Shugo Nakamura continues to explore in more depth jazz, bringing to his acoustic rock music a lot of elegant elements and fancy performances.
Title: JUMP Label: Lantis Release date: 10/02/2021 Genre: Jazz-Rock / Acoustic rock
1. JUMP 2. てこと 3. オブラート
Track by track analysis:
1 – JUMP
A bright piano melody paints the soundscape with warmth and excitement. “JUMP” brings a comfortable, mid-tempo pop-rock sound to the table.
Its verses are fun, with washy drums, a punchy bassline, and laidback guitar riffs helping give life to this inspiring soundscape that Nakamura created for you.
The guitar solo in the bridge flows pretty well in the song, my only quip with it is that it is rather brief. Other than that, awesome way to discharge all the tension from the verses and chorus.
On the vocal end, Shugo Nakamura delivered an uplifting and inspiring performance that stands out.
2 – Te koto
A rhodes piano opens the curtains to “Te koto”, leading the way to the jazzy drums, blues-inspired guitar riffs, and an elegant bass line.
Everything about this instrumental is fun, the drums that fully embrace jazz signatures deliver quite the fancy and unpredictable beat to this song.
The rhodes piano starts off slowly bringing a bit of decadence into the mix while the blues guitar riffs take you to a dimly lit jazz bar and then that overdriven, slightly muffled guitar solo in the outro gives a unique shine to “Te koto”.
The bass and strings give a lot of groove and elegance to this song, something that, through Shugo Nakamura’s vocals, gets its final touches.
Nakamura starts the performance on a quieter note than usual and never changes much during the performance. This, alongside the jazzy instrumental, make “Te Koto” stand out for me as the best song in this release. There’s decadence in jazz and Nakamura grasped it pretty well.
3 – Oblaat
To wrap up the single, Shugo Nakamura delivers the acoustic “Oblaat”. In the first verse, you encounter him playing the acoustic guitar in what is already quite the perfect setting, with his melodic, whispery vocals lullabying you.
The 2nd part of the verse introduces minimalistic drums, bright piano melodies, a deep bassline, and melodic guitar riffs, instruments responsible for taking “Oblaat” down the emotional route.
In a way, this song follows the tone in “Te Koto”, also embracing the decadence of jazz in its instrumental.
Although Shugo Nakamura’s performance is outstanding in this song, sweet and gentle for the most part, intense in the chorus, he shines in the outro, going for a beautiful head voice high note, wrapping up this song and single on a fantastic note.
Shugo Nakamura delivers in “Jump” a consistent set of songs that, aside from the obviously anisong tune “Jump”, explore a jazz-rock sound that has carried over from his 2020 digital single “Oh No!!”.
The title track is fun and not in any way generic like most anisong tends to be which is, already, a massive plus. There’s a youthful, inspirational vibe going in “JUMP” that is a first in Nakamura’s solo career. It is certainly refreshing and, overall, a nice touch to this release.
However, where Shugo Nakamura really shines is in the jazz-rock pair of songs “Te koto” and “Oblaat”.
The soundscapes crafted for both songs stand out not for a flamboyant take on jazz – it isn’t – but for its decadent vibe.
Usually, and especially if you’re a voice actor trying to garner some attention to your solo career, you venture towards a more easy-listening, friendly sound – even when it comes to jazz – but Nakamura went full-on decadent for the sound in both songs. And I love it.
Both songs are downtempo, both have melodies in keys that give off weird, low energy, and both are performed without massive changes on the vocal performance from verses to the chorus.
This is pretty unique in his repertoire but I like the direction he went with both. Jazz’s decadence has an appeal and certainly gives off a more elegant, mature vibe from the performer than other approaches to jazz music.
If I had to pick a favorite, it’d be “Te koto”. The jazz bar setting that it creates with those dimly lit lights as the Rhodes piano slowly drags itself towards the chorus is something that I really enjoy. Additionally, Shugo Nakamura delivers a really solid performance with a lot of flourishes and little details in his delivery that entertained me a whole lot.
With “JUMP”, Shugo Nakamura explored in more depth jazz and brought to his acoustic rock music a lot of fancy and elegant elements, melodies, and progressions, enriching his sound and showcasing a singer/lyricist that is maturing before our eyes (and ears).
JUMP is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
JUMP is available for streaming on Spotify.
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