“Salt & Sugar” showcases Yuma Uchida’s vocal skills and strengths as an R&B pop performer even if slightly missing the mark in its consistency.
Title: Salt & Sugar Release date: 12/04/2023 Label: KING AMUSEMENT CREATIVE Genre: Pop/Acoustic/EDM
1 - Salt & Sugar 2 - Happy-go-Journey 3 - 風でありたい 4 - Salt & Sugar（off vocal ver.） 5 - Happy-go-Journey（off vocal ver.） 6 - 風でありたい（off vocal ver.）
Track by track analysis:
1 – Salt & Sugar
A jaunty piano melody fades in and out of the soundscape as “Salt & Sugar” kicks in.
In this song, Yuma Uchida delivers a dual performance shifting from groovy rapping alongside the jaunty piano and punchy bassline to a melodic clean singing style as the fancy strings make their entrance.
This duality remains for the whole song, with the verses bringing forward a groovy bassline-driven sound on top of a simple snary beat with funky guitar accents in the background.
As the song progresses, strings and fancy piano make their entrance, leading up to the bubbly chorus.
The good balance between the deep bass rap parts and the clean singing delicate parts is a delight to listen to however, within this song there is something that stands out and it’s not for a good reason.
Leading up to the chorus, there is a synth that suddenly takes the spotlight and rises in volume in an unnatural way that strays away from the cleaning mixing up until then.
This only happens twice in this song but since it felt so unnatural and came out of nowhere, it ended up distracting me from the song, especially when I first listened to it.
Further listens end up erasing that issue – because you will get used to it -, ending up making “Salt & Sugar” quite the entertaining song.
2 – Happy-go-Journey
A shuffle beat, fancy strings and groovy bassline lead the way in the laidback tune “Happy-go-Journey”.
The unplugged sound in this song is a winner for me. The beat is simple, focusing on the hi-hat as the acoustic guitars give off that loungy vibe as the brass plays in the background.
An electric guitar and trombone smoothly join in the composition as we get closer to the chorus, heightening the tension in a simple and groovy way.
When the chorus kicks in, brass and a shuffle beat blend to create a bouncy sound that will grab your attention.
Acoustic guitars spread good vibes throughout the cozy soundscape as the fancy elegantly struts into the scene. Yuma Uchida stylishly performs this tune, focusing on his R&B style of singing, sounding incredibly melodic throughout.
However, there is a small surprise for you as an intermission arrives, playing around with turntables and acoustic guitars before leaving you to the devices of the 2nd verse.
When “Happy-go-Journey” wraps up, you are left wanting to never leave that relaxing and groovy soundscape.
3 – 風でありたい (Kaze de aritai)
And to wrap up this release, Yuma Uchida creates a wide, breathy soundscape that feels like it will never end.
“Kaze de aritai” is all about its atmospheric synths and open chords, creating around you an ethereal soundscape that is pure white, shining bright on you through Yuma Uchida’s clean high vocals.
The verses are overflowing with good vibes and, in a way, they feel like running in the wind. They are refreshing, unstoppable, and offer resistance but feel good. The beat is consistent and groovy in its simplicity, synths are open and high in a tasteful way. The vocals are crystal clear.
And this mixing? It is pure bliss how every element is clean and easy to tell apart – with a good example being the verses in which you completely different things going on on both sides of the soundscape and you don’t need to lose focus on the vocals to pick them apart in the composition.
When the chorus arrives, synths and the bassline team up, creating a deep bass sound that is enjoyable, serving as the heartbeat to this track, as the synths and Yuma Uchida’s high vocals serve as the perfect contrast.
The bridge goes unplugged, bringing an acoustic guitar to the spotlight, serving as the final touch to what is the highlight of this single.
Yuma Uchida arrives with “Salt & Sugar”, a single that is all about songs with dual charms be it on the instrumentals or the performances.
The title track is groovy and bouncy at all times, something that will instantly make you vibe along to it. I was honestly expecting something more “bubbly” given the song’s title but thankfully it is just sweet enough that is not cheesy, which I appreciate.
The composition in this song follows the two sides – represented by rapping and clean singing -, bringing forth a sound that is both groovy and stylish. When both sides meet in the chorus, what you get is a sweet performance that is surprisingly self-contained in its happy vibes. While not a perfect song, it is entertaining enough to bring you back to listening to it.
“Happy-go-Journey” cranks up the bassline and unplugs the rest of the instrumental to give way to a performance that blends funk and jazz with hip-hop. What fans get is a fancy performance that is both cozy and laidback.
But the highlight is, without a doubt, “Kaze de Aritai”.
This song feels liberating right from the start. As the atmospheric synths slowly hit you, the instrumental creates a wide, ethereal soundscape in which Yuma Uchida’s vocals shine. His falsetto is particularly beautiful in this track but let’s not forget that his emotional mid-toned vocals and vibrato make quite the big impression in this performance.
Listening to this song feels almost like revisiting “HORIZON” however, in a way, it sounds nothing like the songs in it. There is a twinge of nostalgia in there but what shines the most is the passion, the excitement, and the freeing tone of the song.
As “Salt & Sugar” comes to a close, I can safely say that Yuma Uchida is on top of his game on the vocal end at the same time that he delivered songs that flatter his skills while being tasteful throughout.
Even if far from perfect, this single adds plenty of awesome tunes to his repertoire while showcasing Uchida’s strengths as an R&B pop performer.
“Salt & Sugar” is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.
“Salt & Sugar” is available for streaming on Spotify.
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