Album review: Crystal Kay - All yours

Album review: Crystal Kay - All yours | Random J Pop

Crystal Kay's place as one of my favourite J-Pop ladies was cemented with the song "Konna ni chikaku de...". I wondered where the hell Crystal could go from there. It's such a perfect song that it'd be very easy for an artist to deliver an album which pales in comparison. But Crystal manages to avoid the pitfall.

The production on "All yours" is top notch. The songs blend R&B beats with live instrumentation's which make for a very rich and well rounded sound. The music never bores and the album manages to hold your interest right the way through thanks to arrangements which change, switch and contain intricate melodies as opposed to the same bog standard riff being played over and over. Not that there's anything wrong a bog standard riff that loops over and over. Nelly Furtado's "Maneater" was by no means intricate in the beats department and it was still a fantastic song. But it just makes a change.

The music on its own would be enough to overshadow most vocalists, but Crystal's vocals shine through on every song. Regardless of whether it's an uptempo club banger, a power ballad or a slow jam - Crystal is able to deliver a vocal performance which sells each song and makes it her own. Every note, harmony and ad-lib is spot-on and blends seamlessly with the music itself. Crystal's vocals have always been what have set her apart from other ladies on the J-Pop scene because it is distinctly R&B and very soulful.

As with most Japanese artists who are into the R&B scene, many of the songs are strongly influenced by popular songs and sounds in the United States. But do not think for a second this means that Crystal's album is full of US R&B knock offs. Crystal's songs are as good, if not better than most of the R&B cuts you'll hear in the west. Twinkly mid tempo jam "Cherish" wouldn't sound out of place on a Destiny's Child album due to its striking comparison to their song "Cater 2 U". "Escalator" is a radio friendly club banger acting as an edgier urban version of "Konna ni chikaku de...". "I wanna be" is R&B perfection through and through, with it's pulsating bass line, catchy hooks and what has to be the smoothest vocal harmony I've heard on a chorus. "Still" is the albums' definitive slow jam, with a melody on the verses that has it sounding like a production from The Underdogs. All yours is confirmation that Crystal can do Pop glossed R&B and that it's no fluke. Despite the album having strong R&B elements - there is something here for everyone. "Dream world" has a funky Latin edge. "Anata soba de" is a short 'n sweet banger with a catchy Pop hook. "Kitto eien ni" is a grandiose power ballad. And "Sugar rain" and "Last kiss" shine with their throwback soul elements. All yours never misses a beat.Every single track on this album is likeable and listen-able. Whilst not being much of a departure from Call me miss..., this album definitely shows growth and that Crystal has found a niche and style which works for her. If you're a Crystal Kay fan, you will not be disappointed. And if you're a lover of solid R&B tinged with a bit of Pop then I guarantee you'll find something here worth listening to. A must buy.


RATING: 10 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Konna ni chikaku de...
■ Dream world
■ Anytime
■ Anata no soba de
■ Cherish
■ Still
■ Kitto eien ni
■ Escalator
■ Sugar rain
■ I wanna be ★ J's fave
■ Lonely girl

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