Salyu – MAIDEN VOYAGE

April 1, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Posted in Salyu | 9 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

MAIDEN VOYAGE is Salyu’s 3rd studio album and it was released on March 24, 2010. The album reached #7 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 20,744 copies.

Somebody fire the graphic designer! These covers are photoshop disasters. I like the idea behind them but this is what I like to call poor execution.

♦ ♦ ♦

It seems like ages since Salyu’s last studio album (TERMINAL was released in 2007) but MAIDEN VOYAGE is finally here. The wait was certainly worth it because I honestly think that this album contains her most balanced, yet ambitious work to date. Even with 5 singles, I’m glad that the album isn’t totally swamped with older material. We have 7 old tracks and 7 new ones so that’s pretty good.

The singles leading up to the album showcased different sounds from Salyu, drifting away from the alternative rock she normally did. I guess you could say the music was more “pop” but it still had a experimental vibe. The best examples would be the hard-hitting mix of strings and electric guitars in LIBERTY to the cosmic, synth-laden Corteo ~Gyouretsu~. The synthetic elements get further implemented in EXTENSION. There were some mellow songs like iris ~Shiawase no Hako~ and HALFWAY, too.

With the final single of the era, Atarashii YES, everything seems to come to full circle. While the new tracks of MAIDEN VOYAGE aren’t as astounding as the older material, there is still a great attention to detail in these songs. Starting with the opening track messenger, Salyu takes us on a journey. Inazuma and cruise represent the upbeat rockish tracks while emergency sign and L.A.F.S. are calmer, yet somewhat unsettling. Then she goes totally crazy in BIRTHDAY. Seriously, it’s INSANE! The various sound effects and her yelling will have you scratching your head in confusion.
Salyu said that she wanted portray herself as an artist with just her voice and she accomplishes that with the final track VOYAGE CALL. It’s an epic song with no lyrics (just layered vocalizations) and it brings this voyage to a close.

I gotta say that is now my favorite album from her. In terms of vocals, I think it’s her strongest as well. While being a little bumpy at times, the flow of the album remains steady and symmetrical for the most part. The new tracks are high quality but kind of pale in comparison to the A-sides. You really don’t get any other tracks that are on the same level, with the exception of VOYAGE CALL.

Pros: This album definitely trumps landmark and TERMINAL. I loved it!
Cons: Those new tracks will take longer to sink in, especially with all that chaos in BIRTHDAY.

BASICALLY…let Salyu take you on a trip! You won’t regret it.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. messenger
2. Inazuma (イナヅマ)
3. EXTENSION
4. Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ (コルテオ ~行列~)
5. Atarashii YES (新しいYES)
6. L.A.F.S.
7. emergency sign
8. iris ~Shiawase no Hako~ (iris ~しあわせの箱~)
9. HALFWAY
10. SWEET PAIN
11. cruise
12. BIRTHDAY
13. LIBERTY
14. VOYAGE CALL

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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Salyu – Atarashii YES

March 23, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Posted in Salyu | 4 Comments
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Atarashii YES (新しいYES) is Salyu’s 13th single and it was released on March 10, 2010. The single reached #14 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 4,527 copies.

The cover confused me at first but it’s cool. The thing she’s holding is a mirror but I thought it was a cardboard cutout when I first saw it.

♦ ♦ ♦

I’m such a Salyu stan now. XD

Atarashii YES is great. It has an uplifting feel and I liked the bouncy band arrangement. The music is mainly composed of piano and drums but there’s some gentle guitar riffs in the background. As for Salyu’s vocals, she sounds good, even during that little “belting segment” around the middle of the song. Right now, I like this track more than her last single EXTENSION.

Appearing as a first pressing track is PRE-VOYAGE, a medley of various sounds from her new album MAIDEN VOYAGE which is out today in Japan (I know this review is late lol). Anyway, the medley is very well done and it doesn’t sound clunky at all. Take notes, avex bitches! It mostly features different instrumental clips of the new tracks plus the older songs like Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ and LIBERTY but you do hear some vocals.

Pros: Even though there is technically only one track, it’s an extremely good track.
Cons: PRE-VOYAGE is such a tease…if you heard it 2 weeks ago (once again, that’s my bad).

BASICALLY…bring on the MAIDEN VOYAGE!

Overall Rating

5 stars

Tracklisting

1. Atarashii YES (新しいYES)
2. PRE-VOYAGE [Limited first pressing bonus track]

Salyu – EXTENSION

September 14, 2009 at 10:06 AM | Posted in Salyu | 1 Comment
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The cover of the regular edition

EXTENSION is Salyu’s 12th single and it was released on August 19, 2009. The single reached #21 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 5,424 copies.

O_O @ the cover. She looks scary. If you look closely, you can see that the other shots in the transparent pink and yellow are much better.

♦ ♦ ♦

It seems that I don’t have a lot to say about this single, except for the A-side. EXTENSION is pretty good but the B-sides are what make the single fall flat. I’ll get to them later though. After listening to EXTENSION, it’s safe to say that Salyu has really improved vocally with these last couple of singles (LIBERTY, Corteo ~Gyouretsu~, etc.) She sounds sharper and seems to have a better control of her voice now. As for the music, the song is upbeat and features strings and drums with the occasional electric guitar. Overall, it’s a little less “experimental” than previous songs. Whatever, I liked it. =D

Then there’s I and ROSE. Both of them aren’t memorable and were simply just B-sides to me. I is an electric guitar driven track with good vocals so I’ll give it that much. The other track ROSE is in Engrish and acoustic based. I didn’t understand her most of the time so I went and looked up the lyrics. I thought they were nice.

On the limited edition, a live version of Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ is included. She sounded pretty good and I liked when she elevated her voice when the chorus came around. The verses are choppy though.

Pros: EXTENSION is another great Salyu song!
Cons: The B-sides did nothing for me.

BASICALLY…it’s time for a new album, Salyu.

Overall Rating

 3½ stars

Tracklisting

1. EXTENSION
2. I  (アイ (I))
3. ROSE
4. Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ LIVE Ver (at Nippon Budokan 2009.2.10)
    (コルテオ ~行列~ LIVE Ver (at 日本武道館 2009.2.10)) [Limited edition bonus track]

Salyu – Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ / HALFWAY

February 26, 2009 at 1:05 PM | Posted in Salyu | 6 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ (コルテオ ~行列~)
2. HALFWAY

This is Salyu’s 11th single and it was released on February 11, 2009. The single reached #10 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 7,887 copies. The 2nd track was used as the theme song for the movie Halfway.

It’s been a while since Salyu’s last single but it was worth the wait! Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ is a brilliant song and it has quickly become one of my favorites from her. Like her previous single, iris ~Shiawase no Hako~, this song is a ballad of sorts but it is a lot more dynamic in sound. The strings and piano mixed with light guitar chords create a gorgeous organic quality within the music. I also have to applaud Salyu’s vocal performance since she displays excellent control of her voice. It’s also notable that her voice sounds a lot more refined than ever before.

The other A-side is HALFWAY, a calmer track. Sure, it’s not as compelling as Corteo ~Gyouretsu~ but the song is still worth listening to. Featuring a gentle and laid back sound, the arrangement mostly consists of soft acoustics with very pretty strings that appear later on. Salyu’s vocals are more reserved as well but not without adding a little bit of emphasis during the chorus.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Salyu – iris ~Shiawase no Hako~

December 8, 2007 at 11:33 AM | Posted in Salyu | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. iris ~Shiawase no Hako~ (iris ~しあわせの箱~)
2. WHEREABOUTS ~for Anthony~
3. River

This is Salyu’s 10th single and it was released on November 28, 2007. The single reached #26 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 5,707 copies.

iris ~Shiawase no Hako~ is quite the change from Salyu’s previous single LIBERTY. This song is a gentle piano ballad that incorporates some different instruments like the accordion. I did find the accordion intro to be a little odd, but it sounds quite nice and it gives the music an old fashioned, almost “European” atmosphere. After the first chorus, the song adds some drums, light electric guitar riffs, and pretty strings. Salyu’s voice is pretty laid back, but she puts a little more power into it during the chorus. This is one of the best ballads she has done in recent memory.

I thought the first B-side, WHEREABOUTS ~for Anthony~, had an ominous opening and it sets up the depressing tone of the song. It uses minimal instruments and focuses more on Salyu’s vocals. The music does pick up when the chorus arrives after a short buildup of acoustic guitar and strings. This is an okay track, but the abrupt ending could’ve used more work.

The next track is a cover of Joni Mitchell’s River, a song from 1971. Salyu chose a good song to cover because the pace of the music suits her voice very well. Her English is not bad, but she seems to slur words together. The music is quite faithful from the original as it stays with its Christmas theme with its inclusion of jingle bells near the end.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

Salyu – LIBERTY

October 29, 2007 at 11:28 AM | Posted in Salyu | 1 Comment
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Tracklisting
1. LIBERTY
2. SWEET PAIN

This is Salyu’s 9th single and it was released on October 17, 2007. The single reached #14 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 4,952 copies.

LIBERTY is the first song to be written by Salyu herself and it is AMAZING (she also took part in the composition). It contains so much energy and emotion that I was stunned by the song’s sudden changes of tempo and dynamics. The music is by far her most aggressive and rockish to date because the electric guitar riffs and thumping percussion are constant and the vocals are radiant. There is also an underlying low key string arrangement that adds an epic and longing feeling to the music as well.

The B-side, SWEET PAIN, was also written by Salyu. It is a little more on the laid back and alternative rock side (similar to her past works). Just like in LIBERTY, her vocal style is more refined and strong. There’s nothing much else to say except that it’s a very high quality track.

Overall Rating

5 stars

Salyu – TERMINAL

July 6, 2007 at 10:43 PM | Posted in Salyu | 1 Comment
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TERMINAL is Salyu’s 2nd album and it was released on January 17, 2007. The album reached #2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 87,334 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The album’s opening track is the jazzy Tobira. I really liked the calm electric guitar chords and percussion because they create a soothing atmosphere throughout the entire song. Salyu also demonstrates her powerful vocals during the chorus. This song was used to promote the release of the album and a PV was shot as well.

Even though Kaze ni Noru Fune is my least favorite of the A-sides, it’s still a nice addition to the album.

Track 3, Kagami, opens with progressive electric guitar and gentle vocals. When the chorus arrives, she once again displays strong vocals.

The album features a somewhat altered version of Platform, her latest single. The song itself is unchanged but there is about an extra 20 seconds at the end where there is a carnival ‘merry go round’ sequence that flows seamlessly into the next track.

Track 5, Yue ni, follows a more alternative rock style. The song is heavy on the electric chords making this another good song.

Tower is one of the album’s more pop influenced tracks and with it’s incredibly catchy chorus, this song doesn’t disappoint. The music has a serene atmosphere and Salyu’s vocals are top notch.

The next track is my favorite of the new songs on the album. Apple Pie is also on the pop side, but it’s just so cute! The synth is wonderful and Salyu’s vocals reflect the upbeat vibe of the song. I highly recommend this pleasant and refreshing number.

Salyu goes into epic proportions with I BELIEVE. The song starts off a bit slow but it gradually becomes louder and begins to pick up speed until it climaxes into a frenzy of percussion, electric guitar, and powerful vocals. Unfortunately, the song ends right after this part.

The thing I liked the most about Yoru no Umi Tooi Deai ni was the blaring percussion arrangement but was pretty much it. Salyu’s vocals in this song seemed a little too over the top at times in my opinion. This song was a B-side on the Platform single.

name is quite possibly my favorite song on the album. I love everything about it because it has an excellent combination of bass, acoustics, and percussion.

I thought track 11 was nice but predictable. be there has a nice piano and drum arrangement and Salyu belts it out during the chorus, but this time with English lyrics: I’ll be there for joy.

I really liked the experimental sound of track 12, heartquake. This song absolutely shines during the chorus especially when Salyu’s voice blends in with the rhythmic percussion. Much like the previous songs on the album, the verses are calm and then feature an exploding chorus. 

The final track is Salyu’s own version of to U, a song that she originally performed with Bank Band which was a huge hit that sold over 300,000 copies. Salyu’s version features only her vocals and a slower, beautiful piano and string arrangement. The original version had a more upbeat band arrangement. I loved what Salyu did with the song and it’s an fitting end for this exceptional album. Also, this song is over 8 minutes long, making it the longest on the album.

TERMINAL is definitely one of the most unique albums of 2007. The album’s mix of alternative rock and experimental pop was absolutely refreshing to my ears. Even though Salyu was going for a more mainstream sound with this album, she still strays pretty far away from what you would normally hear these days (especially if you have heard her debut album landmark first). This album might not be for everyone, but I highly recommend it because it is different but at the same time it’s not outrageously different. Salyu has a really unique and non-mainstream voice that might take a little getting used to though.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. Tobira (トビラ)
2. Kaze ni Noru Fune (風に乗る船)
3. Kagami (鏡)
4. Platform ~Merry Go Round~ (プラットホーム)
5. Yue ni (故に)
6. Tower
7. Apple Pie
8. I BELIEVE
9. Yoru no Umi Tooi Deai ni (夜の海 遠い出会いに)
10. name
11. be there
12. heartquake
13. to U (Salyu ver.)

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

Salyu – Platform

June 24, 2007 at 10:41 PM | Posted in Salyu | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Platform (プラットホーム)
2. Yoru no Umi Tooi Deai ni 
    (夜の海 遠い出会いに)
3. Ikitai Tokoro (行きたいところ)

This is Salyu’s 8th single and it was released on November 1, 2006. The single reached #16 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 18,562 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the movie Metro ni Notte.

Platform was my first Salyu song and I really liked the unique low-pitched sound of her voice because it has this distinct soulful quality to it which surprised me at first. I sensed an underlying layer of sadness in the music of the song because of the piano chords. During the chorus, she elevates her voice while still maintaining a calm atmosphere and this is where the strings and light electric guitar chords come in.

The first B-side, Yoru no Umi Tooi Deai ni, is definitely more of a progressive song than the previous track. There’s more electric guitar plus some heavy percussion. Salyu’s vocals are more powerful as well, but they sound a little scattered in some parts.

I really liked the gentle acoustic guitar of the last track, Ikitai Tokoro. This is a relaxing song with excellent, controlled vocals. Salyu can reach those notes rather well, and in a way, her voice reminded me of ayaka’s.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Salyu – name

May 21, 2007 at 10:38 PM | Posted in Salyu | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. name
2. Soukyokusen (双曲線)
3. Something (Live)

This is Salyu’s 7th single and it was released on September 6, 2006. The single reached #15 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 16,657 copies.

name is definitely obscure alternative rock at its best. The verses include a heavy bass beat and acoustic guitar with impressive vocals from Salyu. The chorus is amazing when the light electric guitar riffs kick in and she lets out some power in her voice. I love the ‘huskiness’ of her voice and I believe that it is the most unique aspect about her.

The B-side, Soukyokusen, is interesing in the fact that it has a very light-hearted upbeat jazzy sound to it. This song relies mostly on the acoustic guitar and light percussion during the verses but when the chorus appears, a strange but lovely string instrument that sounds like a fiddle is added.

The 3rd track is Something, a song originally performed by The Beatles and it is performed live by Salyu. Her English was difficult to understand but I just thought it was great to finally hear her sing in English. The music is pretty simple and stays faithful to the original arrangement.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Salyu – Tower

March 26, 2007 at 10:36 PM | Posted in Salyu | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. Tower
2. Maharaja no Yoru (マハラジャの夜)

This is Salyu’s 6th single and it was released on April 5, 2006. The single reached #33 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 7,323 copies.

Out of the 4 singles that Salyu released for her latest album TERMINAL, Tower is her most pop influenced. The song utilizes more synthetic sounds along with gentle strings and progressive electric guitar chords. It’s a fantastic combination and together with a catchy chorus and great vocals, this is one of my favorite songs from her.

The B-side is the unique Maharaja no Yoru. It uses an almost mechanical, muffled beat throughout the entire song and because of its overall sound, this is an extremely experimental track from Salyu.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

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