JUJU – YOUSeptember 6, 2011 at 5:42 PM | Posted in JUJU | 1 Comment
YOU is JUJU’s 4th studio album and it was released on July 13, 2011. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 272,454 copies. It features songs from the singles Trust In You, Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo, Sayonara no Kawari ni / Negai, and Mata Ashita….
I swear she has some of the best single and album covers ever. So simple and classy~
♦ ♦ ♦
The people who think this album is boring need to be punched in the face, tbh. It is true that YOU is packed with ballads but so what? When an album is so well produced and arranged such as this one, you’ll want to keep listening. Sure, some of the material that JUJU covers (like jazz for instance) might not be for everyone but you can build a bridge and get over it, right? ;D
The album starts with Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo, which has become one of her biggest hits peaking at #10 on Oricon as well as dominating the digital charts. It’s a sorrowful mid-tempo song with an extremely pretty arrangement. I really like this song now and it makes a for a good opening since it sets up the overall mature tone of the album.
Sayonara no Kawari ni has become one of my favorite songs from her EVER because it really stands out in her discography. The music is an amazing mish-mash of electronic synth and R&B blended with stronger than usual vocals from JUJU. She’s really belting it on this track, especially when the powerful chorus comes around. I highly recommend this track because it is tremendous.
The first new track is Tsuyogari, a dynamic ballad with a beautiful band arrangement. JUJU once again displays strong vocals in the chorus to really make this track shine. It’s probably my favorite out of the new tracks as well.
Here’s a jazzy song for you! Jazz is one of my guilty pleasures and JUJU does it so well. If is also one of the sporadic upbeat tracks on this album and it’s nicely done thanks to upbeat piano, drums, and electric guitar.
Negai is another ballad and like Tsuyogari, it has a big band arrangement. I didn’t really care for this song back when it was coupled with Sayonara no Kawari ni on its respective double A-side single because it got overshadowed by that track. It does stand better on its own here though.
JUJU mixes it up a little bit with Voice, a bright song with a prominent string arrangement. There’s a gradual buildup featuring a simple dance beat before the first chorus shows up and that’s when the music begins to shine by combining these elements. You don’t get a lot of upbeat material on this album but when you do, it’s good. This is a prime example.
This next track verges on being upbeat but mostly maintains a mid-tempo rhythm. Love again also has a light jazz sound with some R&B beats mixed in. Overall, it’s a pleasant song and was originally the B-side on the Mata Ashita… single.
Memories is probably the most R&B inspired track on the album. The beats are rather strong and constant together with JUJU’s stern vocals. There’s also some English phrases in the chorus like I can’t get you off my mind and How can I forget the love with you?.
At this point, the album enters into full blown mid-tempo and ballad territory, but I’m not complaning yet. lol Anyway, I love Piece Of Our Days! This song is so pretty and serene. It utilizes light electric guitar and piano to create a calming and romantic atmosphere. The bridge is also wonderful. This song was originally a B-side on the Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo single.
Trust In You was the first single of the era and it was released after her 3rd album (the self-titled JUJU) but before Request. A prime example of the mid-tempo R&B pop craze that is still sweeping Japan, this song is fortunately not about cellphones. XD
The beginning of the next track is gorgeous. Mata Ashita… was the final single of the era and also proved to be a big digital hit. A progressive ballad like some of the tracks at the start of the album, this song is really nice and keeps you interested. I wish I could say the same thing about the last two tracks…
This is where things begin to slow down and almost to a screeching halt! I’m just exaggerating but a lot of fans have expressed their dislike of ANTIQUE simply because it’s too long. Being over 7 minutes long and with such a laid back acoustic arrangement, I have to somewhat agree. The main reason is because the music doesn’t change and stays relatively quiet for most of that 7 minutes.
Sharing the namesake of the album, the final track YOU provides for a nice ending. When I first heard it, I was afraid that it was going to be like ANTIQUE but fortunately the music does pick up and more instruments come in. JUJU’s vocals are a lot better here as well. Recently, this song was released as a recut single with a new arrangement and coupled with a cover of rock band GLAY’s 90s hit BELOVED. Yay?
In the end, I was very satisfied with this album. I don’t think a majority of it is boring but I’ll never get into ANTIQUE because it has nothing going for it but that’s the only blaring exception. If you want sophisticated and extremely polished music then JUJU is for you. Like I said at the beginning of this review, this album is full of top notch material and it’s put together well. If you compare it to her last studio album, YOU is not as varied but at the same time it doesn’t have a monotonous feel.
Pros: The first half of the album is perfect to me. Sayonara no Kawari ni is definitely one of the best songs of 2011.
Cons: Those last 2 tracks… *shakes fist*
BASICALLY…YOU stands out compared to other mainstream releases this year.
1. Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo (この夜を止めてよ)
2. Sayonara no Kawari ni (さよならの代わりに)
3. Tsuyogari (つよがり)
5. Negai (願い)
7. Love again
9. Piece Of Our Days
10. Trust In You
11. Mata Ashita… (また明日…)
Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!