Shota Shimizu

Umbrella

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

On the scene in various forms for a year or so prior, Shota Shimizu was best known prior to Umbrella for his collaborations with Dohzi-T and Miliyah Kato. Not wanting to lose that kind of recognition certainly, Shimizu's debut album includes all of the hits he'd put together prior. Beyond that there's a series of new pieces, making use of his relatively thin voice in a light urban fashion. These are what could perhaps be best described as hip-hop ballads, interspersing rap delivery sections with easygoing, sung love choruses. Shimizu does make the most of the possibilities between the syllabic structure of Japanese in a rhythmic format such as hip-hop, but also often takes the R&B road, fitting his vocal qualities to the format surprisingly well. While his rap tends to come off as a bit lightweight, his crooning comes off just about right. This is pure unadulterated mid-'90s style urban balladry, right in the sweet spot that buys plenty of young female fans for the artists. Shimizu's debut is a capable work overall, never faltering too heavily but also never stretching far enough to really wow the listener either.