My Short Stories is not a new studio record, but a collection of B-sides from all Yui's singles, rounded off by a new track, "I'll Be." However, it debuted at number one on the Oricon charts -- the first B-side collection to achieve that since Seiko Matsuda's Touch Me 24 years previously -- and that makes perfect sense, because the release doesn't lose in quality compared with Yui's three previous proper albums, which made her Japan's hottest pop/rock star of the late 2000s. Then again, it's not that surprising, considering that Yui's back catalog doesn't exactly include a lot of standout singles, but hardly has a single weak song -- she's had good material for four records, and how she distributes the tracks between them is purely arbitrary. All this amounts to saying that My Short Stories is more of the same power pop with equal amounts of acoustic and electric guitars, led by Yui's strong youthful voice -- bordering on infantile in a couple of places, but brimming with strength and confidence in others. It's also sunny and melodic, which doesn't really mean much, seeing that there's virtually a legion of J-rock bands, both male- and female-fronted, making the same type of music. What really sets Yui apart is not some special trick or stylistic nuance, but simply her colossal knack for melody and arrangements, both of which are simple and precise without becoming hackneyed or maudlin: she's got the right emotion and she knows just how to express it. Yui may not really be doing anything Gin Blossoms or Texas haven't done already, but she manages to make it sound fresh and interesting every time, and that's a huge achievement. Eagle-Eye Cherry, for instance, may have had a bigger hit in the same style with "Save Tonight" at one point, but My Short Stories has 15 tracks of comparable quality.
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AllMusic Review by Alexey Eremenko