Release Date: June 25, 2008
Label: EMI Music Japan
Personal Rating: 5/5
1. POWER OF MUSIC
2. Ai wo Utaou
4. Jewelry day
5. Good Night Baby
6. For today
8. Gold Star
9. Mahoutsukai no Shiwaza
10. Te wo Tsunagou
11. Ai mo Uso mo Shinjitsu
12. CLAP & LOVE
13. Kimi ga Iru Kara
15. Konya mo Hoshi ni Dakarete…
16. WINDING ROAD × Kobukuro
17. I believe (English Ver.)
On a Personal Note:I actually decided to review Ayaka’s “Sing to the Sky” first since I actually listened to this whole album before I even heard of her debut album which was “First Message.” But expect my review on “First Message” to come soon as well!
Unexpectedly, the POWER OF MUSIC was indeed a very powerful song as it begins with a countdown of “1, 2, etc.” The rest of the song was pretty unique since it included a bit of the choir as well as the piano and a few jazz instruments. Overall, I thought that it’s really great as an introductory track since it sets the mood of the next track…
Ai wo Utaou wasn’t a ballad like I had expected it to be but instead, it’s a really great R&B oriented song! I loved the combination of the piano playing along with and upbeat tempo. Really, worth the listen!
Sky is like the main theme song for this album. It’s pretty much like a laid back pop song that has a relaxing mood to it. Although I chorus was pretty powerful, I thought that the rest of the song was just “average.”
Jewelry day turns out to be a ballad that is seemed to have been compared to “I believe” and “Mikazuki.” (Which happen to be nice ballads.) But I think that “Jewelry Day” surpasses both ballads. I thought that it was nice but the tone of her voice sounds a bit sad. It’s true that it may be boring at the beginning but the song sounds so much better near the end. This track is probably one of Ayaka’s strongest songs. (Along with Ayaka’s most fluid vocals.)
Just like “Sky” Good Night Baby didn’t really rule the album either. Even though that it’s really upbeat and has a more energetic mood than the first few tracks, it just didn’t really appeal to me much. It’s probably my least favorite song even though it had a really cool effect on the instrumentals near the end.
They just had to add in Ayaka’s first digital single track, For Today. I thought it was pretty good too so I’m actually glad that they decided to add the track on to this positive album. Anyways, it has more of the rock feel than her pop style but her vocals tend to reach the high notes throughout the song. Although it’s a digital single and wasn’t released in a cd, it’s definitely A-side material.
First of all, Why is the ending theme of the ever popular “Final Fantasy VII – Crisis Core!” I liked how the song sounded more like a ballad compared to the first track. Then there’s also more meaning into the song since “Clap & Laugh” was mostly about happiness and stuff that we’ve already acknowlegded. And better, its not repetitive and there’s no annoying chorus. There’s at least a few changes for every verse! A very beautiful song!
As far as favorites go, I thought that Gold Star one of the most powerful tracks that Ayaka has sung. Her voice is greatly supported by the background music and face pacing of the song pretty much suits Ayaka’s singing style.
Cooling down from upbeat and energetic tracks, we slow down into Mahoutsukai no Shiwaza which is mostly an acoustic song but very lovely. Instead of a ballad feel, the piano gives out some sort of a pop mood…except that it’s played on the piano. (Which is one of the most unique factors of this album.) I really love it when a song doesn’t sound awkward and how everything just flows like a quiet river. Definitely a great listen.
Is it just me or has Ayaka’s vocals have been improving lately? (Back then, her vocals were good but they were really weak.) Ayaka totally proves her power in her voice in the Japanese Music industry with Te wo Tsunagou! Although it sounds pretty much like a typical ballad, I would say that I’m a bit wishy-washy about this song. I would simply say that the background sounds pretty plain.
Now Ai mo Uso mo Shinjitsu is also something very new and unique. Instead of doing her usual pop/rock/ballad, Ayaka begins something new with blues. Although I already thought that Ayaka sung in a pretty low tone with “Why,” I guess she could go lower when she sang, “Ai mo uso mo shinjitsu.” It’s a great track overall since it’s pretty uplifting to listen to after listening to the last track!
CLAP & LOVE is a song that literally has a clapping rhythm in it. (Not that I’m saying that its a bad thing!) Ayaka’s voice is pretty low and mature in the song. I mean, if you just look at her pictures, people wouldn’t thin kthat her voice was so low when they hear her music. Anyway, Clap & Love is pretty much a happy song and it has the rhthym fans would like to hear. When I first heard it though, I didn’t exactly like the song. …I guess it grew on me now that I’m a fan of Ayaka.
Just when I thought that I had already chosen all of my favorite tracks from this newly amazing album, the tracklisting just keeps on getting and better! With Kimi ga Iru Kara, the song keeps you on your toes from the very first second to the last since the acoustics sounded really powerful and captivating to listen to. I even had this on repeat for days!
At first, I thought that Okaeri was pretty standard. At first anyways…In the end, I was literally blown off my chair because I guess I was so impressed with this ballad that I really was lost at words for it. Honestly, this isn’t your typical ballad. The beginning of the song gave us a great introduction of the song before it started to build up to be a rather powerful song. The chorus was splendid and the tone of Ayaka’s vocals were really outstanding. Despite the fact that the song did sound a bit European because of the sound of the bagpipes, I think that Ayaka totally nailed it with this song.
We finally slow down to Ayaka’s ballad side with Konya mo Hoshi ni Dakarete… which includes a nice set of piano and strings. Even though I tend to find Japanese Ballads a bit plain, I thought that “Konya mo Hoshi ni Dakarete…” was a really stand out track and that it has found it’s place in the album. I really like how ballads really become more powerful as the song progresses to the “climax.”
I actually listened to “Anata to” first (which gave me a great impression) so after hearing all about the great compliments about WINDING ROAD, I kind of expected “Anata to” to be a little bit better since everyone states pretty much state the same thing: “‘Anata to’ kicks way more ass than ‘WINDING ROAD.’” So when I finally listened to WINDING ROAD, I would say that I was a little dissappointed. Not that it was soooooo bad or anything, I just thought that the way the song started out wasn’t really that captivating. I know that most of the songs that I like don’t really become my favorite right away but I guess I could say that “WINDING ROAD” was the kind of song that ‘grew’ on me. (It took me about 10 listens to make me like this song.) At least the voices really went together and blended well with the background!
It’s so funny to see J-pop singers attempting to sing in English. (It’s not a bad thing or anything, it’s just interesting since you don’t really know what to expect.) The I believe (English Ver.) sounds a bit different since frequent English speakers would noticed that Ayaka doesn’t really make it understandable to listen to. But I’ve got to admit that she doesn’t do a better job than most artists.
Personal Rating: 5/5