique groups with strong identities growing before their eyes and ears. And how consistent they have been for this long, and even within this album, is quite impressive.

This album is must listen not only for long-time fans of the franchise but also those that want to get into the franchise and quickly tell each group apart.

IDOLiSH7 Compilation Album “BLACK or WHITE 2022″ is available at CDJAPAN.

BLACK or WHITE 2022” is available for streaming on Spotify.

Do not support piracy. Remember to support the IDOLiSH7 franchise by streaming via official outlets.

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silva
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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Poisonous Gangster -Album Edition-
Crescent rise


"BLACK or WHITE 2022" is an album that presents the battle for the crown of best in the IDOLiSH7 franchise. The album contains four sets, each with a unique lineup, dynamics, sound, and concepts. ZOOL's 4-song set is powerful and aggressive, with an urban, rock-inspired undertone. Their new song "UTOPIA" is ethereal yet still retains the group's edgy vibe. ZOOL's set ends on a powerful note, signaling their intent to win the crown. IDOLiSH7's set is comfortable, but not impressive, with only "Mr. Affection" and "TOMORROW EViDENCE" carrying significant power. TRIGGER's 4-song set is the strongest in the album, with ambitious and cohesive performances that make the perfect bridge between each other. Their new song "BE AUTHENTIC" is one of their sexiest pop tunes to date. Re:vale's set brings back their old and new sound, including their representative high tension dance tunes and a funky jazz-rock tune. The new track "YOUR RHAPSODY" is interesting and unique. Overall, TRIGGER's set is the most intense and cohesive, and they would be the winner if it were up to me. By performance's quality alone, TRIGGER takes the crown, followed by ZOOL, Re:vale, and IDOLiSH7. The album is a must-listen for long-time fans and newcomers alike, as it showcases each group's strong identity and growth.

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"BLACK or WHITE 2022" is an album that presents the battle for the crown of best in the IDOLiSH7 franchise. The album contains four sets, each with a unique lineup, dynamics, sound, and concepts. ZOOL's 4-song set is powerful and aggressive, with an urban, rock-inspired undertone. Their new song "UTOPIA" is ethereal yet still retains the group's edgy vibe. ZOOL's set ends on a powerful note, signaling their intent to win the crown. IDOLiSH7's set is comfortable, but not impressive, with only "Mr. Affection" and "TOMORROW EViDENCE" carrying significant power. TRIGGER's 4-song set is the strongest in the album, with ambitious and cohesive performances that make the perfect bridge between each other. Their new song "BE AUTHENTIC" is one of their sexiest pop tunes to date. Re:vale's set brings back their old and new sound, including their representative high tension dance tunes and a funky jazz-rock tune. The new track "YOUR RHAPSODY" is interesting and unique. Overall, TRIGGER's set is the most intense and cohesive, and they would be the winner if it were up to me. By performance's quality alone, TRIGGER takes the crown, followed by ZOOL, Re:vale, and IDOLiSH7. The album is a must-listen for long-time fans and newcomers alike, as it showcases each group's strong identity and growth.Review | IDOLiSH7 Franchise “BLACK or WHITE 2022″