YOU was JUJU’s 4th studio album. It was released on July 13, 2011 and debuted at no. 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 111,560 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 183,048+ copies.
1. Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo
2. Sayonara no Kawari ni
7. Love again
9. Piece Of Our Days
10. Trust In You
11. Mata Ashita…
I like JUJU as much as the next artist, but for me, only a few songs ever stick out and draw me in. I like some of JUJU’s songs, but for the majority of them, I could care less. Sometimes when I review some of her material, it feels like pulling teeth. The only singles I’ve reviewed from her are the ones that I like. Why am I reviewing this album though? I really have no clue why. I figured I might as well since it did reach no. 1. Just a note though, I expect this review to be somewhat condensed, so let’s see if it turns out that way!
So maybe the reason why I don’t care for most of JUJU’s material is because most of her work is jazz, not all, but it was her main genre IMO. That being said, this album features a good amount of jazz in it, or the songs have a jazz arrangement (which isn’t bad, have you heard anything from Request?).
The album has a ton of ballads, just how many you ask? A lot, time for the breakdown. First up is Kono Yoru wo Tomete yo, which was released as the first single of the album. It’s a fairly good ballad, has a slight jazz arrangement, but it’s mostly classical (strings, piano, slight beats etc.). It sounds pretty happy, especially compared to Sayonara no Kawari ni. It’s one of my personal favorites from JUJU (especially the remix), but it sounds very sad. It’s a bit more modern than your typical ballad, but just as good. The one thing I really loved were her vocals, she shows that she’s got some great singing chops. Tsuyogari on the other hand is much more of a classical ballad (it does feature a guitar though). The arrangement and sound is completely different from Negai though. Both are very enjoyable though. Piece of Our Days is more laid-back than the others though. It has more of a jazz arrangement (along with some acoustics) than the previous ballads, it’s a lot more relaxing and soothing. Out of all of the ballads though, Trust In You was probably my favorite. It’s a ballad, but it has more of an R&B sound, and it’s by far more catchy, and more up-tempo. SO MANY BALLADS, but there are only three left, so let’s finish this! Mata Ashita… was released as the album’s final single. It’s more of your traditional ballad, classical in arrangement and very calm. I personally don’t care much for ANTIQUE. It’s just a really long ballad, over 7 minutes! That being said, I can appreciate it because it sounds so raw and emotional. The FINAL ballad on the album is the title track YOU. It’s not a bad ballad either. It was actually really good, once you gave it a good listen. I liked the use of the organ and guitar, such a contrast was excellent. It’s a little on the long side, but not a bad song overall.
So those were the 9 ballads, time for the songs that weren’t ballads! I was debating how to label If, IMO it’s more of mid-tempo jazz song (bordering on a ballad, but a bit too hip). It’s not a bad song necessarily, it’s just not my type. Voice is by far faster, and I LOVE IT! Granted it has a classical flare, the strings are the primary instrument along with some beats, but it’s still a nice song. As for Love again, it’s pretty laid-back. You could say it’s a ballad, but I feel like it sticks out more than a ballad. It has more of an R&B feel with it, well, more than the other ballads. Her vocals really shine through in this song, and it goes well with the music. The most unique song on the entire album is Memories. It has it’s own sound, it’s pretty damn good. Besides all of the synth, it features some great distortions and some additional programming (you’ll hear what I mean). It’s by far one of the catchier songs on the album.
I certainly don’t hate any of JUJU’s works, there’s nothing that’s annoying or overly obnoxious, but to be honest, I just don’t care for this album all that much. Three quarters of the songs were ballads. And I don’t have a problem with ballads, but if you’re going to have so many ballads, make them outstanding and memorable. Whenever Hikki released ballads, they sounded different yet memorable. And there was only one real song that I liked out of the songs that were ballads. I honestly like JUJU, but I just don’t like the majority of her work. I wouldn’t say that this album is bad, but it’s mostly average with a few extraordinary songs (few being the keyword). On a positive note, I can see this album selling more than her previous studio album, it’s also her first studio album to debut at no. 1 on the weekly charts.