Shouta Aoi “Tone” (Review)

Tone is an exciting single that goes back to Aoi‘s original pop driven, upbeat sound while introducing new elements and exploring new sonorities.

Regular
Title: Tone
Label: King Records 
Release date: 10/04/2019
Genre: Pop

Tracklist:

1 - Tone
2 - 奪えないもの 
3 - Bet On You

Track by track analysis:

1 – Tone

Tone is an electro pop tune with tropical influences in the mix. The pacing is comfortable, balancing sweet strings with tropical elements, creating a pleasing sound. Despite this song having the touch of Elements Garden’s composers, the song sounds refreshing and strays mostly away from the sound we are all overly familiar with from this producing and composing team.

Aoi’s vocals bring a peppy touch as well as energy to this song. He is a fun, engaging performer that always shines, no matter how weak and generic and instrumental might be. 4/5

2 – 奪えないもの

The tone changes completely for the second track on this release. 奪えないもの (Ubaenai mono) counts with lyrics by Aoi that now strays away from ballads to a more danceable, although still emotional, tune. Although the song kicks off on a delicate tone, it soon evolves into a slow paced dance tune with an instrumentalization that explores 90s electronica and pop melodies and structures. The lead piano melody brings a summery yet nostalgic vibe to this song. A variety of synths give depth and create a soundscape that is as ethereal and perfect as the vocal performance by Shouta Aoi. Everything from the lyrics to the the stunning falsetto vocals, to the fancy, throwback instrumental create a dreamy soundscape that really captures the listener’s attention. Top marks. 5/5

3 – Bet On You

The single finishes strong with the dramatic pop tune, Bet On You. The instrumental channels epic vibes from its dramatic intro featuring dramatic piano melodies, urgent strings and powerful timpani. The song evolves into a minimalistic take on electronic pop with atmospheric synths in the background, a simple bass line, heavily processed guitar riffs and progressive, bass-driven drums pushing the song forward. In between verses and the chorus, strings and timpani come into play to add power and drama to this performance.

When it comes to the vocals, Aoi fully embraces the drama in the instrumental and delivers the best performance on this single. From high notes to the amount of emotion that each phrase packs, he made sure this was a performance to remember in the future. The highlight of this release. 5/5

Final rating:

Shouta Aoi has been on a successful streak of quality releases.

Tone deviates a from past entries’ rock sound, now back to exploring pop with the new influences of tropical house. The result is an upbeat tune with a modern, listener-friendly sound. Although Elements Garden’s constant features in the composing credits of his songs have, somehow in the past, hindered or made his music sound a bit generic, this time around they managed to stray away from what you’d call their “trademark” sound and deliver something that you can’t easily pinpoint to them. The title track completely deviated from their style which made it sound fresh, a solid opening for this single.

Aoi showed his lyricist vein once more by penning the lyrics to Ubaenai mono, a slow paced dance tune with ballad undertones. If there is something we noticed is that he excels at performing ballads but he is also extremely versatile and it is exactly what he shows with this song.

The single wrapped up powerfully with Bet On You, song that easily ranks as the best entry in this release. The addition of urgency and drama to this track came as a surprise, especially taking into account how Aoi‘s music usually doesn’t go towards that route. This change of pace is welcomed, showcasing yet again that he not only fits almost every single music genre, but he is insanely consistent at it. At a point in his performance he even had to rap and he did not fall behind even once. This is, hands down, the single’s highlight.

All in all, Tone is an exciting single that goes back to Aoi‘s original pop driven, upbeat sound while introducing new elements, some inspired by previous rock and electronica-drive releases of his, others new, exciting additions that add flair to his music.

This release is another fabulous entry in his repertoire.

Tone is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

 

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