Takuya Sato “starry sign” (Review)

sato

“Starry sign” is Takuya Sato‘s second release since his debut and a solid improvement. Back with his pop-rock sound, this time Sato grabs onto more powerful tracks that showcase his deep vocals in the best way possible.

Starry sign

Title: starry sign
Label: Frontier Works
Release date: 06/04/2016 
Genre: J-Pop/Rock

Tracklist:

01. 激情☆デザイア
02. Stand by you
03. 桜の季節に
04. 激情☆デザイア (カラオケver.)
05. Stand by you (カラオケver.)
06. 桜の季節に (カラオケver.)

Track by track analysis:

01. 激情☆デザイア

In an upbeat fashion, 激情☆デザイア strays away from Sato‘s first endeavor in the music scene. Still with rock elements, his sound took an interesting turn delivering us a playful instrumental resorting to mid-tempo drums, brass, funky bass and up-tempo guitar riffs. Although it sounds a bit lacking sometimes, this instrumental has its fun moments here and there. In a track in which something is missing, Sato‘s vocal performance adds a little bit of energy to this track, but not enough to make us say that this is a great track. As a title track we were certainly expecting more, a lot more.  3.5/5

02. Stand by you

With a stunning bassline and funky guitar riffs, “Stand by You” is a clear improvement in comparison with the previous track. This laid back instrumental just screams “summer” in every possible way. With the bass at its core, the instrumental shifts from its relaxed verses building up in emotion as we reach the chorus with heavy guitar riffs and stronger drums. The chorus embraces all funkiness in the track and makes it explode in what is a well crafted, engaging chorus. Vocally this track really managed to put Sato on his comfort zone finally having the opportunity to showcase his vibrato and steady falsetto in the verses. Rock solid from start to finish, this track with a summery feel managed to grab our attention. 4.5/5

03. 桜の季節に

To complete this single trip we find 桜の季節にSato‘s first ever solo power ballad. Starting off softly with the emotional piano melody, this track slowly builds up its momentum around the drums and heavy electric guitars with their power chords and emotion packed solos. This track really grasps the essence of a power ballad leaving Sato‘s vocal performance is powerful and with a lot more technique shown than any of his solo tracks so far. Ranging for mid-tones to higher notes (clearly not the register in which he sounds more comfortable), Sato strikes the listener with his emotional rendition of the lyrics, even adding some delicate touches with his controlled vibrato (a fine example lies with his line “… kokoro ga…” in the chorus). Vocally and instrumentally we couldn’t ask for more. Full marks on this one. 5/5

Final rating:4.5 stars

It seems like Sato‘s releases have a way of working with the listener. Looking at “set sail” and now “starry sign“, we noticed that he never starts off strongly. His singles build up its emotion and quality as we progress through the tracklist. The promotional track  激情☆デザイア was a bit of a downer for us. It’s common sense that when you choose a track to promote your release, you’ll choose the one you consider the strongest or best of them all. It seems like it’s not the way things work around in Frontier Works. Regardless, looking at the rest of the single we don’t have much to complain since the quality increased exponentially. Stand by you is an engaging track with a funky chorus and overall exciting instrumental piece, on the other side we have 桜の季節に, a power ballad that puts aside any funky, brassy elements and gives way for power chords, stunning guitar solos and piano driven melodies ready to break our hearts. Vocally we notice that this time Sato played safely. The time came for him to bring his vibrato and falsettos to the table and the results are what we heard and described. Each track gains a boost in power and emotion, easily awing the listener. In the end, we noticed some improvements as his sound is getting increasingly polished and he’s starting to find a comfortable, common ground for his solo career. Next release is set for this fall so let’s see if there’s yet more changes to his sound and approach to the lyrics.

“Starry sign” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

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