Sakanaction – Sayonara wa Emotion / Hasu no Hana | SINGLE REVIEW

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Many artists of the Japanese music industry differentiate themselves from the rest of the world thanks to the uniqueness in combining several and completely different genres into one and make them work greatly, and the guys from Sakanaction are one of the main acts keeping up with this open mentality with some brilliant musical offerings born from a masterful fusion of rock, pop and pure electronic/club music, that guaranteed to the five musicians from Hokkaido the definitive consecration with their last album reaching the top of the Oricon chart.

With the melancholic and oniric Goodbye/Eureka behind, Sakanaction are back with a long awaited new single to bring some more quality music to our ears, and it’ll be interesting as usual to see what Ichiro Yamaguchi (mastermind of the group) came out with. After all, in all their their talent and great personality, it’s always a mystery to foresee these guys’ movements… and that’s really exciting.


Sayonara wa Emotion

If there’s a key word that represents this first song at its best is, guess what, emotion. The song kicks off with a delicate drumming and the shy melody from Emi’s piano, as a touch of fresh-sounding synth leads to Yamaguchi’s first verse; The singing is minimal and not invasive, following a clear and precise metric in the main part to then delicately evolve in the chorus, directly linked to the verse with no bridge or any sort of structure change but represented only by an higher and more emotional tone of voice and emphasized keyboards that delicately divide this section of the track. The second verse follows the same pattern, with shy guitar notes now enriching the whole plethora of details forming the verse. The aggressive guitar riffing and the drum roll break through the second chorus giving new life to the song, summoning a more emotional atmosphere leading to a short instrumental section that sounds almost like an improvisation. A short keyboard break leads to the last chorus, followed by a typical Sakanaction ending section with all the members singing together: Lots of emotions, in name and deed.

The whole song, despite adopting a very simple structure and featuring distinct sonorities, it flows well and doesn’t weigh to the the ear of the listener: The first part, with few delicate details and calm singing perfectly leads to the second, lively but more emotional section full of emphasis, marked by aggressive guitar riffing and the rolling rhythmic part coupled by higher notes in the bass line. Despite not being technically a masterpiece, in its simpleness, Sayonara wa Emotion summons a lot of feelings while entertaining with its wide range of sounds and layer of details: Simple, but very well executed.

Hasu no Hana

The previously released Hasu no Hana now comes in its single version, and after the emotional emphasis of the previous track, this song brings a more thoughtless and light approach to the package: With the main chorus kicking off the track, the whole song rotates around the main section’s catchiness and pleasant sound made of delicate riffing, evocative synths and bass lines, coupled by Yamaguchi’s catchy and relaxing singing. The structure, as the song itself, is really simple and catchy: The verses focus on the lyrics with a background as usual made of details made of guitar notes and a continuous synth, to then add samples and Ami’s bass line in the second verse. A pre-chorus bridge following the same main melody leads to a break and the final chorus; A final instrumental section brings us to the end of the track.

Hasu no Hana is a very simple song that doesn’t stand out for anything in particular, and it’s undoubtedly a bit under the Sakanaction standard, but it doesn’t fail under any aspect at the same time, giving the most of it in the chorus and its pleasant and positive vibe. Far from being an unforgettable track, it still represents a nice occasional listen for the fans of the Hokkaido guys.

[Extra Content] Ame(B) – SAKANATRIBE x ATM version – / Music (Cornelius remix)  

Sakanaction always put a lot of effort in bringing value to their releases, and this single isn’t an exception: The acclaimed and absolutely amazing Sakanatribe version of the band’s classic from Shinshiro (performed in their last tour Sakanatribe 2014) is finally available as audio track, this time enriched by the collaboration of AOKI Takamasa, and it’s fair to say that the difference with the original version performed live isn’t that much (luckily), where the only changes reside exclusively in the lyrics, this time sang by all the band’s members without any effect, and in the focus in the singular parts of the song, leaving behind the more club-ish elements and all the effects that came with it; The live version was genuinely more cool and entertaining than this one, but yet, it still remains an amazing piece of track that you won’t stop listening to. Moving along we find the curious remix of Sakanaction’s classic hit Musicmade by Shibuya Kei pioneer Cornelius, that brings us an acoustic version of the track with slight electronic influences: It’s surprising how the lyrics and singing of this song actually fit perfectly in such a different execution, and the result is very good and a pleasant listen to those who loved the original track (who didn’t?). The rich video footage contained in the Limited Edition is worth the extra money, showing different collaborations of the band with other artists as they play in the studio, plus featuring interviews (Japanese only) with Ichiro Yamaguchi and the guest musicians.

These new propositions of Sakanaction’s classic tracks are an interesting and entertaining feature that enrich the whole package of this single in an important way: The fans will appreciate it and love both of them.


Verdict

Sayonara wa Emotion / Hasu no Hana pretty much follows the atmospheres and the vibe of Sakanaction’s previous single, represented by predominantly calmer and more reflective sonorities while leaving behind the more electronic influences that guaranteed the uniqueness of the band’s core sound. But this doesn’t mean this single isn’t good, at all: Sayonara wa Emotion is a well done and executed track, with an evocative and revolutionary feel and great pathos in its final part where all the members’ talent and attention for details comes out, while Hasu no Hana, despite not being an unforgettable track nor the best offering for newcomers, it’s still a pleasant listen that fans will love to come back on once in a while. The two extra tracks and the rich video footage (this one exclusive of the Limited Edition) included in the package are worth all your time and money, elevating the value of this overall release that, while it doesn’t reach the same level of most of Sakanaction’s previous singles, it still has lots of value and great music for everyone.

Vote: 7.5/10


 

Tracklist

[CD]

01. Sayonara wa Emotion
02. Hasu no Hana – Single Version-
03. Ame(B) -SAKANATRIBE×ATM version-
04. Music (Cornelius Remix)

[DVD – Limited Edition only]

01. Good-bye Session featuring Tamaki Roy (Originally broadcasted on Ustream on 2013.11.28)
02. Yamaguchi Ichiro x Tamaki Roy Talk Session
03. Sample STUDIO LIVE guest Sasaki “SUNNY” Yukio (Originally broadcasted on Ustream on 2014.8.5)
04. Sasaki “SUNNY” Yukio Interview

– Alex

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