“Place your bets” encapsulates Makoto Furukawa’s fascinating musical journey thus far while radiating a hopeful tone of continuation.
Title:"Place your bets" Release date: 05/07/2023 Label: Lantis Genre: Jazz/Rock
1 - “Place your bets”
2 - rainy day
3 - “Place your bets” -Instrumental-
4 - rainy day -Instrumental-
Track by track analysis:
1 – “Place your bets”
The curtains open to all to introduce you to “Place your bets“, a song that brings back the classic jazz sound from Furukawa’s debut.
And if you are really into details, in the intro, leading up to the first verse, you will notice a small music phrase on the brass + guitar that comes from “Miserable Masquerade“, Furukawa’s debut single.
The intro is big and intense however, the verses provide you with a more contained, intimate, and risky soundscape.
The verses are all about its mystery, with the contrabass leading the way while decadent, distorted guitar riffs play in the background and the brass appears to give a nudge to the storytelling unfolding in front of you.
When the chorus arrives, the bassline and brass go all out, making the stage shine beyond anything you’d expect. You will only have eyes and ears to what is happening in front of you as Makoto Furukawa takes the lead with booming vocals.
The bridge brings a wonderful saxophone solo before toning things down for Makoto Furukawa’s powerful vocals to stride confidently to the final chorus.
It is an understatement to say that this is a charismatic performance. Makoto Furukawa is completely in his element, returning to his flamboyant jazz roots, sexy yet mysterious tunes, and lyrics that make you want to know more about the story beyond what happens within the song itself.
There are little details here and there on the vocal end that I absolutely love. Furukawa’s use of vibrato is much more controlled than ever.
He chooses deliberately where to use it and, as a result, within a verse, you no longer get everything performed in a booming vibrato. He is mixing more and more techniques, adding a lot of dynamic and fun to his performances. One time he goes for legato in a warm baritone voice, others he goes low and all in on the vibrato, and then, there comes a part in which he adds falsetto.
“Place your bets” up the ante on his debut sound, went all in, and won everyone at the table.
2 – rainy day
Wrapping up this single is “rainy day“. Now, the tone changes completely.
Longing guitars play in the background, reverberating as the melancholic bassline leads the way in this nostalgic soundscape.
It had been a while since Furukawa had brought over a rock tune into his CDs and “rainy day” ended up scratching that itch to listen to him performing rock music.
The verses have a comfortable tempo, with the drums going to the toms for extra drama as the guitars play with a lot of reverb in the background. The soundscape in front of you really feels like a rainy day in which you just sit around reminiscing about life. It is emotional but not overly.
The bridge slows down the song, providing Makoto Furukawa with a clear, clean, and simple stage to take over and power through with his warm, mellowed-out vibrato.
What a song and an awesome return to performing rock music by Furukawa.
To celebrate his 5th anniversary as a solo artist, singer, and lyricist Makoto Furukawa took the stage under the concept of “going back to his roots”.
This enabled “Place your bets” to come full circle with his debut single “Miserable Masquerade”, picking up from that story and developing into one of revenge all under the dim lights of an elegant jazz venue.
There are neat details going on in the composition that reference or take parts from the composition of “Miserable Masquerade” into this song. I feel like this is a crafty approach to this celebration, finally giving the opportunity of revenge for what the woman in the debut music video was doing by keeping Furukawa captive.
This is also a stylish approach to the concept of “revenge”, being extremely alluring and elegant throughout while keeping to itself the mystery regarding the outcome of the story.
With Satoru Kuwabara back into the composition team – simultaneously with his role as Furukawa’s producer -, fans get to experience the wacky unpredictably not only of jazz music but also of his compositions. As always, the bassline is a massive feature in Kuwabara’s compositions and here it did not disappoint. The bassline is otherworldly and fully deserves your attention.
At the same time, kudos to Makoto Furukawa that not only putting a lot of effort into crafting unique, engaging stories in his lyrics tying up with the very first lyrics he wrote as a solo artist, making everything come full circle.
Furukawa continues to show that he is a really smart and crafty lyricist and I honestly would love to hear more and more of his stories in future releases. I feel like when he pens lyrics to his songs, those are the ones that shine to me the most (even without checking the credits).
“rainy day” brought back Furukawa’s rock music. And if you noticed, his music is never “happy” in and of itself (yes, even despite how fun and upbeat jazz or rock can be) and this time around, this song is no different.
The indie-rock tone to this song with post-rock influences going on in the guitar (that confer this song with s longing, nostalgic vibe) is a big feature. The vocals are solemn, carrying a lot of emotion but quite controlled in their output.
I personally love it when Furukawa takes the stage and performs rock music. It is a nice contrast to his jazz style of performance yet it fits his raspy baritone voice like a glove.
In 5 years, Makoto Furukawa’s fans got to go through a unique journey through mature love, darkness, powerful performances, unique soundscapes, and music and stories that made us all want more and more.
His singing has evolved a lot. As time passed, Furukawa’s voice got naturally lower but that didn’t stop him from trying to tap into places in his range that he had never tried to delve before.
Right now he has a booming vibrato but also a seductive falsetto and a good grasp of his higher range that enables him to perform with more emotion and variety, keeping his music even more interesting while opening doors for him to try different things.
“Place your bets” – the single – is a concise summary of everything Furukawa has done so far and, at the same time, a single with a hopeful tone, a tone of “continuation”, that makes me look excitedly forward to the future CD releases in his career.
“Place your bets” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
“Place your bets” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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