Review | Tasuku Hatanaka “Promise for the future”

Tasuku Hatanaka continues to search for his signature sound in the old-school single, Promise for the future.

Regular
Title: DYING WISH
Label: Lantis
Release date: 25/11/2020
Genre: Pop-Rock / Dance

Tracklist:

1- Promise for the future
2- アルゴリズム
3- 真冬HEAT
4- Promise for the future (Instrumental)
5- アルゴリズム (Instrumental)
6:真冬HEAT (Instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

1- Promise for the future

Uptempo synths, exciting guitar riffs and bassy drums lead the way for “Promise for the future“.

For fans of old-school sentai music, this one will certainly be a treat.

Although the leading synth is quite modern, all other instruments are playing melodies that you’d find easily in my music from the late 80s, early 90s. You even have a keytar solo and classic synth stabs throughout the track.

The chorus is textbook superhero soundtrack, with the guitars taking the lead while the vocals raise in tension.

On the vocal end, Tasuku Hatanaka goes for a really solid performance that captured the classic sentai theme song type of vocals.

He doesn’t go wild on his falsetto – although he does show it from time to time – and there is few vibrato accents.

Solid performance in a throwback performance.

2- アルゴリズム

Algorithm embraces rock , taking it to the spotlight via an upbeat drums-driven intro.

The song opens up and introduces electric guitar riffs and a bouncy bass line that raise the tension and tempo on this unstoppable song.

The pacing is quite, with he song being quite intense in the chorus.

Although the song itself is nothing out of extraordinary, the lengthy guitar solo and its out to more than make up for Algorythm’s rather bland rock sound.

Tasuku Hatanaka goes for a performance filled with flair, blasting his powerful vibrato throughout the song while delivering a charismatic performance.

3- 真冬HEAT

Wrapping up this release is Mafuyu HEAT.

This song basks on its high octane eurobeat inspired sound, being incessant in its search for more energy.

This is the type of instrumental that would also work pretty well as a theme song for a sentai series however, I don’t feel this song as much as I believe I should.

I find a lot of 90s-era T.M.Revolution in this song – even the bad, cheesy bits – however, why do we have Christmas bells on it if the song is not one bit christmas-themed? Aside from the title, nothing in this song hints at this song being a fit for the Christmas season. I honestly don’t know what was the aim of the composers with this song. Would love to know though.

On the vocal end, Tasuku Hatanaka was on his game, this time around focusing more on his raspy vocals and exuding a lot of energy in order to perfectly channel those 90s, J-pop meets eurobeat vibes.


Final considerations

Tasuku Hatanaka’s Promise for the future isn’t necessarily an upgrade over his predecessor, DYING WISH.

I felt like the direction for this single was, once again, polarizing with his previous work.

If you haven’t noticed, Tasuku Hatanaka is insanely consistent on his vocals however, it seems like his producer(s) almost want to erase what was done before and try again something new with each release which, as a result, makes all releases – singles and albums – sound like one offs. Also, improvements aren’t noticeable between them – especially because the producers scrap everything that was done in the previous single and always go on a different route.

While this wouldn’t be a big issue were Tasuku Hatanaka pretty successful as a solo artist and with a trademark sound associated to himself, truth is, Hatanaka has been struggling sales wise (yes, sales don’t define the quality of the singer but can make or break someone’s career, so have that in mind) and that can – and is – easily the producer’s fault for not sticking with one concept, one sound for longer than 1 release.

People, potential fans, don’t know what to expect from him. They can enjoy one release now but loathe the next one because there was a massive shift from EDM to orchestral music or from orchestral music to rock, for example.

Fans will stick with Hatanaka through thick and thin but many have recognized that inconsistency in his solo career isn’t doing him any good. But, at the same time, it seems that his fan base barely cares about his solo artist endeavor, seeing as the sales numbers are pretty low time and time again.

Changing sound is okay and an awesome thing to do in order to keep things fresh from time to time. But doing that since his debut?

I honestly don’t know what Lantis wants off him. Hatanaka is seriously wasting his talents as a singer and dancer in this label.

Back to the review itself.

Promise for the future” is pretty much your textbook sentai theme song. It has that old-school intensity and flair that fans of the genre love and, better yet, It was all done pretty tastefully.

Algorythm” is a weird one. For a change, rock took the spotlight however, it was a really generic sound on top of a really standard composition with no twists and turns but also that didn’t make much out of its simplicity. Still, good to find a shredding guitar solo that put me on the edge of my seat.

I don’t know where to start with “Mafuyu HEAT”. Once again, old-school sound, this time channeling that 90s j-pop meets eurobeat sound that you could find, albeit better fleshed out, in T.M.Revolution’s music.

Although eurobeat is far from being a cool music genre, it can be highly entertaining and addictive if done right.

Mafuyu HEAT” tries to be it but never really achieves it. It is entertaining and a fun song you can add, for example to your exercise playlist as it is overflowing with energy, but it’s no more than that. Memorable is not a word I’d use to describe it, unfortunately.

All in all, “Promise for the future” finds Tasuku Hatanaka struggling to find his identity as a solo artist through a series of throwback songs that could have been much more.

There are some shades of brilliance but the “what could have been(s)” are more than the jaw dropping or genuinely enjoyable moments.

As a fan of Tasuku Hatanaka, I really can’t fathom why he’s struggling so much to come up with a release as strong as “HISTORY” or as intense and consistent as his 1st album “FIGHTER“.

Seriously hope he can get back on his two feet and impress in whatever type of release he tackles next. Still have high hopes that he finds his sound, his identity as a solo artist, that trademark that makes him shine and be comfortable exploring. He deserves it.


This review was possible thanks to a sponsored copy by reina.

Promise for the future is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.


Promise for the future is available for streaming on Spotify.
Do not support piracy. Remember to support Tasuku Hatanaka by streaming via official outlets.

SUMMARY

2020 wasn't a kind year for Tasuku Hatanaka. Between releases lacking production quality to still being searching for what he is as a solo artist, there were lots of struggles. I want to stay optimistic, especially when I believe he does have a lot of talent - and insanely good vocals to boot - but his last 3 releases only showed inconsistency, lack of strategy. No definite way to trail. There is no direction for his solo career. "Promise for the future" further enhances those feelings, once again going for 3 songs that in nothing share elements with all others of his released this year - and even in his repertoire. While versatility is always a good flex, you can't show versatility without having, beforehand, a strong core, your trademark sound. People won't see versatility in an artist that doesn't have his own sound. They'll see lack of direction. Either way, Promise for the future has plenty of 80s and 90s inspired tunes that will fit well with those of you that enjoy sentai music, pop-rock and eurobeat. Once again, this is an eclectic release therefore, there are drastic mood swings between songs that may not sit well with some of you. This isn't, by any means, a bad release but it really doesn't improve on what was done in DYING WISH. Here's to hoping 2021 is kinder and more consistent to Hatanaka's solo career.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Promise for the future
アルゴリズム
真冬HEAT
Vanessa Silvahttps://www.handthatfeedshq.com
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).

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