Sayuri Sugawara – First Story

February 2, 2010 at 10:09 PM | Posted in Sayuri Sugawara | 10 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

First Story is Sayuri Sugawara’s debut album and it was released on January 27, 2010. The album reached #14 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 10,217 copies. It features the singles Ano Hi no Yakusoku and Kimi ga Iru Kara as well as some tracks from her mini-album Kimi ni Okuru Uta.

ayaka is back! Oh wait, that’s Sayuri. I like to call her ayaka2 though. lmao

♦ ♦ ♦

Like Koda Kumi and Angela Aki before her, I didn’t find out Sayuri Sugawara until her association with the Final Fantasy game series. I’m glad I did though because she is GREAT. It first started with her mini-album Kimi ni Okuru Uta and I was impressed with her bright vocals and brand of clean pop music. When I mean by “clean”, the music is neat and has a fresh attitude to it.

Then she released her debut single Ano Hi no Yakusoku and I was liking her even more. It was when I heard the Final Fantasy XIII theme song Kimi ga Iru Kara that I became a fan. Honestly, the song is really nice even though it kind of pales in comparison to past theme songs from the series, but what can you do? The B-side from that single and an insert song in the game, Eternal Love, is pretty good too.

What I liked the most about Sugawara’s debut album is that it shows versatility with the many of the new tracks. I think that’s very important, especially for a new artist, but also to keep things interesting. The previously released material showcases an acoustic R&B/pop sound (Kimi ni Okura Uta, Koi, and Eternal Love) and rapper FEROS is featured in 2 tracks. He provides a nice twist to Arigatou and the new “haru” version Destiny (the song has new lyrics relating to spring). New tracks with this sound include alone… and ALWAYS. I love the latter track because it’s very heartwarming and excellent ending to the album.

Better yet, there were tracks that really stood out and made this album shine. There’s Is This Love? which has a cool electronic feel and then It’s My Life, a really cheerful tune with electric guitars. The biggest surprise was definitely Thrill though. The jazzy arrangement is just awesome. Personally, Kimi ga Iru Kara sticks out too because it’s the album’s only truly epic song. Sakura no Michi is a distant second when it comes to being grandiose.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about the album. It’s THAT solid! There were maybe only 2 or 3 “blah” songs but they get easily overshadowed since I think there’s a lot of good stuff on here. Sugawara might not have found her identity or “niche” yet but hey, she’s only getting started. I highly recommend First Story because it’s an enjoyable listen and a refreshing pop album. There’s nothing bland about it.

Pros: A fantastic debut album. I’ll stan for her. XD
Cons: I’m looking at you, alone… and Superstar☆! I didn’t care for those songs.

BASICALLY…when it comes to “firsts”, this was my favorite. Take that, ayaka and Utada!

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Arigatou feat. FEROS (ありがとう)
2. Kimi ni Okuru Uta (キミに贈る歌)
3. Is This Love?
4. Kimi ga Iru Kara (君がいるから)
5. It’s My Life
6. Ano Hi no Yakusoku (あの日の約束)
7. alone…
8. Thrill (スリル)
9. Eternal Love
10. Sakura no Michi (桜のみち)
11. Koi (恋)
12. Superstar☆ (スーパースター☆)
13. Destiny feat. FEROS <Haru ver.> (Destiny feat. FEROS <春 ver.>)
14. ALWAYS

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

10 Comments »

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  1. Surprising. I didn’t expect you to love her first album so much. Now you’ve gotten me excited! =D

  2. Gah I’m pondering whether to try her out or not. >_<
    I just didn't get a very good first impression from Kimi ga Iru Kara since it screamed typical boring ballad to me.
    Maybe if I'm not lazy I'll dl the album. xp
    Nice review bb~

  3. I was like that when I first heard Kimi ga Iru Kara. It really grew on me though. I think it’s on the same level as Kiss Me Good-Bye, tbh.

  4. It’s scary how much she looks like Ayaka. lol

    Will definitely be trying her out~

  5. wow, I didnt think she was going to be anything special, but now maybe I’ll try her out. although I cant imagine myself liking her over Utada or Ayaka.

  6. I only mentioned ayaka and Utada at the end because their debut albums had the word “First” in them as well.

  7. Oh mah gawd ayaka2 is totes our thing ;DDDDD I’m downloadin’ the album right now. Can’t wait to hear it~~~

  8. OMG! i cant believe! i LOVED the whole album, totally was on youtube xD I dont think its really fair to compare her to ayaka or Utada. Each of them stand out on their own in the music biz xD
    Personally, i dont really like Utada, but ayaka, shes something else, her voice stands out the most in the j-pop biz. Okay Utada is the most successful, but shes just so boring to me, no offense, dont bash me xD but yeah, i’m so sad ayaka is putting her career on hold so blah! but anyways! Sayuri’s album i loved it all! I loved IT’S MY LIFE, the last chorus parts where her voice sounds all techno was awesome! but yes! i loved the album! but OMG! is that all it sold, well it better sell some more! lol xD you didnt like Superstar? i loved it! so catchy ^_^

  9. Now, first, I cannot agree with people calling her “another ayaka”. Sugawara’s vocals are no where on par with ayaka’s power.

    After listening to this album a few times, I’m a little confused. I don’t know to like it or not. After a few plays, the highest songs have gotten 3/5, with all other songs getting 2/5. So, it’s completely mediocre feeling with no standouts? Well, that can’t be true. Can it?

    I’ll play through it once more and read over your review again. Perhaps my mind with change.

    Actually, seems like all the albums I’ve listened to this month have been kinda on the disappointing/ boring side. :(

  10. I agree with you. Very good voice and for me it’s kinda ‘strong’. I first listen to her in Sunao ni Narenakute drama. All the tracks listed in the album are nice. It gives me a ‘fresh’ feelings :)


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