Marginal#4 try to close this year in a big way with their sixth single “Bingo!!!!“. The seiyuu unit consisting of Naozumi Takahashi, KENN, Yuto Suzuki and Toshiki Masuda have once again gathered in the studio alongside the golden duo – Daisuke Iwasaki and MIKOTO. The result is what anyone wasn’t expecting. A single where singers apparently sound lost, the instrumentals lack creativity and everything sounds just like an “Uta no Prince-Sama” rip off.
Single: “Bingo!!!!” Release date: 17/12/2014 Label: Rejet Genre: J-Pop
1 - Bingo!!!! 2 - ZIG★ZAG 3 - 純白(しろ)い恋人 4 - Missing you(2014)
Track by track analysis:
1 – Bingo!!!! (vocal: Naozumi Takahashi, KENN, Toshiki Masuda, Yuto Suzuki)
“Bingo!!!!” is a mid-tempo pop track that puts away the heavy guitars and aggressive drums that have graced us throughout the many releases the unit has made so far. It’s obviously milder, keeping a good pace and not rushing things but at the same time is nothing out of the ordinary – both vocally or instrumentally -, this is a track that goes in the same way as “Red Hot Saga” – a lot of hype but a track that eventually fails to impress. Mild as well as the interest that it strikes on the listener. Not a bad track but not memorable at all. 4/5
2 – ZIG★ZAG (vocal: Toshiki Masuda, Yuto Suzuki)
Well, here it is a duo that often brings us original sounds and unexpected tracks. Kicking off with Toshiki Masuda and Yuto Suzuki rapping this track simply lacks emotion – with other words – it lacks the addictiveness that really marked their tracks: “Galaxyliner” is a good example of how great this duo could perform but ZIG★ZAG simply sounds like it was a bad choice for this pair. It’s plain, like not enough effort was put into it and the vocal performances suffered alongside the weak instrumental piece. Putting that aside, the instrumental gets some interesting parts here and there but it really goes out of the box in the outro where, while the guitar is on its solo we’re presented with retro synths to complete the overall feel of the track. This duo certainly is always presented with a lot of originality behind but this time that originality was what almost killed the track. 3.5/5
3 – 純白(しろ)い恋人 (vocal: Naozumi Takahashi, KENN)
Vocal powerhouses Naozumi Takahashi and KENN gather once again to perform. We all remember how great “O/Z” sounded and we expected that, on their second time pairing up for a track, they’d show us a great time.
純白(しろ)い恋人 (White lover) is probably one of the best tracks on the single. This is a song that lets both singers shine on their own ways and without that much cheesiness – there’s still some cheesiness in here but it’s overwhelmed by the quality of the vocal performances – or overwhelming instrumental to distract the listener. KENN and Naozumi Takahashi sound great in this track with both of them putting into good use their vocal traits – Naozumi‘s high and low notes, plus the gentleness in his singing and KENN‘s pin point vocal precision alongside his kind of seductive way to sing – plus their not so secret weapons – their vibratos -, all of this together turned out to be interesting, giving us the first opportunity to say “this is a good song” while listening to this single. 4.5/5
4 – Missing you(2014) (vocal: Naozumi Takahashi, KENN, Toshiki Masuda, Yuto Suzuki)
“Missing you” wins the award of “Best song in the single” and that is because we were lacking the melodic vocal performances in which this unit excels and the simpler instrumentals where we can listen everyone clearly. The instrumental sounds better in comparison with the previous tracks, resorting to a beautiful piano and strings alongside some castanets to make this sweet and emotional track the highlight it turned out to be in the end. The vocal performances are of top tier with some pretty moments throughout the track and some mesmerizing bits – provided by the unit’s ability to hit high notes while sounding cool at same time. Highlight in this single and the perfect way to finish their 2014. 4.5/5
How to describe this release: a mid-tempo single with a bit of the Christmas feel alongside the ELEMENTS GARDEN’s “Uta no Prince sama” cheesiness – this hasn’t got the hands of EG on it but it still sounds a bit bad. I wonder how it would sound with them on the wheel…
A small shiver just ran down my spine. Better not to think about it.
It’s not that the unit is lacking originality but it seems that in the last two releases the unit’s sound has turned out a bit sloppy and repetitive. We all like the good old Marginal#4 where every track was a show for us – be it for the outstanding vocal performances, theatrical intros or the flawless pop-rock instrumentals that lacked “cheesiness” or that are “over-played” in the music industry. All about them in the beginning was fresh, the performances and the instrumentals – now it seems like it’s a situation of “putting the same thing on repeat” or “throwing some things into this track“. It’s certainly something the unit hasn’t done before but it’d be better if they’d refrain from doing it again. This is a sure quality drop in Marginal#4‘s music, a huge letdown for the fans that where eager waiting for something as good as their singles earlier this year. There were almost no memorable vocal performances, there were basically no electric guitars to give us that trademark M#4 sound and the theatrical intros were basically skipped – not that it matters much – but since the intros were cut short it would mean more useful music time that, sadly, was completely wasted on vague and over-used ideas.
What happened to Daisuke Iwasaki and MIKOTO in this release? Only god knows. The slightly suggestive/addictive lyrics courtesy of Iwasaki and the powerful pop-rock instrumentals are nowhere to be found on this release. Maybe it was a change of plans to take Marginal#4 away from their comfort zone and trademark sound but the unit adapted the best they could, even though they still struggled – just listen to ZIG★ZAG – Toshiki Masuda sounds lost and Yuto Suzuki sounds a bit weird like he’s in unknown territory looking for something to hold on to. Two good singers struggling in a track that didn’t offer anything of great quality to this single.
This single will be, by itself, something that will certainly be remembered as “the bad phase” that Marginal#4 went through in late 2014. It seems that with Lagrange Point‘s debut every single bit of good music is being put into good use only with them.
Did Marginal#4 make “bingo” with this release? – Certainly not. On the contrary, they almost hit the gutter with this one. Here’s to hoping that next year can bring new ideas and improved sound to Marginal#4‘s releases, because at this time, they sure need it.
Bingo!!! is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.