Friday, September 07, 2007

YUI - Can't Buy My Love

Release Date: 04/04/07
Genre: J-pop, J-rock

I discovered her from a friend's friend and my experience with japanese music prior was that it was the same as pop music in the U.S. But for YUI, she was genuine. She could play the guitar and it wasn't just sappy songs about love, it was real music from her life experiences. She was the Michelle Branch of Japan for me. Her debut album, "From Me to You" was the first J-pop album I could say I liked every song to. I didn't know she finished her second album, which was released earlier this year until it was already out on the internet. Needless to say, YUI kicks ass.

Review: With the exceptions of the English titles, I have no idea what each song of her's are about. Are her vocals amazing? I really don't know. The very first track "How Crazy" starts slow, but eventually becomes catchy, just how an opening track should do. "Rolling Star" has the best hook of the album and highly upbeat. Very rockish. "It's All Right" and "I Remember You" are both calming and the choruses are pretty. The latter has that extra element of strings so it's a quality ballad.

Track 5 is the super-short "Ruido," but it's so jammed pack, it feels complete. "Che.R.Ry" is a summer-breezy song. Like it's so filled with coldair and the way she sings in that 'lost of voice' tone gives it something different in her other songs. "Thank You My Teens" immediately starts with something made of love. I can just feel her heart in it.

"Umbrella" has attitude, while "Highway Chances" is very 90's alternative rock. My least favorite song goes to "Happy Birthday to You You." It's a fun song, but afterawhile, the chorus gets annoying. Maybe it's because I speak English and she's saying the words funny. "Winding Road" feels very mellow and stays that way. It doesn't really stand out after 10 songs.

Perhaps that song had to be average for the song following it. It's YUI's best song in my opinion, "Good-bye Days." Her voice is strong and emotional, her lyrics are...well I don't know what they are, but the mood is there. The music is perfect. There's even a tiny string solo right before the bridge where YUI tears it up. It took me a while to appreciate this song because it was so close to the end of the album, but it's amazing.

The album closer, "Why" feels like an ending. The music reaches for that final note.

Summary: Starts strong, ends strong. YUI reminds me so much of Michelle Branch when I first discovered her. She's young and able to craft hits after hits. Even at 50 minutes, I don't know if adding more songs would help. I think it's perfect the way it is. The 3 out of the last 4 tracks could use more excitement. Nevertheless, it's the best J-pop album I ever heard.

Key Tracks: Rolling Star, I Remember You, Good-Bye Days
Rating: 8/10

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