Candy Girl

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Shion's debut album is a relatively short one, trying to make its mark on the Japanese pop scene with a fairly standard J-Urban sound while leaving room for Shion to put out additional albums in the future (indeed, another album followed only five months after Candy Girl). The sound is, if possible, strikingly standard. The album opens with a basic R&B ballad, layering Shion's breathy vocals over a basic piano riff. "Fxxk Money" brings out a catchy style which, in conjunction with guest star Raider, provides a more contemporary feel, moving away from the purely standardized sound that overwhelms much of the album. There's a weak attempt at a ballad (for which Shion's vocals mesh poorly), followed by an intriguing urban hip-hop rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" in "Lost." The song is held up primarily by Shion's half-spoken, half-sung verses, though at least some of the chorus' power comes with the help of Koz. Holding up a bit of the raunchy end that's an integral portion of her image (in case "Fxxk Money" wasn't enough), the title track thematically stands as a half-English copycat of Kelis' "Milkshake." Musically, it's horribly lacking, but lyrically it's at least humorous in its directness. Though the album moves on largely without event after the title track, there's a sudden appearance of a Zapp & Roger-style vocoder in "Bayside Story" which, when mixed with a shouted rap from Dazzle 4 Life, results in a laid-back response to "California Love." The album doesn't seem to do much on its own, taking its best moments from references to similar songs by others in the American scene. Shion's voice similarly proves weakly fitted to the softer ballads and a little slow for the rapped portions. However, when the album does hit a good groove, it holds on to that groove as though its life depended upon it. And indeed, it does. Those occasional high points are the redemptive moments for an otherwise flawed album.