“Danger Heaven?” is finally out. Still riding on so much momentum from his two previous hit releases, this is a maxi single that will set 2016 for Hiroshi Kamiya. Is he going back to his origins or focus on developping his rock sound? We answer these and more questions below.
Single: Danger Heaven? Label: Kiramune Release date: 24/02/16 Genre: J-Pop/Rock
1. Danger Heaven? 2. スノウフレイク・ワンダーランド 3. YELL
Track by track analysis:
1. Danger Heaven?
In a mix between oldschool rock and jazz, “Danger Heaven?” showcases a playful side to Kamiya‘s music. Brass elements, jazzy drums, rhodes piano and melodic guitar parts make this instrumental smell like the 50’s. Although this song is clearly different from what we found on his two previous releases, it is actually an incredibly fun track to listen to and will make you dance along to it. Vocally this track is challenging. With loads of high notes and mid ones that require a little more of technique, Kamiya is found often sharpening the notes in order to reach them. Putting that aside and taking into account the entertainment value of this track, we’re still quite satisfied with it. Who said that classic and simple isn’t enjoyable? 4/5
“Snowflake wonderland” is the second track on this maxi-single. With a minimal approach to this track’s intro, we’re pleasently surprised with a tender piano melody, slow paced drums and tambourine leading the way to be joined by brass, strings and melodic bass. The instrumental track is precious by itself, it’s as if this track was taken out of some Disney movie. It really is a track that gives the listener a fantasy landscape to enjoy. Regarding Kamiya‘s singing: we’re not used to having him going head to head with ballads, he’s clearly one that fits best with fast paced, energizing rock tunes rather than slow paced emotional ballads. The vocal execution was rather good not sounding as sloppy as it was on the first track. His mid tones were stable with some minor sharps when challenging higher notes. Other than that the track as a whole brings a bit of Kamiya the ballad singer that we got to listen to on his first releases. 4/5
Going back to fast paced pop-rock, Kamiya presents us “YELL” and alternative rock track with lots of entertaining pop elements. This track screams (no pun intended) that it needs to be sang live because of its upbeat nature. Fast paced drums, brass, piano, rough guitar riffs and a captivating solo in the bridge are layed out in a way that will make it barely impossible to stand indifferent to it. In terms of vocal execution this is Kamiya‘s playground and he nails his mid tones without problems. 4/5
We were expecting more, a lot more coming from Kamiya after two thunderous releases. “Danger Heaven?” throws away all the momentum set in 2015 and we can only wonder what route is his music taking during 2016. Objectively, “Danger Heaven?” is an incredibly consistent maxi-single but without any major highlights. And that’s exactly because there aren’t highlights that this maxi-single makes us think twice about its quality. Of course being fun and entertaining is a good thing but in the end it sounded sloppy. Vocally Kamiya was all over the place when it came to raise a bit his notes, sharpening happened a lot more than usual and it sounded forced in some parts. “YELL” kind of saved him the mess of vocal performance he gave on the first two tracks with some solid mid tones. After raising the bar so high it’s incredibly saddening seeing Kamiya taking a fall this big.
We’ll wait to listen more from him in the following releases, hoping that this is only a minor fall and nothing much.
“Danger Heaven?” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.