Rie Fu [Rie Fu] (First Album)

October 15, 2008

Waratte, Megumi no Moto e (笑って、恵みのもとへ; Laughing, To Get to the Origins of Grace)
Beautiful Words
Somebody’s World
2cm
I So Wanted
decay
Prayers & Melodies
Ame no Hi ga Sukitte Omotte Mitai (雨の日が好きって思ってみたい; I Want to Try Thinking ‘I Like Rainy Days’)
Voice (Album Version)
Tsuki no Ue (Jamming Version) (ツキノウエ; Over the Moon)
Shine
Life is Like a Boat
~Interlude~
decay (English Version)

The first track on the album is a mix between down and up-tempo. Waratte, Megumi no Moto e (笑って、恵みのもとへ; Laughing, To Get to the Origins of Grace). I love, love this song. I’m a very simple person, and this song is just so very simple, and I really adore that aspect of it. The arrangement is very calm and smooth, as well as Rie Fu’s vocals which aren’t rushed at all, but sung in such a laid-back manner. I really enjoy the pace of this song, as well as the catchy chorus, the bridge is love as well.

The next track on the album is the mellow Beautiful Words. ‘Black coffee in my cup’, I was hooked from that line onwards. This song introduces a mix of English and Japanese that Rie Fu is known for, and the way the English mixes with the Japanese is very well executed. I always love her songs like this, because she does them so well. Rie Fu sings this song just as calmly as she sung the previous track, and the un-hurried approach really makes the song stick.

The next track is the laid-back Somebody’s World. This song reminds me a lot of Do As Infinity’s Break Of Dawn song, because it sounds so ‘regular’ and ‘normal’. It’s almost like a everyday routine put into song. I use to dislike this song, because it just seemed so uninteresting to me, but listening to it for this review, I’m actually starting to like it. I guess its because I really like songs like this.

The next track is the down-tempo 2cm. This is such a calming and beautiful song, I just really love it. The arrangement is very smooth, even though nothing much is going on with it, it still manages to keep you engaged. Rie Fu’s vocals are wonderful as usual, her voice is so soothing that she can make songs like this work and really make them touch you at the same time. ‘We’re only 2cm away now, I’ll be home again, to a place that might have been…’

The next track is one of my favorite Rie Fu songs and favorite songs period, the very nostalgic I So Wanted. This song has always come across as very hopelessly romantic to me. I mean it consists of a simple yet very lovely piano arrangement that really captures the mood of this song: longing. Rie Fu’s vocal performance is perfect and consists of both English and Japanese intermixed. ‘I so wanted to be in your arms, I so wanted to be in your heart, but you wanted her and me on my own…’ I love this part of the song, it always makes me wistful.

The next track is the somewhat mid-tempo decay. For some reason that is beyond me, I did not like this song when I first heard it. I don’t know, I guess at that point in time it just came across as so boring and flat to me. I listened to the album at one point in its entirety all the way through and literally fell in love with this song. Its such a great song, and one that really defines Rie Fu. The arrangement is very raw and really makes you think. ‘(Ah) I was waiting for you to stand up to it/(Ah) What are you waiting for?’ I think these two lines alone, is what sold me.

The next track is the somewhat lank but strangely endearing Prayers & Melodies. I don’t know why I like this song, I mean yes, the arrangement is pretty sparkly and nice and yes, Rie Fu’s vocals are good, but I don’t know. It’s not really all that interesting and I didn’t find myself paying much attention to it. The song however does capture a mood, and would sound nice on the Ipod, because of its whimsical like flare.

The next track is the down-tempo Ame no Hi ga Sukitte Omotte Mitai (雨の日が好きって思ってみたい; I Want to Try Thinking ‘I Like Rainy Days’). Rie Fu always has such lovely slow songs. This song is really quite moving. It isn’t overtly interesting, and I’m certain a lot of people will find it boring, but I think its a really nice song with a moving arrangement and nice vocals from Rie Fu. The title is also very thought-provoking. I like rainy days, but I’m not too fond of them, because seeing the rain fall always for some reason makes me sad and lonely.

The next track is the dull Voice (Album Version). I actually liked this song at one point, but now I just find it terribly boring. I mean it sounds so monotonous, or it could just be Rie Fu’s voice since she insists on singing the song with this dragging tone. The arrangement was acoustic guitar, but played stagnantly and pulled this song down even more. It was almost like, ‘could this song get anymore boring and pointless’?

The next track on the album is the down-tempo Tsuki no Ue (Jamming Version) (ツキノウエ; Over the Moon). I’m not sure why this version is referred to as ‘jamming’ because its so slow-paced I’m not sure how anyone can jam to it, but besides that I really do love how mellow and easy-going this song is. The arrangement is very acoustic and it really meshed well with Rie Fu’s unhurried vocals. This isn’t a very interesting song and can easily become boring, but the songs like this are the ones that Rie Fu excel at.

The next track on the album is the inspirational Shine. Oh, how I adore this song. I love the care-free arrangement, it seems so out of place, but once Rie Fu starts singing in full English it just meshes together so perfectly. I love singing along to this song, because it has a tendency to make me feel good when I’m feeling down, and songs that can accomplish that are very special to me… ‘so the love i found is within me…’

The next track is my absolute favorite Rie Fu song Life is Like a Boat. I first heard this song a long time ago, before I even knew about BLEACH really, and I remember I was immediately in love. After listening to this I remember I went scouring for more songs by her and after listening to the beautiful I Wanna Go To A Place… I was a fan. This song is just so moving in its melancholy in yet it inspires a quiet sort of hope that really makes the song stick long after it has ended, ‘Nobody knows who I really am, maybe they just don’t give a damn…’ Rie Fu’s vocals were gorgeous and I loved the English she incorporated into the song, I really do love her English mixed with Japanese songs, they offer the best of both worlds really, and this is really one of the best and most moving songs I have ever heard–‘…and every time I see your face…’

The next track is the albums first and only interlude aptly titled ~Interlude~. It just consists of a somewhat nice piano melody, Rie Fu aud-libs very briefly and then a door opens and closes. The end.

The last track on the album is the English version of decay. I really liked this version, even if I do enjoy the Japanese version more. Its presents a more clearer picture; Rie Fu just wanting this person that she really cares about to go on and be all that she knows he can be. Its all very touching.

-GRADE: A
Rating: *** stars

Rie Fu’s self-titled debut album Rie Fu was everything that I really expected it to be. I mean the album is so mellow and laid-back, that’s really the whole vibe of it, and it works because its Rie Fu and this is the type of music she does and can pull off like no one else. I always enjoy her more down-tempo tracks because they really create a mood, and make you feel so strongly whatever emotion Rie Fu was trying to convey. 2cm, Ame no Hi ga Sukitte Omotte Mitai, Tsuki no Ue (Jamming Version) and Life is Like a Boat is perfect examples of that. I really enjoyed I So Wanted the English and Japanese intertwined to make a song that really tugs at the heart strings, in much the same way that decay and Shine does, which just stands out on this album and reminds me of how I want the people I care about most to succeed in life, and always love themselves, because its the same thing that I want from myself. Rie Fu isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, some people may find her slow and sure approach to her music a bore, but not me. I love music that I can feel, and that is what Rie Fu does, she makes music that I can feel, every time.

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