Urata Naoya – TURN OVER [Debut Studio Album]

February 27, 2009 at 9:48 pm (Urata Naoya) (, )


AAA member Urata Naoya recently embarked on a solo career in addition to being a member of the group. His debut studio album, entitled TURN OVER, was released on 01.28.09. Big Bang! was released beforehand as a promotional song.

The album starts off with intro. It starts off with the sound of a heartbeat and then a creepy voice comes in saying “there’s always another side and another point of view” and then continues to speak in English. Slowly, more instruments come in and a carnival sound is established. It’s actually a pretty interesting sound and although the voice was a bit annoying, it captures the listener’s attention and sets up the rest of the album quite nicely.

Up next is the album’s title track, TURN OVER. The song begins with a cool upbeat instrumental that has the same gong as in the intro. Soon the beat becomes more clear and there’s a certain mysterious sexual atmosphere that comes through. He then comes in for the first verse and his vocals sound a bit strange here and they reign second position behind the instrumentation. Luckily there are sections when he reaches higher and those parts sound great. On the chorus, his voice comes to the forefront as it is more clear and understandable. The song is pretty nice although a little strange, nonetheless, a good follow-up to the introductory number.

I think I’m in love, the third track, is a slow jam. Unfortunately for Naoya, this music just doesn’t support his vocals very well. The whole song just comes off as uninteresting and it feels like it drags on even though the song clocks in at under four minutes. Vocally, the song isn’t very impressive either so the combination of it with the music just makes for one dull track.

Naoya teams up with SPHERE for Big Bang!, which was used to promote the album. This song is far more interesting, allowing him to be where he shines the most, upbeat numbers. The instrumentation is absolutely addictive and will draw the listener in. Unfortunately, Naoya’s vocals do go a little too high at various points in the song and it’s a bit cringing. Overall though, he does a good job of giving good vocals to support the music. SPHERE’s rap section gives the song a little more flavor but Naoya really did not need to be vocalizing so much during that part. Big Bang! is an enjoyable number and a standout track on this album.

Another collaboration, this time with YUKALI, is up next with Ecstasy. The song starts off with a very cool and sleek instrumentation that attracts the listener but then YUKALI singing in English and it sounds extremely awkward. What’s worse is that there’s supposed to be a sexual atmosphere coming through and her voice just kills it. When Naoya comes in, then the song gets back on the right direction as he stays on the lower register and is good at bringing out the sexiness of the song. YUKALI also has her turn and not that she’s not singing as loudly, she actually sounds pretty good and controlled, complimenting Naoya perfectly. With the lower vocals during the verses, the chorus stands out as they step up vocally and get the listener’s attention. Ecstasy is an amazing track that is perfect from start to finish excluding those weird English sections sung by YUKALI.

We come to another slow jam with the sixth track, Too Late. It sounds a lot better than I think I’m in love since the vocals are much more capturing and the music is slightly more interesting. Still, the combination of a slow jam and his vocals prove to not be the most interesting.

HOT LIKE FIRE picks up the pace on a strong note. That opening instrumental is absolutely addictive as there is kind of that circus element from the intro. His voice on the verses is great and the way that he sings, with the emphasis on certain syllables, really makes a difference. The hook features him doing some vocalizations and there is a certain winding sexual atmosphere about it that works. Although the chorus is repetitive, the music is just so good that it doesn’t even matter. The sexuality comes through much more blatantly as he sings “hot like fire, hot like fire, hot like fire, let’s get it on.” The third verse just sounds weird at the beginning because the vocals just sound strange but then it goes back to its original state. HOT LIKE FIRE is another wonderful upbeat number that shows Naoya’s sexual side and is truly an album hem.

Finally Naoya delivers a ballad with voice of mind. The song is quite simple, featuring Naoya and the beautiful sounds of the piano. However the previous tracks have proven that he shines on upbeat numbers. As for the slower songs, not so much. So although this song is better than a slow jam, it’s not that much better.

Speaking of slow jams, anything about sex is the next track. Surprisingly, it’s a pretty good track and is a lot better than the average ones previously given on the album. The song features the sounds of a guitar and that different instrumentation sets it apart from the others and allows the listener to connect much more easily. It’s not a stellar track but it’s one that is worth the listen.

Finally he delivers another upbeat dance track with Starting all over. It’s not as strong as some of the other dance numbers like HOT LIKE FIRE and Ecstasy but it does get the job done, especially with the moaning vocalizations. Actually, those moans are probably the best part of the enitre song. There is a certain darkness about the instrumentation that makes it perfect for a club and his vocals are very strong here in conjunction with the music. It does drag on a little bit but it’s really refreshing to have another dance track after those slow songs.

Like a tattoo follows the same dance cues but that takes it in a gentler way. His vocals are softer and once again there’s that element of a lingering sexual atmosphere. It’s not as good as the previous track but it’s nice.

White lie is the album’s closer and it finishes off the album in an interesting way. The opening instrumental definitely proves to be capturing, having that same winding down instrumentation that is kind of like a circus. Then his smooth vocals are shown off the listener on the first verse, really demanding attention. White lie is a great way to finish off the album just because the music is so addictive that the listener can’t help but love it.

Album Ranking: B

Urata Naoya’s debut album was a pleasant surprise. The overarching theme of the album is definitely sexuality as he proves many times on tracks like Ecstasy, HOT LIKE FIRE and anything about sex. The dance tracks are definitely the best part of the album and the ones that make it worth the listen. Sadly, he doesn’t quite reach that level on the slower numbers. Overall, a solid debut album with room for improvements so hopefully we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.

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