Review | Momochi “Magen no Ai”

Dear Vocalist 6th season

Momochi goes all out with an intense sound with twisted love at its core in the massive album “Magen no Ai”.

Title: 魔言の愛
Label: Rejet
Release date: 26/05/2021
Genre: Rock / EDM / Traditional Japanese / Jazz

Tracklist:

1 - 魔言の愛 [NEW SONG]
2 - 讃歌 [NEW SONG]
3 - 噂の滅子さん [NEW SONG]
4 - Mr.BlackBlack
5 - SCARLET GAME
6 - Last Coffee
7 - 騙り鳥
8 - 紅蓮心中
9 - 泡唄 [#1 SONG VOTED BY FANS]
10 - SECRET♥DRAMA(Dummyhead mic drama track)

Track by track analysis:

1 – 魔言の愛

Magen no Ai” has an eerie intro with atmospheric synths washing away the soundscape as glitch synth melodies lead the way.

The verses are intense and incredibly bassy, with the bass and synths focusing heavily on that aggressive sound to contrast with the beauty in Toshiyuki Toyonaga’s vocals. The scene unfolds in front of you and it is beautiful, hypnotizing while strangely dangerous.

As the song reaches the chorus, and its allure and sexy twist turn into an intense display of emotions with the hard-hitting beat and synths combo making quite the impression.

Clarity – of sorts – arrives only in the bridge when the broken, reverbed synth melody in the intro makes its comeback, however, what awaits you is something more intense and unpredictable.

Momochi goes for a powerful, “in your face” love confession that captures quite a massive range of emotions from sadness to malice, hate, and devotion. It’s twisted and this song certainly captures that in its instrumental.

And Toshiyuki Toyonaga fully embraced this complex song with an emotionally rich performance and plenty of flair throughout. What an intro to this album.

2 – 讃歌

Sanka” tones things down and embraces a jazzier, more playful sound. However, its intro is full-on traditional with a shakuhachi adding a brief somber tone to the song.

The verses count with funky guitar riffs, simple snary drums, and a punchy bassline. This appears as a big contrast to the intro however, as the song progresses, you’re submerged by the fancy brass, punchy bassline, and snary drums.

Guitars are funky and classy at all times, screaming in the chorus alongside the playful brass.

Something I absolutely love about this song is its drums work. There is a breakbeat going on that gives this song an extra punch in its bouncy vibe. That’s immediately the element that stood out for me and kept me invested in the song.

The bridge is quite interesting as all the rock and jazz is put aside to give way to a dramatic and slightly dark sound, with the shakuhachi setting that somber tone yet again. As a result, Toyonaga shifts his performance from rock to traditional Japanese, adding an enka twist to his performance.

3 – 噂の滅子さん

Crazy, mindless fun, that’s how you can describe Momochi’s high-throttle “Uwasa no Metsuko-san”.

Everything about this song is fast-paced and intense, with punk-rock really taking the spotlight in what is yet another unexpected change in tone and music genre.

Guitars shred their way into the song, the bassline goes bonkers while the drums can’t have a breather. As things tone down for a bit in the pre-chorus, the pacing quickens up yet again, going for a riveting chorus with chants that will make you want to sing along.

As far as the vocals go, Toshiyuki Toyonaga made sure to fully embrace the crazy tone of this song and, as a result, you can tell he was having fun performing this song and, when you least notice, you’ll have a smile plastered on your face.

4 – Mr.BlackBlack

Making a dandy entrance, Momochi brings the elegance of jazz with “Mr. BlackBlack”. The song has a massive groove, courtesy of the bassline and tuba melodies. The piano is jazzy, the drums simple and snary, the brass and piano are delicate and always classy.

There’s a beautiful piano run – an arpeggio – that goes on during the chorus, giving it a unique twist of refinement that, honestly, this song already has plenty but highly benefits from.

The chorus is incredibly addictive and, yet again, bouncy, with the bass sound intensifying in this part while contrasting with those piano arpeggios.

The song counts with a beautiful piano solo in the outro, putting a close to this fancy chapter in the album.

On the vocal end, Toyonaga is completely in his territory. This is one of those performances that is so groovy that it demands a performance by someone that can give it an extra bit of life to it. Toyonaga does that with plenty of vibrato, tricky riffing, and some ad-libs in the mix.

It’s just perfect.

5 – SCARLET GAME

[As previously reviewed]

There are very few instances in which mixing a sexy vibe with 8-bit music work well. Surprisingly, this is one of those. The song kicks off with two essential sound effects: coins and a retro gaming system powering up.

This intro might hint towards a fun, peppy tune however, “SCARLET GAME” is a full-fledged classy and sexy tune. A groovy bass line leads the way for this song, being responsible for its alluring tone.

Brass stabs, bluesy guitar licks, and simple, snary drums join the mix in the verses, creating a tasteful and simple funky instrumental with full focus on the vocals and bass line.

In the pre-chorus, washy synth pads and a clap track, and other synths take over, building up the tension to the classy chorus in which the listener will find a vibrant palette of sounds that, adding to the grooviness of the bass line and the classy touch of the guitars, still counts with the delicate melodies of what sounds like a glitched shakuhachi plus other wind instruments.

Like any R&B-ish or jazzy tune, a saxophone is a must. SCARLET GAME counts with the smooth touch of the saxophone, tying everything up perfectly.

Toshiyuki Toyonaga brought his A-game to the table and made this song leaps and bounds sexier than it already was, much thanks to his natural vibrato and R&B imbued performance. Absolutely stunning performance.

6 – Last Coffee

[As previously reviewed]

Last Coffee” is a curious entry in this release. Actually, this is an extremely interesting entry in the Dear Vocalist franchise.

For the first time in the franchise and in Momochi‘s repertoire, we find a danceable tune that mixes the darkness of trap beats with the grandiosity of orchestral bits plus the fun of tropical house’s synth leads.

The result is a dark, melancholic yet catchy tune with an underlying uplifting tone that will catch your attention within its first notes. A relaxing synth lead, characteristical of tropical house, sets the tone for this song.

With the addition of a simple hi-hat + kick beat, we have the intro and verses’ simple instrumental.

The pre-chorus kicks in and with it come trap beats and orchestral bits, adding a twisted touch to this instrumental. as well as to build up the tension for the contrasting soothing and uplifting chorus (when the lyrics are actually on a darker, melancholic note), one that features airy and washy synth pads to add yet another fancy layer to the soundscape created.

The song demanded an emotional and groovy performance and Toshiyuki Toyonaga delivered.

7 – 騙り鳥

[As previously reviewed/Revised]

騙り鳥 (Katari Tori) fully embraces traditional Japanese music to create one of the most interesting experiences you can get within the Dear Vocalist franchise. The instrumental brings forth a mix of traditional Japanese instruments – shamisen and taiko drums, mainly -, heavy synths, and intense guitar riffs.

This mix of “past” and “present” in the intro is well-accomplished, once again highlighting the versatility that Veronica – Momochi’s band – has. Any music genre and any singing style are nailed.

The verses are split into 2 parts, a clean one and one in which dubstep is prominent. The first part is pretty simple and straightforward, with overdriven guitar riffs painting the soundscape as synthetic drums set the pace. On the other hand, the 2nd part of the chorus brings dubstep, completely breaking that image you had in your mind.

The chorus is high tension as you can get with this electro-rock tune shining in this particular section.

On the bridge you can expect the instrumental to slow down, focusing on a crazy fast shamisen melody while a slow, low dubstep beat tries to match its pacing.

Toyonaga goes for consistent performance, adapting to different tempo changes and while managing completely different singing styles.

8 – 紅蓮心中

[As previously reviewed]

Traditional Japanese instrumentalization, namely koto and taiko drums, are at the core of this unique track, something that we are used to by the chameleon, Momochi.

Urgent, dramatic piano melodies and a hard-hitting trap and drum & bass beat completely take over this track, showing its dark, fatalist colors.

The chorus is suffocating and incredibly short-lived, to the point that it can’t help but impact the listener. On the vocal end, Toshiyuki Toyonaga mixes his lyrical, belting singing with rap parts, once again showing the contradictions that make Momochi one of the most compelling characters music-wise. 

Guren Shinju is a one-of-a-kind song with a stellar progression, wrapping up on a memorable dramatic note to the sound of a broken shakuhachi melody.

9 – 泡唄

The most popular song on Momochi’s repertoire is none other than the rocking tune “Awauta”.

This song embraces yet again traditional Japanese instrumentalization, namely a koto and shakuhachi, to help shape up the dreamy, refined soundscape and set the stage in which all this high-octane rock music is being played.

The verses have a groove to them that is infectious, with the bassline and guitar riffs leading the way however, when you get to the chorus, the song brings out the big guns, with the drums going bonkers as the pace quickens up.

The bridge goes ethereal for a couple of seconds, leading the way to a brief guitar solo and yet again a timeless touch of koto and shakuhachi melodies.

On the vocal end, Toshiyuki Toyonaga delivers a powerful performance that mixes “regular” rock performance with an enka-inspired twist. He does bring a unique flair to the song that matches the traditional elements going on in the instrumental.


Final considerations

Momochi’s songs are always a treat to listen to because there’s always something new on his sleeve. Known for his eclectic approach to music, the character has a varied repertoire that tests both R.O.N’s composition skills and Toshiyuki Toyonaga’s singing skills.

And what do you get time and time again? High-quality music with memorable performances.

Magen no Ai” has a strange elegance to it, mainly brought in by “SCARLET GAME”, “Mr.BlackBlack” and “Last Coffee” but there’s a crazy, twisted side to Momochi’s music that shows in songs like “Guren Shinjou”, easily one of the most aggressive songs in the Dear Vocalist, as well as “Magen no Ai” and “Uwasa no Metsuko-san”.

You have the timeless beauty of traditional Japanese music in songs like “Awauta”, “Sanka” and “Katari Tori”, bringing forth crafty instrumentals while requiring of Toyonaga a tricky set of performances that have some enka influences going on.

For those coming across Momochi’s music, this is his sound at its finest. Intense, eclectic, unpredictable yet extremely complex.

What remains with you as you listen to each song is the question “what is love for Momochi?”.

From the way the music flows, the lyrics, and performances, love is confusing, violent, and intense and his approach to it is as twisted as it can get.

Momochi’s concept of “love” is twisted to a point that hurting someone – self or other – ends up being a sort of way to showcase love. That shows a little bit across the lyrics in this album.

Love is not simple and certainly, it has gotten to a point in which it is intoxicating, venomous, pitch-black, dangerous yet deeply alluring, and “Magen no Ai” is the perfect representative track of all that, easily the best song out of the 3 new additions and right up there with “SCARLET GAME” and “Guren Shinjou” (or even “Lion” that didn’t make the final cut for this album).

Toshiyuki Toyonaga continues to impress with his performances, fully embracing sudden tempo changes, performing in a wide variety of styles that go from “regular” pop singing to rougher iterations in rock, dramatic when things go traditional – even to the point of embracing enka in order to leave a stronger impression – and rap.

Toyonaga does it all and he simply… this may sound like me being a broken record but it is quite impressive to get to listen to such a skilled singer at work. Toyonaga is really top of the top in quality and that shows in every single performance of his.

All in all, Momochi’s “Magen no Ai” is an interesting look into what is one of the most intriguing and twisted characters in the Dear Vocalist franchise. Baring his heart out comes with a price and it is violent yet extremely alluring.

Massive entry in Momochi’s repertoire.


Magen no Ai is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


Magen no Ai” is available for streaming on Spotify.


Do not support piracy. Remember to support the Dear Vocalist franchise by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

Momochi’s “Magen no Ai” is an interesting look into what is one of the most intriguing and twisted characters in the Dear Vocalist franchise. Baring his heart out comes with a price and it is violent yet extremely alluring. Dark, intense, and eclectic, this is a must-listen by one of the best vocalists in the franchise, performed by Toshiyuki Toyonaga, easily the best singer among male seiyuu. This is a mesmerizing album.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

魔言の愛
讃歌
噂の滅子さん
Mr.BlackBlack
SCARLET GAME
Last Coffee
騙り鳥
泡唄
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, I stumbled upon Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus". Since then I have been writing about male seiyuu music. You may find me writing almost essays whenever music is really good (not limited to, but it happens a lot with Soma Saito's music). I also host the male seiyuu-centric podcast, SEIYUU LOUNGE (see Spotify link in this profile).

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