Takuya Sato‘s “Monologue” is a gentle, laidback release that only asks you to enjoy it. Sweet melodies, surprising instrumentals and rock tunes, this single cover almost all bases perfectly.
Title: Monologue Label: Frontier Works Release date: 08/11/2017 Genre: Rock/Pop-Rock
1 - 君に届けたい 2 - 千夜一恋 ～senya-ichiren～ 3 - セピア 4 - 君に届けたい (instrumental) 5 - 千夜一恋 ～senya-ichiren～ (instrumental) 6 - セピア (instrumental)
Track by track analysis:
1 – 君に届けたい
Takuya Sato welcomes us with an upbeat pop-rock tune. 君に届けたい (Kimi ni todoketai) avoids any flashy, overwhelming elements, keeping everything simple, sometimes too simple for our taste. This song has a fun beat courtesy of snary drums and a deep bassline, and it even brings to the table old school synths to add a little flare to the instrumental. There’s something lacking, we don’t know if it’s with the instrumental or the vocals that are nothing out of extraordinary, maybe it’s because both lack depth. Something is amiss, that’s for certain. Sato has a comfortable performance for this song, not adding flourishes nor playing around with his range. As much as we’ve tried to enjoy the song, it ended up sounding bland each and every time. 4/5
2 – 千夜一恋 ～senya-ichiren～
If you’re looking for a unique instrumental this song has it. 千夜一恋 ～senya-ichiren～ mixes middle eastern and Latin elements and pulls it off without sounding one bit awkward. The song has on its core a looping sitar melody alongside simple, Latin style acoustic guitar riffs, all on top of slow paced drums, bongos and melodic electric guitar riffs. This is far from being a common formula, especially when looking at Sato’s repertoire, one that is filled with pop-rock songs. The fact that it’s completely different from what he has done before, makes it sound fresh and exciting. The instrumental gives off a romantic and tragic vibe at the same time, something that Sato makes sure to enhance with a crafty performance, adding some flourishes and using more his range. One of the best performances on this release. 5/5
3 – セピア
“Sepia” brings sweetness to the table coated in acoustic guitars, classy rhodes piano melodies, mid-tempo snary drums and a delicate bassline. Despite its gentle and laidback vibe, this song has an underlying melancholic touch that will linger even after listening to it. When paying close attention to the instrumental track, you’ll notice that there’s an imagery, a soundscape that, like a magnet, draws your attention. That soundscape is reminiscent of a late afternoon seaside or a long drive during the summer. It’s comfortable, summery and most of all, feels good to listen to it. On the vocal end, Sato‘s performance shone. He managed to bring his best to this song: low notes, falsetto, and that innate gentleness in his vocals, all were essential to make that “feel good” vibe come to life. “Sepia” easily earns its spot as one of Sato‘s best songs released to date. 5/5
Sato‘s 4th single shows a certain maturity and comfort that up until now wasn’t noticeable on his repertoire. “Monologue” is a laidback, gentle release that is the perfect escape from all the noise outside.
君に届けたい wasn’t the best way to kick off this release. It felt as if Sato was playing too safe with that song. The instrumental although with some entertaining parts, didn’t feel like it had any depth. Adding to this was a bland vocal performance that had us wondering where those powerful vocals of his had gone to.
Thankfully, the other songs on this release more than made up for it. 千夜一恋 ～senya-ichiren～ is beyond unique. Mixing sitars with Latin elements is not the most common recipe in the music business. And when someone attempts something close to it, it doesn’t end up as good as this one did. 千夜一恋 ～senya-ichiren～ felt fresh as well as a bit odd at first, but as soon as the song reached the first verse, we were already feeling the song and noticing that the mix, although weird at first, is actually quite interesting to listen to. Its rich instrumentalization and flare on the vocal end impressed us thoroughly.
To wrap things up, we were presented with セピア (Sepia), the best song on this release. If there’s a soundscape that fits Sato‘s gentle voice tone perfectly it is the one on this song. This is one of those songs that you might want to add to your “feel good” playlist.
All in all, Sato‘s “Monologue” goes straight to the top of the list of his best releases to date. It’s the perfect release for those that are looking for something different, something that avoids all the fast paced, formulaic bright pop music that so many seiyuu end up embracing. Not necessarily the most unique release out there but its quality makes it a well needed breath of fresh air in the seiyuu business.
[This review was possible thanks to MALLARD084’s sponsored CD.]
“モノローグ” (Monologue) is available for purchase on CDJAPAN for all overseas fans.