AZU – AS ONE [Debut Studio Album]

August 24, 2008 at 5:00 pm (AZU) (, )

AZU’s debut studio album, entitled AS ONE, was released on 07.23.08. The singles released before the album are as follows: CHERISH, JEWEL SKY, コイイロ and 時間よ止まれ featuring SEAMO.

INTRO is the album’s starting track. The song starts off with a very mysterious atmosphere that is driven by a very cleear beat, sticking out in the listener’s mind. As the introduction goes on, the instrumentation slowly becomes more diverse with new elements coming into the mix. It sounds great and as the first track, it really provides the listener with an incentive to keep listening.

Rainbow picks up where INTRO left off by beginning with the same cool and sleek instrumental, soon taking on a lighter pop sound. AZU sounds great here as her vocals show their power and sweetness as she sings the chorus. On the first verse, there is a more relaxing feeling that comes through as AZU’s vocals are somewhat deeper, still staying with the music perfectly. The pure instrumental section sounds absolutely fantastic as there is a jazzy feeling that really shines. Overall, Rainbow is a fantastic song and is a really strong continuation of INTRO.

SEAMO and AZU team up for the third song, 時間よ止まれ. Opening the song is a very sweet midtempo instrumental that reall solidifies a nice atmosphere that the listener can follow. AZU then comes in with the first verse as she delivers some very pretty vocals that move with the music very strongly. The chorus is nice although it doesn’t really pop as there is no real change in instrumentation or vocals. SEAMO’s rap seems a bit misplaced and it doesn’t really fit with the music. The music is very nice in this song and AZU has some good vocals but SEAMO doesn’t really connect with it as well, making this a somewhat forgettable track.

The fourth song is You’re My Only Shinin’ Star. Opening the song is a nice and calming midtempo sound that really is ear-catching. Then the first verse begins and AZU brings smooth and sweet vocals to match the soothing atmosphere set by the music. Instrumentally, the song becomes slightly more diverse on the chorus and the backing vocalizations are a very nice touch. AZU continues to sound strong and the final phrase, “I love you,” is sung with beauty as she holds her notes well. This is an excellent song and a very nice addition to the album as AZU brings very pretty vocals to a sweet and soothing instrumental.

The title track, As One, is next. There is a nice acoustic-guitar-centric instrumental that begins the song that doesn’t immediately cature the listener’s ear. AZU’s vocals during the first verse are very pretty and actually compliment the music very nicely. The chorus still doesn’t make the listener really experience a change that stands out because the music continues to be a little boring although her voice sounds great. Finally, the third verse is catchy as the guitar becomes a little stronger and AZU still sings with emotion and sweetness. Overall, it’s not a very memorable song but the third verse does stand strongly and the rest of the song should’ve kept a sound closer to that one.

最後の恋, which was a B-side on the last single, follows the title track. There is a very warm and sweet atmosphere that comes through the beginning instrumental. The first verse follows and AZU sounds absolutely fantastic as her voice smoothly compliments the music. She continues to sound beautiful on the chorus and the phrases that are pushed to the background are a nice part of the song as it almost feels like she is talking to the object of her affection. This song is one of the best songs on the entire album, definitely standing out to the listener with its sweet atmosphere and even sweeter vocals.

AZU’s debut single, CHERISH, is the album’s seventh number. The song opens nicely with an interesting pop sound that calmly transitions into the first verse. Her vocals sound very nice here and they work with the music in keeping an enjoyable atmosphere. There is a lot more sparkling energy on the chorus and because of AZU’s stronger vocals, it definitely stands out and makes the listener smile along. The saxophone that cmoes out on the pure instrumental section provides the song with a fantastic jazzy feeling that is extremely ear-catching. CHERISH finds its proper home on the album and is one of the album’s best tracks.

The next song is コイイロ. The song is another pop song but it’s one of the more forgettable numbers. There is a jazzy atmosphere that makes it a nice listen but the vocals aren’t as strong this time around, thus the listener can’t really become engaged with it.

VIOLIN follows. The very soft and delicate atmosphere that opens up the song through the instrumental is a strong introduction. Moving into the first verse, AZU delivers some very pretty vocals to match the smooth music. The chorus isn’t as strong but her vocals portray more emotion here, which does stand out to the listener. This one is another wonderful song that AZU brings to life with beautiful vocals, perfectly capturing the essence of the song’s atmosphere. She is also to show off her vocal range in this one as she hits the higher notes as well, which makes it really stand out.

The tenth song is JEWEL SKY, a fun pop song that is one of the album’s best songs. A sweet pop instrumental with a slight jazzy touch begins the song before the first verse starts. Her vocals are really pretty here and do a good job of catching the listener’s ear. It’s the chorus that really makes this song so memorable as she delivers stronger vocals that suit the music perfectly. She opens by singing the title of the song and it’s a real standout point in the chorus. The pure instrumental section pops nicely as the saxophone makes another entrance, taking the listener on a ride before the chorus is re-introduced. JEWEL SKY hasn’t lost any steam from its single release, serving as a perfect semifinale for the album.

Closing the album is FAMILY, which features Cartet, Shiruken Jet and Bridget. The light and breezy pop instrumentation that begins the song is very nice and nicely moves into the first verse, which begins with a rap sequence. Despite the cute lightness of the music, the raps are actually a really strong addition. The chorus is a little cheesy with the English as they sing “you’re my brother” and “you’re my sister” but it’s still really fun and cute. The various raps and AZU’s singing all make this song a really strong finish because all the artists all come together much like a family on this song.

Album Ranking: A

AZu definitely shines on her debut album. With songs like JEWEL SKY, VIOLIN, 最後の恋 and Rainbow, she proves that she can handle different sounds and still compliment the music. There are few mis-steps on this album, making it a powerful album from start to finish.

1 Comment

  1. tranQuilla said,

    Hi! I linked both of your blogs. I like your blog too! And wow you review A LOT of stuff! How do you keep up? XD

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