Daisuke Ono “ROSA ~Blue Ocean~” (Review)


OnoD takes all fans through memory lane with “ROSA ~Blue Ocean~“. Through 3 representative songs, we revisit Daisuke Ono‘s eventful and exciting 10 year solo career.

Title: ROSA ~Blue Ocean~ 
Label: Lantis
Release date: 28/06/2017
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

1.「ROSA ~Blue Ocean~」
2.「Can't Go Back」
3.「花火」

Track by track analysis:

1. ROSA ~Blue Ocean~ 

If you remember and are fond of “Lunar Maria“, “熱烈ANSWER“, “Ride on Funky Night” and “Kiss Kiss Kiss“, then ROSA ~Blue Ocean~ will certain to spark some interest as it’s easily their love child. It’s not the first time that OnoD has attempted embracing a latin pop style, but this time around he managed to make an entertaining song out of it with some interesting moments in the instrumental. The bridge shines with the amazing jazzy guitar work that was put on it. Comparing with previous attempts at the music genre, Daisuke Ono‘s vocals are more polished, delivering a really solid performance, even if the song was borderline sounding like a 90’s, early 00’s Ricky Martin song. 4.5/5

2. Can’t Go Back

Despite its title, we actually do go back in time with this 90’s inspired pop tune. “Can’t Go Back” brings back the simple things we all loved about 90’s japanese pop music. From the backing vocals to the instrumental, this song is a treat. The simple richness in this instrumental quickly puts this song on top in this release. Funky guitar riffs and a rich bassline make the song’s laidback vibe standout, after mixing them with soft synths and a deep piano melody, we get this well crafted throwback. Ono‘s soft vocals managed to fit in perfectly in this song, even adding some unexpected ad-libs to his performance. “Can’t Go Back” is one amazing summer tune. 5/5

3. 花火

Hanabi” brings back Ono‘s well known pop-rock sound, completing this single on a brighter note than we could have expected. It’s with this song that we understand what each of these tracks hint at. Different eras in his career. This track represents Ono‘s latest, new-found music incursion: pop-rock. What seemed like an acoustic pop-rock song, with the acoustic guitar riffs leading the way in the intro, quickly evolved into something a little bit different. Those acoustic guitars were replaced by inspiring guitar riffs, blending with the bright melodies courtesy of the piano and synths. The drums followed a simple formula throughout the song, setting a comfortable tempo in which Ono delivered a sweet performance full of highs. 4.5/5

Final rating:

First of all: Happy 10th solo debut anniversary to Daisuke Ono!

To celebrate this important date, OnoD decided to bring to the table a little bit of what he has done best in his solo career.

If there’s one thing that has changed since the start of his solo career is the singing technique. At first he sounded off key, a bit lifeless, too nasal or odd at times. With time, we found his vocals getting increasingly more alive, entertaining and engaging. Now we can say that Daisuke Ono has reached a place in which his vocals still have more to grow, but are now in a comfortable position, able to tackle all sorts of songs. And we listen to exactly that in this release. His vocal growth, the matured instrumentals, all has improved with time.

Starting with ROSA ~Blue Ocean~ with find the carefree, fun self from 2010 – 2012 that set him apart from most seiyuu in the music business. The song lends many things from latin pop and dance music which ultimately led to an entertaining tune that shows just how much he has grown as a singer – now able to be up to the task and perform a song to perfection. Thankfully, the instrumental also helped making the song more memorable than previous ones of the same music genre, with the composer avoided making this song overly cheesy like those were in the past. It’s widly know that when Ono first sang latin inspired pop songs, there were a lot of people that didn’t take him seriously. That persisted until “Mission D” was released back in 2014, when he decided to revamp his trademark sound and branch out to other genres with better crafted songs.

Then we find “Can’t Go Back“, song that brings back OnoD‘s great incursion to jazz, funk and disco in releases like “Orion no Yoru“, “Mission D” and “熱烈ANSWER“. The quality in this song is off the charts. The bassline is addictive, the synths not only make the song danceable but are also the catalyst to this perfect throwback to the 90’s. He added a classy touch to this release and once again showed how versatile his vocals are, adapting well to the laidback vibe, at times even making the song sound sexy.

The final song is “Hanabi“. Despite its title being sort of misleading (could’ve easily been a title to a dance track), the song goes back to OnoD‘s current (or even his debut days) solo singer self. The pop-rock we find in releases like “雨音” (Amaoto), “Doors“, “Hero” and “Orion no Yoru” is well represented through this song. Although Ono has better and more complete rock songs in his repertoire, “Hanabi” fares incredibly well in the middle of a danceable, summery release such as this one.

ROSA ~Blue Ocean~ is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

 

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