The X Lied series (ALIVE) kicks off with Sora Ohara (Toshiyuki Toyonaga) and Koki Eto (Shunichi Toki). Both leaders face off with songs that will peak your interest. You’re in for a surprise with this release.
Title: Alive X Lied Vol 1. Label: Tsukino-Pro Release date: 24/02/2017 Genre: J-Pop-Rock
1.SKY DREAM (Toshiyuki Toyonaga) 2.リーラの調べ (Shunichi Toki) 3.SKY DREAM -off vocal- 4.リーラの調べ -off vocal-
Track by track analysis:
Following SOARA‘s trademark bright but robust pop-rock sound, SKY DREAM is a youthful song with hopeful lyrics and exciting instrumentalization. With heavy guitar riffs from the get go, this song adds energy with the loose drums and fast paced bass. Maybe it was the way the song was composed, maybe it was the vocal directions, but Toyonaga‘s vocals barely stood out as they usually do. The instrumental was indeed energetic but the vocal performance lacked both that as well as presence. It’s a pity hearing those stellar vocals go to waste in a song that had everything to be perfect. 4/5
Shunichi Toki comes here as GROWTH‘s leader and his performance did more than justice to his position within the group. This slow paced rustic song led by the piano and emotional acoustic guitar is the highlight in this release. Clearly more dramatic and theatrical than the previous one, リーラの調べ shines on both fronts. The instrumental is grandiose without being overwhelming to the listener. Acoustic guitars and blowing instruments lead the way in the verses, as we get closer to the chorus, timpani and various orchestral hits and bits take this song to a whole other level. We can’t forget to mention the impressive vocals we were presented with. Toki barely ever shines in GROWTH‘s songs, taking only a little bit of spotlight, but with this song, having all 5 minutes to himself was more than enough for him to shine and for us to be dazzled. His high notes and falsetto are no joke. Hands down the highlight of the single. 5/5
This was an interesting face off. We had higher expectations for Toyonaga‘s solo song given his repertoire and vocal prowess, instead we were dazzled by an inspired and talented Toki. It’s interesting how the tables turned. The experienced singer faces a badly vocal directed song and falters, on the other side the rookie has a simple song in which he delivers a fabulous vocal performance. Putting that aside, both songs showcased well the different colors that each group has, SOARA clearly brighter and exciting whereas GROWTH showcases dramatic pop pieces with a bit of orchestral elements in the mix. After getting a taste of the dynamic for this new series, we’re excited to hear how the following releases will sound like. It’ll be interesting to find some surprises in the mix like Toki‘s.
ALIVE X Lied Volume 1 is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.