Yuna Ito [HEART] (First Album)

October 22, 2008

WORKAHOLIC
ENDLESS STORY
Losin’
Know-how
Precious
Tender is the Night
Fragile
Nobody Knows
Faith
Stay for Love
Truth
Perfume
Precious (Wedding Extended Version)

The first track on the album is the ultra generic WORKAHOLIC. Despite the fact that this song sounds like a throwback to the 70’s or something, I still find myself almost reluctantly liking it. The arrangement isn’t anything amazing, but it has such a fresh and crisp and exhilarating feel to it that makes it a good listen. Yuna’s vocals were pretty rich, I mean she actually sounded like she was enjoying the song and that really made me connect with it. ‘I’m a workaholic, i’ve got shine in my life!’ it makes no sense, but I suppose someone can relate to it. Not the best album opener, but it isn’t a bad song.

The next track on the album is one of my favorites ENDLESS STORY. This was actually the first song I ever heard from Yuna Ito, and my favorite for a long time. I just thought that everything about this song from the arrangement to the vocals were just majestic and gorgeous. This song is very wistful but inspiring at the same time, and I really just find myself loving it all the more every time I hear it.

The next track ups the pace a bit with losin’. This song has grown on me a lot, to the point that it is one of my favorite Yuna Ito songs. I love the energy in this song, Yuna’s vocals aren’t assertive but you can tell she is really into the song. Her vocal performance seemed genuine to me and not uninspired or bored, plus the arrangement stays very consistent, fresh and interesting. I love the whole message this song is trying to convey, I got a, we’re losin’ the love that we once had and you don’t seem to notice or care type vibe. I can definitely relate to this.

The next track is the very light Know-how. Every time I use to listen to this album, I use to find my dislike for this track growing. It just seemed so pointless and generic to me. This time around I’m not sure if I hate it as much as I once did. I do like how fresh and airy the arrangement is, even if it is very basic and doesn’t do much then what its suppose to do. I liked Yuna’s vocal performance as well, very light and crisp adding a nice appeal to this song that has always just gone over my head. I mean it’s generic filler material, true, but its… not a bad song, not entirely anyways.

The next track is the lukewarm Precious. Every time I hear this song I just want to gag. It takes itself entirely too serious and the delivery is as flat as it gets. I just can not possibly like this song, it is just way too long-winded. The arrangement is just very odd to me, it comes across as very washed out, and then Yuna’s vocals were awkward to me for some reason, and it made it seem like she was floundering. The song has a lot of potential, every thing is just lost in translation because this song is just so lank and impossible in its attempt to try to be some epic song of found love. I did like the hi note she hit towards the end though.

The next track is the gorgeous Tender is the Night. I really just love this song. When I first heard it I played it till I got physically ill listening to it. I haven’t listened to it for a while and it felt nice hearing it again and singing along to it. The arrangement has got just such a comforting vibe about it, a warmth that just encases you in a haze of love. It made me think of lying in front of a roaring fire with the one you love, drinking hot cocoa and watching the snow fall outside the window. I thought Yuna’s vocals in this song were lovely and sincere, and she brought such emotion and poignancy to this song to really make it felt.

The next track is the throw-back sounding Fragile. I felt the same way about this song that I did about Know-how, only difference is this song grew on me long ago, and I like it better. Its such a generic, baseless song, that is pure filler–but I do enjoy listening to it. I mean the arrangement isn’t anything to write home about of course, but the violin solos throughout were a nice touch since that’s my third favorite instrument. I thought Yuna’s vocals were nice as well for a song that really has nothing to offer but mindless enjoyment. Its a nice, carefree an easy-going song, so I take it for what it is.

The next track is the somewhat mid-tempo Nobody Knows. I do like this song in a sense, but its generic just like the majority of the tracks are on this album. The arrangement offers nothing and is just there because it of course has to be. I didn’t really care for Yuna’s vocals, even if they weren’t bad. This song is very ‘meh’ to me, but I like the ‘nobody knows’ (I come up with my own interpretations of that) and the songs is not as bad as it could of been.

The next track is the utter bore-fest Faith. Can a song possibly get any more boring? Yes, yes it can and that song is Faith by Yuna Ito. I always want to laugh when I hear this song (I only listen to it during full album playthroughs) but I can’t bring myself to because I’m too busy wishing I’d just go deaf. The arrangement is bland, and Yuna’s vocal performance was so uninspired and half-assed it blew my mind. I hate how the atmosphere of this song makes you think its going to be one incredible ballad, only to make you wish in the end that you had never bothered.

The next track ups the pace a bit with Stay for Love. I always expect a down-tempo track when I go into this song, and always find myself disappointed when I realize that’s it not. I think this song would have played better had the pace of it been more on the slower side. The arrangement is forgettable and generic, and Yuna’s vocals though good, are a bit irritating. I guess I have a love-hate relationship with this song, I did like it at one point and now I don’t really care for it. Its way too average, and not the good kind either.

The next track is the underwhelming Truth. Oh, I just want to gag. Could this possibly be worse than Precious? I don’t know, but its pretty damn close. I’m more inclined to like this song than its counterpart, because there’s more depth in Yuna’s voice and her performance seems more sincere. However, this song is really just the dullest and listening to it seriously makes me feel like my ears are bleeding. Its just that mediocre.

The last track on the album is the heart-warming Perfume. This song is really so average, and its like a desperate alternate version of Tender is the Night (because I got the same warm feeling from both songs) and at face value its not a very interesting or engaging song and has the tendency to become boring, but I love it. I really love the warm and full flow of the arrangement, and how sincere and emotional Yuna’s vocals are; ‘can’t forget my love for you, love for you, love for you’ always gets to me, and is pretty much the reason why I enjoy this song so much. It’s one of my favorites. I relate to it so bad.

We get a bonus track and that bonus track is: Precious -wedding extended ver.-. I knew this song had potential, and there you go. This song is a lot more sincere, and a whole lot more moving than its original version. I actually wouldn’t mind hearing it at my wedding.

-GRADE: C
Rating: *1/2 stars

Yuna Ito’s debut album HEART is as mediocre as it gets, seriously. I remember how excited I was when I first got my hands on this, having enjoyed her pre-HEART songs such as pureyes and ENDLESS STORY. Listening to it for the first time, I admit I was very biased, but as I gave it more listens I realized just how glaringly generic this album really is. Yuna Ito has such a good voice, and even though most of these tracks sound very throwback (and not your particularly good kind of throwback), she still had some pretty nice songs on here. I really enjoyed losin’, Tender is the Night, Perfume and the wedding version of Precious. Still, this album just doesn’t deliver much of anything, but moderately good and somewhat catchy songs with basic beats and slightly above average vocals. Unless of course we are talking about the ballad tracks such as Precious and Truth which are really just dull and boring. I always find myself extremely disappointed every time I listen to this album, because Yuna Ito could have done so much better, she certainly has the potential–but I have yet to see it, especially considering that I liked WISH even less. HEART is for Yuna Ito fans and I’m talking die-hard fans, who have it in their hearts to forgive her for this obvious lack in judgment. I’m not a die-hard Yuna fan, but I can forgive her. I’m one of the trickle of people who like this album more than her sophomore album–I don’t really know what it is, but I’ve grown fond of this album, and I don’t hate it half as much as I say I do. Go figure.

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