“Hot Scramble / Colorful” brings back Marginal #4 in full force. With a duet and a solo song, fans will certainly get to see new sides to this unit as we near the end of the music releases related with the anime series (only).
Title: HOT★SCRAMBLE / カラフル Label: Rejet/Pythagoras Production Release date: 15/03/2017 Genre: J-Pop/Dance
1 - HOT★SCRAMBLE (Toshiki Masuda and Naozumi Takahashi) 2 - カラフル (Yuto Suzuki) 3 - HOT★SCRAMBLE (anime version) 4 - カラフル (anime version) 5 - HOT★SCRAMBLE (off vocal) 6 - カラフル (off vocal)
Track by track analysis:
1 – HOT★SCRAMBLE
Masuda and Takahashi take on this song as a duo. HOT★SCRAMBLE is a rather “calm” song in comparison with Marginal #4’s traditional fast paced song. Putting an emphasis on the guitar work that has some laidback, jazzy and latin touches on it, we have a song that fares better than the all-out synth galore we’re usually presented with. So, the instrumental is a nice surprise for us, showing a pop-rock side to this unit that fits well with the group. The vocal performance is good – Takahashi pitches in his smooth, melodic mid-tones whereas, at the same time, Masuda is showing why he’s one of the most improved seiyuu in the music business. We won’t get into details regarding this point, just listen to the song – if you haven’t heard it on the anime – and pay attention to Masuda‘s performance. This song isn’t as cringeworthy as some of the previous songs were – namely the one sang by KENN and Yuto Suzuki – but those spoken parts that almost everyone hates are back. There’s quite a few awkward lines in there near the bridge so approach them with a grain of salt if you don’t fancy them but are enjoying the song. 4.5/5
2 – カラフル (Yuto Suzuki)
“Colorful” is what it looks like: a bright song with an upbeat melody provided by the mix of synths, guitars, drums, bass and brass. From this description, you’re already thinking all kinds of things, most probably some of them aren’t good, right? Well, “Colorful” had everything to be an all-out cheesy song, but thankfully its brightness only applies to part of the instrumental as Suzuki‘s tone this time around is close to his mid-to-high sweet tone that most of his fans love. If this song had been sang in a higher key or with a “cute” touch it would have certainly be yet another bad Marginal #4 song. Since that didn’t happen we can only say that it is nice to have him, the group’s leader, taking the spotlight all to himself. The song was a bit restricting to his vocals as he seldom went for high notes or add any fancy techniques in the mix. “Colorful” is has a mediocre instrumental bundled with a clearly better quality vocal performance. 4/5
This single has some issues that needed solving. HOT★SCRAMBLE is a good song but overall lacks something – Marginal #4’s touch is still there but we couldn’t help but to think the song sounded odd at times (we won’t delve into just how cheesy those spoken parts are because, well… It’s Rejet we’re talking about). On the other side, we find “Colorful”, a bright song in which guitars are a must, giving a nice spotlight to the pop-rock sound but never forgetting about synths. The instrumental could have been more impactful with some tweaks but thankfully the vocal performance was good enough to pull through.
Although we would have wanted Suzuki’s vocal performance to go towards the powerhouse department like it did with “キミとFARAWAY“, it still was incredibly solid – he doesn’t miss keys, his tone is incredibly nice to hear (when he’s not forcing it) and he knows his way around some singing techniques as well – even if he didn’t get to showcase much more than just a superficial sample of his talents. He’s usually in charge of mid-tones and high notes with Takahashi when it comes to Marginal #4‘s songs but in here we could find him in another light.
In case you’re wondering why we’re getting into detail about Suzuki‘s singing, we need to point out that it’s been a long time (8 years) since he was alone in front of the mic for a decent solo song – we’re not talking about character songs but as a group or solo artist. He’s got such a beautiful voice color and although it might not show at times, he’s quite skilled when it comes to singing.
In the end, this release might not come closer to “Real?/Kokoro Hitotsu” but was more than enough to shed a good light on Marginal #4 that only recently have found their mojo back.
In just two weeks there’s another release. We can’t wait for another single to review.
“Hot Scramble / Colorful” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.