Review | Yuma Uchida “SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!”

SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” is keen on its consistency and fun funk-jazz inspired sound however, it does not improve on previous releases.

Regular edition
Title: SHAKE!SHAKE!SHAKE!
Label: KING RECORDS
Release date: 27/01/2021
Genre: Jazz-Pop

Tracklist:

1 - SHAKE!SHAKE!SHAKE!
2 - Spin a Roulette
3 - Relax
4 - SHAKE!SHAKE!SHAKE!(off vocal ver.)
5 - Spin a Roulette (off vocal ver.)
6 - Relax (off vocal ver.)

Track by track analysis:

1 – SHAKE!SHAKE!SHAKE!

Yuma Uchida kicks off this single with the funky and upbeatSHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!”. This song counts with quite the fun sound, bringing brass, deep groovy bass lines and funky guitar riffs to the spotlight.

The verses are incredibly funky, with the bass line being a driving force.

The chorus gets a coating of disco and funk, with strings enhancing the funky groove going on with the guitars, bass, drums and brass.

“SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” counts with an unusual bridge in which brass and bass go at it delivering quite the entertaining section.

When it comes to the vocal performances, Yuma Uchida went for a peppy performance that isn’t as demanding as previous performances of his.

There’s a youthful touch to his performance and his energy never drops throughout.

I would have loved if the vocals had a bit more flair to them because, in comparison with the instrumental, those sounded surprisingly flat – Uchida is a powerhouse on vocals but here his power and technique are nowhere to be found.

As far as leading track performances go, this one was quite uneventful and weak.

2 – Spin a Roulette

Washy synths and progressive piano melodies with a touch of jazz paint the soundscape for “Spin a Roulette”.

The verses are quite loungy yet with quite some pacing to them. The beat is, for the most part, quite uptempo in the verses, only shifting towards a slower tempo in the pre-chorus.

The chorus is a bundle of fun, overflowing with energy and bringing a lot of flair from jazz in the piano melodies and funk in those summery guitar riffs.

Props to the bridge, counting with a cool guitar solo that adds the final touches to this intense song.

The flair that was missing in “SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” can be found in this song with Yuma Uchida bringing his R&B vocals to the spotlight and going for a stunning performance.

There’s falsetto aplenty, his R&B riffing is off the charts and his sweet, lower notes in vibrato shine. This is quite the robust, charismatic performance that goes more in line with the image he’s been making for himself in the past couple of releases.

3 – Relax

Relax” brings to the table quite the groovy sound.

The intro makes quite the big impression with funky guitar riffs and brass leading the way, gliding on top of a massive bass line.

The verses are count with playful guitar riffs but it is the deep bass that gives warmth to this tune as well as a lot of groove, the spice needed to make this song quite danceable.

The chorus is a continuation of the fun you can find in the verses however, it has the makings of funk-jazz / acid-jazz in it, which is something I absolutely love.

The mix between rock in the electric guitars, funk in the bass and the playfulness of the percussion and brass from jazz create quite the catchy and addictive sound that I can’t get enough of.

It is worth mentioning the awesome guitar work on this song starting from the stunning intro up to the outstanding solo in the bridge. Quite the cool touch added to “Relax”.

On the vocal end, Yuma Uchida delivers quite the energetic performance however, in a slightly playful, sassier fashion that harmonizes with his R&B filled vocals.

Easily the best song in this single.


Final considerations

Yuma Uchida’s “SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” isn’t necessarily an improvement over his previous releases however, it sheds a different light over his image and sound.

There is a common sound going throughout this single: funk jazz.

The focus was put into having the grooviest bass lines, the playfulness of brass, the flair of the piano as well as a loungy touch from the guitars.

It is the very first time Yuma Uchida has a single in which all songs share the same music genre and exude a similar vibe.

This kind of consistency is welcomed, breaking a bit the streak Uchida had going of featuring all 3 songs within a single to sound completely different – usually the pop, rock + ballad combo.

This, of course, wouldn’t have worked as well if there were no distinct lead instruments changing the vibe of all 3 songs just enough for them not to sound like a copy and paste of each other.

“SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” has brass on the spotlight. “Spin a Roulette” has washy synths and “Relax” has a groovy bass line.

I am not that big of a fan of SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! as it is a song that showcases very little of what Yuma Uchida can achieve on the vocal end. It is fun but it doesn’t have much substance.

The performance is uninspired and pretty flat. I dare say that it is pretty much what you’d expect from standard j-pop (in which the focus is more on the peppy, upbeat instrumental rather than on quality on the vocal end).

If you’re okay with easy listening songs that have a performance that doesn’t sound all that unique well, SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! will be your thing.

Nothing wrong with changing things around a little bit for each release but if you look back to his previous singles – “Over” and “Image” – as a title track, SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! is quite weak and lacking anything that deems it worth it of being a leading track.

And that weakness doesn’t come from the instrumental – which I was expecting, given how the single was being advertised as fun and upbeat and the instrumental could have been pretty lazy – but from the vocals.

For example, “Relaxwould have been better suited as the leading track as it has the intensity that you’d expect from the song that should represent your single as a whole.

The rest of the single holds itself pretty well with 2 awesome performances.

I love the focus on a groovy, deep bass-driven sound for both tracks as well as how “Spin a Roulette” managed to bring washy synths into the mix and make everything work when jazz and funk were leading the way.

Relax” takes the crown for me as it is a song rather close to embracing acid-jazz and does so with a lot of flair. Guitar work is off the charts in this song. As soon as the riff in the intro played, I wanted to listen more and, in the bridge, I was rewarded with a memorable solo.

Vocals wise, Yuma Uchida threw it out of the park in “Spin a Roulette”. He did everything and more on the vocal end, delivering a really intense performance that stays with you for a while after the song comes to a close.

I love how he skillfully shifted between techniques – vibrato, falsetto, R&B riffing – and played around with his vocal range, all while performing with a lot of energy and on top of quite the uptempo instrumental.

In the end, “SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” does shake some things around in Yuma Uchida’s solo career by introducing and embracing funk and jazz, but does so in a really shy way, never fully realizing its own potential.


SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE! is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

SUMMARY

“SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE!” does shake some things around in Yuma Uchida’s solo career by introducing and embracing funk and jazz, but does so in a really shy way, never fully realizing its own potential due to a weak leading track that didn't make the best out of Uchida's insane technique on the vocal end.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

SHAKE!SHAKE!SHAKE!
Spin a Roulette
Relax
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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