Before we start, let me mention that this album review is separate from the J-Music Exchange/Rate segment I usually do on the blog. There are definitely some albums that I personally want to write about, like this one, so I hope nobody gets confused. Plus, as you can see in the cover photo, my logo has the old green background rather than the usual gray one… it’s subtle but I think it’s enough to differentiate the two lol
Other than that, this review will pretty much look similar to my J-Music Exchange/Rate write-ups, format-wise. I don’t believe I need to make any special changes!
That being said, today we’ll be taking a look at a special album from the ladies of the popular seiyuu/idol unit TrySail! Let’s jump right in!
While this album is technically not under the ‘TrySail’ discography, I feel like I still have to talk about that group.
TrySail is a seiyuu pop unit consisting of three popular voice actresses in Asakura Momo, Amamiya Sora and Natsukawa Shiina. The trio came together in 2011 following an audition held by Music Ray’n and they later debuted in 2014 as the music label’s next generation of seiyuu idols, joining the renowned and talented group known as Sphere. TrySail has released many singles and albums throughout their (so far) eight years as a group and has also provided the opening/ending themes for many popular anime such as the Monogatari series, High School Fleet, Eromanga-sensei and Magia Record.
Individually, each member of TrySail are well-known seiyuu around the industry, starring in a ton of various media like KonoSuba, THE iDOLM@STER Million Live, Kaguya-sama, Magia Record and Seven Deadly Sins, just to name a few. The three also portray the fictional idol unit TRINITYAiLE in the Idoly Pride franchise. And just to top it all off, they all have solo music careers of their own!
Asakura Momo, Amamiya Sora & Natsukawa Shiina — Shuffle -Bright 3 Waves-
- Skyreach – Asakura Momo (original: Amamiya Sora)
- Pumpkin Meat Pie / パンプキン・ミート・パイ – Amamiya Sora (original: Asakura Momo)
- Yellow Flag / イエローフラッグ – Asakura Momo & Amamiya Sora (original: Natsukawa Shiina)
- Fanfare!! – Natsukawa Shiina (original: Asakura Momo)
- Fuwari, Korori, Karan, Koron – Asakura Momo (original: Natsukawa Shiina)
- VIPER – Asakura Momo & Natsukawa Shiina (original: Amamiya Sora)
- Silent Sword – Natsukawa Shiina (original: Amamiya Sora)
- Raburirubura / ラブリルブラ – Amamiya Sora (original: Natsukawa Shiina)
- Yumecinderella / ユメシンデレラ – Amamiya Sora & Natsukawa Shiina (original: Asakura Momo)
Like my previous and recent album reviews, I’ll be breaking down this post in several main points. I guess this is how I review now!
also a quick note: throughout this review, I’ll be referring to the TrySail ladies by their common nicknames which are Mocho (Asakura Momo), Tenchan (Amamiya Sora) and Nansu (Natsukawa Shiina). Being a seiyuu fan, I’m just used to calling them by their nicknames so I had to clarify that lol
1) The Concept of Shuffle Albums is Genius
First off, let me explain why this album is ‘special’, like I said earlier. Essentially, the trio’s music label thought it would be a good idea to have them perform each other’s songs from their individual solo discographies and put it on an album. A ‘shuffle album’, as they call it.
Now this actually isn’t the first time I’ve seen something like this: about a year or so ago, the Love Live franchise’s Nijigasaki High School Idol Club actually held an entire concert/event where everyone sang another member’s solo. It was such a new concept to me at the time and I immediately loved the idea when they first announced it. It just brings a whole other level of enjoyment, as we got to see characters/voice actresses perform songs that may or may not align with their own personalities and voices. And that’s the fun part! Just seeing how one person sings a certain song or style that’s different from their usual stuff is fascinating and most of the time, they do a good job regardless.
Interestingly enough, Sphere (another seiyuu/idol group from the Music Ray’n label that came before TrySail) also did a shuffle compilation where all four of them sang each other’s solo songs. And while I did enjoy listening to their rendition of this particular idea, I definitely wasn’t as excited or hyped about theirs compared to TrySail’s. The main reason being that I haven’t listened to a lot of the tracks from each Sphere member’s music career so I couldn’t really tell and/or appreciate the differences between, for example, a Kotobuki Minako song and the way Tomatsu Haruka covered it. As I said, it was still fun to hear the Spheres do something like that and there were definitely some great singing performances in that album but… it mostly fell flat for me, personally.
The TrySail one was different since I experienced the complete opposite. I’m so much more familiar with Mocho, Tenchan and Nansu’s individual discographies so it was a lot easier to recognize each featured song and who the original artist was.
2) Song Selection + Performances = EXCELLENT
The song list in this shuffle album was so good.
In my experiences with their music, each TrySail member expresses pretty different genres/styles compared to one another. Mocho’s more on the ‘fluffy’, pop side of things; Tenchan performs heavy, dramatic and deeper-in-tone songs; while Nansu incorporates more of an upbeat electro pop/rock feel to her stuff (it makes sense since it aligns with their respective voices/tones, and personalities). So with that much of a contrast between each of their discographies, I wondered how well they would cover/replicate each other’s songs.
And after listening through the whole compilation a few times, I think all three of them did pretty damn well, for the most part! Each member did a fantastic, and I mean FANTASTIC, job adapting their vocals and recreating these tracks. Their performances sounded VERY similar to the originals, and all three of them were really able to maintain the same vocal pitches, paces and overall atmospheres of each track. At first, you might think that someone like Tenchan and her deeper voice might not pair well with a fun and cute song like Mocho’s “Pumpkin Meat Pie”, and vice versa with the cool, rock-based track, “Skyreach” from Tenchan. However despite the vocal differences, each of them pulled off very good covers of those tracks.
While it was kinda funny to hear her do so, Tenchan definitely had the ability to sing with a much higher pitch and sweeter voice in “Pumpkin Meat Pie” (and even in another cover, Nansu’s “Raburirubura”). Same with Mocho; even though she has the highest pitch in the group, she lowered her voice to match the intensity and epicness of “Skyreach”.
And while I definitely didn’t mean to mimic TrySail’s running gag of leaving out Nansu (lol), her performances in some of these songs were great as well. In fact, I would say that Nansu and her vocals best fit the other two’s specific genres/styles, given that she has conveyed both intense, rock music and cutesy-sounding songs within her own discography (which, to be honest, I can’t really say the same for Mocho and Tenchan). So hearing her sing a bright song like “Fanfare!!” and an heroic, anime opening-like track in “Silent Sword”… she sounded like a natural in both of them.
3) Never Expected Duets but I’m Absolutely Not Complaining
In the Sphere shuffle album, it was a one-to-one format, as in each song only had one person performing it. But in the TrySail one, there are actually three songs that are duets. An example: Amamiya Sora’s “VIPER”, being performed by both Mocho and Nansu.
Honestly, I’m not really sure why they did this (maybe because Sphere has four members in their group, while TrySail only has three so they were able to do things a little differently? idk lol) but I loved hearing these duets. Like the other tracks on this album, they were performed really well but some of the duo combinations made it even more enjoyable. Not only did they take turns singing verses and lines, but I noticed in some instances where one person sang the main parts while at the same time, the other took care of the background vocals. Really cool how they did that.
My favorite duet has to be Mocho and Tenchan’s version of “Yellow Flag”. The original track is already incredibly good and hype, and is probably my favorite song off Nansu’s Logline album. And hearing those two sing that track definitely did not disappoint (not like I had any doubts in the first place :P)
4) The Overall Tracklist Is Great, But…
In one of my previous album reviews (more specifically, SHISHAMO’s best album), a major complaint I had with it was that there were some ‘missed opportunities’ regarding the tracklist for that album. I felt that SHISHAMO could’ve expanded the song selection for that album, in order to add in a few more great and worthy songs in it.
And to be honest, I somewhat have the same opinion with this shuffle album. Now don’t get me wrong: I really do appreciate the tracklist on this album and there were some fantastic choices. However part of me feels like they could’ve performed a few more songs since it felt kinda short; I mean, the album only has nine songs in total. I completely get that the TrySail ladies are busy with their own work and their own music careers, but… I don’t know. I’m absolutely not trying to sound like I’m ungrateful but the short song list honestly leaves me wanting more (lol). There are a few songs I would’ve loved to see such as Mocho or Nansu singing Amamiya Sora’s “PARADOX”, or my biggest wish, Tenchan performing the super catchy Asakura Momo song, “Pinky Hook”.
But that’s literally my only gripe about this album. While I thought the tracklist was a bit short, it is far from a deal-breaker for me.
I’ve always loved cover songs, even before becoming a Japanese music fan, since it’s fun to hear other people sing and perform a certain artist’s music. Seeing their own interpretation or way of singing other tracks is fascinating to me, and I’m glad that Japan embraces that concept with how many amazing covers I’ve seen/heard throughout the years.
That said, what Asakura Momo, Amamiya Sora and Natsukawa Shiina did with this shuffle album is another great example of that. This was a ton of fun to listen to. As a fan and an avid listener of their solo music, hearing them sing each other’s songs; not only was the song selection amazing, but they really did an incredible job replicating the overall atmosphere of the original tracks with their vocals. Perhaps it’s because all three of them are super talented vocalists, or the fact that they’ve been together for such a long time that they’re on the same wavelength at this point, or maybe even both.
And lastly: would I recommend this album?
I’m emphasizing this because it’s a bit of a challenge to do so. If you are a longtime fan of TrySail and have listened to a good amount of each of their solo discographies: yes, you should absolutely check this out. However, if you’re not really familiar with the music from Mocho/Tenchan/Nansu, you might not enjoy it as much as I did. One main draw of a shuffle album is to see (or, hear) the differences between an original song and the corresponding cover. And similar to what happened to me with Sphere’s shuffle album, if you haven’t heard the original tracks, I would say it’d be pretty hard to enjoy and get the full experience from this album.
But lucky for you, I actually took all of the original songs from this shuffle album and compiled them into a Spotify playlist! So you can now listen to both versions of each track and compare/enjoy them yourself:
Aaaand that’s all I got for you today! Had a ton of fun writing this review, and I hope you had a good time reading it as well.
Have you listened to TrySail’s shuffle album, or had any other experiences with covers? Definitely let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!! 😀
2 replies on “TrySail’s New Shuffle Album is Just Pure Fun (Review)”
The concept of a “shuffle” album is definitely interesting, and is something I haven’t really come across a whole lot if at all. I wanna say the closest experience of this that I can think of is the very one you highlight in NijiGaku’s Shuffle Fes. Other than that the only thing I feel like I can compare it to are one-of performances by bands/artists as part of a special program (Animax Musix comes to mind).
That being said, something like this where it’s an actual full studio release being possible is pretty neat. In some ways it actually ties in to my thoughts on RAS and Bandori as a whole too with regard to having the same people oversee the production side of their music. This would be one of the massive upsides to belong to the same parent agency in that they really can just freely swap and shuffle talents and songs around without having to worry about stuff like having a composer agree to have their work be used for a different artist since they more than likely share the same composers anyway (LOL)
While I probably know more Tenchan songs than I do Mocho and Nansu’s, I do at least know songs by the latter that you recommended to me (XD) and yeah, that Yellow Flag duet is reaaally nice. Pinky Hook would have been interesting to hear Tenchan sing since she can reliably switch between her deeper vocal register to a more cutesy singing voice. In relation to that I do like what you said about them having their own specific sound signatures, and something that I think would have have been interesting to see here too is have them perform the songs that they covered in their own styles – not so much in trying to sound as close to the original as possible, but more so adding their own spin to the song in sort of making it uniquely their own.
On whether or not this would be a good introductory release for someone looking to get into TrySail (or them three as artists independently), I would agree that a lot of the appeal behind the album would be lost (similar to our thoughts on SCANDAL’s ENCORE SHOW). However, as a pure vocal showcase, it’s hard to think they’d be losing fans with this one. Would love to see more of these kinds of releases from other parent agencies/record labels too.
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Yeah, other than the Niji Shuffle Fes, I also remember hearing about one-off covers in certain concerts like Animax Musix or even Anisama. And speaking of Niji, I’ve seen people want Aqours to do a shuffle festival of their own. Even though I barely know any of the solos, I’m sure that would be a super fun event for Aqours fans!
You bring up a good point about artists/songs having the same composers; I guess I never really thought about that but you are right. Can’t remember specific examples off the top of my head but that definitely makes things a lot easier, in regards to doing ‘official’ covers of certain songs. And while that’s probably the case with Bandori, it honestly still surprises me how they can do covers of alllll these different songs 😛
One… theory, I guess you could call it, I have is that TrySail’s abilities to switch up their vocals and match a certain style or atmosphere in a song could come from their past experiences with voice acting and having different types of roles. I mean, I’ve heard Tenchan voice more upbeat and charismatic characters, while Mocho has used her deeper and more serious voice for some roles. While it’s most likely not be the primary reason why they’re able to do a shuffle album like this, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to think that their voice acting skills could translate to doing something like this.
A Tenchan-Pinky Hook cover would’ve been incredible but it may have been too short of notice (due to the pretty recent release date) 😛 And yeah, having them perform these tracks in their own personal style definitely would’ve been interesting to see. I’m reminded of the Niji Shuffle and how, for example, Miyu with her lower register was still able to pull of a good cover of Meccha Going so I could imagine the TrySail ladies doing something similar.
Lastly, going off your last sentence, one interesting shuffle idea that quickly came to mind was a Poppin Party/Silent Siren shuffle album. Given that those two bands have already done a pretty major collaboration and generally respect each other, I feel like there are some other, great Saisai songs that Popipa could do (they’ve already done a cover of Cherry Bomb), and vice versa. 🙂
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