Ai to Yume no ai da de
Girl Standing Strong
A Ballad Of My Own
I gotta -Winter Kiss-
LOVE ~tsunaida te~
The album starts off with the fresh and heavy in rnb Drive. I really enjoyed listening to this song, it just hit the hammer right on the nail. I didn’t expect it to go the route it did, maybe I was expecting her to be talking about driving her car, but of course the double meaning was evident. The arrangement is very typical for a rnb song like this, but it so works. Emi’s vocals had the right amount of attitude to really get her point across, ‘you are the worst driver I met’ and it may sound strange, but I know exactly what she’s talking about. At one point in the song she says something that sounded like the, ‘just kickin’ it’ line from Xscape’s early single of the same name, it was a nice touch. This was a very good and memorable start to the album.
The next track on the album is the the mix between down and mid-tempo Ai to Yume no ai da de. I actually expected this to be a full blown ballad, but she once again proved me wrong. The arrangement is nice, once again its rnb heavy and I really like that, made it so much more lovely to listen to even if it doesn’t do much to separate itself. Rnb has a very distinct sound, which is why at the end of the day no matter how hard you try, it all seems to sound the same. Emi’s vocals were top-notch in this, she really got into the song going as far as to hit a high note, that was pretty darn good. Its like it keeps getting better, and she’s–on track two, mind you–really beginning to impress me.
The next track on the album is the down-tempo FOR U. This song is beautiful and so true it makes my heart ache. The arrangement is so sparkly and light, but retains the prevalent edge of rnb. It went so perfectly with this song. Emi’s vocals were so lovely, I must admit, especially when she started ad-libbing during the chorus’ and her voice went deep. It was just so emotional, like she was feeling everything she was singing and it just really touched me. This is so far my favorite song by her. ‘So I sing this song for you, please feel the same way too, boy you know we belong together…’
The next track on the album ups the pace a bit with Ms. DJ. I actually really thought I wasn’t going to like this song, because I don’t really go for songs like this, but I found that I quite enjoyed it. The arrangement is very club, night-club-ish, its a bit experimental, techno-like, but it does work. Its pretty catchy and danceable to, though it plays like a trance mix or something. Emi’s vocal tones are deepened a bit to go along with the flow of the song, and she really brought a lot of personality to this track to make it interesting. This is the type of song that would either bore me to death, or un-impress me completely, it managed the complete opposite.
The next track on the album is the somewhat mid-tempo GLITTER. I didn’t too much like this song. After listening to the last four tracks, which I found that I enjoyed immensely, this track just comes across as very bland. It plays without being felt, and I would have ignored it completely but Emi’s voice is so loud for some reason in this song that you can’t possibly not listen, much to your brain and ears chagrin. I found it strange that she was straining during the high notes, when she was doing just fine on the earlier tracks. This song has potential, but its pretty underwhelming in my opinion.
The next track on the album is the oddly titled A×H×O. I wonder what that stands for exactly? I don’t know, but there’s a high probability that it stands for Emi leaving some loser, since she basically says that in the chorus. I liked this song A LOT… for obvious reasons. Go Emi! You tell him exactly what’s what!
The next track on the album is the synth-infused Boyfriend. The arrangement sounds very B2K, and I’m talking B2K Pandemonium sounding. It made this song a bit difficult to get through, because the arrangement sounded so dated, irritating and bland. Emi’s vocals still did this song a bit of justice, but this is just not a song I can see myself getting into, it just sounds so typical and unoriginal.
The next track on the album is the self-empowerment song Girl Standing Strong. This song is still very ‘blah’ to me, but I did like the self-assured direction it took. The arrangement is nothing special it sounded very airy, I kind of like that. Emi’s vocals were a bit powerful in this and you can tell she’s pretty into the song and into what she is saying. I mean this song is still not very stand-out, but I still found that I enjoyed it.
The next track on the album is the shocking Ame. Here I am thinking this is going to be some sort of ballad, but to my shock its a very sexual song. I mean I thought I was going crazy when she said: ‘go fast boy, go slow boy’ rinse and repeat. I thought: ‘is this a sexual song?’ I wasn’t sure yet, and then out of nowhere she says, ‘let’s make a baby’ and my doubt melted away. I loved this song, no surprise there. It really threw me through a loop in a good way. I wasn’t expecting to hear something like this from her, it was very racy… and appreciated.
The next track on the album is the inspiring tune A Ballad Of My Own. This song seemed much longer than its over four minutes running time, and by that I felt like the song was NEVER GOING TO END. Even so, I still liked this song a lot. I thought it showcased some strong and consistent vocals from Emi, and the arrangement though it played like air was… fitting, I can’t even remember it, wow. I always like songs like this, because I seem to always need to hear them.
The second to last track on the album is the seasonal I gotta -Winter Kiss-. This was the first song I heard by Emi, since I was browsing a blogging download site and got curious. After listening to this there was no doubt that I wanted to hear the rest, and well… there you go. This song isn’t as wowing now as it was a few days back when I first gave it a listen, but its still just as good. A nice wintry beat and good vocals from Emi.
The last track on the album is the rather moving LOVE ~tsunaida te~. I love when an artist leaves an album on a down-tempo or ballad track, and starts with an up-tempo or upbeat track. I thought this song was really nice, there were points where I felt that I wouldn’t like it, because I believe during the chorus Emi has this sort of duel vocal thing going on, and it sounds very off-key. Ignoring that however, you have a very nice little ballad, that’s sad but sweet at the same time.
Rating: *** stars
Emi Maria’s first album A Ballad of My Own is a really solid and good album. I mean she completely blew me away. I was a bit skeptical at first, but that’s because I didn’t want to get my hopes up and be let down. I wasn’t. Emi Maria sounds a bit like Crystal Kay, not completely, because she has her own distinct voice, but a lot of the time it sounded like I was listening to one of Kuri-chan’s earlier songs, and it was a bit nostalgic for me. Emi had a bit of variety on this album, but she mostly talked about love, or being through with love, I’m more for the latter, but I definitely enjoyed the love-oriented songs, because when you have it, its a good thing. I enjoyed a majority of the songs on here, they were really good, honestly, I had to stop a couple of times and listen to Drive and FOR U, and then go back to reviewing the album. The track that stood out the most honestly, because I wasn’t expecting it and I feel I have to bring this up, is Ame… just…wow. Emi has really impressed me and I definitely hope to hear more from her, seriously.