Review | Showtaro Morikubo “WAY OUT”

Showtaro Morikubo goes darker and darker with his new single, WAY OUT.

Title: WAY OUT
Label: Lantis
Release date: 16/09/2020
Genre: Hardrock

Tracklist:

1 - WAY OUT
2 - World Line
3 - Alright

Track by track analysis:

1 – WAY OUT

Groovy guitar riffs and a bassy beat lead the way for WAY OUT. Morikubo went for a slow paced, edgy old-school rock sound for this track that, at times sounds like reimagining of HYDE’s style.

The guitars are loud, groovy and low toned for the majority of the song, exuding a robust and dark vibe.

The drums are plenty of fun, focusing on their bass sound and hi-hats. The bass adds groove to this track, enhancing the tight, robust sound of the song.

On the vocal side, Showtaro Morikubo goes for his trademark old-school mix of rap with singing. His singing blends a lot of Japanese and English and his transitions between both are seamless, which adds to the enjoyment while listening to this track.

Aggressive without being too loud of forcibly edgy. Morikubo balances everything to perfection in this track.


2 – World Line

World Line carries over the groove in the past track and fleshes it out into a classic hardrock track.

The guitar riffs are incisive, the drums count with a variety of crash + hi-hat fills and a groovy bass-focused beat that are infectious.

The bass provides the cover for all instruments to go wild, especially the guitars. World Line counts with a resounding and fresh guitar solo within Morikubo’s vast repertoire.

For this song, Showtaro Morikubo gets a bit closer to the listener, however, the whole suffocating vibe in WAY OUT – provided by the instrumental – is not here and you get a wider, more open soundscape that gives the listener an experience that emulates a live show.


3 – Alright

The single wraps up with Alright, song that has a dark tone – provided by the slashing synths – in the verses but it goes loud and low in the chorus, bringing electric guitars, a reverberating bass and powerful drums into the mix.

The song then changes its dynamics in the 2nd verse, introducing reverbed guitar riffs and slow-paced drums to the, once, stripped down, synth driven instrumental.

The song continues to build up into the loud, aggressive bridge and explodes for the last chorus.

Showtaro Morikubo goes for an interesting performance with a bit of effects on top.

The quiet parts, where the synths are king, count with Morikubo’s vocals echoing in the distance. As we get to the chorus, the backing vocals – in a higher key – give the performance a nice contrast that fits the song’s contrasting tones.

The single wraps up in the same tone as it started, coming full circle.


Final considerations:

WAY OUT is a massive single by Showtaro Morikubo and like the shredding rock single it is, it deserves more love than it, unfortunately, got in Japan (where he counted with poor sales below 1000 copies in its release week).

If you’re waiting for a loud, edgy rock release by the veteran rocker, this is not the release for you however, if you’re looking for a powerful and dark rock single, Showtaro Morikubo has the thing for you in WAY OUT.

WAY OUT – the title track – is not as loud as you’d expect but the way Showtaro Morikubo tackled the song, going for a claustrophobic, suffocating sound is something he hasn’t done much before and it fits perfectly with the song’s lyrics and presentation.

World Line is a blast for those that are suckers for fun, varied drums performances.

The fills, the accents, the sudden changes of tone, those drums are the heart to the song.

Morikubo going back in time and bringing back his mix of rap with singing – much inspired by Linkin Park – shone in this track.

Alright wraps up this single, coming full circle in the tone and pacing. As a matter of fact, the pacing in this release is pretty consistent, going slow and letting the guitars and vocals do the talking.

Still, Alright stands out for how synths were incorporated into it and how you have those slow, stripped down, airy sections with synths and Morikubo’s distant vocals and, a couple of seconds later, a rock band is on top of you with a dark, aggressive sound that is Morikubo’s trademark.

After listening to this release, I couldn’t help but to want to hit replay and experience it all again.

Showtaro Morikubo knows how to craft rock music that reaches the listener, it is aggressive when needed, it is loud only to accentuate phrases and his vocals are always on point, showcasing a charisma and confidence that is not easy to find and make theirs.

WAY OUT fills a void in the seiyuu industry – especially on the male side of things, in which pop and EDM music are king – and delivers incisive rock music that, while not made accessible for newcomers, is a bliss for longtime fans as well as those that love hardrock, and all comes from lens of the experienced and talented singer-songwriter, Showtaro Morikubo.


WAY OUT is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


WAY OUT is available for streaming on Spotify.


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

REVIEW OVERVIEW
WAY OUT
World Line
Alright
The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. A year later, 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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