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Yui Horie: Darling

Album Notes

For her sixth album, Yui Horie spent some extra time in the studio -- two years between albums is a long time for a J-pop star. The result is essentially similar to what she had been doing previously, but with some new modifications. Horie has always been among the crowd, singing straightforward pop songs, pure bubblegum. On Darling, she continues the bubblegum trend, but has more elements of contemporary aesthetics worked in -- bubbling drum machines, tinges of rock guitar infused now and then, even a bit of a singer/songwriter aesthetic in "Kamisama Onegai" before it takes a gospel turn. The bulk of the album is taken up with fairly light pop pieces, items that wouldn't be out of place in any basic release from the Morning Musume/C-Ute/Berryz Koubou consortium. Here and there, though, there are signs of R&B influences, pieces of techno embedded into songs, touches of glam-metal deftly woven into the backing tracks. The album never quite leaves the cutesy stages, but it takes a couple of steps. That's saying something for an artist built on a bubblegum sound and billed by her label as providing "girly love songs." Fans will delight, and those new to J-pop may have some stereotypes of the music confirmed. ~ Adam Greenberg


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