Single review: Crystal Kay - Forever

Crystal Kay - Forever | Single review

Crystal feels guilty. Guilty that for the past 6 years she had given us a messy string of single releases; which swayed between being everything, to sounding like supermarket Christmas fodder a little too casually. Long ass gaps between releases which consisted of a best album, followed by a mini album, followed by a studio album which featured half of the mini album and a dump truck of filler was the last straw. Crystal knows she done f**ked up. Which is why she's released "Forever". A song about what she can 'see in [our] eyes' and some tribal shit going on that you can ask your homie Rafiki to hold a baby in the air to.


"Forever" continues Crystal's now hat-trick trend of 'I'mma give you dat new-new, which be sounding like my old-old, but with a new ass beat that's so fly you will want to kill yo'self'. Sounding like a fusion of "Superman", "Delicious na kinyoubi" and "Haru arashi" all in one - "Forever" should be a recipe for the best song in the galaxy. An out of this world planet of awesome unto itself which is so good that Galactus would anally penetrate himself with it just to make sure he really feels it. Amazing on paper, but less so in reality. "Forever" doesn't have the terminal disease healing properties of "Haru arashi", but it does have the power to leave selected hoes bald and reaching for a wig. A wig that they'd have to wrestle CK down to the floor to retrieve before they could so much as get a hand on it. On second thought "Forever" is what you'd get if Janet Jackson's "Together again" were to have sex with The Lion king. Sweet lyrics, a dance beat and some tribal ish with a stomp so stank and chants so infectious that you have to take it back to Africa and throw shoes off with the dance moves. This is the charm of "Forever". It's not amazing on a first listen, but it feels like home. It's feels like somewhere you could belong. It feels familiar. And even if you're unsure of how much you like it, you know that you do. And even if you're not sold on it now, you will be in time.

As is always the case with Crystal's songs, "Forever" is meticulously produced. But the song never really peaks or hits you with an aural assault despite feeling as though it's building towards one. You expect the bridge to explode into a shower of jelly beans, sunshine, lollipops, gum and for Crystal to belt the shit out of a note, before the song switches up a key for a refrain - all the while Crystal is ad-libbing and screaming bitches under tatami mats. But instead, the bridge creeps up and then decides it can't be bothered and then snuffs it back into the chorus...and then the song ends. You're left in a heap on the floor wondering why the Japanese philharmonic orchestra didn't come in with some stings to savour that shit (because we know Crystal does the damn thing with a string section) and why Crystal did you like that. If I were to describe "Forever" using an analogy, it would be that the song is a slow wank. It feels good, but it's never going to leave you a quivered mess and reaching for a kleenex. The whole thing feels so anti-climactic and this isn't helped by the preceding singles featuring complete shifts and beat switches during their bridge sections. "Superman" threw down a thunderous dance switch and "Delicious na kinyoubi" wub-wubbed 'til the wheels fell off and even threw in an extra chorus to sweeten the deal before ending.

Despite my short-plop-here-plop-there shitting on the song, I love "Forever". It has a charm about it as Crystal's songs always do (even the rubbish ones). It's fun, it's nice, its upbeat and it's SO dance club and Summer. But despite being a solid song, it's missing something. It's not something which makes or breaks the song. But you are left with an overwhelming feeling of 'I like it, but...' mixed with Mmmmm's and Ahhhh's. "Forever" is a solid single and will act as a great opening to her album. And for it's shortcomings, Crystal has delivered yet another great single to add to her discography and end her Vivid single run on a high. Crystal has her shit together, which is refreshing to hear a as a fan. And whilst "Forever" isn't perfect, it's closer than most other chicks in Japan will ever get.

Crystal, GIT DAT MONEY!!

7.5 out of 10

Listen: Forever

Vivid
© 2012 Delicious Deli records, a Universal music group

18 comments:

  1. I Lovin this song this should be an 10 not a 7 but that's your opinion I love the chorus

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  2. Hopefully the video will sell the song even more like the Delicious vid did for me...Is it bad that this is the first Era that Im thinking of Crystal as a true artist and not a 'chick that can sing' haha

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  3. The beginning has my brain yelling "I GOTTA FEELING!"

    But other than that similarity, I love it!

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  4. As always, you're sentiments mirror mine almost exactly. I like the song though,and it is another solid addition to her strong set of singles for this era. Also, guess what? It's number 5 on recochoku chaku-uta chart! All she needs now is a few live performances to get some traction going.

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  5. @David: I was thinking the same thing!

    But I love her and I love the song never the less. I'm glad to see her coming out of shell a bit more.

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  6. This song is great. It's not my favorite song of hers, but it feels very...relevant. Like with a bit of work and English lyrics, I feel this could have an impact in the West. It makes me even more certain that Deli's working on an international debut for her, which is good.

    I still am yearning from some old, old school Crystal. Songs like "What Time Is It?" and "Hard to Say" are when I think Crystal is at her best.

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  7. I never cared for Crystal. I tried to start listening to her but her voice was always weak in the songs I heard (and I sat through alot of them). It was Delicious na Kinyoubi that first hit me hard as a great song. It grew on me quickly, and just like this song, I love it. I don't see Forever being a song to dance to but more a song to feel happy to...like with the sun in your face as you drive to the beach with friends. Either way it's an awesome song, and a great way to make me lean towards Vivid instead of you-know-what.

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    1. Wow that's an interesting way to describe her voice. While it may not be the most powerful voice, it is definitely a lot more powerful than a majority of the Japanese and Western mainstream. Either way Crystal voice is not one that I associate with power; she has a sweet and soft tone to her voice.Earlier in her career Crystal would sing out of her comfort zone quite alot; she would stick to her lower range, when it was quite evident that her tessitura was obviously in her upper and mid range. I'm inclined to believe that a lot of the songs you listened to were pre-All Yours. Crystal never really belted out a song until Anata Wa Kitto Eien Ni, and later in her career Crystal belted out songs with excellent control and w/o strain on songs like Hold On and Happy. Either way having a powerful voice isn't what makes a great singer in my opinion. You can find hundreds of singers that can belt out a song with the best of them. What I find impressive is an artist who can use their voice as an instrument through complex vocal arrangements and harmonies. See "I wanna be" to see just how well crystal can slay with the harmonies. I like to consider Crystal in the same vein as Brandy in terms of vocal styling, except she's no where near as accomplished.

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    2. I agree. Crystal isn't a powerhouse when it comes to vocals (you can go to AI and Misia for that), but she has a beautiful voice. She can put a lot of emotion into her voice, which is why I like singers like her, Koda Kumi, Ayu (when she's being serious about her music), Shiina Ringo, and Ayaka.

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    3. I just listened to "I wanna be", and I am kind of dumbfounded. Not only was the song amazing, but her voice was incredible. It was like listening to a completely different person.
      The reason I used the word weak to describe her voice earlier (and I feel like this might be the raeson) was because her voice sounded distant. Especially when compared to "I wanna be", the difference in the sound of the songs I sat through (even including "delnakin" and "forever") was enough to make her sound like a completely different person to me (as I said earlier). This kind of leaves me to wonder why her music sounds the way it does now, because it doesn't seem to fairly showcase her voice as much as it could. Or should.
      Whatever direction she takes her music in, I can now always appreciate her voice. Thanks for the great song!

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    4. @Alex I agree entirely about her sounding like a completely different person between songs like I wanna Be and Forever and Delicious. One of the first things I realized about Forever is how different she sounded, especially on the bridge. As much as I have loved her singles during this era, they really don't do her vocals any justice. It seems as though her vocals are taking a back seat to the production. I keep hoping and praying that she includes either an R&B influenced track on Vivid or at least a ballad with strings. I really consider this era to be crystal demonstrating how versatile she is. She has a voice that can be molded and shaped to the genre and message that a song is trying to convey. It's why i'm such a big fan of hers and why I say that her voice is a producer's dream.

      @Killertune Agreed, she can put a wide array of emotions into her voice. I would also add Utada as another artist who is unmatched in her ability to emote with her voice. She may not be known for her vocal prowess or range, but she makes the best of her voice and knows what works for her. She is one of the few artists that make me feel something when listening to their music. It's why she will always be my favorite artist with Crystal second to her.

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    5. How could I have forgotten Utada. "Deep River" does something to me...I want to add Chara (but her voice is some fuckery) and salyu to that list also.

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    6. Deep River and Ultra Blue both do something to me. Although I prefer Ultra Blue just a tiny bit, mainly because the flawless Blue is on it, which is definitely my favorite Hikaru song of all time. Not too familiar with Salyu, I saw a vocal range video for her and I thought she had a good voice, but I never checked her music out. I have a long list of artist that I have been meaning to listen to, I might as well add her to it as well. LOL Chara sounds like someone who suffered vocal cord damage from ingesting contaminated river water (She legit sounds like someone I know who suffered from what I just stated). I heard her for the first time on an Mflo song, and I all I could think of is wtf did I just listen to it. She's one of those singers you either love or hate, and in my case I hate her.

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    7. With Chara I figured if I can get used to Shiina Ringo's voice and call her one of my favorite singers, then I can get used to anyones voice. Admittedly I only enjoy two songs of her songs (Milk and 70%~Yuugure no uta).

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    8. @Killertune: You should also listen to Crystal's cover of Michael Jackson's "Human nature" and "Happy". They really highlight the beauty of Crystal's vocals and her emotional range.

      Mel pretty much said it all when it comes to Crystal's vocals. It was from 'Call me Miss...' when she really started get sound fully confident in her vocals. And by 'All yours' she really claimed her own shit and seemed full comfortable in her sound. I do miss her vocal arrangements though. They seem to have been scaled back to basics on every post 'Color change!' release which is a shame.

      It was the vocal arrangements on Crystal's songs I loved and felt set her apart from everybody else in the J-game. The only other chicks who were putting it down and really putting a focus on vocal arrangements were Hikaru Utada and Namie Amuro whenever she did a song with Giant swing.

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  8. Crystal always struck me as an alto with a high, bright, and pure head voice. While I agree that the confidence wasn't there until later, I think if you listen to some older stuff, she was already showing a very high degree of power and control in her middle/lower range at a young age. Her Human Nature cover, her Hard to Say acoustic version (amazing), Candy, and even her REALLLLY old stuff like Girl's Night showcase it well. I feel like over time her music has gotten higher and higher. And while she's def capable of owning the notes, I feel this may contribute to the weak thing some people see.

    Regardless, her voice is so beautiful and unique, and I don't need singers belting their lungs out for every single song. In fact, I find this incredibly grating (sideyes Beyonce; throws a copy of Bionic at XTina).

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    1. While I agree with most of what you have said, there is no way crystal is an alto, the coloratura of her voice is not dark or heavy enough. I would classify her as a Mezzo soprano, while the lower notes are strong and powerful, her voice has always shined in her head voice/ upper range. In fact, all of the adjectives you used to describe her voice point to her being a Mezzo-Soprano. I think prior to Call Me Miss crystal mistook herself as being an alto, and because of that stuck to her lower range. As you may know, range is not enough to determine voice type. Mariah considers herself an Alto because of her power/ease in her lower range, but in fact I believe her to be a soprano because of how light and bright the tone of her voice is. A True Alto would be the likes of Amy Winehouse, Brandy, Annie Lennox, ect. Crystal has definitely grown as a vocalist either way. It's amazing to see how she has evolved through out her career. She's one of the few artists who I feel improved vocally and musically with each record, with All Yours being her career defining album. Koi No Ochitara was really the turning point for Crystal. It was a major hit for her, and it saw her transitioning to more pop influenced records sung in a higher tone.

      Christina is a perfect example of someone who sings outside of their tessitura, and tries too hard to make her voice powerful; it is clearly evident when she sings that she sometimes reaches notes via improper technique.

      *Side Eyes Beyonce* Don't even get me started on that thieving trick.

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