Crystal Kay debuted at the young age of 13. Although she didn’t initially find success, it slowly came to her over the years and she was able to score a few huge singles. Her songs are primarily pop tunes with touches of R&B here and there, largely from the influence of her mixed background, which allowed her to gain a strong grasp of both English and Japanese. C.L.L CRYSTAL LOVER LIGHT is her debut album and was released when she was just fourteen. It was preceded by three singles and another was released on the day of the album’s release. The album peaked at #60 on the charts and only sold around 20,000.
Released: March 23, 2000
1. Interlude P.P.P
2. Eternal Memories
3. Komichi no Hana (こみちの花; Flower of the Lane)
4. More Lovin’
5. TEENAGE UNIVERSE ~Chewing Gum Baby
6. Let’s Suika Dorobo (レッツすいかどろぼう)
7. Taka Taka Taka (タカ・タカ・タカ)
8. Darling P.P.P. (ダーリンP.P.P.)
9. Today Friend the Decoration Cake Kau Kau GO (トゥデー・フレンド・ザ・デコレーションケーキ・かうかう・GO)
10. Tsurenai Guitar (つれないギター; Unfriendly Guitar)
11. Papa Donpi (パパどんピ)
12. Rainy Blue Day
13. C’mon Baby
14. Shadows of Desire
Interlude P.P.P opens things up with a pretty cool intro. At first, it comes off a bit creepy with its heavy beat and airy vocals, but once the melody comes in it gets more interesting. It also does a good job flowing right into Eternal Memories, Crystal’s debut single. This is one of my favourite songs from her. It’s a really ethereal and laid back R&B tune. I love the beat that comes in under the gentle touches of guitar and piano. The ending is really cool as well, as some background vocals come popping in to give the song a dreamier sound. Great! Komichi no Hana was the third single and it has a completely different sound, with things going a bit more on the rock route. The song is really explosive and has a cool guitar riff to get things going. Crystal also sounds pretty good here, but I’m not a fan of the melody. It just doesn’t have the same impact as the music. More Lovin’ brings us back to the R&B sound. It really reminds me of something from the late 90’s in the US (and it’s all in English). The great beat tied with the dreamy background vocals really create a stunning combination. I do find that Crystal’s vocals are a bit weak here and she isn’t as sure of herself. Also, she is singing a lot of risque stuff for being only 14, so it is a bit uncomfortable. Not bad if you can get over it. TEENAGE UNIVERSE ~Chewing Gum Baby was released as the second single and brings us something a bit more upbeat. Besides the parts where Crystal is singing “chewing gum baby”, the rest of the song is pretty cool. The verses are really unpredictable and I like the distortion in her voice. The chorus isn’t as hard hitting as I would want it to be, but it is definitely catchy. There are some pretty stand out parts though. Let’s Suika Dorobo is a super robotic styled song. The music is more ethereal, but the vocals are really distorted. I think it’s a pretty cool affect to have and it really fits thing style of song. It’s not that catchy, but I do like the overall feel that the song gives off. Taka Taka Taka is like a cool mix of blues and hip-hop put together. I really like how different it sounds and the music is pretty wicked. I don’t think the melody is the strongest, but there is a nice relaxing vibe to the whole song and Crystal’s voice sounds great here. Darling P.P.P is a nice relaxing R&B/pop tune. It’s not the most exciting sounding song on the album, but the song does have a charming quality to it. I just don’t quite like how they say P.P.P as it does sound a bit weird, but I don’t know the context. Besides that, the song is really nice and Crystal belts it out a bit. Despite her young age, she really pulls it off. Today Friend the Decoration Cake Kau Kau GO is a short and interesting acoustic tune. It’s quite different from the rest of the album with its summery sound. I think it’s a nice change, but it’s not really that strong of a song. There are some cool parts to it though like Crystal’s voice and the harmonies. It’s interesting. Tsurenai Guitar continues the acoustic sound, but makes things a bit darker. It’s too bad it is only an interlude because it really sounds great and Crystal’s voice sounds really great here. I don’t really know how to describe Papa Donpi. It’s a huge change in styles with its strong upbeat country sound. It has some really interesting ideas all blended together with the music. Soaring string-like synths, strong percussion and the touch of electric guitar. I actually quite like it though. Even though it is a big change, there is something really cool about it. The chorus is especially nice with the unpredictable melody. Rainy Blue Days is a nice bluesy tune that is sung entirely in English. I really like the deep bassline that comes popping in. The melody is surprisingly nice and works well with Crystal’s voice. However, I do find that Crystal doesn’t quite sound mature enough to really pull the song off. It’s a pretty good tune though. C’mon Babe is the first upbeat dance tune in a long time. I really like the slight disco influence it has and despite the music being quite bare at times, everything comes together nicely. I wish Crystal’s voice was a bit stronger as there are times where she does sound unsure of herself. Maybe the current-age Crystal could pull it off better. With that said, it’s a cute tune. Shadows of Desire ends the album on a really interesting note. The song has some really big transitions. It goes from something calmer before exploding with energy for the chorus. I quite like the chorus because the melody is in-your-face and the distortion on the vocals really works great with the crazy arrangement. For the final single, it was a nice surprise.
Overall: I was a bit worried at how I would enjoy this album, however, there are some pretty solid album tracks on here. I do find that a bit of the material is too mature for Crystal at the time, so the innocence in her voice comes out quite a few times, which doesn’t lend itself well to certain songs. With that said, there were some really cool songs and a lot of different kinds of sounds. I do wish there were a few more songs that really stood out there as were only a few I would revisit often.