Fukui Mai – MY SONG FOR YOU [Debut Studio Album]

March 6, 2009 at 10:32 pm (Fukui Mai) (, )


Fukui Mai’s debut album, MY SONG FOR YOU, was released on 03.04.09. アイのうた, Lucky and Can Can / Promise You were the singles released before the album.

Can Can, an upbeat positive number starts off the album on a nice note. It’s nice that she chose to begin with energy and hope although the music is so basic throughout the whole song, it can feel like the song is dragging on a little bit despite not being a particularly long song. Her vocals are nice though and capture the emotions of the song very well.

Peace Song is the first new number. After a soft and calming instrumental, driven primarily by the guitar, Mai has her turn on the first verse. Her vocals are nice here and although they are a little rough, there is something very natural and likeable about them. What stands out the most though is the music, which takes on a more fragile and beautiful feeling that the listener can definitely appreciate. The guitar comes out more strongly again on the chorus and Mai shows off her vocals more, which make this section stand out from the rest of the song. One weird part of the song is when Mai is speaking in English. That part was completely unnecessary and should have just been left off of the song. It’s a good follow up to Can Can because the energy from the first track is still there and even comes through more strongly.

アイのうた, Mai’s debut single, is the next song to appear. There is a really personal feeling that arises from this song and it’s definitely one that the listener can connect with emotionally. Mai’s vocals are a bit deep here but they actually go with the music really well and help fortify the atmosphere. The slight orchestral elements that come through the pure instrumental section help the complexity of the song and definitely stand out. It’s a strong song and one of the best slow songs on the album.

Lucky is one of the worst songs on the entire album. Her vocals just don’t sound like her, which is really strange. What’s really sad is that the song starts off with a very pretty instrumental but from there, the song just goes downhill. It should have never been released as a single and it would have been nice if it was left off the album.

After two single tracks comes Plastic Girls. Opening the song is an upbeat and catchy beat and those kind of slick and low vocals that Mai provides are absolutely perfect for the atmosphere of the song. She brings the attitude on the first verse and there’s something absolutely addictive about her vocals. English phrases like “hey you pretty girl” pop and are very catchy. The chorus has kind of a model-like feeling, especially with that opening line “the perfect girl.” She holds her notes well and keeps the listener entranced all the way through. The pure instrumental section is nice because there is a jazzy feeling that can come through proudly. Plastic Girls is definitely one of the best numbers on the entire album.

Up next is 恋のゆくえ. It’s one of the slower songs on the album but unfortunately it just doesn’t have any particular emotional context that the listener can connect to. The insturumentation is really simple, a little too simple this time around and the vocals are nice, but nothing great. It’s just not a great song and probably would have been better being left off of the album.

青い絵 picks up the tempo a little bit. There is a very cool and cold instrumental that begins the song which gives the image of a cloudy sky. Then when the full selection of instruments come in, it’s as if the clouds separate and the blue sky is everywhere overhead. Mai sings peacefully and sweetly on the first verse as the vocals calm the listener and suit the image of a blue sky. What makes the chorus stand out is Mai’s more powerful vocals since there is virtually no instrumental change. Luckily, those vocals are enough to catch the listener’s attention and make the chorus stand out. It’s another enjoyable song and certainly an improvement over the last track.

I wanna be a Rock★Roll Star is the following song. The title is kind of misleading because you would think that the song would be an upbeat and sleek rock track but it’s actually a ballad. Luckily the theme of having dreams for the future is something that everyone can relate to and her vocals bring the emotions to the forefront for everyone to recognize. The music is beautiful and is also a driving force in establishing the emotional atmosphere that makes this song so memorable. I wanna be a Rock★Roll Star is one of the strongest slow songs on the album and stands out in the midst of eleven other songs.

Hate Myself is the ninth track on the album. This song has an interesting conflict in that the music is really pretty and has this soothing element to it that resonates with the listener. Normally it’s good to show off your vocal prowess but Mai’s vocals here are a little too powerful for the music and end up taking away from that relaxing sweetness. It’s too bad since softer vocals could have made the song a little more emotional and pretty.

Promise You is another enjoyable ballad with an emotional context to enjoy. It’s nothing extraordinarily different from other ballads but it’s still nice.

The longest song on the album is the semifinale, The Sound. It’s hard to pinpoint where exactly the fault of the song lies. The music isn’t particularly engaging but there’s something that pops up from time to time that works and catches the listener’s ears. The problem certainly isn’t Mai’s vocals because those are good as usual so it must be somewhere in the music (or perhaps the arrangement). Either way, The Sound just isn’t very fitting for one of the last tracks on the album.

Sometimes a little generic feeling works as seen in the case of the album’s title and final track, My Song For You. It has a very basic arrangement and the instrumentation is simple as a ballad can give but somehow, it just works. Mai’s vocals are strong, portraying emotion and strength, which reach the listener’s heart. Is it a pretty basic song? Yes but maybe that’s why it’s such a good closing number.

Album Ranking: B

Fukui Mai’s debut album is a bit of a mixed bag. She really shines on the upbeat numbers like Peace Song and Plastic Girls and on the emotional ballads like アイのうた and I wanna be a Rock★Roll Star but she kind of falls flat in the middle area. More upbeat songs could have balanced the album a little and could have given the album a little more fun edge.

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