Review | Mamoru Miyano “THE ENTERTAINMENT”

Mamoru Miyano’s “THE ENTERTAINMENT” is a stylish entry that perfectly encompasses who he is as an artist: a complete entertainer.

Regular edition
Title: THE ENTERTAINMENT
Release date: 02/11/2022
Label: KING RECORDS
Genre: Pop / R&B / Ballad

Tracklist:

1 - THE ENTERTAINMENT [NEW SONG]
2 - ZERO to INFINITY
3 - Dream on
4 - Butterfly [NEW SONG]
5 - ジャーニー
6 - LAST DANCE
7 - 行こう! [NEW SONG]
8 - 光射す方へ (Album ver.)
9 - EVERLASTING
10 - 透明 with overture
11 - アンコール
12 - TEAM [NEW SONG]

Track by track analysis:

1 – THE ENTERTAINMENT

Fancy strings hits welcome you to “THE ENTERTAINMENT”, groovy tune that is all about its classy vibe.

The verses are bouncy with the bassline being a driving force, adding a warm and mature twist to this song. Around them comes an insanely danceable and low (bassy, even) percussion that mixes live drums with Latin percussion. Brass and synth hits confer this song with what is a throwback 70s funk sound. 

As you go through the verses and the brass hits, you see the lights and glamour in the soundscape but it is the charisma of Miyano that will make your jaw drop.

This is a performance with a lot of confidence at its core. This is a performance that sounds insanely natural for Miyano.

The pre-chorus brings in sitar hits that, although minimal, is such a nice touch to an instrumental that is all about its bass sound.

And while everything is awesome in this song, it is the chorus that glued me to this song. The “wooo hooo hoooo hooo” chants in the back in those high notes, the fancy ad-libs by Miyano, the punchy bassline, and the perfect percussion and fancy guitar work are so, so good.

On the vocal end, Mamoru Miyano goes all out on his melodic R&B technique, adding a lot of vibrato to his vocals while gliding in style through this ridiculously cool soundscape. 

Mamoru Miyano knows how to make a flashy yet elegant entrance!

2 – ZERO to INFINITY

[As previously reviewed] Exciting guitar riffs, powerful electronica, and a hard-hitting, slow-paced drum beat set the tone for the hyped-up “ZERO to INFINITY”, song with lyrics by Mamoru Miyano.

The verses have some intensity to them, with constant contrasts between rock and electronica as well as playing around with the tempo, with the drums being pretty slow-paced whereas guitar riffs are fast and energetic.

The chorus lends a lot from drum & bass in its synthetic beat, focused on hi-hats and a tight bass sound. The chorus will feel rather brief but it is pretty enjoyable.

There’s a break that goes through trap territory, with Miyano’s vocals also going the manipulation route. After that edgy addition, Miyano goes for a crystal clear, high note-driven section, leading to yet another chorus.

As far as vocals go, Mamoru Miyano doesn’t shy away from delivering a pretty flawless performance in which he can showcase his versatility. His rock-solid, melodic mid-tones power this song but those higher notes and fancy pitch vocals are the icing on top of the cake.

Miyano covered all bases with his performance, on top of a song that strays a bit far away from the sound he’s been doing in the last couple of years. Fresh song and performance.

3 – Dream on

[As previously reviewed] Vibes slowly make an entrance in this massive loungy R&B tune.

The verses in “Dream on” are slow-paced, focusing on rhodes piano melodies and a deep, downtempo percussion on top of dreamy atmospheric synths. The vibes are good on this track, giving off a mature twist to Miyano’s usual style.

The chorus is simple but incredibly groovy, with a punchy bassline painting a summery soundscape for the listener.

To further enhance this loungy and inspirational vibe, Mamoru Miyano’s performance is all about falsetto, legato, and plenty of R&B riffing. He didn’t pull any punches this time around, impressing right from the get-go.

To say that this song sounds good would be an understatement.

4 – Butterfly

Butterfly” kicks off with a fancy retro sound that brings the imagery of neon lights to the soundscape. The synths are muffled at times and quite atmospheric when it comes to the pre-chorus and chorus. 

The bassline is punchy, perfectly complementing the funky guitar riffs and simple synth lead + beat combo.

The verses are all about its good vibes and the chorus is overflowing with love however expressing it through a unique performance that has both bubbly and mature vibes vying for your attention.

As far as the vocals go, Miyano is focused on his sweet mid-tones, occasionally adding a little bit of flair with head voice, creating such a warm and bubbly vibe that you put a massive grin on your face.

5 – ジャーニー

Journey” changes things around slightly by bringing jazz to the spotlight. The soundscape in front of you is rather cozy and intimate with all the instruments quite close to you.

The guitars bring blues-inspired guitar riffs alongside funk-inspired ones, the bassline is relentlessly pounding in the background, adding a lot of bounce to this instrumental as the piano brings a jazz touch to this instrumental.

When you get to the chorus, brass joins in and the bassline gets increasingly punchier. 

It caught me by surprise but the bridge welcomes a rhodes piano solo that is as fancy and delicate as you can get. After that, and leading up to the final chorus, there are some organ melodies joining in all the keys in this song. They are but a detail but one that, as a fan of jazz music, I deeply appreciate finding here.

On the vocal end, Miyano brings in a mix of breathy notes, clean mid-tones, riffing in R&B fashion, and head voice, delivering a complete and luxurious performance.

6 – LAST DANCE

[As previously reviewed] Mamoru brings to the table the flamboyant melodies of swing jazz and explores its mature sound with playful brass, rhodes piano melodies, and a contrabass that booms in your ears. 

The verses in “LAST DANCE” are elegant and the chorus is tasteful, making the song a certain elegance.

Miyano goes for a dual performance, featuring clean, melodic vocals with rap. While the clean vocals were a perfect fit for this tune, the rap parts sound forced in the middle of a swing jazz instrumental piece that does not need an “edge” to be good. 

Not only does the rap part sound out of place, but it also completely breaks immersion in the classy soundscape that had been painted for his listeners.

7 – 行こう!

Big brass and strings open the doors for “Ikou!”, song that sounds like it could be featured in an anime series.

The instrumental in “Ikou!” takes a lot of inspiration from Latin jazz, having the unique flair and passion that is commonly found in it. 

Strings play in legato and in a delicate high key in the background, brass is sparse yet well used to accentuate certain parts in the performance. The drums are splashy and the bassline is quite deep, putting more power to the bass drum.

I feel like the chorus lacks a bit of clarity, with the piano being completely covered by other instruments and, at times, the vocals are now as in front as you would want to, ending up in it sounding like Miyano is singing louder to stand out in the middle of them.

The highlight for me is, undoubtedly, the saxophone solo that goes on for quite some time, unbottling all the tension that was found in the verses and chorus up until then. 

8 – 光射す方へ (Album ver.)

[As previously reviewed] “Hikari Sasu Hou e” kicks off with chants and an imposing beat, highlighting the initial inspiring tone for this track.

The verses are quiet, with a simple bass-drum beat, strings, and minimalistic synths creating the music bed for Mamoru Miyano to tackle on the vocal end.

The song structure, however, stands out a bit. The song has a pretty odd pre-chorus that felt, for a split second, like a brief chorus only to continue building up from there and leading to the real thing, a simple, strings-driven chorus.

There’s something about this song that sounds off though. The tension in the instrumental ends up leading to nothing. The chorus does not have an impact which is something that really holds back the track from being memorable.

9 – EVERLASTING

EVERLASTING” kicks off with dreamy piano melodies, slowly leading up to a beautiful soundscape in which strings and atmospheric synths are free.

When you get to the verses, things get simpler, putting the focus on Miyano’s vocals as a simplistic snare hit sets the tempo for this tune.

One thing I absolutely love about this song is how beautiful the soundscape is. Just stop for a bit and appreciate the hopeful, bright, and welcoming soundscape in front of you. 

“EVERLASTING” brings a lot of R&B influences to its instrumental to complement the delicate piano + strings combo. The shuffle-like, washy beat is slow-paced, perfect to bring out the emotions in the performance. The bassline is deep but not overwhelming.

When the chorus kicks in, there will be goosebumps all over you. It is that good.

As far as Miyano’s performance goes, it is incredibly soft yet packing a whole lot of emotion. In a way, you won’t help but want to root for the protagonist in the story in these lyrics. 

10 – 透明 with overture

[As previously reviewed, with a slight change to reflect the new intro] This new version brings in an overture that is incredibly soft with the strings slowly leading the way into the track.

An emotional piano melody makes its somber entrance for “Toumei”. Each note hits like a ripple in the water, delicate, beautiful, and sweet.

The verses bring a simplistic bassline and percussion combo into it as well as chamber music elements with pizzicato strings, and harp adding classic beauty to this track.

The build-up to the chorus is simple yet carries so much emotion that when the dynamics change and the strings take over, creating a wide soundscape, you notice that your emotions are bare.

And Mamoru Miyano delivers an outstanding performance overflowing with emotion.

The way he delicately tackles those lyrics – penned by the awesome Maaya Sakamoto – and delivers those in a lullabyish, crystal clear way yet with so much power, is something that attests to his technique and quality as a singer, especially for ballads.

A mesmerizing track that will make goosebumps all over you.

11 – アンコール

[As previously reviewed] “Encore” kicks off with some low-tone notes in the piano and some timpani to add a little more to the ambiance created from the first second into the instrumental piece. 

Seen from another perspective, it is almost as if the instrumental piece in the intro was planned out with the idea of giving the spotlight to Mamoru‘s vocal performance from the get-go, and if that was it, the plan was well executed and the intention has been felt.

The intro continues to be rather focused on Mamoru‘s sweet vocals, especially when he delivers some vibrato. The percussion is behind the momentum and emotion that is built up in this stage of the instrumental piece.

The piano that was once in the low notes has now changed its preferences and jumped to the bright notes that not only do bring a different tone in the instrumentalization, but also work as a signal for the listener to understand that we are building up the momentum with the percussion and some subtle strings, with a whimsical appearance.

The chorus, on the other hand, retains the strings, now more prominent, and we have some wind instruments as well. The same bright piano aforementioned keeps its presence felt with a solo like performance. 

High-pitched notes delivered from the piano and strings have become the perfect stage for Mamoru himself to make use of his higher vocal register. The aftermath is a sweeter and even more melodic vocal performance, something that does not come as foreign to Encore‘s instrumental piece.

Encore delivers this airy and bright, but not over a cheerful instrumental piece that gives place to a different approach to Mamoru‘s usual “sound”. 

This time around we have something close to a musical/live performance with an orchestral song with “Encore”. There is no denying that Mamoru‘s vocal performance in the outro of the song demonstrates his vocal prowess. 

12 – TEAM

Wrapping up this album is “TEAM”, song with lyrics by Mamoru Miyano and embracing a dreamy sound made to celebrate those around him.

A dramatic piano takes center stage alongside Miyano as he slowly lullabies the listener with his sweet mid-toned vocals. 

That tone, however, doesn’t remain as, mid-way through the verse, the song brings out a triplets-driven hip-hop beat, a jolly piano melody, and a punchy bassline, going for a laidback performance that gets increasingly emotional as you go through it.

When the chants kick in, it’s chills all over me. The build-up to this part, the strong emotions in the lyrics, and the way Miyano performed this song made it so that it gets really emotional in this part.

Genuinely sweet way to wrap up this album.


Final considerations

Mamoru Miyano’s “THE ENTERTAINMENT” is a stylish entry that perfectly encompasses who he is as an artist: a complete entertainer that loves what he does; but also an entertainer that sings insanely well.

Throughout its 12 songs, Miyano revisits old hit songs such as “ZERO to INFINITY”, “Dream on”, “Hikari Sasu Hou e”, “Toumei”, “LAST DANCE”, “Encore”, and new tunes, showing his growth as an artist in the past couple of years.

While it is true that there was a time in which it seemed like Miyano was desperately trying out every music genre that was trendy at that time in an attempt to, perhaps reach more people outside of anime and seiyuu fans – something that led to some inconsistent releases -, he found his way back to what is his style (as ever-changing as it has been), the style that made people fall in love not only with him but also with his music.

Miyano has matured as an artist but his unique brand of pop music – bringing a bit of R&B and EDM to the mix – and his passionate, larger-than-life performances were – and still are – what makes him such a fascinating solo artist. And in “THE ENTERTAINMENT”, with or without some hiccups, he shows exactly the sort of entertainer he is, one that is charismatic, that knows how to put a smile on your face but also can be insanely technical if there’s a need for it.

That technicality shows in songs like “THE ENTERTAINMENT”, “Dream on” and “Toumei”, songs that really push for his vocals and in which he delivers outstanding performances.

As a mature solo artist, Miyano now sounds completely confident, comfortable in his skin, and insanely charismatic in songs such as “THE ENTERTAINMENT”, “LAST DANCE”, “Butterfly” and “Dream on”. 

His singing continues to improve or, should I say, Miyano now shows much more of his range and quality with music that actually creates the perfect stage for him to actually showcase those skills. While some of his previously released songs were trendy and attracted a lot of attention, they were – mostly – far from fully highlighting the amazing singing skills Miyano has.

That’s why I feel like “THE ENTERTAINMENT” is a massive upgrade over previous albums. It shows not only the entertainer that puts a smile on your face but also the gifted singer that Miyano is.

When “THE ENTERTAINMENT” wraps up, you’re left with a big dorky smile on your face and feel the love and care that is in all those performances. While far from being his best album, this is a perfect showcase of where Miyano is now in his career, encompassing a unique period in a set of near-perfect songs.


THE ENTERTAINMENT” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


“THE ENTERTAINMENT” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support Mamoru Miyano 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

THE ENTERTAINMENT
ZERO to INFINITY
Dream on
Butterfly
ジャーニー
LAST DANCE
行こう!
光射す方へ
EVERLASTING
透明 with overture
アンコール
TEAM

SUMMARY

Mamoru Miyano’s “THE ENTERTAINMENT” is a stylish entry that perfectly encompasses who he is as an artist: a true entertainer that loves what he does but also an entertainer that sings insanely well. Throughout its 12 songs, Miyano revisits old hit songs such as “ZERO to INFINITY”, “Dream on”, “Hikari Sasu Hou e”, “Toumei”, “LAST DANCE”, “Encore”, and new tunes, showing his growth as an artist in the past couple of years. When “THE ENTERTAINMENT” wraps up, you’re left with a big dorky smile on your face and feel the love and care that is in all those performances. While far from being his best album, this is a perfect showcase of where Miyano is now in his career, encompassing a unique period in a set of near-perfect songs. His singing continues to improve or, should I say, Miyano now shows much more of his range and quality with music that actually creates the perfect stage for him to actually showcase those skills. While some of his previously released songs were trendy and attracted a lot of attention, they were - mostly - far from fully highlighting the amazing singing skills Miyano has. That's why I feel like "THE ENTERTAINMENT" is a massive upgrade over previous albums. It shows not only the entertainer that puts a smile on your face but also the gifted singer that Miyano is.

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Mamoru Miyano’s “THE ENTERTAINMENT” is a stylish entry that perfectly encompasses who he is as an artist: a true entertainer that loves what he does but also an entertainer that sings insanely well. Throughout its 12 songs, Miyano revisits old hit songs such as “ZERO to INFINITY”, “Dream on”, “Hikari Sasu Hou e”, “Toumei”, “LAST DANCE”, “Encore”, and new tunes, showing his growth as an artist in the past couple of years. When “THE ENTERTAINMENT” wraps up, you’re left with a big dorky smile on your face and feel the love and care that is in all those performances. While far from being his best album, this is a perfect showcase of where Miyano is now in his career, encompassing a unique period in a set of near-perfect songs. His singing continues to improve or, should I say, Miyano now shows much more of his range and quality with music that actually creates the perfect stage for him to actually showcase those skills. While some of his previously released songs were trendy and attracted a lot of attention, they were - mostly - far from fully highlighting the amazing singing skills Miyano has. That's why I feel like "THE ENTERTAINMENT" is a massive upgrade over previous albums. It shows not only the entertainer that puts a smile on your face but also the gifted singer that Miyano is.Review | Mamoru Miyano "THE ENTERTAINMENT"