Jun Shibata

Shin'ai Naru Kimi E

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Jun Shibata's sixth album, Shinainaru Kimihe, continues her series of releases built around strong ballads and an exceptional ability on the part of Shibata to modulate her voice to fit the songs just right. In the opening single, "Colourful," Shibata croons with a jazz club sensibility while stretching the ends of her lines just a touch to accentuate the display. More powerful vocals are on display in "Tsubaki," and there's a nice jazzy turn in "Melody." There's an interesting (for a vocalist) piano solo in "38 C," and then a sweet and lilting ballad that verges on the hymnal in "Kimi He." There are nice piano-driven melodies throughout the album, but the star is always Shibata and her vocals. Along with a decent pitch range, it's her ability to transform her voice to both fit into a scene and to set a scene that makes her worth hearing. Compositionally, most of the songs are fairly standard for J-Pop balladry. Performance-wise though, there's some treasure hidden here.