637 -always and forever- is the second album released by Crystal Kay. It showed a departure from the more indie sound of her debut by bringing something with a stronger pop/R&B sound. The album proved to be more successful than her debut as it peaked at #19 and sold 48,000 copies. It also featured a minor hit with single Ex-Boyfriend.
Released: August 22, 2001
1. Girl’s Night
2. interlude~my ex
5. He Will Be Mine
6. ANOTHER BEST THING
7. Guardian Angel
9. Honey Glue
10. Tsuki no Nai Yoru, Michi no Nai Basho (月のない夜 道のない場所; A Moonless Night, a Roadless Place)
11. Holiday Fighter
12. Couldn’t Care Less
13. LOST CHILD (Original Version)
Girl’s Night opens the album and it is a strong start. The album’s first single, this song really shows the change in the album’s sound as it is an upbeat R&B tune. The song really reminds me of early 00’s R&B songs, which I love listening to. It’s a catchy tune that has a strong pre-chorus. While the chorus is catchy, I do find it a bit dependent on the energy from the music to really give it that punch as the melody is a bit monotone. It’s a good tune though. interlude~my ex is pretty much just some guy on the phone talking about a girl. However, it brings us right into Ex-Boyfriend, which was the album’s second single. This song pretty much continues the sound of the last song, but ups it a bit as the chorus is more memorable and the beat is slower but more impacting. VERBAL from m-flo also comes in with a rap around the end. Crystal really shows off the versatility of her voice and it sounds great in this song, especially in the lower registers during the verses. My only complaint would be the length of the song, but it’s a great tune. CURIOUS is a nice change because it brings something a bit slower. The guitar in the backdrop really makes me think of something that Janet Jackson would to. I don’t think the song is as strong as the last two as the melody is a bit forgettable and the song doesn’t really bring a strong transition into the chorus, which makes me not even notice its introduction. It’s not bad though and there are some nice parts to it. He Will Be Mine reminds me more of something from the late 90’s. It is the most aggressive song up to this point, but I unfortunately don’t like it as much. It just sort of blasts along, but the music doesn’t really do the melody any justice. It just lacks a really strong push that brings that chorus to the next level. Crystal does sound good though. ANOTHER BEST THING is the most “pop” song up this point with its laid back guitar vibe. I was not expecting this after the last four songs, but it is a welcome change and Crystal’s vocals still sound great here. The song is actually really strong as the melody is really beautiful and is the catchiest since Ex-Boyfriend. I just wish the vocals were on the same level as the music as there are times where the melody gets overshadowed. I feel like this would have worked nicely after CURIOUS. With a title like Guardian Angel, I was expecting something a bit more downtempo. Instead, we get another upbeat R&B tune. With that said, it’s a bit lackluster. I just feel like there isn’t much power in the music nor in the hooks and it just comes across as an average tune. It has some decent parts like the pre-chorus, but it is pretty forgettable in the long run. interlude~conditioner is literally about conditioner and shampooing… It’s cute, but a bit weird. Honey Glue is more like something from her debut album, with its acoustic sound. It also has a few weird sounds coming in that remind me of some songs from her debut. It’s a pretty gentle song and Crystal’s voice sounds exceptionally beautiful here. With that said, there are parts of the song I’m not a big fan of like some of the instrument choices and background vocals. It’s just not my cup of tea. Tsuki no Nai Yoru, Michi no Nai Basho is the slowest song up to this point and makes me think of something more gospel. The beginning is nice, but I feel like Crystal’s voice is just too sweet to bring that power (at least at this point in her career). Still, the chorus is actually quite nice in terms of melody and it works nicely with the music. I just wish Crystal’s voice was more powerful to really give the song what it needs. It feels like something is holding the song back. Holiday Fighter is a pop/rock song and really helps bring some versatility. It has a great energy about it that reminds me of taking a road trip due to that driving guitar. The transition into the chorus is a bit abrupt, but the chorus is actually quite nice. Crystal’s voice sounds a bit odd here though. Couldn’t Care Less is the slowest R&B tune on the album. It still has a pretty strong beat, but the melody is definitely slower. This song is also completely in English. I’m not quite sure what I feel about it though. It’s a bit of a boring pop/R&B ballad as the hook just isn’t that strong and the music doesn’t quite fit that well. I think if the music worked with that gorgeous but subtle guitar then it would have been much stronger. LOST CHILD is actually a collaboration between Crystal, Osawa Shinichi (MONDO GROSSO) and Fujiwara Hiroshi. It’s absolutely stunning. There are some jazzy and dreamy qualities to the song that I really love. I quite enjoy the mix of piano, bass, strings and other odd instruments, which helps to really bring a swirling and beautiful tune together into one. Crystal sounds great here and her voice works well due to its huskier quality. A bit of an oddball on the album, but a great tune.
Overall: This is a decent follow-up to her debut album and really helped to introduce a new song from Crystal. With that said, while I am glad that she switched things up, I was left a bit disappointing because a lot of the album tracks just did not interest me as much. They weren’t horrible, but the R&B tunes were just not as strong as the single and the other songs were largely just not my cup of tea. I wish she pushed that R&B sound more. Would recommend tracks 1, 3 and 13.