Sharing a Sweet Sound: 4TE's Debut, MORE/一歩ずつ

4TE's Debut Logo
4TE (for-tay) is the latest net idol group to debut in 2015. Their name originated from the word, forte - which is a musical term for 'loud.'

The group is comprised of Mei, Jenni, Chii and Micchi. A team-up made from heaven for those like me who had followed them since their Oishii!Project days.

I was one of those fans that was devastated by their graduation and had feared the worst only to be comforted by teases and hints from some of the girls that the graduation wasn't necessarily a goodbye.

These four were definitely the members that really stood out in that huge project and had been popular in their own way. However, they all had one thing in common. They all love music.  



(L to R) Jenni, Micchi, Mei and Chii
With the exception of Mei, I have talked to three of these ladies. Micchi, Chii and Jenni all shared that they could never leave music behind. They grew up with it and over the years did their best to improve.

Unfortunately, I admit that I am one of those people who loves putting identifying characteristics on my favorite groups. One of the most charming aspects of this group is that  whether you had been a fan of their previous works not you won't have the problem of mistaking one member with another.  They're easy to identify by just looking at their photo.

Aesthetics

(L to R) Chii, Jenni, Mei and Micchi

My first impression of their cover was definitely positive. I was very impressed. The girls all looked beautiful and their different appeals really shined through.

It was interesting to discover that all the girls have mixed ethnicity, which made individual looks quite striking and memorable. Their personal styles completing their statement of who they are as performers.

Does the cover appeal to me enough to make me want to buy it?

Absolutely!

Not only because I am a fan, but because the photos are really beautifully made. It fits not only their image as a whole but their music. The promotional images reminds me of a Perfume, but in a good way. The similarities are not at all so overwhelming that you could call plagiarism.  It makes sense because their songs seem to have a touch of Perfume.

Members

Chii, Cute

Chii, "Cute

If there is anyone we could identify as the 'personality' of this group, it would definitely be Chii. She is a mix of cute and beautiful. She has wide eyes and a playful smile.

She has is recognizable not only for her looks but also her singing and winning the "Singer Search Award 2013." Receiving recognition from groups like Morning Musume'15 and her personal idol, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Despite all this recognition, the best part is that her humble personality is sincere. In a world where a little fame can really go way over your head, her politeness is overall surprising for me.

Jenni,  Edgy

Jenni, "Edgy

Since her graduation from Oishii!Project, Jenni admitted that she has been getting in touch with her edgier origins and it she wears the image with ease.

Despite this strong image though, she gave me such a different impression talking to her. She is down-to-earth and responsible. A cross between a dreamer and practical. She dreamed of becoming a singer and pursued it, taking practical steps to get this far.

She took lessons in singing, piano, and violin. Performed with an indie-punk band, "ROMP" which gave her the opportunity to work with renowned sound engineer, Jesse Cannon.

Micchi, Classy 

Micchi, "Classy

On an earlier interview with Micchi, she had classified herself as the group's dancer.

Micchi's appeal is her polished and on point performance whether she is singing or dancing. Her strength however is in her dancing. Her movements are sharp and makes dances look almost effortless. It doesn't matter if it is a high or low energy song, she winks, smiles and makes every performance look fun.

She's had training in tap dance, hip hop, jazz, flamenco, and contemporary ballet. Even dancing a leading role with the "USA Ballet Company" in a Christmas ballet production.

Mei, Fashionable

Mei, "Fashionable"

One thing I can definitely say about Mei is that she is beautiful and she really knows how to dress. Most fans recognize her from either her gyaru style or her beautiful ballads.

Mei is an all-around performer. She is actress, singer, and songwriter. Her original piece, “For You” received recognition from J-Melo, a show that showcases Japanese music.

While she has had training in classical music, her style is more heavily influenced by R&B and Pop artists. She now resides in Osaka, Japan, where she is performing for Universal Studios Japan.

Music

Cover to 4TE's Double A-side debut,
MORE/一歩ずつ 
M O R E

Melody: Christi Arredondo, Jennifer Diaz
Lyrics: Berry Risa, Christi Arrendondo
Music: Richard Garza, Felipe Vilches, Christi Arredondo

From the two A-sides, I admit that this is my favorite of the two.

Earlier, I mentioned their music reminded me of Perfume. However, they have something that Perfume doesn't. Perfume unfortunately doesn't have the musical styling from Mei. I can even go on to say that Mei is probably the icing on the cake in this song. 

The song starts with an introduction from Mei that it is sweet and hypnotic. It starts out very gentle and slow but surprisingly moves into a faster dance beat. If you enjoy techno and dance, this is definitely the song for you. There is just enough techno without covering up all the talent.

一歩ずつ/Ippo Zutsu 

Melody: Christi Arredondo, Jennifer Diaz, Mei Sasmita
Lyrics: Berry Risa
Music: Richard Garza, Christi Arredondo

In English, this means, "One step at a time." This song has a different feel to it from "M O R E." This is more pop than dance.

This song reminds me a bit of Vocaloids and I believe that it may even be influenced by it. While I do enjoy this song a lot as well and is definitely an earworm, I can definitely understand people who might feel bothered by the amount of autotune in their voices.  This is especially for those who aren't familiar or a fan of Vocaloids, so won't be able to understand the style. And I can already imagine people asking the question, "Why would anybody want to autotune such beautiful voices?" The autotune makes it difficult to differentiate who is singing unless you concentrate.

Should that be reason to avoid this single though? 

Of course not! Because this is not at all a horrible single! For me it is a song that really makes me feel happy. It is the kind of song I'd love to have greet me in the morning and start my day with a smile. It feels lighthearted, hopeful and gives me a feeling of "today is going to be a beautiful day!"

Conclusion

Jenni promoting 4TE
I am really flat out happy for the opportunity to review their music.

As a fan, I am very happy with the team up. And I do think that not being restricted within the idol image from their earlier days in Oishii!Project is a great change.

This group promises so much potential and each member individually really is talented and has something to put on the table. As individual performers, they are already strong performers. Together, they show potential to go even further.

At the moment, they aren't the perfect act. Because of the different nature and feel of their two songs, I am wondering if they are still at the stage where trying to discover and experiment with their sound.

And when that they find it, I want to be there to watch it all happen because it would definitely be a sweet sound.

Links: 

4TE Website: http://www.4teofficial.com/
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/4TEofficial
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/4TEofficial
Twitter (English): https://twitter.com/4TEeng
Twitter (Japanese): https://twitter.com/4TEjp





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