1. heavenly days
2. orange (オレンジ)
3. hi no kageru oka (陽のかげる丘)
4. memories (メモリーズ)
5. hikari (ひかり)
6.Sign of the moon～interlude～
7. sutaa raito (スターライト)
8. pea ringu (ペアリング)
9. ai o shiri taku te (愛を知りたくて)
10. sora (そら)
“sora” was released on December 5, 2007 and debuted at number 2 on the Oricon daily chart, a position this album is looking to maintain for the whole week. Over all, this album may be able to sell 200,000 units. This album gained popularity as a download, with “heavenly days” being heavily downloaded on Chaku-Uta. “sora” is Aragaki Yui’s first album, and first musical release; she has released no single before this, which makes the album’s success staggering. She, like ERIKA, is an actress turned singer.
“heavenly days” is a great song. It’s probably the best song on the album. For an acoustic sounding album, this song packs in a lot of emotion in the combination of the singer’s voice and the guitar, piano, strings, and drum. Despite her voice being weak, Aragaki Yui makes a great starting track to her album that has a memorable melody. The extro is a minute long as it emphasizes how well arranged this track is. Very impressive and probably a must listen. This is acoustic music done well.
“orange” starts out with a soft rock feel and a higher vocal pitch. The transition is fine, but the song itself isn’t amazing; that acoustic feel sticks to the song despite it being rocky. That ends up being a bit of a problem for the song, which is edging on fast paced. Add in high pitched vocals and the song could be better.
The next song, “hi no kageru oka,” slows the album back down; the synth / keyboard program used is the same as in “heavenly days,” but is surrounded by different over all instrumentation and layering of vocals. The verses feature excellent layering of Aragaki Yui‘s vocals, leading up to a bridge that accents Yui as she sings and melds into the chorus before becoming melancholy once more. The song grows more as it reaches the second bridge, abandoning most of its instrumentation before ending the song well. Over all, a well rounded acoustic track that has so-so vocals.
“Memories” gives us yet another good transition: it’s a slow track with what sounds like a ukulele, which interchanges with the piano and string section. The song crescendoes well in the end, but I can’t help but feel like the track isn’t exactly anything special. By this point in the album, we’ve heard this same style done three times. What does help elevate this song above the pack, however, is the ending, which is somewhat stronger.
“hikari,” begins to sound the same as everything before, as well. The only real variety demonstrated by the song is a change in tempo and a change in instrumentation. This time we see strings take front and center alongside weak singing. At times, emotion shines through, but sadly, “heavenly days” does that better.
The interlude sounds quite nice. It’s the same instrumentation style heard on the album embellished a bit. If you love the other tracks, maybe take a listen, otherwise pass it up. As a listening experience, however, it adds to the song well.
The next song, “sutaa raito,” opens up slowly, creating a good transition from the interlude, but then it picks up the pace. This is the fastest paced track we’ve heard on the album, and the most powerful instrumentation we’ll hear. The glaring problem: Yui’s voice is not strong enough to compete with the instrumentation being much more than acoustic. Before the extro, she tries to sing among the climax of the background music, but her voice sounds edgy and raw. The track survives, but the track reminds one of the vocal strength of the person they’re listening to. Great ending and beginning.
“pea ringu” is lighter and about the same tempo as the last track, but it lacks the power and hook of the last song. The flute based instrumentation is a nice change, as is her style of singing, but her music is fading together into one acoustic piece.
“ai o shiri taku te” and “sora” are mediocre tracks, with “sora” winning out in the end for ending the album well on a mid-tempo note with a good hook. “ai o shiri taku te” doesn’t have that, so it ends up falling on its weak notes compared to the better song after it.
Musical artists today walk a fine line in between cohesion and repetition as they write, compose, arrange, and sing on their albums. Audiences expect top notch efforts and anything less is scrutinized. This album does not succeed at being exemplary because many of the tracks sound too similar. However, this album contains two great tracks worth listening to: “heavenly days” and “sutaa raito.” These two songs showcase Aragaki Yui‘s vocals in the best manner, with great instrumentation and excellent extros. Considering the weakness in her voice, it’s a wonder she created these great songs. However this weakness, while crippling other tracks, presents a vulnerability here that lets these two songs transcend the rest. Over all, I’d recommend this album to fans of acoustic music, but otherwise, I’d pass “sora” by, only listening to “heavenly days” and “sutaa raito.” The album is only a few notches above average.