Tenn Kujo “Up to the nines” (Review)

Synths are on the forefront of Tenn Kujo’s “Up to the nines“, the most unique and unpredictable song so far in the 12 SONGS GIFT series.

For those that have been out of the loop: “12 Songs Gift” is a series of solo songs that started being released in this past January. A total of 12 singles, one for each member of IDOLiSH7TRIGGER and Re:vale, are scheduled to be released throughout the year. The solo songs releases coincide with the character’s birthdays.

Title: Up to the nines 
Label: Lantis 
Release date: 09/07/2018 
Genre: Dance-pop


1 – Up to the nines

Track analysis:

1 – Up to the nines

Up to the nines” is the very first song in the 12 SONGS GIFT to be completely dance driven and exuding polarizing charms. First things first, everything about this song screams “dance tune”. Forget guitars and live drums being in the forefront (that have been present in the most recent TRIGGER songs), for this song synths are the sole rulers. This focus on synths doesn’t mean that there aren’t any live elements featured on it, however don’t hold your breath for those to be noticeable. A grittier and fuzzier tone was added to this instrumental, much thanks to the brief appearance of distorted electric guitar licks in the background.

One thing that will be easy to notice while listening to this song is its polarizing bright and dark vibes. Slow paced verses count with dirty synths and overdriven guitars to set a dark vibe, on the other side atmospheric pads and strings add an ethereal and delicate touch that is later complemented by a peppy vocal performance in the chorus. These tempo and tone changes make the first listen an odd yet exciting experience. One minute you’re listening to a dark synth lead on top of a slow paced, half-imposing-half-alluring beat, the other you’re embraced by a delicate and airy instrumental that gives off a bright vibe. The chorus introduces liveliness, its third charm, present in the upbeat, summery synths and fancy progression. As odd as this instrumental might sound, these polarizing charms fit perfectly with each other, balancing this song into a close to perfect, rich piece for the listener to enjoy.

Contrary to the other songs in the 12 SONGS GIFT series, “Up to the nines” doesn’t require anything fancy nor tricky on the vocal end. Soma Saito‘s mid-tones were key in the verses, enhancing the whole dark tone that took over that section. However, in the chorus, he went a bit higher on the scale, easily turning what was a dark song into a bright and joyful tune. Fast paced sections didn’t faze him at all and he showcased a polished singing technique.

Up to the nines” is the first odd ball in this 12 SONGS GIFT series, a song with polarizing charms that together, and alongside a strong vocal performance, created this incredibly captivating song that gets more addictive with each listen.

Unique and unpredictable, “Up to the nines” is a refreshing entry in this series.

Final rating:

This song is available for purchase on iTunes US.