Review | Shouta Aoi “give me ♡ me”

Shouta Aoi brings a collection of downtempo dancefloor tunes in the passionate and intense “give me ♡ me“.

Regular
Title: BAD END
Label: King Records 
Release date: 14/07/2021 
Genre: Dance/Pop-Rock

Tracklist:

1 - give me ♡ me
2 - 硝子のくつ 
3 - Baby Steady Go!!

Track by track analysis:

1 – give me ♡ me

The energy is high for “give me me” with the song kicking off with an upbeat intro and managing to keep that tempo and intensity throughout.

The verses are brief and riding on a punchy bassline that will have you dancing along to the song in no time. The electronica elements in this song are strong with a mix of synths shaping the soundscape for this track.

The chorus is explosive, with the tempo slightly increasing and introducing a delicate or, should I say, refined element into the mix: strings. The addition of strings to this downtempo dance track adds a completely new dynamic to “give me ♡ me”.

I absolutely love the break in this song, with all elements toning down and leaving an open space for Shouta Aoi to go absolutely bonkers with head voice and ethereal long notes. A lot of energy on top of a simplistic dance track and Aoi makes it work incredibly well

2 – 硝子のくつ

“Glass no Kutsu” changes gears in this single, introducing big, progressive electronica. The verses ride on top of glitchy synths, a bassy beat, and an equally punchy bassline.

One thing that will stand out with ease is how open the verses are and how tight the chorus is. The soundscape in the verses counts with atmospheric synths that spread the soundscape and create a wide space for the music to unfold whereas the chorus keeps those elements to a minimum, almost as if you entered a room and closed the door behind you. Nice use of soundstage right there.

The chorus screams “party” with its synth hits, and danceable beat. I feel like more than creating an intense atmosphere (like how Aoi had in 2020’s “Existence”), this kind of downtempo, bass-centric dance sound fits best his voice, serving as a perfect contrast to his higher singing tone.

For fans of electronica, expect a massive drop and break with the synths and bassline going crazy while Shouta Aoi’s vocals morph between clean and manipulated.

“Glass no Kutsu” is a song that takes you to the dancefloor, leave you exhausted but really happy. Awesome job by Aoi with the song composition and lyrics for this song.

3 – Baby Steady Go!!

Wrapping up this single is “Baby Steady Go!!” song that brings a pop-rock sound to the spotlight, breaking the streak of dance tunes.

The verses flow comfortably, riding on top of the live drums and bright piano melodies. In the background, a bouncy bassline and guitar riffs play alongside delicate strings. The build-up to the chorus is not the smoothest but it ends up working with the upbeat chorus.

One thing I absolutely love in this song is how powerful are Shouta Aoi’s vocals. Massive control of head voice right there, which leads to clean high notes in that tricky chorus. Solid mid-tones in the verses, showcasing his control and technique.

In comparison to “give me ♡ me” and “Glass no Kutsu”, “Baby Steady Go!!” does fall short but don’t let take it away from you the energy it has at its core.


Final considerations

Although dance music is still at the core of “give me ♡ me”, the intensity that you found in “BAD END” (2020) was dropped, favoring downtempo tracks that focus more on massive basslines and barely any background distractions to make Aoi’s vocals stand out.

The title track is overflowing with energy but the danceable sound is more contained than expected, leading to quite an interesting performance by Aoi in which both the instrumentals and his vocals get to shine equally.

Glass no Kutsu” was honestly a surprise for me. I was expecting a completely different song from the title alone (a note: that is usually a bad way to assess how a song will sound like) but everyone gets is a party banger. A downtempo party banger but a banger nonetheless.

I feel like Shouta Aoi has been betting a lot on these in his most recent CDs and it suits him really well, especially when those dance tunes have a big focus on bass – which makes a perfect contrast with his high tenor vocals.

One thing that had me on the fence during the 1st listen (and 1st chorus) was the vocals manipulation. For those following reviews here at The Hand That Feeds HQ, you’ll know there’s if there is something that ticks me off is “auto-tune”, especially when used in excess.

There’s a time and place for that, and it can work really well if its placement is focused on enhancing parts in the vocals, correcting something that may not sound that well in its raw state, or simply creating a specific mood.

In “Glass no Kutsu”, all vocals manipulation felt right. It happened in the right places, it gave the intensity it needs and never felt overwhelming, especially for those – like me – that don’t appreciate vocal manipulation that much.

So yeah, while I was a bit on the fence during my first go of the song, the truth is, the manipulation sounds great and really upgrades the song instead of dragging it back.

The single wraps up in a happy-go-lucky fashion although, with a twist. A rock twist at that.

Baby Steady Go!!” brought to the spotlight pop-rock with a traditional four-piece band backing Aoi and as a result, the mood is cheerful at all times, Aoi’s vocals shine and the song will certainly put a smile on your face. The pre-chorus and chorus don’t progress as smoothly as I expected but it’s still an entertaining song worth your time.

All in all, Shouta Aoi’s “give me ♡ me” is a fun, upbeat single filled with downtempo dancefloor bangers and a bubbly rock tune for you to enjoy.


give me ♡ me is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


SUMMARY

Shouta Aoi's "give me ♡ me" brings a lot of color to his repertoire and plenty of dancefloor bangers for his fans to enjoy. This time around the dance music was downtempo and focused on bouncy basslines, something that made Aoi shine even more than usual (that contrast between his higher-toned vocals and the bassline is really good). All in all, a strong and fun entry in Shouta Aoi's repertoire. It was well worth the almost 1-year wait between CD releases.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

give me ♡ me
硝子のくつ
Baby Steady Go!!
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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