Review | Soma Saito “Petrichor”

Soma Saito Petrichor

Soma Saito‘s Petrichor will put your senses through a unique sonic experience filled with elegance, flair and maturity.

Soma Saito Petrichor cover
Title: ペトリコール
Label: SACRA MUSIC / Sony Music Japan 
Release date: 27/06/2020
Genre: Jazz-pop/City-pop

The tracklist is the following:

1 - ペトリコール

Track analysis:

1 – Petrichor

A song made for the rainy season; it is what Soma Saito aimed at with Petrichor.

And the birth of a new era in his solo career, one that is darker and sonically contrasting to everything released up until now.

For those that are not familiar with the artistry and complexity of Soma Saito’s music – that goes way beyond just “seiyuu” music -, those are, certainly, bold statements.

However, if you’ve been following his growth as a singer-songwriter, you’ll notice that those are just his confidence showing, now that he has managed to tap into themes and emotions he couldn’t or didn’t want to explore before, and his vocals are getting even better with each release.

Soma Saito is bolder in the melodies and goes straight for your heart with dark lyrics that, on a first look, might not seem like anything out of ordinary yet (not even seem like dark, emotional lyrics at all), yet those have a deep level of complexity and lots of layers of double entrendres and innuendos to peel, which makes for an interesting analysis session.

When I should be focused on listening and understanding the song, another sensation is called into action, in this case smell, a nostalgic smell.

Petrichor brings that humid smell after rain just fell into this song. It is a song that manages to summon that sensation into the mix in a clever way.

It does so with the atmosphere it creates, with pouring rain introducing the listener into this track, taking into the warmth of home, watching as the rain pours with no end to come. But each melody and especially, each hit on the drums feels and sounds like rain falling.

The comfort you get from the instrumental comes from those warm jazz vibes, courtesy of the fancy sax, groovy bass line and classy piano.

Drums are slow paced and minimal, basically accompanying the piano and bass line – the latter being more prominent -, helping shape this track into a slow tempo, alluring yet nostalgic tune.

And the rain continues to pour.

The chorus embraces the listener in a sweet city-pop-esque sound, slow, enticing, warm and nostalgic. And the sax is just so good in this part.

The tight hi-hat and those sax melodies in the 2nd verse shift the song’s vibe from classy into sexy territory.

If that wasn’t enough, Soma Saito knows how to get to the listeners’ feelings by going lower and lower in his vocal range as he tackles a slow clean singing section with some hints of rap in the delivery.

Soma Saito’s performance is filled with legato and his consistency shows in those sections. Smooth, as if gliding through those, Saito’s performance has a flair and a quality that stands out.

Add to this his falsetto, ad-libs, high notes and the fact that he made his lower register the benchmark for this track, and you got yourself one hell of a memorable performance.

And can we talk about those piano and sax solos in the outro? Heavenly stuff, especially if you’re a big jazz fan. Those sax melodies are such a throwback to those classy 80s pop/city-pop songs.

The ending leaves you hanging as it is really abrupt however, that might mean that the upcoming digital single will tie up and pick up from where Saito left off.

In a way, Petrichor reminds me of Date (not the lyrics though). You could say that Petrichor is its sophisticated and mature counterpart, taking the jazz and city-pop elements one step further, while shifting the vocal performance from cute / bubbly into a full-fledged seductive and classy one.

If Petrichor is the start of a darker era (lyrics and / or instrumentals) in Soma Saito’s career as a solo artist, and if this dark era is going more towards city-pop inspired tunes with a pinch of Jazz (or vice-versa with some sprinkles or rock here and there), this is going to be a massive era for him, especially noticing how much he has evolved vocally since Epilogue – literally months ago – and how much he has yet to tap into his vocal range.

I know it gets old to read this but this is Soma Saito’s best single to date. However, knowing how fast he improves, this statement could be wrong by the release of the next digital single.

Masterful performance in Petrichor, song that managed to put my senses through a unique sonic experience and, in the meantime, made sure nostalgia sounds sexy and elegant with yet another great instrumental and flawless vocal performance on top.

Safe to say that the in bloom series kicked off in the best way imaginable.

A note that Petrichor has soared on iTunes, Animelo and Recochoku‘s charts.

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Also, the only person managing everything The Hand That Feeds HQ related. In 2011, 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).