Review | Lil Happy and FYA’M’ “aoppella 3”

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Lil Happy and FYA’M’ go through a change in style and performances to suit the Winter Holiday-themed songs in “aoppella!?”.

A brief introduction

aoppella!? “is KLab’s latest original multimedia music project built on the themes of “youth” and “a cappella”!

The project counts with 2 groups specialized in performing acappella music and representing 2 fictional schools: Otowa Public High School (Lil Happy) and Kanadezaka Private High School (FYA’M’).

For reference: Acappella music consists of group or solo performance without instrumental accompaniment, or a piece intended to be performed in this way.

To get to know all there is about aoppella!?, check THTFHQ’s original feature on it.

Review

Title: アオペラ3
Label: Klab
Release date: 10/02/2022
Genre: Acappella

Tracklist:

1 - オレたちのクリスマスライブにようこそ (drama track)
2 - リルリルHappy!
3 - Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow
4-05 アオペラ地区予選開催!(drama track)
6-08 合同クリスマスライブ開催!(drama track)

Track by track analysis:

1 – リルリルHappy!

Lil Happy does the honors of kicking off this CD with “Little Real Happy!”, song that channels strong barbershop acappella vibes.

This time around listens can expect this song to channel strong Holidays vibes, with a pounding, deep bassline and, as its percussion, it counts with claps. Those alone will have you jamming to the song almost instantly.

There is a warmth seeping through this instrumental, it doesn’t come exclusively from the performance but more from the bassline. Truly, Tomoaki Maeno is doing a godly job in the background with that steady and warm bassline lighting up the soundscape.

The verses have a strong focus on the harmonies – in the background – as well as canons. At center stage, listeners find quite an interesting set of performances.

This time around the focus wasn’t too much on sounding youthful or bubbly but on presenting a fun performance in an old-school style.

Once again, Tetsuya Kakihara arrives to steal the show with high notes – head voice + vibrato – however, this time around KENN does join him on that stage, take quite a lot of the spotlight to himself, finally showcasing what he’s all about, delivering a sweet, high toned performance that will put a smile on your face.

Ryohei Kimura and Ryota Osaka this time stay quite a bit in the background, harmonizing and being in charge of the canons, accommodating to KENN and Tetsuya Kakihara’s mix of high and mid-tones. Although it may go unnoticed to some, Kimura and Osaka’s work in the background is insanely solid and a good reason why this song sounds this good.

When “Little Real Happy!” wraps up, you’re left with a smile on your face. This song is that good.

2 – Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

Wrapping up this release is none other than FYA’M’’s “Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow”. Now, this is quite the impressive performance kicking off with the low, reverberating vocals of Daiki Hamano.

Following him comes Shugo Nakamura with a warm and smooth performance. At the same time, the song welcomes the bassline to it. As soon as the tenors join in, the instrumental changes the song’s dynamics, introducing a deep bassline and sweet beat.

Toshiyuki Toyonaga brings R&B riffing to his performance, cranking up the good vibes in this song, with Yuki Ono and Wataru Urata taking over from there.

Takuya Sato does take a prominent spot in this song alongside Toshiyuki Toyonaga and Wataru Urata. Once again the contrast between Sato’s sweet, low riffed vocals, Toyonaga’s head voice notes and Urata’s crystal clear high notes is something you will want to pay attention to.

This is really a performance that strays away from what FYA’M’ had been doing up until now. There’s no mature allure to their performance this time around, just warmth and good vibes. The soundscape they created by voice alone is one in which you’re sitting by the fireplace, blanket over your shoulders. It is cozy and welcoming, it has a bit of a jolly feeling but doesn’t exaggerate.

Also unique – or should I, surprising – in this performance was Yuki Ono taking a background role. He’s barely in the spotlight for this song but alongside Daiki Hamano and Shugo Nakamura, he’s breathing life into this song either by supporting the high tenors with awesome harmonizations or giving an extra punch to the bass sound for this performance.

Quite the Holiday-themed entry, a sweet way to wrap up yet another flawless CD in the aoppella!? franchise.


Final considerations

For the 3rd CD in the aoppella!? franchise, Lil Happy and FYA’M’ embraced the Holiday spirit and delivered two sweet songs that fully captured the nostalgia, warmth, and cozy vibes that are inherent to the season.

And although this CD arrives quite late – 2 months since Christmas – it doesn’t sound outside of its element at any moment.

There were noticeable changes in the performances by both groups.

Lil Happy put aside their peppy vibe and went a slightly serious and mature route with their performance in “Little Real Happy!”. There was still a jolly twist to their performance – you can say that it’s the “remnants” of their peppy sound – but the performance sounds fairly different from their usual up until now.

Standing out for Lil Happy were Tetsuya Kakihara and KENN.

Both delivered solid performances with Kakihara impressing with his singing skills by tackling sections with a transition from head voice to vibrato, neatly wrapping up his delivery in style. KENN went for it with this performance, with his sweet high notes being crucial to making this song shine as much as it does.

Tomoaki Maeno keeps on impressing with his role as a bass singer. His bass notes are pretty deep, pounding their way at a steady pace and when he leaves his duty to come forward to sing, Maeno sure knows how to impress without anything flashy in his performance.

Ryota Osaka and Ryohei Kimura took upon themselves a background role for this performance but their teamwork shines in their harmonizations. They served as a pillar for this performance.

On the other hand, FYA’M’ ditched their alluring, mature vibe and embraced a sweet, slightly laidback vibe that ended up suiting them pretty well.

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow” stands out as a song in which everything is in perfect harmony. The slow introduction of the percussion (Shugo Nakamura) and bass (Daiki Hamano), the build-up to the chorus by the tenors in the group (Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Yuki Ono, and Wataru Urata), and the booming, warm vocals by Takuya Sato shine throughout and will have you both with a smile on your face and jamming along to the song.

Stealing the show for me this time around was Takuya Sato – that was doing R&B riffing in his performance, gliding through those honeyed notes -, Toshiyuki Toyonaga – went all-in for R&B riffing and was harmonizing with Urata and Sato, giving life to some of the most impressive parts in FYA’M’’s performance -, and Wataru Urata, whose high notes and delicate singing tone added a gentle and precious twist to the group’s performance.

All in all, Lil Happy and FYA’M’’s “aoppella!? 3” is another perfect entry in the franchise, continuing to showcase new sides by all groups and putting their members up to the test in completely different roles or bringing forward techniques or singing styles that fans had yet to hear from them.


aoppella!? 3” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

aoppella!? 3 / aoppella!? (Riruhapi, FYA'M')
aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA’M’)
aoppella!? 3 / aoppella!? (Riruhapi, FYA'M')
aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA’M’)
aoppella!? 3 / aoppella!? (Riruhapi, FYA'M')
aoppella!? (Lil Happy, FYA’M’)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

リルリルHappy!
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow

SUMMARY

Lil Happy embraced a more serious sound still with a jolly vibe and bass sound that will have you jamming along to it within seconds. FYA'M' ditched their alluring vibe and full-on embraced a sweet and laidback style that suited their vocals, in return fans got a performance overflowing of R&B riffing and a deep bass sound that will have you grooving along. Lil Happy and FYA’M’’s “aoppella!? 3” is another perfect entry in the franchise, continuing to showcase new sides by all groups and putting their members up to the test in completely different roles or bringing forward techniques or singing styles that fans had yet to hear from them.
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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Lil Happy embraced a more serious sound still with a jolly vibe and bass sound that will have you jamming along to it within seconds. FYA'M' ditched their alluring vibe and full-on embraced a sweet and laidback style that suited their vocals, in return fans got a performance overflowing of R&B riffing and a deep bass sound that will have you grooving along. Lil Happy and FYA’M’’s “aoppella!? 3” is another perfect entry in the franchise, continuing to showcase new sides by all groups and putting their members up to the test in completely different roles or bringing forward techniques or singing styles that fans had yet to hear from them.Review | Lil Happy and FYA’M’ “aoppella 3”