S.E.M “From Teacher To Future!” (Review)

S.E.M‘s “From Teacher To Future!” is an exciting release with some mild flaws on it, flaws that are easily patched up by powerful vocals and entertaining performances.

S.E.M consist of Kento ItoYoshiki Nakajima and Junya Enoki.

Title: From Teacher To Future!
Label: Lantis
Release date: 13/12/2017
Genre: J-Pop

Tracklist:

01.From Teacher To Future!
02.Reason!!(S.E.M Ver.)
03.From Teacher To Future! -Instrumental-

Track by track analysis:

01 From Teacher To Future!

From Teacher To Future!” embraces a playful pop-rock sound that is not common in S.E.M’s repertoire. Brass and noticeable basslines haven’t been the kind of elements this unit has embraced in past – they tend to be more synth and dance oriented -, but this change seemed to fit well with them. The instrumental is focused on sounding funky from the get-go: various percussion elements are mixed with the drums to enhance its “bass” elements, adding depth to the instrumental. Additionally, we find brass alongside a noticeable bassline, adding even more punch to the core bass instrumental. Simple guitar riffs wrap up the main elements in the instrumental.

The verses tone down a bit of the excitement we find in the intro and chorus sections, but its overall bright, peppy vibe is still there. The chorus is exciting and will have you singing along to it in no time, even if it might be slightly overwhelming at first. There are several instances in which we’ll find chants. Those might end up working well on a live setting. The only issue we find with this instrumental is the excessive use of brass. It’s acceptable to use it for certain sections – to enhance something, or even to lead it – but to use brass as a looping element in the instrumental, makes the song’s replay value rather low.

Regarding the vocal performances there’s nothing much we can say about it, because S.E.M tackled this song naturally, making it sound like it was too easy to perform. As a unit, during the chorus sections, we find Ito’s vibrato imbued vocals, Nakajima’s smooth bass vocals and Enoki’s spirited mid-tones creating an interesting and appealing blend, one in which you can easily figure out who’s singing each section, especially if you’re a newcomer only now checking S.E.M. At the same time that everyone has a distinctive singing tone, you’ll notice that they work extremely well as a unit, with each of them performing their individual as well as unit roles pretty well. As a whole, From Teacher To Future! is an exciting tune, with a catchy chorus and a whole lot of funky elements to please the listener. 4/5

02 Reason!! (S.E.M Ver.)

We’re not getting in too many details on this song as the full version (with the 6 main Idolmaster SideM units) has already been reviewed. “Reason!!” is the song released last year that got the first RIAJ Certified Gold record to this franchise. The song is bright in its essence, a characteristic that might not fit that well with some of the groups that originally performed this song.

S.E.M’s take on “Reason!!” is exactly what we’d hoped the original version had been more focused on: melodies, technicality and consistency. Vibrato, smooth low notes and harmonies, lots of them, all fit like a glove with this pop-rock instrumental. Just a listen to their performance in the chorus or their build up to the bridge is more than enough to notice this. 4.5/5

Final rating:

S.E.M‘s “From Teacher To Future!” is a rather interesting release.

To start off, the title track could have benefitted from not betting too much on brass. We get it that the song aimed to sound peppy and fun, at the same time brass elements are usually a nice pick to spice almost any instrumental, however in this case those weren’t as appealing as usual. Of course, if you don’t focus on it, the song ends up being what it was meant to be: entertaining. Aside from this, the instrumental was definitely something different coming from S.E.M, as we’re used to their synth-driven instrumentals. Not only will the chorus hype up the listener, but those chants in the middle of the song will certainly work well live. We’re actually curious to see those will pan out on a live setting.

When it comes to S.E.M‘s take on “Reason!!” there’s not much we can add that we haven’t mentioned above. They performed the song just like we’d wished the original version had been performed by everyone.

S.E.M have rich and versatile vocals on their lineup, and we dare say that within the Idolmaster SideM franchise, they are the most complete and technical oriented group. Ito, Enoki and Nakajima not only sound stunning as a group, but they are also impressive if prompted to perform solo. Enoki might not be as skilled as a singer as Ito and Nakajima are but, as of late, he’s been showing some improvement, not sounding out of place or at least too unsure or stiff. In the end, you can expect each one of them to spark some interest, grabbing your attention from the get-go with their flourishes, harmonizations, among other individual skills. Their quality is hard to come by. 

Overall, S.E.M‘s “From Teacher To Future!” is an exciting release with some mild flaws on it, flaws that are easily patched up by powerful vocals and entertaining performances. Not their best but certainly a release worth checking.

From Teacher To Future!” is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.

 

 

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