“TOKYO HOLLYWOOD” is another experimental chapter bringing a rough and intense brand of rock and hip-hop to Ogasawara’s solo artist career.
Title: TOKYO HOLLYWOOD Release date: 21/06/2023 Label: Beyond The Music/MAGES. Genre: Hip-Hop/Hardrock
1 - トーキョー・ハリウッド 2 - BATTLE GROUND 3 - トーキョー・ハリウッド - off vocal - 4 - BATTLE GROUND- off vocal ‒
Track by track analysis:
1 – TOKYO HOLLYWOOD
A blues-style guitar adds a nostalgic tone to the intro of “TOKYO HOLLYWOOD“.
The verses are slow-paced and quite simplistic, featuring a punchy bassline and hip-hop beat. In the background you have guitar riffs adding a sort of a “mocking” tone to this performance.
Slowly, synths and a piano join, adding drama to this song.
The chorus is groovy and intense, bringing those low piano melodies to contrast with the hi-hat beat and bassy beat.
It is worth noting that this song features an awesome guitar solo – albeit a brief one.
On the vocal end, Jin Ogasawara goes for rapping in the verses and clean, melodic singing in the chorus. This is an interesting change, something expected taking into account how much he has experimented with rapping in previous releases.
I love the tone of his performance. It is mocking but not cocky to the point of putting you off. That is yet another new thing to find in Ogasawara’s performance. It is not often that you find a male seiyuu artist being this carefree and, in a way, sounding mocking in their performance. It ends up being refreshing.
“Really, who are you?!?” sounds almost like a provocation but it’s such a crafty hook into this performance and the whole concept underneath “TOKYO HOLLYWOOD”.
Filled with attitude and a fancy hip-hop performance to top it all off, this song kickstarts this CD in the best fashion.
2 – BATTLE GROUND
Prepare yourself to headbang like crazy to “BATTLE GROUND“.
The tone in the verses is dark, with the bassline and drums leading the way in an imposing way. The guitars are low and stay like that for the whole song however the spotlight should be on the bassline as it is massive.
The chorus explodes with low, aggressive guitar riffs and pounding bassy drums, and a thunderous bassline powering releasing all the pent-up tension from the verses.
Things change around as the bridge arrives. The instrumental gets clearer for a moment, giving the spotlight to Ogasawara’s vocals before cranking up the aggression again, leading you to yet another chorus.
Even if the instrumental, at times, lacks clarity in the chorus (sounding a bit muddy), “BATTLE GROUND” is still incredibly enjoyable to listen to.
When it comes to the vocals, Jin Ogasawara is singing in a raw style – reminiscent of his work with GYROAXIA – but with more attitude in comparison. This is a straightforward performance with plenty of melodic parts by Ogasawara as well as the fan’s favorite raw, slightly rough vocals (especially noticeable in the chorus).
All in all, “BATTLE GROUND” has its mixing issues but that doesn’t completely take away the enjoyment you can get from this song.
“TOKYO HOLLYWOOD” is another interesting chapter in Jin Ogasawara’s solo artist career.
As always, experimentalism is the keyword for Ogasawara’s singles and the title track provides a lot of that right off the bat, especially following 2022’s “Slime“.
Going all out with rapping and delivering such a slow-paced and mocking performance is sure to leave a mark and make you want to listen to this song more times than you first expected.
I love the fancy rapping and flow by Ogasawara – something he has been showing in the past couple of releases, culminating in this release – as well as how he keeps trying to do different things on the vocal end.
He has shown he has range and technique.
In my opinion, what he has been lacking is control when taking the songs from recording to a live setting. But that is something that with practice will end up putting him on a path of his own.
“BATTLE GROUND” was unexpectedly dark and heavy but that is something I thoroughly welcome, especially coming from Jin Ogasawara (who, by now, has more than proved to excel in rock-style of performances).
The performance itself is filled with power and emotion, making you want to sing along to it.
The guitars are really heavy and the bassline is nasty yet another two things I love about this song. The problem is, when those get into play with the equally low drums, things get a bit muddy in the chorus.
I was expecting for the chorus to be a bit clearer than it is but it’s not like Ogasawara’s vocals can’t be heard. No, it’s a case of the instruments not sounding clear in the background.
This is just a technical remark about the mixing and while it influenced my enjoyment of the song, I believe it will hardly be an issue if you don’t care/pay attention to that.
All in all, Jin Ogasawara has been showing his cards with each CD he releases, and honestly, by now, I am expecting a full-length album to drop and show how versatile and talented he is.
If you haven’t checked Jin Ogasawara’s “TOKYO HOLLYWOOD” and you love rock and hip-hop, what are you waiting for?
“Tokyo Hollywood” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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