TRIGGER raises the bar yet again with a set of performances in “PLACES” that highlight their versatility, singing skills and unapparelled harmonies.

Label: Lantis
Release date: 14/07/2021
Genre: Pop


2 - Smile Again
3 - PLACES (Off Vocal)
4 - Smile Again (Off Vocal)

Track by track analysis:


Acoustic guitars and urgent drums paint a dramatic soundscape for “PLACES”, track that brings forth TRIGGER in a completely different vibe than usual.

The verses are slow-paced, with a piano leading the way while synths add a “sinking” feeling to the song.

The addition of those seems like the group is drowning, slowly fading away. There’s passion and hope at the core, illustrated by the piano theme and acoustic guitar riffs in the background.

The chorus is powerful while being extremely simplistic. The focus is on their harmonies, with all members bringing their best to this performance.

High notes – Takuya Sato going for those ends up being spine-chilling, almost like he’s screaming his lungs out for help -, ad-libs, a whole lot of deep vibrato and a massive emotional punch hit the listener in this track.

This is TRIGGER like you’ve never heard them before and it is beautiful.

Another detail I deeply appreciate about this song is how the vocals were set on the soundstage during part of the chorus.

Tenn (CV: Soma Saito) is at the center, in front of you. Gaku (CV: Wataru Hatano) is to your left and Ryunosuke (CV: Takuya Sato) is to your right. That gives a dramatic twist to the performance that I absolutely love.

And that full stop before the final chorus? The perfect addition to enhance the drama in this track.

2 – Smile Again

Wrapping up this single is “Smile Again”, song that heavily contrasts with the group’s trademark sound, at least when you first come across its intro.

The verses are funky, bringing a bouncy bassline to the spotlight while bringing playful brass and a big percussion, strings, and atmospheric synths.

The pre-chorus picks up the pace, bringing a clap track for you to follow along while the group heightens the tension to the chorus.

An explosion of color hits the listener when you reach the chorus, with the soundscape widening to the uplifting sound of brass, marimba-inspired synths, and a bassy, playful beat.

Worth mentioning that the saxophone melody going on in the background that wraps up this song in style. That’s such a small but awesome touch to the instrumental.

On top of all that are Wataru Hatano, Soma Saito, and Takuya Sato delivering an upbeat, fun performance, something that is unusual for this trio to actually deliver.

Still, there’s a rather mature, unique twist to their performance that, although cheerful never sounds childish. There is some manipulation to the vocals but nothing that hinders the performance as it is only used as an accent to it.

And once again, it’s worth paying attention to their harmonies – their strength – in the chorus, the power and emotion they pack as a unit is unparalleled.

Unexpected yet refreshing tune that will have you reach for that “replay” button.

Final considerations

TRIGGER had a packed summer with the release of their concept album “VARIANT” and now with “PLACES”.

However, there are big differences in tone between both releases, something that makes “PLACES” sound a bit out of place in their discography, especially if you’re going chronologically (per release date) through their CDs.

This is not me saying that this is a bad entry, it just sounds – lyrics wise – like a much early entry in their repertoire.

PLACES” fits a bit early in their repertoire. This is a single meant to fit the 3rd in-game story (3rd anime season as well). A note that the game right now and “VARIANT” fit in the 5th story season that is set to kick off this year.

As such, “PLACES” doesn’t follow the same narrative or, in a way, follows it however in its beginnings rather than its climax like in “VARIANT”.

If you actually care about the stories unfolding in the lyrics (or character development if you’re following the franchise), then I’d suggest you check this single after “REGALITY” and just before “Crescent Rise”.

So, when I say you’ll notice a difference in their vibe, it’s really that obvious.

But how does “PLACES” fare in TRIGGER’s repertoire?

The single is solid – among their best – counting with two polarizing tracks that have either sound or performances that are a first for the group.

The title track “PLACES” is somber, it has longing underneath it yet it feels like you’re losing touch with them as they slowly fade away from what was, once, a guaranteed status.

This is, of course, open to interpretation but that’s, in my opinion, the feeling I get from the instrumental + performances. If you go deep into those lyrics, be ready to be hit in the feelings.

PLACES” is incredibly different from what TRIGGER has released in the past but hell if it isn’t impressive.

Their progression in the chorus will give you goosebumps. Then you have Takuya Sato screaming those high (for his range), dramatic notes filled with passion that will tug at your heartstrings, and Soma Saito and Wataru Hatano’s performances overflowing with emotion, rendering you speechless.

It’s that good of a performance and the fact that the instrumental is pretty simple and uncluttered helps making the song hit the listener with much more intensity.

Smile again” is yet another oddball – in a good way – in TRIGGER’s repertoire. For a group best known for their sexy and powerful vibe, this song arrives as completely unexpected yet, a nice change of pacing that showcases versatility on vocals as well as different side to TRIGGER’s music.

The song goes a bit in line with “Treasure!” yet it’s not as tongue-in-cheek as that one is. Still, its cheerful vibe is approached in a mature way with a funky instrumental underneath, making it sound like what you’d call a “TRIGGER song”.

When this single wraps up, you’ll be left wanting more. You’ll want to give back after TRIGGER poured their hearts to you. You’ll be invested in the stories unfolding in the lyrics.

PLACES” is a must listen and yet another awesome chapter in TRIGGER’s repertoire.

PLACES is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


PLACES” is available for streaming on Spotify.

Do not support piracy. Remember to support TRIGGER by streaming via official outlets.


TRIGGER raises the bar yet again with a set of performances in "PLACES" that highlight their versatility, singing skills and unapparelled harmonies. This time around the tone is slightly somber and overflowing with longing, something that can be attributed to the fact that this single actually fits way early in the group's discography (3rd story season VS the 5th story season set to kick off in-game in 2021). Still, fans will get to experience the outstanding chemistry and teamwork by the trio, their individual growth is also noticeable (the best example being Takuya Sato challenging himself with some solid high notes - for his range - or even Soma Saito helping out with the bass parts for the group's harmonies) and their growth as a group can be felt for those following their discography. "PLACES" is one of the best songs released in 2021, simple, with a lot of emotional depth and with a haunting soundscape that will have you wishing you could, in some way give back all that love that is outpouring in their performance. TRIGGER is, undoubtedly a group that is in insanely good form, releasing yet another flawless CD.


Smile again
Vanessa Silva
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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