Single Review: Yuna Ito – “Let it Go”

Tracklist:
1. Let it Go
2. Happy Days
3. Let it Go (Instrumental)
4. Happy Days (Instrumental)

Yuna Ito’s 14th single was released on November 11, 2009 It reached #36 on Oricon and sold 2,858 copies. The A-side was used as a theme song for the film 天使の恋 (Tenshi no Koi).

Looking very Lee Hyori there, Yuna. But classy. I like the classy.

~

I was pleasantly surprised by Let it Go – it has a nice rockish feel, but in a less poppy, more folk-y way. This is pretty different from the bulk of Yuna Ito’s singles so it took a play or two for me to wrap my head around the idea. The nice acoustic guitars are sound really pleasant and breezy, and Yuna’s voice is pretty strong, although it sounds a bit too diva to mesh with the music 100%. On the whole I felt this song was a nice change of pace, and I prefer it almost completely over some of Yuna’s other songs, like Koi wa groovyx2.

Happy Days plays with a more upbeat pop feel, with a clapping rhythm, layers of guitars and some piano too. The English lyrics felt kind of random, but that’s neither here nor there. I especially liked the strings that come during and after the chorus because they’re very uplifting. The vocals during the verse aren’t anything special but they really shine during the chorus. My only real bone to pick with this song is how it ends on a sort of random lyric, but I’m not too bothered by it since I think Happy Days is something of an improvement over Yuna’s other B-sides.

Summary: When Yuna Ito tries to do upbeat, it normally is a hit-or-miss affair, and I think this one actually works on all the levels that matter. Both songs combine pleasant arrangements and vocals that are nice, though not spectacular. It’s clear that Yuna is trying to break away from her perceived image as a “ballad singer” by experimenting with new genres, and I think that’s natural. Whether or not Let it Go‘s type of soft rock will become Yuna’s new niche remains to be seen, but I’d like to see her to some more searching. You’re getting there, Yuna!

Single Grade: B+

Album Review: Yuna Ito – “DREAM”

 Tracklist:
 1. love you
 2. 今でも会いたいよ...(Ima demo Aitai yo…; I Still Miss You…)
3. Brand New World
 4. 恋はgroovy×2
 (Koi wa groovy x2; Love is Groovy Groovy)
5.
trust you
 6. BAILA BAILA
 7. BREEEEEZIN!!!!!!!
 8. miss you
 9. LOVE MACHINE GUN
 10. No one else
 11. Body

Yuna Ito’s third album, Dream, was released on May 27, 2009. The album reached number 4 on the Oricon daily chart.

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Single Review: Yuna Ito – “trust you”

Yuna Ito’s thirteenth single, trust you, was released on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. Promotion for this single includes the A-side as the second ED for the popular anime Gundam 00 S2. The single peaked at #5 on the Oricon Weekly Chart.

If Yuna Ito had not already proven to us that she can sing, she has now. trust you, a grandiose love ballad, features her best vocal performance since Precious in 2006, her 2nd best-selling single to date. Yuna’s voice soars over simple piano and R&B beats, as well as additional strings during the chorus. Adding to the pristine beauty of this song are the lyrics, which speak of love, peace, and of course, trust. One of the more unique aspects of this song are the small, disembodied vocals that show up sporadically throughout the song, which, while pretty in and of themselves, add to the power of Yuna’s voice. To cap off this section of the review, I simply cannot overstate the brilliance of this song. It is Yuna’s best in a while.

Brand New World is very cute, if not a tiny bit mediocre. The beat is bouncy, the synths are vibrant, and the whole thing basically sounds like a gigantic throwback to bubblegum pop of the late 90s and early 2000s. The lyrics aren’t all that special, except for the random English which, thanks to Ito being a native speaker, sounds perfect and not awkward at all. After listening to it a couple times, this song sounds kind of like something that would be done by KOTOKO or Tamaki Nami. It’s basically the musical equivalent of empty calories – enjoyable and sweet at the time, but ultimately holding no true nutritional value.

No Yuna Ito single is complete without a totally boring, unnecessary remix. Koi wa groovy x2: DJ Passion More Passion Remix has very little to offer that’s different from the original, which itself is a perfectly good song. Thankfully, this remix is very short – mercifully short – at 3:42, which makes it worth listening to just to get it out of the way.

trust you – Gundam 00 Version – is exactly what the title says it is; it’s the TV version of the A-side that you can hear in the ED. It’s pretty, short, and sweet. Nothing much else to it. The final song on the single is trust you -instrumental-, which need not be explained.

Summary: Fantastic A-side, decent B-side, bad remix. The former two cancel out the latter, so when you add them all up you’ve got one of Yuna Ito’s better singles in recent memory. It’s really a shame that this release had such a lackluster chart performance, but in comparison to some of her other much less popular singles (Koi wa groovy x2, あなたがいる限り~A World to Believe In~), it’s really not so bad. Anyway, highly recommended.

Single Grade: A