Stephanie – Stephanie [Debut Studio Album]

August 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm (Stephanie) (, )

Stephanie’s debut album, entitled Stephanie, was released on 03.05.08. The singles released before the album are as follows: 君がいる限り, because of you, Winter Gold and フレンズ.

君がいる限り serves as the album’s opener. The song starts off with an absolutely beautiful high note and then the instrumentation serves as a sweet way to compliment her vocals. She sails her way through the first verse and when the chorus comes in, she gives some excellent vocals that show off power and emotion. From start to finish, Stephanie delivers some fantastic vocals that really move well with the song and capture the emotional presence. It’s definitely a strong way to open up the album.

フレンズ is the following track. A cool and fun instrumentation, tinted by rock sounds starts the song off and soon Stephanie comes in with some good vocals that fit with the music well. Then the chorus comes in and she continues to give vocals although there is something missing from it, which leaves the listener wanting a little more. Perhaps if the instrumentation had taken on a slightly more aggressive path then it would have stood out more. Although the music does shine on the pure instrumental section and sounds absolutely fantastic and the following couple of lines have almost a carnival-like instrumental to support them. After singing “precious memories,” the chorus comes back in strongly. By playing with a rock sound, Stephanie definitely shines on this one.

The third song is Life. Opening the song is a sweet upbeat instrumentation that soon begins to be highlighted by light rock sounds. During the first verse, Stephanie’s vocals go very well with the music and catch the listener’s attention nicely. The chorus stands out for even more vocal strength and the instrumentation becomes a little stronger. The pure instrumental section is interesting as the rock influences lighten up to focus on the pretiness of the music and the following lines are delivered with such powerful vocals that the listener can’t help but love it. Life is a great song after フレンズ because there are still rock sounds but they lighten up here and she still shines.

ANGEL GIRL, a sweet upbeat love song, is up next. The song starts off with a sparkling and light instrumental with Stephanie singing “I wanna be your girl” and her voice sounds a bit strange here but once the first verse starts, her vocals sound much better suited for the music. “For your love” and “with your love” really stand out on the chorus and is a real standout part of this song. Stephanie hits the really high notes again in this song and they fit very nicely with the sparkling instrumentation. Excluding the “I wanna be your girl” part, this song is absolutely fantastic and is a real standout number on this album.

Stephanie comes back to the sounds of rock for Fallin.’ A sleek and cool rock instrumentation takes the song off and then the first verse comes in as she sings in all English. Her vocals go very nicely with the music and she sounds very comfortable here. The chorus is a little lacking but she sounds great when she sings “down” repeatedly. The pure instrumental section is nice although it’s nothing spectacular. Overall this is a nice song but it isn’t as strong as the previous rock tracks.

Straying away from the rock sound for a pop switch, Shiny Days! is next. The opening instrumentation really sounds great and makes the listener want to smile. Her vocals during the verse are a little softer than usual but they sound nice with the music. The chorus is nice but a little boring. Her vocals strengthen and the music is nice but there is just something missing that doesn’t make it as strong as it should be. One standout part of the song is the pure instrumental section which has a little jazziness to it that sounds fantastic.

Things slow down a little bit on Smile and Turn Away. The song strongly opens up with a light rock driven instrumental and then the first verse begins with the acoustic guitar serving as the principal instrument. Her vocals sound very strong, carrying the emotion of the song perfectly. The chorus doesn’t pop instrumentally but her stronger vocals signal a slight change and the listener can pick up on it. Rock sounds come back to play on the pure instrumental section and they have a welcome home. Overall, Smile and Turn Away is a very nice song and is a good part of this album.

Beyond Myself allows Stephanie to try out the sounds of R&B. The opening distorted vocals sound a bit strange and really aren’t needed. She then comes in with the first verse and her vocals really fit the music. The chorus is a little lacking, instrumentally but her vocals sound strong, particularly when she sings “I’ll fight it all.” The verses are very nice on this song although the chorus isn’t as strong and Stephanie’s vocals compliment the music nicely so the song is okay; it isn’t an album standout.

Another ballad arrives in the form of Truth, the ninth song on the album. The songs starts off with a nice piano instrumental that has an almost haunting feeling to it. She gives some strong vocals during the first verse that carry beauty. Moments of pure instrumentation really shine and spotlight the haunting beauty of the instrumentation. Although there is no clear chorus on this song, the listener doesn’t even notice as the entrancing music combines with Stephanie’s voice to make the song enjoyable from start to finish.

Following is To.Be.Me. as Stephanie comes back to rock. The song starts off all right although the rock instrumentation doesn’t connect with the listener as well as it had in the past. Her vocals during the first verse are nice but nothing spectacular. The chorus is okay but a little boring as the instrumentation remains uninteresting and her vocals are just okay here because they don’t really move with the music. This song is probably the weakest one on the album and isn’t really worth the listen.

Winter Gold, released as a single before the album, is the album’s semifinale. The opening upbeat and fun instrumentation as well as Stephanie’s beautiful vocals make it really pop from the first moment. Then the first verse comes and she sounds great here with great vocals that move with the music. The chorus stands out as the instrumentation remains interesting and Stephanie delivers some great vocals. On the pure instrumental section, the listener is taken on a voyage through the beautiful music. Winter Gold is a great upbeat that really stands out on this album.

Closing the album is because of you. The piano serves as the song’s principal instrument and Stephanie’s vocals sound very pretty, catching emotion and beauty. As the orchestral instruments come out on the chorus, Stephanie brings strong vocals that suit the music perfectly. This is a great way to close the album, showing off a strong instrumental and Stephanie’s pretty vocals.

Album Ranking: A –

Stephanie’s debut album features a variety of sounds with consistently beautiful vocals. She shines on rock songs like フレンズ and Life; she suits the pop songs such as ANGEL GIRL and Winter Gold and delivers emotion on her ballads like 君がいる限り and because of you. Overall the album is strong and should be checked out.

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