Can't Buy My Love

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Yui's power pop has less emphasis on power and more on pop than Cheap Trick or later Marillion, but still features too many rock elements to be written off as simple bubblegum. Yui is classified as singer/songwriter, and this means the songs are more often than not based on clean guitar strumming coated with quality pop arrangements, or sometimes have a nice electric riff at the core. The singing is good, with Yui's childish but strong voice not just wading through the songs to get the lyrics across, but enhancing the songs. Dynamic numbers and semi-ballads are placed quite predictably, with the unavoidable single in the beginning -- "How Crazy" features energetic pacing and a hook that'll stay in the listener's head like a good pop hook does, though not for long. Yui rarely steps aside from her pop/rock paradigm -- there's a dash of blues in "Why," but it's underdeveloped. All in all, there's an abundance of good pop tunes, melodies, and whatnot, and it can't be said that Yui is ripping off someone's sound -- she follows the style without being a copycat. However, in the end, the album still leaves a somewhat bland impression. The adherence to songwriting standards can only be compensated by the quality of hooks, but it's as if Yui is as shy about the overall impact of her record as she was about stylistic experiments. So Can't Buy My Love stays only in the "nice while it lasts" category, although it does a great job there. Well, everyone can't be Gin Blossoms.

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