With mesmerizing high notes mixed with traditional japanese elements, Shouta Aoi shows us a magnificent pop and rock spectacle in “Murasaki“.
Title: MURASAKI Label: Broccoli Release date: 02/09/15 Genre: J-Pop
1 - MURASAKI 2 - 哀唄 3 - MURASAKI (off vocal) 4 - 哀唄 (off vocal)
Track by track analysis:
1 – MURASAKI
Mixing traditional Japanese elements with danceable pop, MURASAKI is a one-of-a-kind track in Shouta‘s repertoire.
With the shamisen as the main base for this track as well as the addition of synths and synthetic drums, we get a pretty interesting and unique instrumental piece.
With the necessary power – provided by the pop elements such as the drums and synths – but also with a gentle, refined sound provided by the traditional elements – we know how the shamisen does wonders for pop tracks if well implemented -, MURASAKI is one fierce track from start to finish, although it might be way too peculiar for most tastes.
On the vocal side, we need to point out that Aoi gives his all in this track with astounding performance. Ranging between a pop and enka approach to the lyrics, Shouta seems to be able to do everything perfectly (although enka usually requires a singer with a slightly rougher voice than his, he still fared well in his approach to the genre).
In the bridge he delivers mesmerizing high notes with an impressive control – that left us with our jaws dropped in awe. Powerful, danceable, addictive unique, and with a befitting vocal performance, MURASAKI impresses a lot.
2 – 哀唄
Written by Shouta, 哀唄 takes a completely different route as the previous track.
Putting the majority of the synths away, this track’s instrumental still has some traditional elements – the shakuhachi – but it also brings a rock element to the table. With rocking drums, melodic guitar riffs, and powerful bass we have a rich instrumental piece that made us itching for more.
While this is a music genre that he has only recently approached, rock music seems to fit him the best – this exciting and energetic performance by the instrumental piece only is enough to say that the vocals were bound to fit like a glove.
Aoi‘s approach to the lyrics turned out to deliver an even more melodic performance than what we’d expected for this kind of song. 哀唄 shows us a versatile Aoi dressed in a rock fashion and still delivering his impressive performances. Beautiful lyrics, an impressive bridge with the piano and bass creating a perfect melody for Shouta to shine in, and overall most exciting track by far.
With MURASAKI we get the exact idea that Shouta is trying his best to develop his skills in as many music genres as possible. Pop has been his environment for a couple of years – even before his major debut as Shouta Aoi – but since last years’ HIMITSU NO KUCHIDZUKE, his endeavors through the rock genre have been successful.
His voice control with both mid and higher tones makes it for an impressive weapon, befitting for both rock and pop, and what we’ve been seeing in these past few releases is an increasing number of rock songs in his repertoire, songs that bring a lot of energy to his releases and show yet a completely new side to Aoi‘s capabilities.
MURASAKI starts off in a danceable fashion resorting to ELEMENTS GARDEN‘s trademark elements – heavy synths and piano – as the core of the track. Good surprises come from the fact that this time we have a lot of traditional elements in this single.
Shakuhachi, shamisen, singing in an enka fashion, every single one of that showcase not only that Aoi’s sound is morphing into something completely different from his pretty pop into something incredibly versatile and more eye / ear-catching, but also showing that traditional Japanese music elements can be featured in almost anything and still do a great job.
As a whole, this single has a good title track but an even best ending track. As usual Shouta Aoi’s self-written tracks tend to be the best in every release he’s made so far, 哀唄 took an interesting turn and presented us with a rock tune, something that is both unexpected from ELEMENTS GARDEN and Aoi.
Even though it was a bit unexpected that we’d get a rock song in this release, it still came out as an excellent surprise.
A release that has upped the ante for the next releases. We’ll be on the lookout for his following endeavors.
“MURASAKI” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.