Wataru Hatano “Unmei no Coda” (Review)

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Wataru Hatano is back with new music. “Unmei no Coda” is his 6th single and first release of the year. Riding on a lot of momentum from his last release Kakusei no Air , the pressure to overdid that single managed to make this one fall short.

EYCA-10787

Regular edition

Single:運命のCoda
Label: Avex 
Release date: 09/03/16
Genre: J-Rock/Alternative

Tracklist:

01 運命のCoda 
02 Rolling life
03 わすれもの 
04 運命のCoda(instrumental)  
05 Rolling life(instrumental)  
06 わすれもの(instrumental)

Track by track analysis:

01 運命のCoda 

This is a single that might make some jaws drop. It’s impossible to say that ELEMENTS GARDEN haven’t got their hands on this track. It just screams that they worked on the instrumental track. It’s those trademark synths and overly upbeat electronica that easily give them away without having to check on the booklet who produced / composed the instrumental. Like with many of ELEMENTS GARDEN tracks, that are often hits or misses, “Unmei no Coda” lacks consistency. The genre although not bad for some artists – it easily comes to my mind that Shouta Aoi would have been a safer bet for a track like this – Hatano just doesn’t seem to fit within the genre. His mid to low toned vocals have a prowess that fits rock best – be it ballads, upbeat tracks or full out rock tracks – but this kind of electronic pop just spoils or, at least, doesn’t put to use what is a great talent. Just look at his previous take on symphonic rock with Kakusei no Air and compare it with this track. On this one, Hatano‘s vocals are barely impossible to listen clearly without major background distractions. With a rock or milder pop track his voice takes the main stage and the instrumental does what it does best, being an instrumental track. Putting this criticism aside, it’s safe to say that with this song being a opening theme for Rejet‘s “Dance With Devils” game, it was impossible to either escape Daisuke Iwasaki‘s faulty/awkward lyrics and ELEMENTS GARDEN repetitive synth-based instrumentals, too bad that both didn’t managed to give Hatano something worthy of his vocals. Entertaining song that failed to make Hatano shine. 4/5

02 Rolling life

Rolling Life” bring us back to a more alternative rock sound in comparison with the pop feel the title track had. With brass elements, rockabilly piano, a powerful bassline, slow paced guitar riffs that explode to a ear catching solo in the bridge and exciting drums, this track is a nice change of pace from all the electronic elements. With a whole band sound, this instrumental doesn’t fail to entertain us. It’s a track with a celebratory feel to it. Vocally Hatano‘s vocals are a great energizer by themselves but with this whole package it’s impossible to have a dull moment. Solid performance but a bit far from what has been Hatano‘s trademark sound from his previous releases. 4/5

03 わすれもの

Wasuremono” is an emotional ballad where Hatano shows us just how mesmerizing he can sound. With a sweet piano leading the way, his steady vocals tread each of the lyrics smoothly, almost like if he was singing a lullaby. With a minimalistic instrumental resorting to a piano melody on its core, later joined by a strings quartet, this track easily ranks as one of Hatano‘s top ballads. It’s easy to the ears and full of emotion. This one doesn’t need that much of an explanation. Just listen to it and take in all the emotions from it. It’s that precious so we’ll leave it to you to judge it. For us it stands close to a perfect score. 4.5/5

Final rating:4 stars

Unmei no Coda” simply fails to ride on the momentum created by “Kakusei no Air“. It’s a plain release with no big memorable moments.

The title track takes us on a sort of weird ride. Hatano singing these kind of electronic pop tracks just isn’t something that really satisfies us. The instrumental track took much of his spotlight with those overly used synths that always give away that ELEMENTS GARDEN worked on a specific track. Even “Synchronic“, electronic rock track released with the last single “Kakusei no Air“, sounded better and less overcrowded than this track.

Then we’re presented with “Rolling Life“, a track where there were loads of rockabilly influences in the instrumental. It was a fun track to listen to with a specially engaging chorus, still it was far from being Hatano‘s best song. Wasuremono was the best track featured in this release once again proving that when things are simple, it actually sound better. Just a piano and strings are enough for a voice as powerful and complete as Hatano‘s to shine.

While this was on paper a very consistent release, when you listen to it you won’t get the same feel. Hatano has so much more to give to his music that it kind of let us down when he’s doing what everyone else is doing in the music business in Japan. Riding the wave and getting mediocre results isn’t something someone with a voice as unique and mesmerizing as Hatano should be getting. With a music label as powerful as AVEX is in Japan as his backer, label that houses some of Asia’s most important artists (GACKT, BoA, TVXQ, Acid Black Cherry, Luna Sea, PSY, Shinee, etc), we can just hope that Hatano is steered in the right direction after this little intermission.

Hopefully on his next release Hatano is freed from both ELEMENTS GARDEN and Rejet‘s chains and can actually provide us with performances worthy of his quality.

Unmei no Coda” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

Unmei no Coda / Wataru Hatano
Wataru Hatano
Unmei no Coda / Wataru Hatano
Wataru Hatano
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