Aragaki Yui – Sora

by oroitsme on July 30, 2008 · 5 comments · AddThis

Aragaki Yui
Aragaki Yui promoting Sora
Artist: Aragaki Yui
Product code: WPZL-30074/10446
Release date: 2007.12.05
Highest Ranking: #3
Label: Warner Music
Limited Edition: no DVD, lower price

Okinawa-born Aragaki Yui started off her career by winning a contest with and becoming a model of Nicola magazine. Nicknamed Gakki, she became increasingly popular while dabbling in gravure, television, and acting. In 2005, she graduated from the magazine and focused more on her acting, even appearing in popular, high-profile dramas like Dragon Zakura and My Boss My Hero.

In 2007, she debuted her singing by contributing the song “Memories” for her movie Koisuru Madori. Later that year, she played the main role of Mika in the movie Koizora and contributed the theme song “heavenly days.” The movie debuted to terrific success and made her into one of the most popular actresses of her age. It was announced that Aragaki Yui would officially debut as a singer by releasing her first album, Sora. The album did well, selling over 100,000 copies and well into 2008.

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

1. heavenly days

“heavenly days” is the ballad theme of Koizora – the movie is the main focus of the promotional video. The song starts off with a simple synth piano melody that is joined by guitar, a slow beat, and orchestra. Yui’s voice starts off thin and breathy, almost sounding like crying, but gains power in the first chorus as the song also gains momentum. As a whole, the song is terrific – the simple instrumentation complement the melancholy power ballad and Yui’s voice, which although thin, hits all the notes on spot and emotionally.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

2. Orange

“Orange” shifts the mood into a more high spirited mood with a mid tempo pop rock song. The tune is nice and the sound is pleasant. Yui’s voice sounds a bit weaker in this song, sometimes failing to match the excitement of the song, but does a good job for the most part. Overall, “Orange” is well done; it’s upbeat and fun.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

3. Hi no Kageru Oka

The tension of the level lowers again when “Hi no Kageru Oka” starts with a hauntingly melancholic synth melody. This is a ballad, but much more mellow than “heavenly days.” Tune-wise, the song isn’t as challenging and is a little monotone at parts, but Yui’s vocals are good in here. The song is pleasant although it isn’t very special or particularly memorable.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

4. Memories

“Memories” is the song used for Koisuru Madori. It is another ballad with piano, guitar, and orchestral, and there’s something that sounds like a ukulele too. It has a sweet tune that Yui sings in a middling register, and her voice sounds very clear. It’s very low tension and has a swingy, catchy tune.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

5. Hikari

“Hikari” lowers the tension even more with an acoustic guitar ballad. Yui’s voice sounds fairly strong here, even with the higher notes, although it retains her distinct breathiness. The addition of orchestral strings and a very slow beat fill out the song so that it sounds complete without being overpowered by the instrumentals.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

6. Sign of the moon ~interlude~

“Hikari” smoothly flows into “Sign of the moon ~interlude~”, a quiet,melancholy ballad interlude of the same instrumentation style the rest of the album has used. A melody is provided through a flute through the later part of the song, but mostly is just piano, guitar, and orchestra. It’s a pretty sounding song, but it doesn’t bear much of a purpose as an interlude. The song could easily have been sung vocally or omitted and it would not have caused differences in flow and structure of the album.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

7. Starlight

“Starlight” stars the album off anew with a brisk piano refrain and a snappy beat. The song takes quite awhile to really get started, but when it does gain its power it has a wonderful piano-based instrumental. However, Yui’s already fairly weak voice sounds worse than usual, lacking energy and sounding raspy. Despite the name of the sun, her tired vocals are overpowered by the strong and energetic melody and never really lives up to the excitement the instrumentals promised.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

8. Pairing

Still on the high from “Starlight” but slowed a bit, “Pairing” is a jumpy midtempo. Yui’s vocals have recovered from the lapse in the last song; her voice is stronger and she sounds crisp and clear again. The song is cheerful and has a really catchy tune.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

9. Ai wo Shiritakute

Again, the ballad returns. The song starts with a wistful tune in the lower registers paired with almost no instrumentals; it sounds nice for the most part, but she can’t seem to quite reach the lowest note. However, the chorus is sweet and heartfelt and sounds great. The entire song is very simply accompanied.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

10. Sora

“Sora” starts off with a gorgeous synth and piano sequence that turns into a fairly cheerful mid-tempo ending to the album. Yui’s vocals are pretty spot-on, and the song itself is fairly catchy. It ends the album on a good note.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Conclusion: Sora has very similar instrumentation and style for every song on the album. Probably because there were no singles that needed to be compiled into this album, it sounds like a concept album. Aragaki Yui’s voice isn’t that strong, but she seems to have defined mellow pop as her genre of choice – and luckily, the slow and soft songs she mostly choose to sing work very well with her vocals. Only a few songs in Sora are standout songs, but there is enough variance so that the songs do not at all sound repetitive.

As a whole, this debut album sets a great mood that lasts beautifully throughout the whole ten tracks. Since Aragaki Yui is a well-known actress and model, I did not expect that her music would be as intricately crafted as it is and was pleasantly surprised that it highlighted her voice so well. Sora is a great album with beautifully arranged songs that mesh well into each other.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Regular Edition
Regular Edition
Limited Edition
Limited Edition

CD Tracklist

  1. heavenly days
  2. Orange
  3. Hi no Kageru Oka
  4. Memories
  5. Hikari
  6. Sign of the moon ~interlude~
  7. Starlight
  8. Pairing
  9. Ai wo Shiritakute
  10. Sora

DVD Tracklist

  1. heavenly days PV
  2. heavenly days PV Making Of

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Related Posts:

  1. YUI – Good-bye days YUI is a Japanese pop artist who writes and plays the guitar to her own songs. She debuted in December of 2004 with the single "Its happy line" though it wasnt until her 4th single "LIFE", which was used for the ending theme for the popular anime bleach, that she became a popular household name.......

About the author

oroitsme loves Japanese music and loves writing about them, both here and at her other blog, She likes a variety of j-pop, from Johnny's like NEWS and Arashi to female artists like Otsuka Ai and Perfume to rock bands like chatmonchy and a picking of everything in between, and hopes you can enjoy them with her.

{ 1 trackback }

[Blogs] Channel-Ai on Aragaki Yui’s Sora | International Wota UNITED STATES
August 1, 2008 at 7:03 am

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

RabbiT_RedBlackWhite THAILAND February 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

(T-T) —–> (^-^)

Reply

RabbiT_RedBlackWhite THAILAND February 5, 2011 at 9:49 am

Excellent Album . (^-^) it’s Cool… Nice song. Aragaki san. I Love japanese song.

Reply

Isahito INDONESIA December 19, 2008 at 9:54 am

Good Album…
Nice song…
and beautiful voice…

You know… the song “Memories” can bring me back to the lovely past…

And for the “Sora”.. the song make quite surprise… it’s cool…

Well… Wish the best for you and this album ^^

Reply

remblue UNITED STATES August 1, 2008 at 10:30 am

Nice review of the Sora album <3 I overall enjoyed the album and it’s flow Some of the songs as you stated are a bit weaker than others. But in all it’s a good album ^_^ I hope that you follow up with a review on her debut single =D

Reply

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: