Makoto Furukawa delivers one of the most intoxicating, polarizing and unique singles in his repertoire with “Ware, Bara ni Insu”.
Title: 我、薔薇に淫す Release date: 16/02/2022 Label: Lantis Genre: Rock / Space-disco / Latin / Trap
1 - 我、薔薇に淫す
2 - first light (lyrics by Makoto Furukawa)
3 - 我、薔薇に淫す-Instrumental-
4 - first light -Instrumental-
NOTE: The complete Artist version was reviewed + track 2 of the anime version (Hikari no Kairo)
Track by track analysis:
1 – 我、薔薇に淫す
A dramatic, urgent piano melody leads the way for the powerful rock tune awaiting you in “Ware, Bara ni Insu”.
The intro explodes into a full-on rock tune with blasting guitars and powerful drums vying for attention.
The 1st verse is delicate and incredibly fragile, with strings in tremolo adding a layer of drama to this song. The vibe you get from this verse is incredibly elegant and grandiose, with orchestral elements taking the lead, creating an intense, almost overwhelming soundscape.
There’s minimalistic electronica in the background alongside the timpani, something you don’t find frequently.
The song builds up tension in crescendo to the chorus with electric guitars, pounding drums, and bassline joining in. The chorus impresses by how stifling it sounds.
It’s almost as if Furukawa’s performance is a front hiding a weakness, a tragic story in the background, with it threatening to pour out in the chorus. And sure it does, with Furukawa’s powerful, emotional vibrato letting everything go, draining the listener emotionally. It’s freeing in a way while not being necessarily a song about “freedom”.
One issue I found with this song – and I’ve double-checked it across CD, digital and streaming versions -, the chorus is a bit too muffled or murky for my taste. It has too much happening at the same time, playing in different keys while the guitars and the drums in a way lack any clarity.
This may be an intentional stylistic choice however I feel like the song would have benefited from having clear, crystal-clear snare-driven drums instead of the muffled ones in this song.
The crescendo on the strings alongside Makoto Furukawa’s vocals is a fantastic touch that leaves the listener hanging, waiting for more.
2 – first light
Wrapping up this single is “first light”, a loungy funk-meets-space-disco tune much in the lines of “Forsaken Kiss”.
Makoto Furukawa wrote the lyrics to this seductive mid-tempo dance track. The verses are pretty much devoid of instrumentalization, with Furukawa leading the way as polysynths set the tone for this song.
As a result, you have breathy, atmospheric synths leading the way in that section alongside a clap track.
What is most interesting is that while tension builds up in this song, it’s not necessarily coming from the instrumental but Makoto Furukawa’s performance. The instrumental is pretty much unchanged in terms of intensity and tempo from verses to the chorus.
The chorus does put aside those airy synths and brings saw synths in its replacement, making the instrumental tight and quite intimate. On top, funky guitar riffs and a punchy bassline add depth to this song, fleshing it out into a dancefloor-ready tune.
The piano parts are jazzy, a nice touch that winks at Furukawa’s original sound as an artist while adding a layer of fun and clarity to this song.
You can expect a dance break mid-way through this track, something I’m genuinely curious to see what it’ll feature if it ever gets to be played live.
On the vocal end, Makoto Furukawa goes for a sweet, half-playful, half-alluring performance matching the lyrics’ vibe. Do expect a chunk of the lyrics in English however, this time around those are just for key parts within the song, not the whole performance. Still, the transitions between Japanese and English lyrics are smooth, leading to a thoroughly enjoyable performance.
Funky and groovy to no end “first light” is both a surprise in this CD as well as its best song.
2 – 光の回廊
(track 2 on the Anime version of “Ware, Bara ni Insu”)
“Hikari no Kairo” kicks off with staccato strings, slowly introducing the listen to this sweet, downtempo tune. That cello intro has a Latin flair to it, impressing with its elegance and seductive vibe.
Slowly and gently, Makoto Furukawa delivers a powerful, emotional performance riding on top of his robust mid-tones.
The chorus is brief, with longing strings playing on top of the triplets-driven, deep trap beat. This is a unique mix that instantly grabbed my attention.
I’m talking about seductive, mysterious Latin-style strings melodies, a beefy bassline, an emotional classic piano melody, and an intense slow trap beat.
The soundscape created for you is intoxicating, dangerous, even romantic, and nostalgic at times.
Listeners can expect lines in the middle of the performance, conferring it a dramatic, theatrical twist that is a first in Furukawa’s repertoire. The contrast between those lower toned lines – really tapping into the depths of his baritone range – and his higher baritone vocals in the clean singing parts is mesmerizing and gripping.
Everything about this performance is impactful and feels fresh within Furukawa’s repertoire. This new twist enabled him to deliver a nuanced, emotional performance in which clean vocals and narration (of sorts) coexist and do not sound cheesy at all.
And those backing vocals during the narration parts are so, so good, with Furukawa putting his technique to the test in the most magical of ways completely dominating his vibrato.
It almost feels like he’s on stage performing the song for you, taking brief moments to leave everything behind and get up close and personal to deliver a declamation, however, with an unexpected intimate twist.
Although “Hikari no Kairo” may go unnoticed to most people that will flock to the title track, this is, easily, one of the best songs released (to date) by him.
There’s a certain level of creative freedom that is lost whenever a seiyuu artist decides to perform a song featured in anime (opening or ending). The first 1:30 – 1:40 minutes of the said song are locked to the anime series, having to be, by default, exciting and pretty intense to leave an impression.
You can expect “Ware, Bara ni Insu” to follow that formula to a T.
Its concept is quite interesting with layers of conflict, secrets, mystery, and, in a way passion and hurt all fighting their way through the instrumental, with Makoto Furukawa’s performance being quite an impressive feat for how powerful his emotional range is without him raising his tone or go overboard in his delivery.
However, the song has a weird – intentional – mixing that makes some instruments muffled in the chorus, ending up crowding the instrumental not adding more than murkiness to the song itself. Once again, this is a stylish approach – valid – however, it makes the song sound way too busy to grab the listener’s attention.
Instrumental aside, I feel like the performance is easily among the best Makoto Furukawa has delivered as a solo artist.
Now, the biggest surprise in this single comes from “first light”. The song has lyrics by Makoto Furukawa and as such, it was expected that the tone and vibe of the song as a whole would be completely different.
What I was not expecting was chapter 2 of “Forsaken Kiss”. Funky guitar riffs, a groovy bassline, and space-disco lead the way in “first light”, a song that is incredibly simple and effective.
Everything about it is loungy and mature, being a song that fits Furukawa’s vibrato-filled baritone vocals but also a song that keeps on straying away from what Furukawa has used his fans to.
It seems that Furukawa may be working towards not only diversifying his repertoire but also, maybe, looking for a break away from his jazz sound. While a single is far from being a perfect representation of the artist’s intentions in terms of musical direction, the fact that space-disco and rock are becoming frequent and jazz barely has had a place in his music for 2 consecutive CDs hints at what could be a dramatic change in tone in upcoming CDs.
I’m quite curious to see whether this is just a “phase” as an artist, an intention to diversify his repertoire or a complete change in tone and sound for Makoto Furukawa.
As it is, “first light” arrives as a pleasant surprise, being instantly addictive, with a catchy chorus and a bassline that will have you dancing – or shuffling – along to it in no time.
“Hikari no Kairo” shows yet again that Makoto Furukawa may be changing his sound but not his focus on impactful, theatrical performances that will stay with you. If there’s a memorable performance in this single, it is in “Hikari no Kairo”.
This is a song I would have preferred it would have been common to both editions as some fans/listeners may completely miss its unique sound and approach to emotional, theatrical performance.
This song is the embodiment of class and elegance and Makoto Furukawa’s performance on top is quite easily one of his most complete, with him making great use of his baritone range both in the highs (clean singing, especially remarkable in those long notes near the end of the song) and lows (for narration).
Now, if you and I analyze this single as a whole, it’s safe to say that “Ware, Bara ni Insu” (the single) is incredibly inconsistent and polarizing which is a first in Makoto Furukawa’s repertoire.
From rock with orchestral elements to minimalistic space-disco and then Latin-meets-classic-meets-trap?
Those are dramatic changes in tone and sound that may put off some listeners (depending on what they are fans of in terms of music genres).
This for me is no big issue as I enjoy all music genres but you can’t deny that there is a rough, almost shocking transition between both songs within each edition.
All 3 new songs together, you’ll notice that only the title track stands out as completely different as both “first light” and “Hikari no Kairo” approach romance and passion in a quiet, delicate, and incredibly classy way with minimalistic instrumentals.
Singles are meant for experimentation for when the time arrives to release an album, the artist already knows what they want. For all you and I know, Makoto Furukawa may be experimenting with rock, space-disco/loungy EDM, and trap music to try to figure out what would his fans like to find in his music besides jazz or what would suit best his solo artist image.
As it is, Makoto Furukawa’s “Ware, Bara ni Insu” is intoxicating, polarizing, and unique. While it is far from being Furukawa’s best, it is certainly worth checking out just for how refreshing all the songs are within his repertoire, not to mention his powerful emotional performances that never fail to impress.
“Ware, Bara ni Insu” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
“Ware, Bara ni Insu” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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