YUI – to Mother

June 9, 2010 at 1:21 PM | Posted in YUI | 6 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

to Mother is YUI’s 17th single and it was released on June 2, 2010. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 71,804 copies.

COINCIDENCE? I think not! I guess her and Angela traded instruments. lol

♦ ♦ ♦

to Mother just makes you want to go “Awwwww”. It’s a sweet and sentimental song that describes the relationship between her and her mother. There are some moody moments in the lyrics but they’re mostly full of gratitude. As for the music, the song is piano driven with no acoustics (a first for YUI). The airy mid-tempo arrangement is very pleasant and flows nicely as well.

The B-side pushes the piano aside and rushes in with aggressive electric guitars. Less than 3 minutes long, Tonight is a sleek and collected track that reminds me of Jam (one of her older B-sides from 2007). This song is much better than Jam though.

And lastly there’s an acoustic version of GLORIA, which was already really acoustic in the first place. I guess you can call this a ~SUPER~ acoustic version since it adds piano.

Pros: The single is a grower for sure. to Mother is her most personal song since TOKYO.
Cons: As much as I love GLORIA, the super acoustic version was not needed.

BASICALLY…it would be cool to hear more piano tunes from her.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. to Mother
2. Tonight
3. GLORIA ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. to Mother ~Instrumental~

YUI – GLORIA

January 20, 2010 at 5:25 PM | Posted in YUI | 4 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

GLORIA is YUI’s 16th single and it was released on January 20, 2010. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 80,750 copies.

Cool cover! I like the washed-out blue colors and the snow. 

♦ ♦ ♦

YUI’s last 2 singles have been more on the rockish side but she goes back to her acoustic sound with GLORIA. It really reminded me of the brilliant songs from her debut album FROM ME TO YOU. To make things even better, the song is pretty upbeat and quite catchy. Even though I could have done without that “yai yai yai yai yai” thing she does during the chorus, you could say that it adds some charm.

I can’t get enough of her awesome B-sides! Muffler is a mellow and pleasant track that flows very nicely. What can I say? She excels at this stuff. To put things into perspective, think of SUMMER SONG but a million times better.

The acoustic version of It’s all too much is great too. The song has been stuck in my head lately (I don’t know why lol) and this version has pretty much solidified my appreciation for it.

Pros: Another fantastic single. YUI never lets me down.
Cons: Cons? What cons?

BASICALLY…a glorious single! See what I did there? =x

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. GLORIA
2. Muffler
3. It’s all too much ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. GLORIA ~Instrumental~

YUI – It’s all too much / Never say die

October 16, 2009 at 10:45 AM | Posted in YUI | 4 Comments
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The cover of the CD+DVD edition

It’s all too much / Never say die is YUI’s 15th single and it was released on October 7, 2009. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 99,433 copies. Both songs were featured in the movie KAIJI. The first track is the theme song while the 2nd is an insert song.

OMG she cut her hair! And is she in a hotel room or something? Someone explain the random cards to me too.

♦ ♦ ♦

YUI’s been getting better and I thought her last single again was great. She kind of continues the progressive rock sound in It’s all too much which features prominent electric guitars. She includes other instruments like her trademark acoustics and piano but I noticed that the arrangement is much sharper than I have previously heard from her. It’s polished and sounds very neat. Overall, the song is well done.

The other track was a nice surprise. Never say die is really short but it definitely delivers the goods. The music is a lot more energetic here than in It’s all too much and I liked the constant riffs alongside the thumping drums. It’s a fun song and my favorite on the single.

Her upbeat songs usually make for better acoustic versions and I liked how again got reworked. She maintains the fast pace of the original but her vocals are toned down a considerable notch. This is an awesome acoustic version and one of her best.

Pros: The single includes 2 high quality songs. No complaining here.
Cons: It still left me wanting more, especially since Never say die is so short.

BASICALLY…I’m starting to like YUI again! =O

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. It’s all too much
2. Never say die
3. again ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. It’s all too much ~Instrumental~

YUI – again

June 20, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Posted in YUI | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. again
2. Sea
3. SUMMER SONG ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. again ~Instrumental~

This is YUI’s 14th single and it was released on June 3, 2009. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 148,679 copies. The title track was used as the first opening theme song for the anime Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

It’s been kind of a hit and miss with YUI’s last couple of releases but she is once again in full force with again. Let’s just say that her short hiatus worked wonders for her! Completely ditching that dreary alternative nonsense, again is aggressive, blunt, and forceful rock. It’s also her most dynamic song in quite a while thanks to fast paced vocals and an relentless arrangement. The song is a big improvement and a step in the right direction. Nice job, YUI!

The B-side is excellent as well. Sea is a mid-tempo song that makes use of a relaxing string section next to the familiar acoustics and drums. YUI gives one of her best vocal performances in this song because she keeps her voice nice and controlled. There’s no screechy crooning here like in SUMMER SONG (thank goodness). Anyway, it’s a really pretty track and I like it just as much, if not more than the A-side.

The YUI acoustic version of SUMMER SONG felt a little unnecessary to me. The original was “acoustic” enough as it is so you’re just getting an extra dose of it here. On a side note, I never got a summer vibe from this song. It’s too lazy for the summer.

Overall Rating

4 stars

YUI – SUMMER SONG

July 23, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Posted in YUI | 2 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. SUMMER SONG
2. Oh My God
3. Laugh away ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. SUMMER SONG ~Instrumental~

This is YUI’s 13th single and it was released on July 2, 2008. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 116,227 copies.

I kind of lost faith in YUI after being really disappointed by her latest album I LOVED YESTERDAY, but I’m happy to say that her singles are still really solid. This is the case for SUMMER SONG, which is more of a laid back tune for the summer. Slowly drifting away from the alternative vibe of her last album, this song showcases the acoustic pop sound that she does so well. Her vocals sound more screechy than usual during at some parts and I thought they could have been better.

Her B-sides are starting to get better as well. It’s too bad that Oh My God is so short since it’s the better song on this single. The music and the vocals are a little more progressive and I thought the background vocals added a great touch to the song. Like I said before, the song is way too short for its own good. It’s still a good track but I wished there was a little bit more.

A YUI single isn’t complete with an acoustic version! This time we get one of Laugh away, the promotional track from her previous album (it was also a digital single). This was definitely the song that stood out compared to all the new tracks from I LOVED YESTERDAY and she creates another excellent acoustic version.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

YUI – I LOVED YESTERDAY

April 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM | Posted in YUI | 12 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

I LOVED YESTERDAY is YUI’s 3rd album and it was released on April 9, 2008. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 475,709 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The first track was also the album’s main promotional song and it was released as a digital single on March 10th. Laugh away is probably the best new song on the album as well as the most memorable. I really liked the upbeat nature of the song and the strings in the background gave the music a really nice touch. The chorus was quite surprising at first because YUI sings it pretty fast and the sou waratte itsumo waratte line is catchy.

The first single released for the album was the cheery My Generation. It’s a great follow-up to Laugh away since it’s also upbeat and I found the chorus to be really charming. It’s catchy and easy to sing along to as well. Since the song has grown on me, it’s now one of my favorite upbeat songs by YUI.

Up next is Find me, a slower track that focuses more on the guitars. The verses aren’t that interesting but they do lead into a pleasant chorus. The vocals are stronger and I liked the additional lower pitched vocals that followed right after.

Just like on her previous album, we get a really short song that kind of acts like an interlude. No way is really rockish and it could have made a good full-length song, but the main flaw of this song is pretty obvious since…

Namidairo is right after it and I simply ask: WHY? Don’t get me wrong, I still think this song is great but its placement after No way is awful. Going from a really upbeat and thumping song to the most depressing one on the album was a big no-no in my book. With that aside, Namidairo is actually one of the more unique songs on here since it doesn’t have the alternative acoustic sound that the rest of the album has.

Another rockish track is next and its a brisk mix of strong electric guitar and drums. Daydreamer just seems to pass on by like the title suggests. I didn’t find anything remarkable about it.

Showcasing a more alternative sound with the guitars is Love is all. The verses are boring, but the chorus displays a really nice show of emotion from YUI’s vocals. She sings with power and I liked that, especially with the elongated notes.

This song is more mid-paced but rather bland at the same time. I will love you is lazy for the most part and even YUI sounds like she’s bored throughout the entire thing. Her vocals sound the same and that goes for the music too. Come on, let’s pick up the pace!

Hey, my prayers were answered! We will go is interesting with its rhythmic drums and overall vocal style. The arrangement is frantic and kind of quirky, most evidently during the verses where YUI’s vocals try to match the offbeat style of the guitars and percussion. What’s even more interesting about this song are the lyrics which are dedicated to Izumi Sakai of ZARD.

So here is another upbeat song that’s heavy on the drums but everything else is quite monotone. OH YEAH is nice with its cheery atmosphere as heard in the chorus, but it’s nothing special. It’s a short song anyway.

Now the next track actually has some character to it. My friend features a great combination of simple guitar chords and pretty strings that sound really nice together when the chorus arrives. It reminded me of Why?, the final track from her previous album and that’s a song I really love.

We’re almost done but LOVE & TRUTH wants to finish with a bang. This is my favorite song on the album because it is so dramatic when it comes to the overall arrangement and it’s one of YUI’s most daring and unique works to date. The strings and YUI’s emphasized vocals add some much needed emotion to the song and I felt that most of the tracks on the album lacked this. Plus, the guitar solo during the bridge is really cool.

Ending the album is a song that just sounds too similar to every other track on here. Am I wrong? is a mid-tempo alternative number that just moves on by. There really isn’t anything interesting going on and I thought it was bad way to the end the album. LOVE & TRUTH would have made a GREAT ending though.

Unfortunately, I LOVED YESTERDAY is an unremarkable album and a step down from YUI’s previous albums FROM ME TO YOU and CAN’T BUY MY LOVE. I really tried to like this album, but I just couldn’t. While she does show off her excellent songwriting skills in every song, the music does not help with showing the descriptive imagery that she sings of. Almost every song on the album, minus the singles and Laugh away, sounds the same and they’re pretty forgettable because of that. There is no variety in the arrangements of the new tracks and they all follow the same style. She definitely stayed within her comfort zone and the overall blandness of this album just proves that. Since the singles were great, I was expecting more. Hopefully, she will return to the sound that made her first 2 albums so good because what she’s doing right now is starting to get old.

Overall Rating

2½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Laugh away
2. My Generation
3. Find me
4. No way
5. Namidairo
6. Love is all
7. I will love you
8. We will go
9. OH YEAH
10. My friend
11. LOVE & TRUTH
12. Am I wrong?

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

YUI – Namidairo

March 13, 2008 at 8:40 PM | Posted in YUI | 5 Comments
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Tracklisting
1. Namidairo
2. I wanna be…
3. LOVE & TRUTH ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. Namidairo ~Instrumental~

This is YUI’s 12th single and it was released on February 27, 2008. The single reached #3 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 115,168 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the drama Yonshimai Tanteidan.

YUI returns to the strong acoustic sound of her earlier works with Namidairo, a downer of a song. I meant that in a good way because this is a good track that’s performed quite well. YUI’s vocals sound more vulnerable than usual, adding some emotion next to the saddening strings in the background. These strings play a big part in the music’s overall melancholy atmosphere, which picks up a little when some drums kick in during the 2nd verse.

The B-side is in the same vein as Namidairo, but it’s more upbeat. I wanna be… is her best B-side in quite a while after a string of disappointing ones starting from the Rolling star single. The music is strong on the acoustics with some electric guitar flaring up every now and then, but other than that, the arrangement is pretty simple.

When it comes to YUI’s acoustic versions, they’re all pretty straightforward and faithful to their original counterparts. The acoustic version of LOVE & TRUTH is probably the most rearranged of the entire bunch, since the original is perhaps one of her most complex songs. The lone guitar adds an interesting twist to the song and the way it opens the song is kind of spooky. Later on, an electric guitar provides some backup with minimal chords.

Overall Rating

4 stars

YUI – LOVE & TRUTH

October 10, 2007 at 6:42 PM | Posted in YUI | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. LOVE & TRUTH
2. Jam
3. My Generation ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. LOVE & TRUTH ~Instrumental~

This is YUI’s 11th single and it was released on September 26, 2007. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 143,846 copies. The title track was used as the theme song for the movie Closed Note.

LOVE & TRUTH is definitely one of the most dramatic songs that YUI has put out. It opens with some depressing strings followed by some percussion and the first verse. The chorus sounds quite epic because of the sweeping strings and YUI sings the lyrics in a slower, elongated fashion. The electric guitar segments are nice but don’t really carry the song, minus the awesome solo during the bridge.

The B-side is YUI’s attempt to sound even more like a rocker. Jam has an awesome rock sound, but YUI’s slower paced and sometimes dull vocals do not match the furious pace of the music at all. YUI has done better with songs like Rolling star and How crazy because she put more emphasis into her voice.

The 3rd track is a pleasant YUI Acoustic Version of My Generation, her previous single. This version is pretty much the same as the original, just with stronger acoustics. It’s a nice addition to the single.

Overall Rating

4 stars

YUI – My Generation / Understand

June 22, 2007 at 6:40 PM | Posted in YUI | Leave a comment
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Tracklisting
1. My Generation
2. Understand
3. CHE.R.RY ~YUI Acoustic Version~
4. My Generation ~Instrumental~

This is YUI’s 10th single and it was released on June 13, 2007. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 135,093 copies. The first track was used as the theme song for the drama Seito Shokun and the 2nd track was the theme song for the movie Sidecar ni Inu.

My Generation is another great, upbeat song by YUI. Even though it doesn’t have the furious energy of Rolling star (a song that I disliked but not as much as before), it still has quite a nice pace. YUI’s vocals have a soothing quality to them despite the music’s speed and the electric guitars. This song isn’t her best work, but still one of her better ‘aggressive’ tracks.

The other A-side reminded me a lot of TOKYO, but with a stronger string arrangement. Understand is a little on the boring side and I thought YUI’s vocals were kind of bland as well. She’s not exactly a ballad singer, but her slower, more acoustic based songs are still pretty good (TOKYO, Why?, and Why me are good examples).

The 3rd track is the YUI Acoustic Version of CHE.R.RY. CHE.R.RY has grown to become one of my favorite songs from her because of the wonderful chorus and the tinge of pop in the music. Much like her previous acoustic versions, the entire musical arrangement is toned down but the vocals of the chorus still maintain a lot of energy.

Overall Rating 

3½ stars

YUI – CAN’T BUY MY LOVE

April 21, 2007 at 8:24 PM | Posted in YUI | Leave a comment
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The cover of the CD only edition

CAN’T BUY MY LOVE is YUI’s 2nd album and it was released on April 4, 2007. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 693,358 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

The opening track, How crazy, starts off quietly but gradually speeds up to the catchy chorus. I especially liked the bridge because of the speedy vocals. Just like the first track from her debut album FROM ME TO YOU, it doesn’t disappoint.

I have expressed my dislike for Rolling star before but I think I’m having a change of heart. The song feels right at home on the album because of its fast paced riffs and more rock oriented sound. Many of the new tracks sound similar to this song so it all works out great.

I really liked the next track, It’s all right. It’s calm but still has a nice alternative sound with gentle acoustics and electric guitar. The chorus is a treat and so are YUI’s vocals.

Track 4 is I remember you, a personal favorite of mine. The underlying string arrangement is one of my favorite aspects of the song and the somber lyrics are a plus too.

The next track is not exactly a song, but an interlude. RUIDO is only 51 seconds long but those 51 seconds are action packed and full of energy. It’s a shame this is not a full song because I love it even though it feels extremely out of place. I guess you could say it only acts as a break between I remember you and CHE.R.RY. On a side note, ‘ruido’ is Spanish for ‘noise’.

I absolutely adore CHE.R.RY. It’s fun, charming, and very catchy. The verses are still a little strange but the chorus more than well makes up for it.

Track 6 is song about YUI’s teen years. Thank you My teens is a heart-warming song but a short one at just under 3 minutes.

YUI adds some interesting Spanish rhythms to the next track, Umbrella. It’s different from her other works because of its ethnic sound and I applaud YUI for this track because it shows that she can add some much needed flair to her songs.

I liked the breezy beginning of Highway chance, but it quickly transforms into an edgy song with catchy percussion and strong guitar riffs. This track is one of YUI’s more alternative works.

Track 10, Happy birthday to you you, is another upbeat song but with some funny English vocals from YUI. Her pronounciation of the word ‘birthday’ is a little off and I don’t know why that extra ‘you’ is added but if you ignore those things, this song is pretty good.

I thought the next track wasn’t extremely special. Winding road has a great chorus but I found the rest of the song to be just average.

Ah, Good-bye days, the song that put YUI in the spotlight and established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the J-pop industry. What can I say? This is a gorgeous song that’s filled with emotion. In my opinion, she gives her best vocal performance in this song.

The final track is Why?, a wonderful song to end the album. The chorus is my favorite part of the song because it has a nice, uplifting atmosphere.

I definitely enjoyed CAN’T BUY MY LOVE more than YUI’s debut album FROM ME TO YOU. The main reason is because it contains more enjoyable, upbeat tracks. There is only one major gripe I have about the album: it is SHORT. A majority of the songs are less than 4 minutes long but in the long run, the quality of the song is all that matters to me. This is an excellent album and an improvement over her previous one.

Overall Rating

4 stars

Tracklisting

1. How crazy
2. Rolling star
3. It’s all right
4. I remember you
5. RUIDO
6. CHE.R.RY
7. Thank you My teens
8. Umbrella
9. Highway chance
10. Happy birthday to you you
11. Winding road
12. Good-bye days
13. Why?

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

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