Shouta Aoi “Murasaki” (Review)

shouta aoi

Shouta Aoi‘s 4th single “Murasaki” is finally out. With mesmerizing high notes mixed with traditional japanese elements, Shouta shows us a magnificent pop and rock spectacle.

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Regular Edition
Single: MURASAKI
Label: Broccoli
Release date: 02/09/15
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

1 - MURASAKI 
2 - 哀唄 
3 - MURASAKI (off vocal)
4 - 哀唄 (off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

1 – MURASAKI

Mixing traditional japanese elements with danceable pop, MURASAKI  is a one-of-a-kind track in Shouta‘s repertoire. With the shamisen as the main base for this track as well as the addition of synths and synthetic drums, we get a pretty interesting and unique instrumental piece. With the necessary power – provided by the pop elements such as the drums and synths – but also with a gentle, refined sound provided by the traditional elements – we know how the shamisen does wonders for pop tracks if well implemented -, MURASAKI is one fierce track from start to finish, although it might be way too peculiar for most tastes. On the vocal side we need to point out that Shouta is really give his all in tis track with a astouding performance. Ranging between a pop and enka approach to the lyrics, Shouta seems to be able to do everything perfectly (although enka usually requires a singer with a slightly rougher voice than his, he still fared well in his approach to the genre). In the bridge he delivers mesmerizing high notes with an impressive control – that left us with our jaws dropped in awe. Powerful, danceable, addictive unique and with a befitting vocal performance, MURASAKI impresses a lot. 4.5/5

2 – 哀唄

Written by Shouta哀唄 takes a completely different route as the previous track. Putting the majority of the synths away, this track’s instrumental still has some traditional elements – the shakuhachi – but it also brings a rock elements to the table. With rocking drums, melodic guitar riffs and the powerful bass we have a rich instrumental piece that made us itching for more. While this is a music genre that Shouta has only recently approached, rock seems to fit him the best – this exciting and energetic performance by the instrumental piece only is enough to say that the vocals were bound to fit like a glove. Shouta‘s approach to the lyrics turned out to deliver an even more melodic performance than what we’d expected for this kind of song. 哀唄 shows us a versatile Shouta dressed in a rock fashion and still delivering his impressive performances. Beautiful lyrics, impressive bridge with the piano and bass creating a perfect melody for Shouta to shine in and overall most exciting Shouta track by far. 5/5

Final rating: 4.5 stars

With MURASAKI we get the exact idea that Shouta is trying his best to develop his skills in as many music genres as possible. Pop has been his environment for a couple of years – even before his major debut as Shouta Aoi – but since last years’ HIMITSU NO KUCHIDZUKE, his endeavors through the rock genre have been successful. His voice control with both mid and higher tones makes it for an impressive weapon, befitting for both rock and pop, and what we’ve been seeing in these past few releases is an increasingly number of rock songs in his repertoire, songs that bring a lot of energy to his releases and show yet a completely new side to Shouta‘s capabilities.

MURASAKI starts off in a danceable fashion resorting to ELEMENTS GARDEN‘s trademark elements – heavy synths and piano – as the core of the track. Good surprises come from the fact that this time we have a lot of traditional elements in this single. Shakuhachi, shamisen, singing in an enka fashion, every single one of those showcase not only that Shouta‘s sound is morphing into something completely different from his pretty pop into something incredibly versatile and more eye / ear catching, but also showing that traditional japanese music elements can be featured in almost anything and still do a great job.

As a whole this single has a good title track but an even best ending track. As usual Shouta‘s self written tracks tend to be the best in every release he’s made so far, 哀唄 took an interesting turn and presented us with a rock tune, something that is both unexpected from ELEMENTS GARDEN and Shouta. Even though it was a bit unexpected that we’d get a rock song in this release, it still came out as an excellent surprise.

A release that has upped the ante for next releases. We’ll be on the look out for his following endevors.

Murasaki” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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Author: midorin

The Hand That Feeds HQ founder and music reviewer writing about Japanese music since 2010. Currently based in Macau SAR. Mamoru Miyano's "Orpheus" was the catalyst to completely dedicate herself to writing about male seiyuu music.