Yuna Ito – WISH

March 1, 2008 at 2:11 PM | Posted in Yuna Ito | 5 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

WISH is Yuna Ito’s 2nd album and it was released on February 20, 2008. The album reached #3 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 101,250 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

While not as energetic as WORKAHOLIC, the opening track from Yuna Ito’s debut album HEART, Power of Love is a much stronger song. The music gets faster from the mid paced intro as the guitar chords and beats pick up in speed. Ito’s vocals sound pretty loud and brazen during the chorus and especially at that little “mishap” when she sings the Never let me go line. The random English lyrics that don’t make sense in this song also make me question Ito’s writers.

The calmer and more serene along again is up next. This is a really nice, mid-paced song with light beats and pretty strings. The song just shines during the chorus and it features a melody that sounds quite sad but oddly catchy next to Ito’s crisp vocals. This is one of the album’s best tracks.

I thought Ito’s collaboration with Celine Dion, Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~, was the best of the 4 singles released for the album. This traditional power ballad is a great duet and Ito and Dion’s voices sound really good together. I was kind of hoping that Ito’s solo version would be included on here, but this is okay too.

Office ladies unite! Urban Mermaid is decent song but it sure gets the message across. I still think the verses are the best part of the song because the chorus feels so out of place.

The next track sounds like a song ripped straight from her debut album. I mean, it’s called HEARTBEAT if that wasn’t an indicator. The music has that outdated pop sound and it’s kind of boring. At least it’s upbeat and the arrangement sounds nice.

Uh, what’s Colorful, the B-side on the Urban Mermaid single, doing on here? Ah, the power of tie-ins. Anyways, it’s a good song but I think it’s only average. If only Shining On, the much better B-side from the Mahaloha single ,was included instead…

There’s one word that describes Unite As One: BORING. This overwrought ballad is almost 7 minutes long and the song just drags on and on. I did like Ito’s powerful vocals in the chorus, but that’s it. However, after this song, the album does begin to get a little better.

Staring with Mahaloha, the Hawaiian inspired pop song that features Micro from the group Def Tech.  Micro is my least favorite thing about this song because of his horribly raspy voice and bad harmonizations with Ito. Everything would’ve sounded better if she performed the song alone. Aside from that, this is a relaxing, yet catchy tune.

Now I have approached to what may be the biggest surprise on the album and one of Ito’s most unique tracks ever. A Long Walk is amazing from beginning to end. The overall arrangement is very strange because it features distorted beeps and synth lines accompanied by acoustics and light beats, but it sounds very awesome at the same time. Ito’s vocals are fantastic as well and when sings in a lower register, she pulls off great adlibbing sequences during the chorus.

Okay, I had to a little research for the next song, Moon Rabbit. Right off the bat the title is strange, but the whole song is based on the ancient ”Tsuki no Usagi” legend about a rabbit that lives on the moon. The music has a slight Spanish atmosphere because of the guitars and I found the chorus to be oddly catchy despite those Engrish lyrics.

So…I have expressed my sheer dislike for this track when I first reviewed it as a single, but my opinion on I’m Here has changed a little. I don’t find the song as annoying and just plain bad as before anymore. It’s definitely the most aggressive track on the album but it feels very out of place at the same time. It would have been a better choice to place this song at the very beginning, preferably after Power of Love.

The main reason I’m Here is out place at the this stage of the album is because of the song that comes right after it, the gorgeous ballad Wish. The transition is bad, but this song certainly isn’t. Ito gives a beautiful and absolutely heartfelt vocal performance in this song. Unlike Unite As One, the music feels less forced and it just seems to flow really well with its light percussion and strings. It has now become my favorite song on the album too.

The album is drawing to a close and the overly cheerful Tokyo Days tries to end things on a happy note. The background GOSPEL like vocals killed this song for me and they sound so dumb. Ito sounds fine just by herself honestly. I liked the sound of this pop song because the beats are frequent and mix well with the rest of the music.

I didn’t hear Ito’s cover of Celine Dion’s MY HEART WILL GO ON until this album and I was impressed with how well she sang it. When the song reaches its climactic finale, she does put a lot of power into her voice and lets it all out it. This is a nice cover and it’s the reason why Celine Dion wanted to collaborate with her.

I can say that WISH is an improvement over Yuna Ito’s debut album HEART, but the album still had its share of faults. The singles weren’t as good this time around, but the new tracks made up for them…well, some of them at least. The album was a bit more cohesive too, with the except of the placement of I’m Here, but it still felt kind of clunky. Sometimes I think that Ito has no control over her work, and this is especially evident in the lyrics. Since she’s fluent in English, I thought there wouldn’t be any grammatical errors and the like. In conclusion, it’s a decent album and Ito still has a lot of improving to do in order to find the kind of music that fits her the best.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Power of Love
2. alone again
3. Anata ga Iru Kagiri ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~ 
     (あなたがいる限り ~A WORLD TO BELIEVE IN~)
4. Urban Mermaid
5. HEARTBEAT
6. Colorful
7. Unite As One
8. Mahaloha
9. A Long Walk
10. Moon Rabbit
11. I’m Here
12. Wish
13. Tokyo Days
14. MY HEART WILL GO ON

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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5 Comments »

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  1. MY HEART WILL GO ON is really a beautiful song to start with but Yuna’s cover is magical. I agree with your points on the song, the finale is the best part as well. I think alone again is one of her strongest songs.

  2. Oh! Looks like I’m a little late for this review. Haha. I’ve been pretty busy. That and I had to wait to borrow this album from my girlfriend (whom I bought and it was mailed to).

    I reviewed the lyrics to “Power of Love” and I’m not sure what you mean about the “Never let me go” line. :\ Sounds correct to me, unless you think she should have sang “Never let YOU go”. That might have sounded better, if that’s what you mean.

    “A Long Walk is amazing from beginning to end.” You nailed this one Lex! I can’t agree more with how awesome this song is, although at first I wasn’t so sure about the odd synths.

    “…the whole song is based on the ancient ”Tsuki no Usagi” legend…”
    Ah, so that’s what it’s all about. And here I thought Ito was just getting random on us. lol

    “Ito definitely gives her most heartfelt vocal performance in this song.”
    Definitely! Wish is so beautiful. <3

    “The background GOSPEL like vocals killed this song for me and they sound so dumb.”
    Haha! Well I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way. :)

    Great review Lex! Yeah, I agree that it’s odd how Ito’s English is fluent, and yet some of the lyrics are a bit odd.

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