Shunichi Toki “Party Jacker” (Review)

Shunichi Toki’s sophomore single goes on a nostalgic trip to jazz and citypop.

Animate Limited
Title: Party Jacker
Label: PONY CANYON
Release date: 06/11/2019
Genre: Jazz/Citypop/Rock

Tracklist:

01. Party Jacker
02. Afterglow
03. Time with You
04. Party Jacker (Instrumental)
05. Afterglow (Instrumental)
06. Time with You (Instrumental)

Trach by track analysis:

01. Party Jacker

Party Jacker is an elegant song that plays around with Jazz beats, playful brass, groovy contrabass melodies and funky guitar riffs to bring to life one of the most vivid soundscapes we’ve listened in these past couple of months. The instrumental was crafted in a way that the listener is taken to this classy, dimly lit jazz bar in which everyone came to wind down and have fun. The jazz band is playing and the mood exudes elegance as the guitar solo and the brass solos echo in the room. The essence of jazz – improvisation and unpredictability – finds its way in this release, with this being one of the most “purist” takes on the genre by a seiyuu. On the vocal end, Shunichi Toki cruises past this song. Upbeat, classy performance of a music genre that is more than well known territory for him. Top marks. 5/5

02. Afterglow

Afterglow, on the other hand, pays homage to 80s citypop. Retro synths, distant hits and a touch of Latin instrumentalization, the drums fills and progression, all paint the image of neon lights in 80s Japan. The song has a comfortable tempo, leaving the spotlight on the melodic vocals by Toki. His performance was consistent, rooted on his mid-range while adding a unique 80s pop touch to his performance. Entertaining take on a music genre that seems to be a bit forgotten. 4.5/5

03. Time with You

The single wraps up with the pop-rock tune, Time with you. It’s instrumental is driven by a 4-piece band. Guitars are simple, the bass line is soft, the piano melodies are melancholic and the drums are enjoyable in their mid-tempo style.

Vocally, this is the song that puts to test Toki’s range, experience and skills as a singer. He holds his own with his mid-range vocals throughout most of the song but whenever there is need, his vocals come out of nowhere to catch the listener by surprise with his ethereal falsetto and gentle delivery. However, as good as the vocals are, as the song progresses it seems that the song is going nowhere. The song never fully realizes itself, it is not an all out ballad nor an all out rock song. It’s in the middle and lacks a defining element or something to make it stand out even in its hybrid state. After a sequence of crafty, unique songs, the fact that a textbook pop-rock song made its way into this release makes it seem out of place. 3.5/5

Final rating:

Shunichi toki’s Party Jacker is a solid release with fancy nods to jazz and citypop.

Party Jacker is a song in which we find him shining at center stage. This was no simple jazz song, it featured fancy details that the genre is known for but are not usually used when added to pop music. The odd-off beat, the brass solo, the way the whole instrumentalization flowed, the soundscape created was so vivid and enjoyable that the song went by in a flash.

Afterglow is a song that creates a neon-lit soundscape that takes us to 80s citypop. This was a nostalgic take on the genre, one that pulled off with flair.

Time with you had potential to be a good song, especially with the vocal performance it has but the instrumental is, in no way, memorable and the song goes completely under the radar with how too close to comfort the song went.

All in all, Party Jacker is a solid addition to Shunichi Toki‘s repertoire. Not only does he showcase versatility as a performer by tackling jazz, rock and citypop, but he also managed to deliver consistent performances that, although not jaw dropping like he has used us to for example, as Growth’s power vocalist, made this single a nice outing for him. Party Jacker has its fair share of highlights – even if with some weakest spots, common when trying to create a single following too closely one concept. Despite not getting full marks on our side it is true that Toki has the potential to grow and further develop his music into something that truly matches his skills.

Party Jacker is available worldwide on Spotify.

 

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