R Nomura “SECRET LUV” (Review)

R Nomura brings melancholy and romance to the GALACTI9★SONG Series with his performance in SECRET LUV.

Title: GALACTI9★SONG Series #2
Label: Rejet/Pythagoras Production
Release date: 16/01/2019
Genre: Tropical House/Synthwave/Ballad

Tracklist:

1 - SECRET LUV
2 - パルコ (R ver.)
3 - SECRET LUV (off vocal)
4 - パルコ (off vocal)

Track by track analysis:

1 – SECRET LUV

The main song in this release is the dreamy SECRET LUV. The instrumental has an interesting mix of synthwave and tropical house at its core, something that, up until now, hadn’t been done before in the Marginal #4 franchise. The lead synth found in the intro (and later stages of the song) nods at synthwave – to a degree – although, in the end, the song doesn’t end up fully embracing its retro yet futuristic vibe exuded from the synths, much due to the addition of tropical house elements into the mix. The verses are ethereal and danceable while keeping everything to a minimum. The beat is a trademark of the tropical house genre, slow, relaxing and giving off a Caribbean-inspired sound. The chorus however, mixes the best of both worlds, the darkness of synthwave with the uplifting vibe of tropical house, blending both into a melancholic yet romantic tune.

On the vocal side, we can only say that Yuto Suzuki was more than up to the task at hand. He’s known for his smooth, R&B-ish singing tone and good control and consistency in his performances. In SECRET LUV you can feel melancholy and longing in his performance by the way he embraces certain notes and lets go of others, how he adds vibrato in some phrases, the sweetness in the verses. He made sure that fans – of R and/or his – would get to listen to his best and that’s exactly what we got with this performance. Undoubtedly his best solo performance as R Nomura and so far the best solo track in this GALACTI9★SONG Series. 5/5

2 – パルコ (R ver.)

Contrasting with the previous track is パルコ (Parco). This ballad, with a sound and vibe commonly found within Marginal #4’s repertoire is the only song that will be common to all releases in the GALACTI9★SONG CD series. A delicate piano melody and strings set the tone for this gentle ballad. Slow paced, bass-drum drums, melancholic guitar riffs and a noticeable bass line add the final touches to this instrumental. A nice touch – that might go unnoticed – is the rhodes piano melody play in the verses, enhancing the song’s melancholic tone. The pacing is deliberately slow, leaving the way open for vocals to shine.

Once again Suzuki’s vocals shine. He gave a confident, emotional performance in this song, fitting perfectly with the ballad’s sweet instrumental. 5/5

Final rating:

The 2nd entry in the GALACTI9★SONG Series belongs to Marginal #4‘s leader, R Nomura (Yuto Suzuki).

Synth-pop and pop-rock have been the main music genres that Marginal #4 have embraced in the past 6 years. Although there have been iterations to other sub-genres and incorporation of elements from a variety of music genres to spice up their music, nothing had the sound that we find in SECRET LUV.

Bringing Tropical house and synthwave to the table wasn’t a bad choice at all because it not only didn’t stray too far from the group’s sound, but it also introduced something fresh, never before heard in this franchise that might help reignite the fire towards the Marginal #4 franchise.

SECRET LUV managed to balance its usage of the trademark instruments used in both music genres, opting for a toned down, relaxing take that fits perfectly with the emotional lyrics and vocal performance in it. Just like Atom’s “I”, this is a song that shows that Marginal #4 have matured. Suzuki’s R&B imbued vocals did the rest of the job and made this song shine in the GALACTI9★SONG Series.

There isn’t much we can add about Yuto Suzuki‘s performance in パルコ (Parco) than what you can find in the review. He’s a great singer, underappreciated and often overshadowed by more popular voice actors within Marginal #4, but he’s always been the most consistent singer in the group since day 1. He gave a strong performance in Parco but, as previous performances of his have shown, he really shines when performing heartbreaking ballads that require a lot of technique on the vocal side – i.e もう涙を隠さないで and 光 -, that doesn’t take away the merit in this performance, that is the best take on it so far.

This is a complete single and, at the moment, the best entry in the GALACTI9★SONG Series. The bar is, once more, raised.

GALACTI9★SONG Series #2 is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.

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