Friday, September 10, 2010

Ayaka- Sing to the Sky

Ayaka is a relative newcomer on the j-pop scene. She took a hiatus in 2009 with the release of her last best album -Ayaka's history. Ayaka's voice is very powerful and she belts which is unusual on the j-pop scene (they have few belters). I personally love her voice because it is so strong and melodious at the same time. Her style basically includes ballads, ballad-like pop songs and rock/pop.

Sing to the sky is Ayaka's second album. Her First Message album was a major hit in Japan, selling over a million copies and so was her debut single "I believe" which debuted at #3 and sold almost 4,00,000 copies. Sing to the sky It reached #2 on teh oricon charts and sold in excess of 5,00,000 copies (almost half of her first album)

1. POWER OF MUSIC- Is the first track and opens the album on a very cheerful and upbeat tone. It is a very jazzy pop track where Ayaka's voice sounds relaxed and there is a lot of background vocals which makes it appear as if she is singing this song live in a club. A good track.

2.Ai wo Utaou- An average pop track lifted out of its averageness by ayaka's vocals. It still doesn't shine, though. I really hate it when Ayaka does such sub-standard pop songs. She is wasting her voice.

3.Sky- The melody was good but the arragement made it hard to distinguish Sky from her other pop tracks. The chorus is powerful where Ayaka starts belting.

4.Jewelry Day- If there is one thing Ayaka excels at, it is gorgeous ballads. No matter how powerful or mellow, she carries it off perfectly. Jewelry Day is not an exception. One of the best and most soothing tracks on this album had just a single guitar accompaniment in the beginning and a jazzy feel. An outstanding track.

5.Good Night Baby- A not very interesting track which does not stand out due to it mellowness.

6.For Today- A rockish, carnival-like happy track in which ayaka belts for most part. Great energy.

7.Why- It starts off very mysteriously. Ayaka's vocals are the main focus since the arrangement is very light. This track showcases Ayaka's true vocal potential.

8.Gold Star- The worst song on this album without doubt. Ayaka is trying to be edgy but she sounds drunk.

9.Mahotsukai no Shiwaza- A jazzy song which sounds very calm. It sounds like a children's lullaby. It is pretty short but still shines in the album.

10. Te wo tsunagou- A very mellow and average pop track. Even ayaka's vocals lack their usual power. This song exudes "averageness" in every note.

11.Ai mo uso mo shinjitsu- A pprretty solid allbum track with ayaka's signature jazz-rock mix. Her voice is lower but the chorus is amazing.

12.CLAP AND LOVE- I really adored this song the first few times I heard it because ayaka's vocals were so powerful, but gradually it started sounding less like a song and more like poetry. CLAP AND LOVE lacks melody.

13. Kimi ga iru Kara- A good pop track which, while nothing outstanding doesn't have any major flaws.

14. Okaeri- A pleasant and mellow pop track.

15. Konya Hoshi wo dakarete- The best album track. Ayaka's voice sounds so emotional and her dynamics are perfect. The arrangement doesn't interfere with her voice but makes it shine even more.
Rating- 4.6

16. Winding Road- Ayaka's collaboration with Kobukuro. A good track made great by the strong vocals of three of the best pop singers in the present j-pop scene. A must-listen.

Overall, Sing to the sky was good. The single tracks clearly outshone the album tracks but ayaka gave us a few surprises with Konya hoshi wo dakarete, Mahotsukai no shiwaza, POWER OF MUSIC and ai mo uso mo shinjitsu. The biggest drawback of this album was that it was dominated by avrage and filler pop tracks for most of the duration.

Pros- Ayaka's strong voice and mind-blowing ballads.
Cons- The rest of the tracks were "average and boring" at best.

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