Crystal Kay’s 8th studio album, entitled Color Change!, was released on 08.06.08. Only two songs were released as singles before the album: 涙のさきに and ONE. Shining, which was released previously on her mini album of the same name, was also included.
涙のさきに serves as the album’s opening number. The song begins with the hook and the English phrases such as “winding road” and “right or left” sound great. Then the first verse begins and her vocals move very well with the music over the hot instrumentation. She gives a little more vocal strength on the chorus, which makes it stand out and catch the listener’s ear. The pure instrumental section sounds great as there is a real coolness about the music that stands out here. Overall this song has the energy and catchiness to stand out to the listener, thus making it a strong opening track.
ONE features a sweet midtempo sound that the listener can enjoy. A very delicate instrumental starts off the song with a carnival-like feeling. Crystal’s vocals during the first verse are smooth and sweet, really catching the listener’s ear. The chorus is a little bland but it’s nothing too damaging. Released on a single, it hasn’t lost any of its steam.
Good Times, a sleek dance track, is up next. The song starts off with a strong dance instrumental and with some opening vocalizations from Crystal, the song starts off on a good note. The first verse features some smooth vocals that move with the R&B sound perfectly. Unfortunately there is something lacking instrumentally in the chorus although Crystal does deliver some great vocals here. On the third verse, the vocals are pushed more to the background to allow the music to really shine. Good Times is an enjoyable song but the chorus should have been stronger.
Help Me Out features an upbeat sound that shines. The song opens up with a cool instrumentation, with the guitar shining and some talking from Crystal that introduces the song nicely. On the first verses, her vocals sound a little weak as the music outshines. The chorus shines even more as she gives some great vocals and the music remains interesting. This is another great number and serves as a strong track following Good Times.
Things slow down a little bit for the next track, ITOSHIITTO. Opening the song is a very interesting instrumental taking on a soft sound while maintaining a clear beat. On the first verse, Crystal’s vocals are nice and smooth, carrying with the music. The repetition of certain phrases that end the lines pop really nicely. Unfortunately the chorus is boring, just consisting of Crystal repeating the title of the song. The third verse takes things in a slightly different direction and she sounds great here. Although the chorus is weak, the verses are strong and it’s a song worth the listen.
Following is 帰り道. The song begins with a sweet instrumental that really stands out to the listener and strongly captures the song’s atmosphere. Her vocals during the verses are very pretty, almost carrying a slight fragility to them that carries with the music perfectly. She builds up strong vocals to reach the chorus, which sounds great as she effortlessly hits the higher notes and the deeper notes. The final chorus and pure instrumental section bring the song to an excellent close, really catching the listener’s ear and taking the song out perfectly. This song is definitely an album standout and one worth checking out.
トキノカケラ is the album’s first ballad. The song begins with a nice and soft instrumentation and the opening vocals sound a bit off as the first verse starts. However they strengthen with a little time and she comes to support the music. The chorus takes on a more varied instrumentation and Crystal’s vocals sound great here, really making the chorus stand out and catch the listener’s attention. On the pure instrumental section, the prettiness of the song is spotlighted alongside some great vocalizing from Crystal to make it shine all the more. As the album’s first ballad, it certainly stands out and is one of the brightest tracks on this album.
That sweet and soft energy is maintained on the next track, TIME GOES BY. The first verse starts the song off so beautifully as Kuri gives pretty vocals to move with the sweet R&B music. The chorus is nice and there is more of a poppiness to it that catches the listener’s attention and the transition right into the second verse is strong. Right before the final chorus, she delivers some great vocals, reaching the higher notes wonderfully. She does a great job on this song and it’s definitely one of the more memorable songs on the album.
I Can’t Wait picks up the speed and energy for an enjoyable number. The opening line “I don’t know; is something gonna go on here” is a bit strange and then a cool dance instrumental comes in with a robotic voice saying “C to the K.” The first verse has a sweetness to it as she sings smoothly in all English to make it stand out. Although simplistic, the chorus has a certain sexiness to it that really sounds great. This is definitely one of the album’s best songs and certainly is worth listening to repeatedly.
Shining is a very pretty R&B track. The first verse consists of some smooth and sweet vocals that are very enjoyable as they carry to the chorus. There is more of a poppiness to the chorus that makes it memorable and the listener can enjoy it as her vocals show a little more strength. It takes the energy from the previous song down but still remains a great R&B song worth checking out.
There is a slight electronic atmosphere on the semifinale, It’s a crime. The moments of pure instrumentation are really what make this song shine although the vocals seem somewhat out of place here. While the music of this song certainly is enjoyable, the vocals kind of hinder the listener from smoothly sailing through.
Closing the album is the funky dance song, History. The chorus stands out strongly as she delivers some great vocals to match the fun and free atmosphere of the music. She takes on a more relaxing vibe during the first verse and it comes through as a nice part of the song. This was a nice way to close the album by showing off a fun atmosphere and Crystal’s great vocals.
Album Ranking: B +
Crystal Kay certainly brings some strength on this album as she shines on dance songs like 涙のさきに, Good Times and the album’s strongest number, I Can’t Wait. The R&B sounds that emerge on songs like Shining also help this album stand out. She certainly tried her hand on different sounds and it paid off.