TRD’s “TRAD” is a fantastic comeback by one of the most iconic seiyuu duos. A return to their roots but also a mature step forward in their career.
Title: TRAD Label: Pony Canyon Release date: 16/06/2021 Genre: EDM / Pop / R&B
1 - Vermillion Phoenix 2 - Take You Higher 3 - Just the Two of Us 4 - Baby, Can't Let Go 5 - Game Changer
Track by track analysis:
1 – Vermillion Phoenix
Dirty guitar riffs, a clap track, and intense, slow-paced synths open the curtains for “Vermillion Phoenix”.
The verse is all about that slow, pondered edgy vibe, leaving way for the vocals to stand out.
The chorus sounds grandiose in its vocal progression while keeping its edge on the instrumental side.
One thing that will stand out as you listen to this song is how its structure is not common. You have an intro, 1st verse, chorus, intermission, and a chorus to wrap it all up in a statement song that signals the start of a new era for the duo.
2 – Take You Higher
Dreamy, washy synths and a deep bassline paint a vast, summery soundscape however what you have in “Take You Higher” is something more.
In the verses, the duo showcases their slick rapping skills mixing those with groovy singing.
The build-up to the chorus arrives as rather disruptive to the flow of the song, bringing your attention to it.
Serving as the background is an instrumental that brings forward a danceable beat alongside guitar riffs and a big synth lead.
You can expect the chorus to add a bit more tension to the song, hyping you up.
The balance between electronica and rock elements keeps the song going, with chants powering it up for another listen (or sing-along session).
When this song wraps up, you’ll be feeling energized and wanting more.
3 – Just the Two of Us
Things slow down when you get to “Just the Two of Us“, solo track by Daisuke Ono.
A big piano melody brings drama to the composition, giving life to the dreamy soundscape – courtesy of atmospheric synths – in front of you.
The beat is minimalistic, focusing on a mix of hi-hat triplets and a clap track to create everything you need to be invested in this track.
The build up to the chorus is tasteful, going smoothly to what is an emotional and gentle sound with a passionate performance on top.
On the vocal end, there are a couple of interesting things going on. Daisuke Ono showcased for the first time head voice, rising on his scale in a surprisingly beautiful way.
This comes off as a massive addition to this slow R&B-meets-chill-out track.
4 – Baby, Can’t Let Go
A chill acoustic sound takes over for “Baby, Can’t Let Go“, solo track by Takayuki Kondo.
This is also an R&B tune that touches on the theme of love and does so in a genuinely tasteful way.
You can feel the sweetness in the verses as the acoustic guitar melodies envelop you (just notice that around you in the soundscape) and sat, at center stage, is Takayuki Kondo. He delivers a passionate performance using his smooth mid-tones, rising on the scale, bringing legato and doing ad-libs that will grip you to this performance.
5 – Game Changer
Wrapping up this release, TRD brings “Game Changer”, an aggressive dance tune with hip-hop and rock influences.
The verses are edgy and intense, with electric guitars making themselves known to you at the same time that the hi-hat triplets go wild.
The chorus however embraces a slow trap beat, diluting the tension that was building up in the verses.
In a way, the chorus is anticlimactic, taking away the satisfaction of the tension being unleashed in a powerful display of, for example, energy (a hard-hitting beat, an edgy guitar solo, etc.).
What you get is a slow, contained chorus that lacks the punch to make an impact.
Ok the vocal end, do expect fancy rapping and singing by the duo. Rapping is really the highlight in this performance so do pay attention to it.
Following their unique work as the hip-hop meets EDM seiyuu unit, D.A.T., Daisuke Ono, and Takayuki Kondo team up yet again as TRD.
With creative freedom, a good music label supporting them, and compositions by top composers in Japan such as R.O.N and Juvenile, TRD brought forward “TRAD”, a mini-album that showcases their dual charms in more ways than one.
Both are solid singers. Both are groovy rappers with a fancy flow. They work perfectly as a unit but can also shine individually.
And this mini-album does showcase all of that.
And in a way, in “TRAD”, TRD revisits its old sound as D.A.T.
There are nods to the duo’s sound as D.A.T in this release. “Take you higher” is a vastly improved “Drastic Dance” with a rock edge to itself, something that marries the old sound with the new identity this duo has.
The solo tracks “Just the Two of Us” (performed by Daisuke Ono) and “Baby, Can’t Let Go” (performed by Takayuki Kondo) are a continuation of the awesome solo work they were doing as D.A.T only now with more maturity and a better budget that gives them the opportunity of delivering high quality, highly engaging solo tracks to their fans.
The two solo tracks are, coincidentally, the best songs in this release. Awesome displays of vocal range and growth by both Ono and Kondo that end up leading to two passionate performances that have left a mark.
As a duo, “Take You Higher” stands out for its disruptive sound and fancy rapping, ending up showcasing everything this duo is all about.
All in all, TRD’s “TRAD” is a fantastic comeback by one of the most iconic dynamic seiyuu duos. A return to their roots but also a mature step forward in their career.
TRAD is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
“TRAD” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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