THRIVE return with their danceable sound with the new single “Needle No.6“. Daring and alluring, THRIVE have returned to claim the hearts of fangirls (and fanboys) with this release.
Title: Needle No.6 Label: B-Project Release date: 22/02/17 Genre: J-Pop/Dance
01.Needle No.6 02.Tick-Tack 03.Needle No.6（Off Vocal） 04.Tick-Tack（Off Vocal）
Track by track analysis:
The dubstepish drum loops, synths and stylish guitar riffs set the song’s slow pace , gradually increasing the tension in the song as we progress to its end. You read it well. To its end. This song bears by no means a conventional pop song structure nor a rock one. There’s no set notion of bridge, intro, chorus, verses. The chorus enters into play at a later stage into the song. There’s no weird transitions thanks to this. It seems like an abridged version of a song or even a dance song structure with minor focus on the structure, putting an enphasis on the overall daring feel. Needle No.6 can sound ominous at times, especially in the way the song progresses but its instrumentalization – mainly thanks to the guitar riffs and synths -, is a major winner on how the listener gets invested on this song. Yes, it has dubstep elements, all of their songs so far have had them so it’s no surprise. But those elements are well balanced with the rocking guitar riffs that had a toughness, an edge to up until now, THRIVE have hinted at but never really achieved. If that wasn’t enough, the vocal performance embraces this song’s mysterious feel. A really captivating opening song. 5/5
The clock ticks as we enter into completly different territory. Mid-tempo percussion serves as the background to a surprisingly melodic instrumental that goes beyond the simple smashing of keys on a synth. With melodic guitars, retro synths mixed dubstep elements and a sweet piano melody playing in the background, this seems like a classy electro-pop song right from the get-go. The synths don’t hinder the song in any way – if you’re worried about that in any way. Once again we have strings to add the last touches to this addictive song. Masterfully crafted and extremely well performed in the vocal department. 5/5
There’s no doubt that THRIVE play well with the concept of “daring” and “alluring“. This release is the perfect way to showcase that. As the only unit with a matured sound within the B-Project unit roster, they have always hinted at those concepts but never really embraced them fully. “Needle No.6” is a good example of how those two concepts work intertwined and just how well Kazuki, Toshiyuki and Hanae fit within it. With a concept behind them, THRIVE have a harder challenge than most units have nowadays, implementing it in a way that doesn’t sound awkward or like they were trying too much to do it well. Naturally, the three of them tackled both songs in this release and released their inner interpretations of those concepts. A couple of listens to their vocal performances should be more than enough to understand how natural they feel tackling this challenge.
A thing that surprised us was that the title track strays a bit away from the normal electronic-pop song structure. It doesn’t follow the traditional pop song structure: intro, verses, pre-chorus, chorus, verses, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge/outro and final chorus. Instead we get an incredibly slow paced song with dubstep elements on it – as expected – that sets not only a fantastic and fresh mood, but it also starts something new for B-Project‘s units: experimentation. It’s not common to find songs that stray away from the norm in a good way – be it structurally or any other department. And usually idol songs follow a pattern. From the title track you can’t find a pattern or at least a set pattern that can be easilly associated with a certain music genre. We tell you, for someone listening to this song for the first time, this song won’t sound “normal” and you’ll probably get the idea that nothing happened or start questioning “where is the build up?“, “where’s the solo?” or “where’s the final amped up chorus?“. If you don’t fancy this song at a first listen we really encourage you to check it again. This song grows on you.
“Tick-Tock” once agains strays away from what we’re used to from B-Project. It doesn’t go all out electronic throwing at the listener all kinds of fancy synths or incredibly annoying beats, it actually sounds like a carefully crafted song, one that fits well with the group and the overall feel of the single.
The vocal highlight in this release is by far Kato Kazuki. In such a vocally powerful unit such as this one he managed to stand out and go beyond our expectations. The result: he was seductive during “Needle No.6” and in “Tick-Tock” he caught us off guard with an incredibly smooth falsetto.
With all of this being said, it’s safe to say that THRIVE have exceeded themselves with this release. Looking forward to listen to more from them in the future.
“Needle No.6” is available for purchase on CDJapan for all overseas fans.