Review | IDOLiSH7 franchise “IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3”

IDOLiSH7

The IDOLiSH7 franchise’s storytelling and vivid portrayals through songs leave a powerful mark in “IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3”.

IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3
Title: IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3
Release date: 26/04/2023
Label: Lantis
Genre: Pop/EDM/Rock/Disco

Tracklist:

1 - マロウブルー (IDOLiSH7)
2 - Survivor (ŹOOĻ)
3 - SUISAI (TRIGGER)
4 - ココロ、ハレ晴レ (Re:vale)
5 - Phenomenon / Gaku Yaotome (CV: Wataru Hatano), Ryunosuke Tsunashi (CV: Takuya Sato)
6 - Incomplete Ruler / Riku Nanase (CV: Kensho Ono), Tenn Kujo (CV: Soma Saito)
7 - Incomplete Ruler -Solo Piano- (Instrumental)
8 - キズナ (MEZZO")
9 - Utopia (ŹOOĻ)
10 - TOMORROW EViDENCE (IDOLiSH7)
11 - BE AUTHENTIC (TRIGGER)
12 - YOUR RHAPSODY (Re:vale)

Track by track (instrumental track not reviewed):

1 – マロウブルー (Mallow Blue)

[As previously reviewed]

A mellow piano melody carefully introduces the listener to the beautiful soundscape awaiting them in the verses.

Energetic acoustic guitar melodies, gentle strings, and a washy beat perk you up; however, those delicate piano runs will really put a massive smile on your face.

The chorus is as gentle and colorful as the verses, bringing in little details in the synths – with stabs adding a nice depth to the song – and the piano really taking over with jolly yet loving melodies.

It is worth noting that while this is a feel-good, sweet pop song, there is still a place for the electric guitar to shine, adding a brief yet perfect solo in the latter stages of the song.

As far as the vocals go, “Mallow Blue” is all about its gentleness and the vocals follow that style. You can expect to feel care and love through those lyrics, marrying perfectly with the instrumental. The harmony between vocals and the emotional range stood out for me with the group showcasing their maturity through a contained, loving performance.

This was not a technical performance and it didn’t need to be. It was all about emotion and I believe all members conveyed that pretty well.

2 – Survivor

[As previously reviewed]

ZOOL brings back its original aggressive rock sound however with an interesting twist. 

Survivor” is gritty and dirty, with guitars being low and overdriven for the first part of the verses clashing with a clean and emotional rock sound in the latter part. 

And this is where things get interesting. You have a gritty sound from the group’s debut days. And you have a danceable and overly clean sound from the group’s most recent endeavors.

And both sounds clash, signally growth, a change of mindset, a want to improve. 

The lead-up to the chorus is empty, slowly being populated by triplets on the drums and electric guitars. 

When you get to the chorus, overdriven guitars are unleashed, the drums are powerful and the bassline punches its way through the suffocating soundscape. 

While most of this instrumental is rock-driven, there are some instances in which pop makes its way to the spotlight. In this chorus, it is the lyrics that are insanely catchy. 

After the first chorus, you’ll find yourself singing and chanting along to the song. Making it even catchier is the fact that this chorus is powerfully emotional – something that was missing from ZOOL’s songs in the past couple of years.

The guitar is insanely distorted in the bridge, however only for the first part, slowly giving way to a clean, hopeful soundscape in which atmospheric synths and emotional vocals take over.

The worst is behind their backs. Now, onto looking forward with a renewed mindset and approach to their music.

This is the story that the instrumental alone tells you. Now, if you want to add some context – and I’m not going to spoil it for you – I welcome you to check the game’s 5th story season. 

Vocals shift from clean to muffled during the verses, fitting the convoluted story being told in the lyrics. There is sorrow throughout however the chorus shows pride and hopefulness in ZOOL. The group’s unison parts in the chorus will resonate with you due to their intensity and how emotionally charged they are.

3 – SUISAI

[As previously reviewed]

Pulsing synths open the curtains for what is a song with an “end of an adventure” vibe. 

Acoustic guitars gently trail the instrumental as, in the background, synth stabs and atmospheric synths create a wide, dreamy soundscape in which the vocals can shine. The tone is quiet and delicate, something new for TRIGGER.

The chorus is unlike anything TRIGGER has released so far

There is a gentleness, a sweetness that is not common to the group’s sound. This song feels like a mellowed-out group approaching a new era in its career or, alternatively, a goodbye to a chapter, ending it on a positive, hopeful note.

As a result, the instrumental is subtle, with bassy synths in the far background, stabs used as an accent, and a subdued bass beat while acoustic guitars get a bit of the spotlight for themselves, enveloping the vocals of Soma Saito, Wataru Hatano, and Takuya Sato.

On the bridge, there is something interesting happening. It’s not like this is a new thing within this song but during this section, you get the feeling of the sound being submerged, it is not entirely clear, but it is still finding its way back to everyone.

This is something I will connect with the story in-game (5th story season), but it already shows progress from the group, making an important move forward.

The sound may still be murky and unclear in the verses but clarity takes over in the chorus, then shifting towards the group sounding ethereal in the pitch vocals.

During the bridge, there is a Spanish guitar-style solo – albeit a brief one – that follows the same tone as the song however

This instrumental ends up leaving most of the job for the vocals to make you connect to the emotions in this song. And does a really good job, with all members betting on their natural range while intentionally making their performance come off as sweet.

“SUISAI” is a song with TENN (CV: Soma Saito) at center, so expect much of the tone and vibe of the song to be dictated by his smooth tenor vocals, adding to the gentleness of the instrumental. There is a focus on a gentle vibrato on Saito’s vocals, adding an extra bit of emotion to the performance.

Wataru Hatano and Takuya Sato match Saito’s vocals, adding a tender touch to this performance. One thing I love a whole lot about their performance is how their harmonies and pitch vocals go, especially Takuya Sato’s. 

He’s doing it all in this performance although you can barely notice it on a first listen. Sweet low notes, gentle mid-tones, harmonies and unisons, a little bit of vibrato, you name it. While Saito dazzles as the center for this song, the support in this track is really awesome.

“SUISAI” stands out for how different it sounds from all other TRIGGER songs however its tone and quality performances leave you wanting more and more.

4 – ココロ、ハレ晴レ (Kokoro, Hare harere)

[As previously reviewed]

Acoustic guitars gently play as the sound of waves crashing, paints a laid-back and warm soundscape.

The verses embrace that gentle sound you get in the intro with the acoustic guitar leading the way. In the background, live drums and an electric guitar add some spice to this instrumental.

As you get closer to the chorus, legato strings join in to add a layer of beauty to this song.

When you get to the chorus of “Kokoro, Hare Harere“, dreamy piano melodies and a comfortable beat join in, painting a warm and happy soundscape for you.

The song is uplifting despite the pang of nostalgia it has going on underneath.

As far as vocals go, Re:vale goes for a melodic performance with harmonies being a highlight.

5 – Phenomenon

Acoustic guitars strum their way into “Phenomenon”, song performed by TRIGGER’s Gaku and Ryunnosuke.

The riffs take turns on your ears, staying really close to the listener until the atmospheric synths and beat join in, taking the listener to a dreamy soundscape.

The chorus picks up the pacing, adding a steady snary beat and synth stabs to change the dynamics of this track. 

At this core, “Phenomenon” is a song that doesn’t overcomplicate things. The instrumental doesn’t have too much going on, conferring it a chill-out/acoustic vibe, and the vocals never get too technical.

It is a song meant to be enjoyed in a completely different way from, let’s say, TRIGGER’s songs.

It is quite interesting that, on the vocal end, and with a low register leading the way, this duo works and sounds as cohesive and harmonious as they do as a trio.

Chemistry but also their experience shows in this performance with the way Wataru Hatano and Takuya Sato worked on the vocal end.

All in all, “Phenomenon” is a song that doesn’t bring a “TRIGGER-like” sound to the spotlight, instead being its own unique and interesting thing. This may make this song feel different but all the same engaging and really interesting to listen to (even if brief).

I dare say that this is a song perfect to add to your summer playlist (one that is fairly downtempo) to its overall mature, careful tone.

Solid, relaxing vibes coming from Gaku and Ryu in “Phenomenon”.

6 – Incomplete Ruler

Riku and Tenn team up for what is their first-ever duet track. 

“Incomplete Ruler” arrives with a dreamy atmosphere of muffled piano melodies and longing guitar riffs before leaving the stage open for the vocals to shine.

Gently, alongside the piano, Kensho Ono and Soma Saito join in with gentle vocals carefully trailing the path ahead.

The first verses feel quite lonely, but slowly, the instrumental and the voices meet each other halfway, leading to the chorus.

The chorus opens the curtains in a hopeful tone, with the bright piano going for major key melodies alongside the emotional long notes and harmonies by Ono and Saito. You can feel the tension rising instead of fading away with the chorus.

The 2nd verse changes things around as the vocals are no longer alone. The background is filled with life as the lyrics expose the history between Riku and Tenn. 

The bridge provides an awesome chance to hear both the harmonies between Kensho Ono and Soma Saito as well as their canons and Ad-lib riffing in the background. 

This is a performance with a lot of heart and emotion going on and when that outro kicks in with their long notes, the choir behind, and the heightening of the tension in the instrumental, you couldn’t help but feel incredibly invested in this track. 

You will feel drawn into this song and that outro may even end up making you feel goosebumps all over you.

For sure I felt those when the outro kicked in. 

But another reason this song clicked with me was how brilliantly the composition was made. The song kicks off in a way that only solitude can be felt. 

The piano is the only element there to guide vocals but as the story progresses in the lyrics and the voices come together – thus, the feelings – the instrumental changes dynamics and introduces more elements. 

As the song wraps up and those feelings are there in the open for all to see and hear the instrumental is beautifully rich. This is storytelling through music and I absolutely love it.

Storytelling-wise, this song is a marvel. And when it comes to the vocals I was expecting an emotional performance but nothing as technical and as technical as what Riku (CV: Kensho Ono) and Tenn (CV: Soma Saito) delivered in this performance.

“Incomplete Ruler” is, oddly enough, a perfect song featuring a memorable performance by two outstanding singers.

8 – キズナ (Kizuna)

[As previously reviewed]

Acoustic guitar riffs and bright piano melodies open the curtains for “kizuna”. 

Despite its grandiose entrance, this tune is rather contained in its presentation, with a mid-tempo semi-acoustic pop-rock sound that gives off a sweet vibe.

The verses ride on top of that comfortable tempo, with the bassline and drums leading the way. In the background piano melodies and delicate strings hits join in, creating the brunt of this tune.

When the chorus arrives, drums go splashy, there is timpani added for heightened drama and the guitars join in, further fleshing out the emotional performance that listeners are presented with.

On the vocal end, KENN and Atsushi Abe go for a sweet performance that showcases their harmony as a group, at the same time that each delivers emotional and technical individual performances. KENN brings a unique mix of breathy and raspy mid-tones while Abe glides through the performance in smooth mid-tones carrying a lot of emotion.

Short and sweet, “kizuna” opens this single in an impactful way.

9 – Utopia

[As previously reviewed]

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.

10 – TOMORROW EViDENCE

[As previously reviewed]

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.

11 – BE AUTHENTIC

[As previously reviewed]

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.

12 – YOUR RHAPSODY

[As previously reviewed]

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

Summing up the events and growth by all groups in the IDOLiSH7 franchise – IDOLiSH7, TRIGGER, Re:vale, and ZOOL – in the 5th and 6th in-game story chapters, “IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3” arrives an impressive show of the quality music and storytelling this franchise is best known for.

All groups evolved musically, some changed around their sound – ZOOL -, others have matured while straying away from their early sound – Re:vale. And IDOLiSH7 and TRIGGER have gone through rather drastic changes to their sound as their resolve and passions change. 

TRIGGER was the group that changed the most – sound-wise – now bringing from ballads to funky, disco-oriented tunes alongside their sexy rock and EDM pop sound. They went through hell and back and their sound presents the struggles, new challenges, and growth the group underwent.

While songs like “SUISAI” may sound a bit out of place in the group’s repertoire, it is exactly a song like that one that shows a group confident in their skin to try something different, to challenge themselves even in the face of adversity or doing something completely new to them (in that case, story-wise).

IDOLiSH7 went, in my opinion, through a fantastic growth spurt – a glow up if you will – in these two seasons. The group has matured singing-wise – bringing much more quality to the table – while their sound has been as exciting as when they debuted yet with a mature approach to it (bringing funk and disco into the mix).

Now, the highlight of this album goes to “Incomplete ruler”, song performed by Riku (CV: Kensho Ono) and TENN (CV: Soma Saito). This is the most emotional song performed so far in the IDOLiSH7 franchise (maybe up there with MEZZO’s “Ame“).

The performance is a marvel to listen to. It feels good to see and hear a story unfolding throughout a song in such a vivid way and then… get that beautifully technical performance on the vocal end by Ono and Saito.

If there is a highlight, a must-listen song in this CD, it is this one.

All in all, the IDOLiSH7 franchise continues to bet strongly in its storytelling and vivid portrayals of stories in its songs (through the compositions).

It is impossible not to want to root and anticipate more from each group as they grow in front of our eyes and ears.

This CD is not recommended as an entry point for new fans due to how much of the story is unveiled in each song.

But for certain it is a perfect way for long-time fans to see and revisit those two emotionally draining story chapters – 5 and 6 – to wrap up neatly and beautifully.

If you haven’t listened to this CD, I thoroughly welcome you to. However, if you are a new fan trying to get into IDOLiSH7, I welcome you to listen to Vol.1 first and go from there to get to know more about the world, its groups, their realistic struggles, and relatable storylines.


IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

"IDOLiSH7
IDOLiSH7, TRIGGER, Re:vale, ZOOL

IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3” is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

Vanessa Silva
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

マロウブルー (Mallow Blue)
Survivor
SUISAI
ココロ、ハレ晴レ (Kokoro, hare harere)
Phenomenon
Incomplete Ruler
キズナ (Kizuna)
Utopia
TOMORROW EViDENCE
BE AUTHENTIC
YOUR RHAPSODY

SUMMARY

"IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3" showcases impressive growth and musical evolution for all groups in the IDOLiSH7 franchise. TRIGGER's sound has changed drastically, while Re:vale has matured and strayed from their early style. ZOOL has been playing around with their sound, bringing a unique blend of aggression and beauty to the spotlight. IDOLiSH7 has experienced a fantastic growth spurt, bringing more quality to their music. The highlight of the album is "Incomplete ruler," a highly emotional song performed by Riku and TENN. The franchise's storytelling and vivid portrayals through songs continue to captivate me (and I believe, many others) and in this CD, it is no exception how outstanding that work has been. While not recommended as an entry point for new fans, "IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3" is a perfect way for long-time fans to wrap up two emotionally draining story chapters. For newcomers, starting with Vol.1 is recommended to get to know the world and its groups and not spoil the story in later chapters.

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"IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3" showcases impressive growth and musical evolution for all groups in the IDOLiSH7 franchise. TRIGGER's sound has changed drastically, while Re:vale has matured and strayed from their early style. ZOOL has been playing around with their sound, bringing a unique blend of aggression and beauty to the spotlight. IDOLiSH7 has experienced a fantastic growth spurt, bringing more quality to their music. The highlight of the album is "Incomplete ruler," a highly emotional song performed by Riku and TENN. The franchise's storytelling and vivid portrayals through songs continue to captivate me (and I believe, many others) and in this CD, it is no exception how outstanding that work has been. While not recommended as an entry point for new fans, "IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3" is a perfect way for long-time fans to wrap up two emotionally draining story chapters. For newcomers, starting with Vol.1 is recommended to get to know the world and its groups and not spoil the story in later chapters.Review | IDOLiSH7 franchise "IDOLiSH7 Collection Album vol.3"