Yuna Ito


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With one album under her belt previously and a large increase in her Japanese abilities (Ito is originally from Los Angeles), Wish is a strong sophomore release for the singer. Since her debut, Heart, Ito has expanded greatly in technique and in phrasing, as evidenced here. Not only that, but she's expanded greatly in her contacts, incorporating collaborations with Micro on the lesser end (though he's still a fairly large name) and Celine Dion on the high end. The album opens with a fairly formulaic number but gives way after a song or two to some very nice vocals from Ito in "Alone Again" that fit the song perfectly. The next song is perhaps one of the greatest marks for Ito however -- she has a duet with Celine Dion (on Dion's "A World to Believe In") but is, amazingly, not overshadowed by Dion. They sing in turn and they sing together, but both hold their own and work together as relative equals, something of a rarity in Dion's duets. Moreover, the song comes out well. It's a basic ballad, but it's a nice listen. As the album goes on, Ito dabbles in more upbeat pieces, touching on contemporary J-Urban fashions and bits of dance music, all of which are somewhat standard fare for the contemporary Japanese pop singer. However, Ito's vocals carry the songs a little higher than the compositions and arrangements alone could, powering them up just a notch without going overboard. The collaboration with Micro ("Mahaloha") comes out nicely, with a breezy feel to its delivery and a casual vibe from both Ito and Micro. There's a bit of a bland spot when she takes on an electronically stuttering editing technique in "A Long Walk," but otherwise the album continues on its path. It showcases Ito's stunning vocals, and crosses back and forth from lighter compositions to deeper tracks. With only a few exceptions (such as the collaboration with Micro), it's the more tempered tracks that work better. Ito has the chops to remain a serious contender in the J-pop scene for a while, and as long as she can keep developing the way she appears to be on Wish, those chops should only improve. [A CD/DVD version was also released.]

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
feat: Céline Dion
blue highlight denotes track pick