24 -twenty four- is the third album released by Sowelu. The album became her highest charting, peaking at #3, however, it also saw lower sales than her past two albums as it only sold 84,000 copies. The singles were more successful as a whole as three of the four were top 20 hits. Surprisingly, one of the singles was not featured on the here.
Released: July 12, 2006
1. Dear friend
2. Crazy for you
3. Mamoru Beki Mono (守るべきもの; Shall Be Protected)
5. smile again
9. Let’s go faraway
10. Kimi no Kehai (君の気配; Your Sign)
11. without you
13. to YOU
The album opens with its last and most popular single, Dear friend (#19 / 23,000). This is a bit different from her other A-sides as it doesn’t have any R&B influences and is an upbeat pop song with rock elements. To me, it’s not my cup of tea. I do like the energy that it gives, but the fact that Sowelu has done some stronger pop tunes that were much catchier, this just comes off a bit lackluster. It doesn’t really take me into the album like her ‘Do You Remember That?’ did.
Crazy for you is definitely cooler as it has a really funky guitar going on. The pop/rock sound is still present here, which I’m not too happy about as I think Sowelu works best with R&B. The verses are decent, but nothing particularly interesting, while the chorus isn’t much better. It’s just a lackluster pop/rock tune that comes off really generic but average.
Mamoru Beki Mono was used as a theme to a Pokemon movie and it is the album’s first ballad. It’s a full-fledged piano ballad and I really like how it starts off. It has a really sentimental feel to it. The chorus isn’t as strong as I feel like the English parts sort of ruin things a bit. It is better than the other two songs, but it does drag on a bit by the end.
tomorrow brings things back to the pop/rock sound but this one comes off like an album filler from Avril Lavigne’s first album. I do like qualities of it, but it just lacks a punch. The songs keeps a consistent feeling throughout and I feel like it really needs something to elevate it. Sowelu does sound nice here though and it is one of the stronger pop/rock songs.
smile again has some folk qualities to it and I do like that it stands out. The pop/rock influences are there, but it isn’t as strong as there is a nice violin to help offset the guitars. I feel like this song wouldn’t be bad for someone like YUI, but it needs to elevated. The chorus just doesn’t push things hard enough and plays too much on soft and sweet.
When I saw the title for DANCE, I was expecting something more…well…dance. Unfortunately, this is yet another lackluster pop/rock song. I think Sowelu’s vocals can actually fit this style really well and the melodies are decent, but the songs just don’t push it far enough. The music doesn’t have any impact and this song just comes off as forgettable.
Flyer is more relaxed and focuses on the acoustic guitar. It’s more on the midtempo side, which is a nice change, but it is another tune that doesn’t particularly impress me. The music doesn’t really go anywhere and Sowelu’s vocals don’t give me any kind of emotion.
cry is another acoustically focused track, but this one actually has something going for it with its gentle vibe and R&B beat. It might not be the best song, but at least it brings something different. Sowelu’s sweet vocals really work nicely here.
Finally, we come to Let’s go faraway (#64 / 9,400), the album’s first single. This is literally the album’s saving grace because we get a sparkling summer pop tune that is insanely catchy and has a lot of fun energy to it. It’s one of my favourite Sowelu songs and it is easy to get sucked into it. It has such a positive feel to it that the hooks really work wonderfully here. The music is bright and explosive and help to push this feeling.
Kimi no Kehai is a pop ballad that finally brings something different as well. The verses aren’t bad as they featured a variety of instruments that come flying in. The chorus is a bit generic and doesn’t quite hit the spot. I really wish the music had some punch to it as the music stays so quiet that I wonder what its doing. Not her strongest ballad.
without you is another slow song, but this time we have a nice return of R&B Sowelu. This song sounds like something that would have been featured on her last album and I’m quite happy because it is a decent song. I just wish the chorus had a stronger hook as I don’t think I’ll come back to this song that much, but it is nice to hear something that has a bit of punch in its music.
Not quite sure what to think of Pride. It definitely has that pop/rock sound, but it has a more aggressive side to it that isn’t present in the other pop/rock songs on this album. It definitely reminds me of something from Avril Lavigne, which I’m happy about. That is, until the chorus hits, where things turn a bit more pop. I wish it kept being aggressive and darker because it helped it stand out. It’s not bad though.
to YOU (#20 / 13,000) was the album’s second single (as Get Over was not included) and is a full-fledged pop ballad. I didn’t like this song that much at first because I thought it was boring, but it has grown on me a lot. The melody is something that would have been heard on her second album and the hooks are much stronger here than on any other ballad on this album. The chorus also has a lot of punch thanks to the music, which is what I was looking for.
Overall: This is so weird because I do not know what happened. Sowelu’s last album was very strong and had some amazing tracks. This has maybe two. Instead of going her usual pop/R&B route, she switched to pop/rock, which was an odd change. I think it is great when a singer experiments with their sound, but this just didn’t sound like a Sowelu album and the songs were just much weaker. They weren’t terrible, just average and didn’t have anything particular interesting about them. I can’t remember what most of the songs sounded like.