Single review: Crystal Kay - Sakura

Single review: Crystal Kay - Sakura | Random J Pop

Crystal Kay's 11th studio album Shine was an absolute mess. So I was all for Crystal keeping it moving with a new single releasing a mere couple of months after it. That was until I heard it, only to discover that it sounds like a song from Shine. So you may want to dash those hopes of yours into that same dustbin where Spin the music lives and Shine will be getting real cosy in.

"Sakura" is pretty much a re-run of "Kimi ga ita kara". It's a ballad. It features in a J-drama. The song is nice and Crystal sings it wonderfully. But it's far from being one of Crystal's most memorable ballads and it's so far removed from what Crystal's core fans would want from her as a single. But it is becoming apparent that the core Crystal Kay fan base aren't who matter to her record label and arguably to her any more. Understandable given that they've (we've?) not done much to prevent her from slippin' and sliding in mediocrity.

The only redeeming song on this single is "Waiting for you", which should have been made an A-side alongside "Sakura". It would give Crystal's fans some form of hope that she knows what's up with her sound and that she can still turn out really strong pop records. "Waiting for you" picks up where Crystal's 2013 digital single "My heartbeat" left off. Bubbly, fun and sounding a lot like Summer. 80s pop really suits Crystal's voice. It's a sound that everybody is doing right now and I wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen's E-mo-tion was an influence here, but it works for Crystal. I'd love for her to do an 80s Pop / R&B album.

The second B-side track is a cover of Alphaville's "Forever young". Crystal had long proven that she can handle covers in a respectful and masterful way and she does not put a foot wrong here. It's a careful and safe cover which highlights Crystal's vocals. The arrangements remind me greatly of Hikaru Utada. I feel if she were to cover the song, she would have done so in this exact same way. It's a strange song to have featured on this single, but it's nice for what it is. I would definitely leave this on the cutting room floor for the album though.

I would strongly recommend that Crystal drops a new album soon, because she needs to do the most to sweep that album under the carpet and act like whatever comes next is the true successor to Vivid, because Shine was not the one. It's difficult to ascertain with this release whether Shine is trying to be swept under the carpet, or whether this is a song to extended the life of it, given that Crystal is on her Shine tour (i.e performing "Revolution" in club venues with a max capacity of 70 people) and Crystal's hair is still coloured as it was for her Shine promotional run.

"Sakura" could have been a chance to rile up her fans who felt disappointed with Shine (i.e all o' dem). Instead, it's just feels like an extension of it, with nothing pointing towards a future which looks nor sounds remotely like the Crystal we used to love so dearly.

"Sakura" ain't shit. But "Waiting for you" single handedly makes this release worthwhile. It's just a shame it was made an A-side.

RATING: 6/10


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