Yuna Ito – HEART

February 10, 2007 at 8:41 PM | Posted in Yuna Ito | Leave a comment
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HEART is Yuna Ito’s debut album and it was released on January 24, 2007. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 529,572 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The opening track of the album is the fast paced and energetic WORKAHOLIC. Out of all the new tracks featured on the album, this was the best one in my opinion. The English lyrics of the chorus are rather catchy, but that’s pretty much it.

Track 2 is the song that put Yuna Ito in the spotlight thanks to the huge popularity of the NANA movie. ENDLESS STORY is a gorgeous song and it was used in one of the most important scenes of the film, which led to its huge popularity.

Track 3 is losin’, Ito’s 5th single. This song is notorious for its Engrish lyrics (Tell my why lose yeah) but aside from that, it’s pretty good. The music is also notable for its unique R&B inspired sound. I hope that she more songs like it in the future.

The next track is the mid-paced Know-how. The music of this song just sounds well…OLD. It’s very early American 90s and it just sounds kind of outdated. However, I did like the way the song opened with its use of drums.

Track 5 is simply amazing in my opinion. Precious gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it and it’s definitely one of her best songs. I love the mix of classic strings and modern R&B beats present in the music.

I’m really sorry to say this but track 6 is just plain bad. Tender is the Night features awful saxophone sequences (Kenny G anyone? XD) and the lyrics are very cheesy. This is without a doubt the worst song on the album.

I was glad when I first heard track 7! I love the opening strings of Fragile and I thought the rest of the song was great. It’s upbeat and definitely one of the better songs on the album.

I didn’t like track 8 because of its annoying synth line. Nobody Knows also has that bad early 90s sound heard previously in Know-how. This track is very ’skip-worthy’ and unmemorable to be perfectly honest.

Track 9 is Ito’s 2nd single Faith. This song is still my least favorite of her singles, but it has slowly grown on me so it’s not THAT bad. It’s still leagues better than most of the new album tracks. I was disappointed that Pureyes wasn’t on the album because I loved that song and it was better than Faith in my opinion.

Why is this song on the album!?! Stay for Love was originally the B-side on the losin’ single and I STILL think it’s a mediocre song. I would have preferred stuck on you, Ito’s 4th single, on the album because it’s actually a good song and it was an A-side too. The only that Stay for Love has going for it is the dance club vibe within the music.

Man, I LOVE Truth. It’s a gentle, yet powerful song with lovely lyrics as well. This song was used in the not-so-successful NANA 2 and didn’t do so good on Oricon, but oh well. It’s possibly my favorite song from her too.

Track 12 is yet another generic song. Perfume is a clunky, boring ballad but with a nice chorus. The album closes on an extremely sour note with this song. Thank goodness for the bonus track!

The wedding extended version of Precious adds even more the original and I loved it. It’s great that it opens with the choir vocals originally heard at the end of the song since that part was fantastic. The simple piano and strings are beautiful and it’s good to hear Ito sing the chorus without any backing vocals.

Unfortunately, HEART was a disappointing debut album. ENDLESS STORY, Precious, and Truth were the best songs on the album for me and they were released as singles, which brings me to the album’s main weakness: the singles are good, but the rest of the album is not. I was also extremely let down that Pureyes and stuck on you weren’t on the album because it would have better with them and one more thing: Stay for Love shouldn’t have been included either. Out of all the awesome B-sides she has like JOURNEY, I’m Free, Take Me Away, she had to include that one. I didn’t see a lot effort put into the new tracks and that is one of things that I look for most in a J-pop album.

Overall Rating 

 3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. WORKAHOLIC
2. ENDLESS STORY
3. losin’
4. Know-how
5. Precious
6. Tender is the Night
7. Fragile
8. Nobody Knows
9. Faith
10. Stay for Love
11. Truth
12. Perfume
13. Precious -wedding extended ver.-

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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