Konna ni Chikaku de… (So Close…)
Anata no Soba de (By Your Side)
きっと永遠に Kitto Eien ni (Certainly Eternally)
I WANNA BE
The album starts off with the rather grandiose Konna ni Chikaku de… (So Close…). I was a little too in love with this song when it first came out, I still kind of am. I love how grand the arrangement is, its so classical and is definitely different from anything I’ve ever heard from Kuri. The way it opens the song is just love. Kuri-chan’s vocals are a bit hit or miss on the other hand. I actually really like Kuri’s voice, but I don’t know, lately she’s been sounding a bit like she’s losing her voice. I did enjoy how she got into the song, and from a certain point of view she gave a pretty strong vocal performance especially when she hit that note towards the end: ‘i’m so in love with you!’ which is my favorite part of the song. This was a great opening to the album.
The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Dream World. I use to really dislike this song, and honestly I can’t really say why. I think it was because I just didn’t like how pop friendly it was, I don’t know. It does have a dabble of rnb in it, though it sounds a bit tribal if you ask me. I mean its pretty interesting and does go with the whole flow of the song. Kuri sounded a lot content in this song and I really liked her casual vocal performance, she sounded not so losing her voice in this track. Its a pretty upbeat song, that has a nice catchy chorus and I think its really grown on me.
The next track is the slow and sure Anytime. Oh, I really like this song. Its light rnb and just plays so nice. The arrangement is typical for a song like this, but its very fitting and I like how it seems to wash over you. Kuri’s vocals were all right, though I didn’t too much like it I still thought she did a good job, emotion wise. This is a new sound, rnb wise from her and I like it. It gives you a rather desperate feeling in regards to loving someone.
The next track on the album is Anata no Soba de (By Your Side). I use to really dislike this song, I mean there was just something about it that I didn’t quite like. I’m starting to think it was the video, though I guess its because its sounded so different from what I was use to hearing from her and it kind a threw me off. This sounds like a more tamer version of ‘Konna ni…’ and the arrangement is lot more upbeat, less classical sounding and more rnb and pop. I liked it. Kuri’s vocals were pretty good in this, I really enjoyed the chorus it was a lot of fun, though I don’t think that was the intention. It just really makes me want to sing along to someone I’m interested in. I mean compared to the last track, this gives you a certain hopeful feeling in regards to love.
The next track on the album is the charming Cherish. This is hands down my favorite song on the album, I loved it then and I still love it now. The arrangement is a rather nice piano piece, it sounds sparkly and seems to just flow. Kuri’s vocals were near perfect on this song, I mean I loved the verses and most definitely the chorus. I mean its an rnb song but it has a sort of class to it, that her old rnb tracks didn’t have. It seems a lot more adult and I liked how it sounded like she was really telling you how she felt about whoever this guy is that she’s missing. I mean she put the right amount of emotion into her voice and it really made this a good listen, one of her best songs.
The next track on the album keeps the slow jams coming with STILL. This is the Japanese version of As One and though I like this song the English version is a bit better in my opinion. The arrangement is sad and intimate at the same time, I really like it and it goes so well with the whole flow of the song. Kuri-chan’s vocals were good as well, but she strains a lot and its almost ridiculous in a sense because this song doesn’t really ask for much. Still, this is a good down-tempo song from her and seems to be a part of this classy rnb she had going for her with this album.
The next track on the album is the whimsical Butterfly’s Garden. This song always seems to play like an interlude to me and maybe if it had I would have liked it. I really want to like this song so bad, because its not a bad song, it just doesn’t really offer much. The arrangement is gorgeous and if it had been a straight instrumental I would have most likely enjoyed it more. Kuri-chan’s vocal performance really ruins this song, she strains way too much and for a song that should offer some sort of emotional intensity it really falls flat. I always think this song is going to grow on me, but it never does.
The next track on the album is the power ballad きっと永遠に Kitto Eien ni (Certainly Eternally). I always find myself flip-flopping with this song, when I first heard it I hated it, listened to it again and I found myself actually liking it, now I’m just sort of ‘meh’ about it. The arrangement is gorgeous and creates such atmosphere, its Kuri’s vocals that make this song so hit or miss. I just really hate how strained her voice sounds during those higher parts of the chorus, it just makes me wonder if she’s losing her voice or something, because she did not sound like this in Call Me Miss…. I don’t know, I’m on the fence with this track, but I don’t like it at the moment.
The next track on the album thankfully ups the pace with ESCALATOR. This is definitely the most refreshing song on this album and one I find I always enjoy on each and every listen of it. The arrangement is a bit on the techno side, perhaps synth? It manages to carry an edge an attitude to it though despite being pretty upbeat and rnb-ish. Kuri’s vocals were a bit fine in this, if she strained I hardly noticed.
The next track on the album is the throw-back sounding Sugar Rain. This is definitely old school rnb, though light, I really love the sound of it. The arrangement seemed to really reflect the title, I mean I kept thinking of sparkling rain falling from the sky and tasting like sugar and Kuri-chans: ‘sugar rain is falling down’ doesn’t help much with that imagery. I thought her vocal performance was pretty good, the song doesn’t ask for much so her vocals didn’t strain as much or at all really. This is a nice song.
The next track on the album is the tinkling I WANNA BE. I mean that as in, it has this tinkle melody sound that is strangely fitting. Just like ‘butterfly’s garden’ I really want to like this song, but I can’t. The arrangement is fine, its Kuri’s vocals that ruin this track. She sounds like she needs a lozenge and those backing vocals are tired. This song is all right in a sense, but it annoys me like no other song from her has managed to do before and it just boggles my mind.
The next track on the album is Lonely Girl. The latter half of this album tends to drag, but next to ‘escalator’ I’ve always liked this song a lot. The arrangement is rnb, I can’t even really say its pop, because its not, it some sort of hybrid dance rnb or something–the arrangement is different but it really fits the song. I liked Kuri’s vocals in this song, she seemed to really get into this and I didn’t notice any strain. I always enjoy this song when I listen to it, most notably the chorus.
The second to last track on the album is the long-winded Midnight Highway. This is quite possibly the only song on this album that I really dislike. I’ve stated before how much I loath songs with ‘midnight’ in the title and well I can add another one to my list. The arrangement is generic throwaway pop and rnb and how cliche was the motorcycle starting up at the start of the song? Kuri’s vocals are near ear-bleed inducing and I’m honestly not getting why her tones are so off, when she got into the song–for reasons that are beyond me–and started ad-libbing and hitting those ‘i need a cough drop bad’ notes I wanted to click the song off. I just really don’t like this song and this is definitely one of my least favorite Kuri-chan tracks.
The next track on the album is the strain fest Last Kiss. I still like this song though, imagine that. I think I heard trumpets in the arrangement, if so, very nice. I love the old school feel of this song and how it gives off a very nostalgic and charming atmosphere. Kuri did not give her best vocal performance, but I’m sure she did the best she could. I mean its glaring, but I like the song so I’ll overlook it. The only other really problem I had with this track aside from Kuri’s vocals is that this song seemed a bit long and that kind of dragged it down, because I found myself becoming anxious for it to end. Nice song, not the best album closer.
Rating: ** stars
Crystal Kay’s seventh album ALL YOURS was a pretty decent album, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to her previous album Call Me Miss…. I thought it was nice how she let go of the heavy rnb sound and went for a more lighter approach in concerns to the genre. It made the songs as well as the album seem and sound very mature, and it was a welcome and rather different listen from what I was use to listening to from her. However, Kuri-chan’s vocals are the worst I have ever heard and most of the time she sounded like her voice was going out and it was all rather painful and ruined some potentially good songs. The first half of the album blew me away, it was good song after good song, then after ‘butterfly’s’ garden’ the album seems to slip into something else entirely and the second half became pretty much hit or miss for me. ALL YOURS is still a good album though, its actually her most experimental album to date–well Color Change! as well, but I haven’t listened to that fully so I can’t really comment. I wish she would take more advantage of this specific sound and maybe her next studio album will be even more of an enjoyable listen.