Review | ROCK DOWN “GREEN”

ROCK DOWN

ROCK DOWN‘s “GREEN” has the makings of an awesome release however, a couple of odd choices in the composition left a lot to be desired.

VAZZROCK COLOR SERIES [-Green-] Get The Green Light
Title: GREEN - Get The Green Light -
Label: Movic
Release date: 29/01/2021
Genre: Ballad / Pop

Tracklist:

1 - ドラマ「完璧な天羽玲司」 
2 - ドラマ「午前7時の宣戦布告」 
3 - ドラマ「完璧すぎる天羽玲司」 
4 - ドラマ「Get the green light」 
5 - ドラマ「ギムレットで乾杯を」 
6 - World Tree (ROCK DOWN song)
7 - Happy Time! (Reiji Amaha, Ayumu Tachibana and Gaku Oguro)
8 - World Tree -off vocal- 
9 - Happy Time! -off vocal-

Track by track analysis:

6 – World Tree

A crystal-clear piano melody paints a sweet and delicate soundscape. “World Tree” is not your typical ROCK DOWN song as it tones down their sound and goes the gentle, acoustic pop-rock route this time around.

Their verses are warm and filled with a kindness that rubs off on the listener. Without noticing, you’ll be singing along to the song, feeling the chorus and all those rich emotions overflowing.

On the vocal end, this is quite the unique performance. ROCK DOWN aren’t known for having such a soft sound thus, to find the members embracing a smoother, sweeter type of performance was refreshing.

The performances in the verses flow seamlessly and, in the chorus, all members of ROCK DOWN get together and deliver a powerful unison.

Sweet and unexpected, “World Tree” is one of ROCK DOWN’s best group songs to date.

7 – Happy Time!

Wrapping up this release is “Happy Time!”, song that teams up Reiji Amaha (CV: Takuya Sato), Ayumu Tachibana (CV: Taito Ban) and Gaku Oguro (CV: Takuya Masumoto) on the vocals.

The song kicks off with classic guitar riffs to the rhythm of deep, snare driven drums. Soon, the instrumental changes dynamics and introduces synths to take the song to a lively place.

The verses are groovy, with the bassline being rather prominent and the beat keeping a comfortable pacing to the song.

However, the chorus fails to be something that grabs my attention. The leading synth is too loud, overlapping with the bass and guitar, making the chorus sound incredibly crowded and, at times, overwhelming as a listener to properly appreciate everything that is going on.

The loud synth takes away the focus from the vocals, something that, once again, led to this song to fail to impress in my books.

When it comes to the vocal performances, there are some things to point out.

The differences in vocal quality are highly noticeable in this song, with Taito Ban standing out for the wrong reasons. His performance lacks emotion – of any kind – and is pretty stiff in comparison with Sato and Masumoto’s lively and intense performances. This is quite odd as Ban had, in previous releases, fared pretty well.

All in all, “Happy Time!” did, indeed, promise a good time but ultimately failed to deliver.


Final considerations

ROCK DOWN delivered one of their best group performances in GREEN.

World Tree” arrived as a surprise, exploring a sweeter, softer sound that, up until now, ROCK DOWN had dipped their feet in but had never fully embraced.

I enjoyed this change of pace and sound for the group, something that put their skills to test on the vocal end and, in the end, managed to be refreshing.

The trio song, “Happy Time!” went in the opposite direction although it is also another song you wouldn’t expect from ROCK DOWN.

Its bubbly rock meets electronica sound could have worked wonders if not for the weird choice of having the lead synth, bass and guitars run all on almost the same sound levels in the chorus.

Saying that that part is overcrowded is an understatement. It sounds far from clean and it didn’t help making the vocals standout – as you would want to in the chorus, after all that’s the hook of the song, it should be memorable -, instead it is hard to enjoy that part of the song.

This is, of course, a matter of taste on my end, and some of you may not find any issue with having a chorus in which everything happens at the same time. My advice on this one is: check the song and see if it, in any way, hinders your listening experience.

As you can tell from what was written above, it did hinder mine.

ROCK DOWN’s last entry in the COLOR series “GREEN” had the makings of an awesome release however, a couple of odd choices and lacking performances by some members lowered a bit of the enjoyment you can get with this release.


GREEN – Get The Green Light – is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


REVIEW OVERVIEW
World Tree
Happy Time!
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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