[Album] YUKI – joy

joy is the third album released by YUKI. It showed a change in YUKI’s sound by incorporating more electropop into her usual pop/rock music. This album was quite successful, peaking at #1 and selling over 343,000 copies. The singles did much better than the ones from her last album as well with all three peaking within the top ten on the charts.


Released: February 23, 2005
1. Maiagare (舞い上がれ; Soar)
2. JOY
3. Hello, Goodbye (ハローグッバイ)
4. Walking on the skyline
5. Sweet Seventeen (スウィートセブンティーン)
6. Cider (サイダー)
9. Brake wa No (ブレーキはノー; No Brakes)
10. Kiss wo Shiyou yo (キスをしようよ; We Will Kiss)
11. Tinkerbell (ティンカーベル)
12. Ai Shiaeba (愛しあえば; It is Dear, If it Meets)
13. Home Sweet Home

Maiagare is a great introduction to the album’s sound with its blend of electronic and pop/rock. While I wasn’t a big fan of her more rock focused previous album, I feel like this kind of sound is much easier to digest for me. The music is interesting and I love the stronger pop/rock vibe but with a synthed-up beat. The chorus is also really catchy and works nicely with YUKI’s wackier vocals. Happy that this B-side made the album.


The album’s final single and certainly one of the more electropop songs on the album, I would say JOY is the song that got me into YUKI. The light beat and happy vibe is contagious. Even if the song is largely electronic, there are traces of YUKI’s usual pop/rock sound that underlies the music. While YUKI’s vocals are a bit too crazy at times in the verses, her child-ish delivery is perfectly suited to this style. It’s a hypnotizing song and true to its name.


Another single comes in the form of Hello, Goodbye, which goes the opposite direction with its heavy guitar riffs. It still has that light pop sound due to the inclusion of the softer synths and the chorus hook that is a bit brighter in its delivery compared to the edgier verses. The melody isn’t particularly catchy, but there is a charm to it that makes it sound better with each listen. It feels like a predecessor to some of her latest pop songs.

Walking on the skyline has a funky beat tied with a bouncy piano. It definitely follows well with the sound of the first three songs, although this one definitely goes towards a lighter, acoustic sound. Unfortunately, at this point, it is the most forgettable song. The music is fun, but the melody just doesn’t stand out.

Sweet Seventeen follows similarly to the last song with its bouncy piano. I do find this one to be a little better, partially because the chorus is actually somewhat catchy. The pre-chorus is definitely the highlight of the song though, but it just happens to be incredibly short, which is unfortunate. I do have to say that I really like YUKI’s voice here.

The next album track to come in is the harder Cider. The song opens with a pretty cool guitar riff before it goes into a bit more of an experimental side. I feel like this is one song that would fit on her previous album, but that is probably the reason why it isn’t my cup of tea. There are some really interesting parts to it, but it’s a bit too out of there for me.

It’s a bit odd to switch to this much lighter country-pop kind of song. AIR WAVE was the B-side to the album’s first single and it is another song that is somewhat reminiscent of the sounds from her previous album. It’s a cute tune with its country-like tinge that is especially heard in the guitar. It’s not quite my style, but there are some great parts like the chorus.

Setting into country/rock, we get the harder hitting WAGON. I’m not quite sure what to think of this song. The verses and pre-chorus are especially odd and that chorus is a bit out of it as well despite me liking its more explosive attitude. At this point, this is probably my least favourite of the songs.

Brake wa No comes flying in and we get something a bit more focused. This one is the short song, clocking in at just two minutes and thirty seconds, but it is a fast-paced and funky tune that takes influence from earlier psychedelic rock. It’s not that catchy, but there is something really strange and interesting about it and I love how wicked that bass sounds. The weirdest part comes in just before the two minute mark where things go slow-mo.

Bringing back the brighter pop sound, we get Kiss wo Shiyou yo, which is one of my favourite of the album tracks. It still keeps that rock sound, but ties in a few synths and a beat that help give it a really happy and cute vibe. The verses are fun, but it’s that powerful chorus that brings the life. The melody is a bit crazy, but YUKI is able to work it and there is a bit of an emotional quality to the vocal performance.

Tinkerbell starts off like a chant, which unfortunately isn’t featured later on in the song. I feel like this quality would have helped the song stand out more. This light pop/rock song gets a bit overshadowed by the other songs. It’s cute, but its only highlighting point is the second half of the chorus.

I am a bit sad it took so long to get another heavily electronic influenced pop song. Ai Shiaeba is reminiscent of the album’s title track, but doesn’t quite have the same charming melody. Instead, the focus is definitely on its swirling synth refrain that plays in the background. While the melody is quite nice, the music is the winner here and it helps to create a dreamy and fun atmosphere.


Finally finishing the album off is its first single, Home Sweet Home. This is more on the ballad side of things, but is probably YUKI’s most serious vocal performance with her changing up her wacky voice into one that is heavier in tone. I’m actually glad we have this tune as it is quite beautiful when you take the time to listen. The melody is a bit unpredictable, but there are some really gorgeous points to it, especially when tied with the string-focused music. It’s not her best ballad, but definitely a touching way to end things.

Overall: This album is definitely stronger than her last one. I know a lot of that was due to my own genre bias, but I felt like this one was stronger in melodies and did a decent job on some songs with mixing YUKI’s usual pop/rock style with some more electronic elements. My biggest criticism would be that there was just not enough of this blending. “JOY” and “Kiss wo Shiyou yo” were my favourites on the album and are two examples where this combination is heard wonderfully and I wanted more of it.


[Album] YUKI – Commune

Commune is the second album released by YUKI. The album showed a change in sound as it focused more on acoustic songs than rock tunes. The album was preceded by three singles. Unlike the singles from her first album, the singles this time weren’t as successful, with biggest hit peaking at #10. The album itself peaked at #11 and sold 90,000 copies.

Released: March 26, 2003
1. Swells On the Earth
2. Naki Souda (泣きそうだ; I Think I’ll Cry)
3. Good Times
4. Strawberry (ストロベリ)
5. Rock’n Roll Star (ロックンロールスター)
6. Stand Up! Sister (スタンドアップ!シスター)
7. Hummingbird (ハミングバード)
8. Sentimental Journey (センチメンタルジャーニー)
9. Funky Fruits (ファンキーフルーツ)
10. Koibito Yo (version) (恋人よ; Sweetheart)
11. Communication (コミュニケーション)
12. Sabakuni Saita Hana (砂漠に咲いた花; A Flower That Bloomed In The Desert)

The album opens on an interesting note with Swells On the Earth. It’s a cool intro that pretty much gives us a glimpse of what the album will be like. It’s a gentle tune that focuses on the acoustic.

Naki Souda has a lot more energy and sort of brings back the energy from her first album. I do like the power this song has and YUKI’s voice suits this song quite nicely. I just wish the melody was more memorable. The music is cool and I love the cool riffs, but I don’t quite remember how the actual song goes. It’s fun, but not really what I was looking for.

Good Times is more mellow, but definitely more interesting. I love the spacey vibe of this song, especially in the verses. The song pretty much stays at the same level until two-thirds into the song when things just explode. It’s an interesting twist and much needed as the song did get a bit dull before this part. I like the contrast of the two parts.

Strawberry changes things up once again as it plays around with the vocal delivery. I can’t really say this is my kind of song though. It’s not bad and the hook is a bit catchier, but it also doesn’t have much impact. I just don’t really remember this song that much, but I do appreciate it trying to do something different.

Rock’n Roll Star finally brings something more acoustic. When it comes to YUKI’s early releases, her acoustic songs always came off more charming to me. I do like this one more than the other songs. The music is light and YUKI gives an interesting vocal performance.


Stand Up! Sister is the album’s first single and it is one of the stronger songs on the album. It has a midtempo acoustic sound to it, but does bring more energy. I quite like the verses with the use of background vocals, but it’s the chorus where things shine. The song is quite catchy and I feel like it’s finally the first song that really gets stuck in my head. It’s not her best song, but it’s a solid tune.


The album’s third single, Hummingbird comes popping up right after. Another acoustic pop song, this one is definitely more laid back. It reminds me a bit of Prism from YUKI’s last album as the vibe feels more like it is traveling. I do wish the hooks were a bit more memorable as I forget how it goes. There are some really charming parts to it though and I really like it when the strings come in.


The album’s second single follows. Sentimental Journey continues the acoustic vibe of the last few songs, but I do think it is stronger than the last one. The song is a bit long, but the chorus is definitely better as the melody goes up and down and brings some unpredictability. It’s quite relaxing, but touching at the same time.

Funky Fruits brings exactly what is expected. It has that 60’s psychedelic sound to it and it is a fun change. I actually like the verses more than the chorus though. It starts off sounding like it is going to build into something great, but I feel like it just takes too long to get there and the chorus itself is quite repetitive and short. Not my kind of song.

Koibito yo (version) was original released on the album’s first single as a B-side track. I’m not quite sure of the original, but this version is a really weird song. The vocals are distorted in a way and it sounds like YUKI sounds like she is singing from afar. The music has a more reggae quality to it that comes up around halfway through. It’s definitely an interesting song to say the least. Not sure if I like it.

Communication finally brings a bit more energy as it has a more uptempo swing to it. Unfortunately, I just do not like this song that much. The vibe feels so sleepy and like YUKI has very little emotion in her voice. The melody and the music just continue at the same pace throughout so it feels like there is very ltitle change as well.

Sabakuni Saita Hana ends the album in an interesting way. Although it is a slower song, it has an interesting arrangement and it reminds me of an older style of music. I do think it gets a bit dull as the song goes on though as it does last around five minutes and the changes in it aren’t that big.

Overall: I can understand what this album is trying to do. It feels like it is playing up a lot of older styles of music, which is a nice thing to hear. However, it also feels like the album isn’t very contemporary. Rock is a harder genre for me to get into, but I feel like this album just wasn’t for me. Compared to her first one, this one seemed a lot less accessible and the music and vocals were just very different. It’s a cool release and I want to like it, but it doesn’t quite do it for me personally.



YUKI rose to fame as the lead vocalist to the rock band, JUDY AND MARY. After multiple hiatuses, the band disbanded in 2001 and YUKI embarked on a solo career. Her albums have been relatively successful and her unique voice has lent itself to a variety of genres. PRISMIC was her debut album and featured three singles. Two were quite popular and released prior to the album and another was released after. The album itself proved successful as it reached #3 and sold over 300,000 copies.

Released: March 27, 2002
1. Nemuri Hime (眠り姫; Sleeping Beauty)
2. the end of shite
3. 66db
4. Sayonara Dance (サヨナラダンス; The Good-Bye Dance)
5. Wakusei ni Nore (惑星に乗れ; Ride on a Comet)
6. Rainbow St.
7. I U Mee Him
8. Wasureru Uta (忘れる唄; The Forgetting Song)
9. Ai ni Ikite (愛に生きて; Live in Love)
10. Prism (プリズム)
11. Furuete Nemure (ふるえて眠れ; Shivering, Go to Sleep)
12. Noroi (呪い; Curse)

While YUKI’s music has branched out a bit more later on in her career, Nemuri Hime really brings what YUKI was initially best known for. This is a pretty cool pop/rock tune with some punk elements. What I love most is that guitar that drives the verses, although it is a bit upsetting it disappears during the chorus. The melody isn’t particularly catchy and it is sort of offset by YUKI’s rough vocals. Not sure if I’m totally into this song.


Luckily, I absolute adore the end of shite. As her debut single, it explodes right when the song opens up. The rock sound works great with the catchy melody and YUKI’s crazy voice. I really enjoy how aggressive everything is from the guitar to the heavy percussion. I think it takes the sound of the last song but makes it a little more streamlined and accessible.


66db is a total change. Instead of the rock sound we had gotten, we swing right into something a much more laidback. Focused on a simple beat, piano and odd dashes of synths, the song actually works really nicely with YUKI’s rough vocals. She doesn’t seem as aggressive in her delivery and her voice is quite charm at times. With that said, I don’t think I’m totally into the song. It goes a bit slow and the melody isn’t particularly memorable.

Sayonara Dance gets us back to that upbeat rock sound and it gives a cooler delivery. I love the guitar throughout the song as it brings a bit of a country rock edge. The chorus isn’t bad, but not as strong as the delivery of the verses. I wish the melody was a bit catchier, but there are some fun parts to it.

Wakusei ni Nore seems to combine the sounds of the last two songs. We have something a bit more laidback with synths, but the main foundation is still a rock song. It’s sort of a spacey version of the last few songs. It’s not bad, but the melody just isn’t my cup of tea and a bit too unpredictable. The music is cool though.

Rainbow St. is really trippy. It’s probably the most out of it kind of song at this point. It pretty much has the aspects of the last song with its more spacey funk sound for the verses, but the rock explosion in the choruses. There is also a little bit of a rap from some male rapper and it surprisingly works out here. Probably one of the stronger album tracks.

I U Mee Him is pretty much the end of shite, but with the more spacey kind of sound. The chorus has parts that sound almost identical to that song. I do love how aggressive this one is and there are some pretty wicked guitar riffs throughout the song. I don’t think it is meant to be as catchy as there is very little singing, but it’s a pretty interesting song in general.

Finally back to the more straightforward rock sound, Wasureru Uta reminds me a bit of oldschool 70s rock with its more psychedelic vibes. It’s slower, but I really love how it has that relaxed, stoned feel to it. It takes its time and it doesn’t disappoint. I love the guitar and it works really well with the trippy background vocals. It’s definitely an experience.

Ai ni Ikite on the other hand is a bit more country pop. Unlike the electric guitar domination of the last song, here we get a touch of acoustic as well. It’s definitely much more relaxing and makes me think of a country road with its mix of percussion, guitar and even harmonica. I do find the verses to be a bit of a chore to get through, but the chorus is actually quite nice. Maybe not the most memorable, but it has its charms.


Prism swings us more into pop realm and focuses more on the piano. This is actually my favourite YUKI song and it stands out so much on this album. It has that country road sound to it, but the melody is just much stronger and more memorable. I love the emotion behind the song and YUKI sounds really great here. She doesn’t get very crazy and her voice has a lot of personality that it really gives the song life. Great.

Furuete Nemure starts off focusing on the acoustic guitar, but as it progresses it gains more instruments and power. The verses are quite calming and makes it sound like the chorus will go into something a bit lighter, but the chorus actually changes things up. It do like that the chorus isn’t as predictable, but it’s still quite entrancing. I think YUKI’s voice combined with the odd melody really gives an interesting blend. It’s cool.

Noroi ends the album on a slower note. It relies mostly on the drums and an electric guitar to bring this more dragged down rock sound. I do think it has some nice ideas to it, but it lasts around seven minutes long and the music itself sounds like it’s dragged out so it just sort of makes everything feel even longer.

Overall: While I’m not as well-versed in rock music, I do find this album pretty enjoyable. The majority of the album tracks were fairly decent and there weren’t many weaker ones. With that said, because this isn’t the type of music I’m into as much, I do feel like quite a few didn’t quite impress me as much as they could have. There were still two excellent songs though in the form of singles.