Wataru Hatano brings a lot of warmth and good vibes with “Naniiro”, single that only fails to impress due to the generic tone of its title track.
Title: ナニイロ Label: DiveII Entertainment Release date: 23/02/2022 Genre: Pop/R&B
1 - ナニイロ 2 - 雨空の先は 3 - ナニイロ Instrumental 4 - 雨空の先は Instrumental
Track by track analysis:
1 – ナニイロ
A jolly piano melody opens the curtains for “Naniiro“.
The song has a soft pop-rock sound, focusing on a balance between the core rock band members with strings, piano, and bells. This dynamic, alongside the gentle main melody by the acoustic guitar, creates a warm, bubbly sound.
The verses are pretty straightforward, with all instruments riding on a comfortable mid-tempo, making this quite an enjoyable listen.
The chorus isn’t groundbreaking, sounding clearly made to be featured in anime (thus, there are hundreds of songs that sound like this one, taking away some of the replay value from it) but overall it is an enjoyable tune that will have you nodding your head to it.
On the vocal end, Wataru Hatano is his usual self in terms of consistency and quality even in a song that doesn’t stand out as much as previous songs of his. You can expect his warm baritone vocals to warm you up and put a smile on your face.
2 – 雨空の先は
Wrapping up this single is “Amazora no saki wa”, song that is all about its cinematic sound.
Rain pours down as an acoustic guitar slowly paints the soundscape. Smoothly, a rhodes piano and downtempo beat join in, creating a sweet stage for Hatano’s vocals.
In the background, organ melodies and what seem to be distorted guitar riffs add a layer of complexity to this tune at the same time that they signal the start of the chorus.
The transition is among the most seamless I’ve ever heard, keeping the same tune and tempo, only with a slight change in the key on the acoustic guitar giving away that you’re joining the gentle chorus awaiting you.
The (apparent) simplicity in this song while still focusing on a melodic delivery is something that shines for me, with the layers of rhodes piano parts and the work on the guitars certainly fueling more listens just to pick everything up from the song.
Then you have the R&B vibes, adding a mature layer to this song while keeping everything classy and very much “Hatano-like”. And on the vocal end, Hatano was in his element sweetly using his baritone vocals to lullaby you.
As a result, “Amazora no Saki wa” shines without being quite subdued in its elegant present.
Wataru Hatano is back with a set of sweet pop-rock tunes that put a friendly vibe in the spotlight.
This was bound to happen, especially given how the tone for this single is nothing alike those 2 singles – that managed to raise the bar pretty high for Hatano’s sound -, yet, it is something that I can’t put aside when analyzing this song.
As a standalone, “Naniiro” – the song – is fun and bubbly but its generic composition and soundscape don’t put a positive spotlight on Hatano’s stellar singing skills.
The title track has its limitations – something that songs featured in anime always have – in terms of composition and while the whole warm, bubbly vibe is something Hatano has in his repertoire, it was a pretty simple performance with nothing memorable.
“Amazora no Saki wa” was able to spread its wings and be more creative with its composition as well as with the performance and, as a result, fans have this song as the best track in the single.
The simplicity in its sound is only apparent, with the composition being quite layered, something that demands more listens to it just to fully grasp everything going on in this warm and elegant tune.
This is the type of song that I believe best suits Hatano’s vocals and skillset, with him naturally lullabying you throughout the track while delivering a performance that is not necessarily easy to copy.
All in all, “Naniiro” is an entertaining entry in Wataru Hatano’s repertoire, however, it completely breaks his streak of impressive single releases with a generic sound that is fun yet far from memorable.
“Naniiro” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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