Tetsuya Kakihara “Susumasero” (Review)

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Tetsuya Kakihara shows everyone why is one of the best in the Kiramune roster. His 4th single “ 進ませろ” is a complete release where you can get your daily dose of excitement as well as a good dose of laid back galore. Definetely keeping up with the momentum he’s been riding on for over a year, Kakihara doesn’t show any intention of stopping any time soon, the proof being this stunning release.

Regular edition
Regular edition
Single: 進ませろ (Susumasero)
Label: Kiramune
Release date: 15/06/2016 
Genre: J-Pop/Rock


1. 進ませろ! 
2. My way 
3. 碧く

Track by track analysis:

1. 進ませろ! 

Forget the tender, gentle ballads that Kakihara has released so far, “Susumasero” is a powerful blend between rock with dirty synths. A fierce track right from the bat, Kakihara showcases something we still hadn’t seen from him, blending music genres while holding onto the rock edge that has marked his previews releases. For those who have forgotten, Kakihara made his solo debut with bright pop but easily shifted for dance pop/electronica only recently embracing his inner rocker. So revisting his debut days and mixing those addictive electronica elements – while toning them down and limit it for dirty synths only – with his winning formula – the energetic, groovy rock influences – it’s like a blessing to us. You can’t expect a guns blazing shredding rock track nor a dancefloor anthem. Everything was mixed in a way that what you get is powerful alternative rock song that puts every single element in equal ground – delivering a mid-tempo dirty rock melody where guitars and synths are sure fire winners. Vocally Kakihara is in his powerful energetic self, delivering each of the lines with a groove that fits him like a glove. Mid-tones are solid and the high notes are belted with ease. Outstanding vocal and instrumental performance for what is a good contender for “song of the year”. 5/5

2. My way 

If you were lacking a good laid back summery track, then “My Way” is what you need. With an acoustic sound resorting highly to acoustic guitars, ukelele, simple bassy drums and a groovy bass, this track is the polar opposite  to “Susumasero“. Showcasing strong ska pop influences this instrumental is to enjoy at poolside with a cocktail in hand watching the sunset or on a late afternoon drive. Kakihara is at his peak form in terms of his vocal performance, showcasing incredibly stable mid-tones as well as high notes throughout this track. Relaxed song evoking summer in the best way possible. 4.5/5

3. 碧く

Stripped out of any guitars, drums or even synths,  碧く puts Kakihara near acapella territory. With the help of a bright piano, Kakihara‘s improved vocals shine by heaps – showing his renewed control over mid-tones, belting high notes with ease and showing a little bit of falsetto and even vibrato to melt every single one of us. In a track that is often hard to tackle due to the lack on any instrumentalization besides the piano, Kakihara does a mesmerzing job with his confident vocals. A breathtaking track that completes this single solidly. 5/5

Final rating:5 stars

We’re surprised at just how well Kakihara is managing his momentum in a streak of successful releases.

We’re also surprised by how much he’s improved and how much he’s been trying to incorporate new things in his sound. Who knew that Kakihara had such a stable falsetto and even a chilling vibrato?  He’s certainly been working on improving his singing technique over the last few releases, now sounding like a completely different singer in comparison with his debut days. There’s no more awkward notes, pitch misses or even cracking at high notes. Hello dazzling high notes, stable mid-tones that make for 3 out of 3 perfect vocal performances in this release.

What was once his weakness has finally been overcome. Tackling an emotional ballad, with only a piano serving as his guide in the background, was something that we were wishing for ever since his breathtaking performance of “君の声に” in 2014’s “DANDIGI DAN” (that although not entirely a piano-centric ballad, it showed us a glimpse of how heartbreaking could his vocal performance be in such a setting). We couldn’t be more satisfied at listening to his performance in 碧くthat shows how much he’s improved.

Then we have the “Susumasero“, a fierce title track that encompasses what Kakihara has been doing best since his release – his rock roots and dirty electronica synths – in what we’d like to call industrial pop rock. Another surprise for us was the laid back track “My way“, that despite the fact that has a lot of english in the lyrics (would be a problem for most singers to overcome) it’s a track that evokes that summery feel that “DANDIGI DAN” did in the past.

In the end “Susumasero” has brought what’s best about Kakihara to light. The flawless vocal performances spiced up by powerful, varied instrumental pieces made this release a perfect one.

Kakihara, we’re anxious for another release!

進ませろ ” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.