Yuma Uchida puts all his trumps on the table, delivering a rich set of songs while showcasing his versatility in HORIZON.
Title: HORIZON Label: KING AMUSEMENT CREATIVE Release date: 24/07/2019 Genre: Pop-Rock/R&B/Pop
01. Harmony of waves 02. Horizon 03. NEW WORLD 04. Can you keep a secret ? 05. ERROR 06. Shower 07. Speechless 08. 君に話したいこと 09. VIBES 10. JOURNEY 11. Before Dawn 12. FROM HERE
Track by track analysis:
1 – harmony of waves
If there was any doubt that Yuma Uchida was going to go all out with his skills, it completely vanished as soon as “harmony of waves” kicks in.
The single is almost acapella with a simplistic atmospheric synth in the background, giving way for tones, canons, fancy pitch vocals, R&B riffing, and sweet high notes.
Such a unique way to open an album and also a perfect introduction to what Uchida’s singing skills are all about.
2 – Horizon
Melancholic strings and atmospheric synths set a longing tone for this pop-rock inspiring tune. Toms-driven drums and a noticeable bass line lead the way in the verses, picking up the pacing of the song leading to the chorus.
The chorus is quite softer in comparison to what would have been expected after the intro and how the first verse was crafted.
Although a bit different from what we had previously pictured, the chorus flows well, giving off a feel-good vibe that works well with the lyrics to this song.
Vocally, this is not a song that demands highly skilled techniques or any kind of showing-off of skills. Uchida’s passionate performance gives the final touches to this laidback song.
3 – NEW WORLD
[As previously review] NEW WORLD’s instrumental is a blend of various music genres well put together.
While at its core we find rock, especially noticeable with the presence of bass drums and a funky bass line, as well as the massive light that is shed overexciting guitar riffs and melodies.
Underneath all that we find that this instrumental has a danceable touch, much due to the fact that synths, piano melodies, and dubstep-ish drums worked hard into introducing that twist to this song in the smoothest way possible.
The verses rely mainly on a simple rock sound, with electronica elements only joining in during the pre-chorus or leading the way in the break.
On the vocal end, Uchida didn’t spare anything nor anyone. He simply made this song his playground, rapping (even if briefly and rather clumsily), tackling high notes, delivering smooth mid-tones, ultimately delivering an all-rounded, entertaining performance.
4 – Can you keep a secret
Atmospheric synths, washy synths, a reverberating bassline, Rhodes piano melodies, and a simple beat make this one catchy R&B tune. The pacing is slow, the instrumental is dreamy and the vocal performance is absolutely stunning.
Uchida excels in R&B tunes and this song is perfect to showcase the gentleness in his voice as well as his R&B riffing skills that have made previous iterations to R&B shine.
A perfect soundscape and a sweet performance make this song a highlight in this release.
5 – ERROR
Muffled, manipulated vocals take over this minimalistic loungy R&B tune. Pretty much following the formula present in the previous song, ERROR takes pride in its simple sound, focused on making the vocals shine.
The chorus is a delight to listen to with catchy melodies, soft, R&B-ish vocals. A must listen and yet another highlight in this album.
6 – Shower
Shifting from R&B we are graced with an upbeat tropical-inspired pop tune. Overflowing with energy, Shower is a song that has a summery soundscape exuding from itself.
On the vocal end, Uchida showcases his vibrato and dabbles a bit in his sweet high notes.
However, it is his energy that completely grabs the listener’s attention. “Shower” is a thoroughly fun song that guides the listener to the latter half of the album in good spirits.
7 – Speechless
[As previously reviewed] Speechless embraces acoustic guitars, big piano melodies, simple bass lines, and drums. This song will instantly give you a feel-good vibe, with warmth irradiating from the easy-listening melodies and inspiring chorus.
On the vocal end, Uchida delivers a stellar performance, adding a gentle dimension to this song with his mix of sweet mid-tones and ethereal high notes, and falsetto. Simple and sweet.
8 – Kimi ni hanashitai koto
The resident ballad in HORIZON is Kimi ni hanashitai koto. Slow-paced percussion, longing piano melodies, and melancholic strings create a delicate tone with an R&B touch.
After the excitement in the previous song, this feels like the perfect song to just sit back, listen to and take in every single line.
Uchida’s performance is filled with emotion, with him showcasing his vocal chops through stunning falsetto, R&B falsetto, and a solid vibrato. His best ballad to date.
9 – VIBES
Wasn’t synths and a tropical, progressive beat take over Vibes. An upbeat piano melody and a simple bass drum beat up the tempo in the verses but, although the tempo never goes in the same direction as in “Shower”, I can safely say the high tension and energy of his is well present in this song.
The chorus is a sure-fire winner in this song. It is addictive and urban, made for the dancefloor.
The vocals are textbook dance music-ready. Manipulation, auto-tune and pitch vocals, all contribute to making this song so filled with energy.
There are little to no clean vocals in this song but it is so tastefully done with the manipulation that it does not sound excessive at all. In case you are looking for a dance floor anthem, here it is.
10 – JOURNEY
Distant guitar riffs and atmospheric synths are at the core of this pop-rock tune. JOURNEY explores quiet, melodic sonorities, serving as a sweet backdrop to the gentle vocal performance by Yuma Uchida.
He delivers a solid performance filled with excitement and hope. It is an inspiring performance that is completely fresh in his repertoire.
11 – Before Dawn
Uchida brings back an energetic pop-rock sound for the single’s title track. The instrumental blends rock, acoustic and electronica to create an ethereal and, at times, exciting sound.
Acoustic guitar riffs set a sweet tone for this song, later being joined by fast paced, funky guitar licks, a groovy bass line and snare-y drums.
Electronica still plays a role in this song, helping to create an ethereal soundscape through the airy atmospheric synths, the introduction of a couple of dubstep beat samples, and dirty synths.
The instrumental feels right, with a close to perfect balance between the rock and electronica elements, creating this mid-tempo, feel-good pop-rock tune.
On the vocal end, this is one of the simplest songs so far released on Uchida‘s solo career.
12 – FROM HERE
To wrap up this album we have FROM HERE, song that sounds like a goodbye with its distant guitar riffs, dramatic toms-driven drums, and deep bassline.
The chorus gives chills from how the build-up was made and how the vocal performance takes everything a step further in emotional charge. This emotional song and performance make us long for more music from Uchida.
Yuma Uchida‘s HORIZON is an album that perfectly encapsulates his energy and versatility.
The album is filled with upbeat pop tunes, challenging his skills and versatility.
R&B is clearly Uchida’s playground. He excels in his performances in this genre and often showcases more of his range when performing songs of the genre – can you keep a secret, ERROR and Kimi ni hanashitai koto -, this is where his falsetto shines and his R&B riffing dazzles us.
His performance in the ballad Kimi ni hanashitai koto and in the emotional pop-rock tune FROM HERE made us wish that Uchida would explore more of these kinds of dramatic, introspective songs.
The acapella intro, harmony of waves, was something unexpected. The performance is all about showcasing Uchida’s skills and we can’t stress enough when we say that he is a gifted singer.
Shower and Vibes gave us an injection of fun and feel-good vibe while showcasing us beautiful, summery soundscape.
Uchida’s performances were as expected. He is a great singer, equipped with a gentle tone and with a lot of emotion in his voice. His performances usually grab the listener’s attention without being too showy about his skills which is remarkable. His falsetto continues to impress and his vibrato is as gentle as ever. The fact that most of this album is R&B-oriented made it possible to shine even more.
All in all, HORIZON is a must-listen. This album is the perfect introduction to new fans and a sweet gift to his fans. For those that just like great music besides who is singing this is also the album to pick up.
HORIZON is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.