Yuma Uchida showcases a matured sound in “Image“, one of his best releases in 2020.
Title: Image Label: KING RECORDS Release date: 26/08/2020 Genre: Dance/R&B
1 - Image 2 - SummerDay 3 - You Are Special 4 - Image（off vocal ver.） 5 - SummerDay（off vocal ver.） 6 - You Are Special（off vocal ver.）
Track by track analysis:
1 – Image
Washy synths fade in, introducing the listener to a mid-tempo, soothing R&B beat and summery, atmospheric synths. The build-up in “Image” is slow-paced but is so worth the wait to the addictive chorus.
A deep bassline paints the background as washy synths go on full blast in the smooth chorus.
The 2nd verse picks up the pace only slightly, yet enough for that change to be noticeable.
With a quieter take on R&B and EDM, Image puts the spotlight on Yuma Uchida’s vocals alone, never stealing the spotlight from him.
The bridge counts with a beautiful piano melody taking the spotlight, further highlighting Yuma Uchida’s powerful and emotional vocals.
Really enjoyed what Yuma Uchida did in his performance. He’s totally in control of everything in his performance and exudes a hypnotizing charisma that, alongside this intense and catchy song, made me want to replay it again and again.
Interesting approach to Uchida’s sound topped by a sweet, charismatic performance.
2 – SummerDay
A funky saxophone leads the way for “SummerDay” as progressive piano melodies enrich this tropical and groovy soundscape.
The verses progress with quite the comfortable tempo, with a focus being put on the groovy, bass goodness and the funky guitar riffs.
The chorus explodes with energy and good vibes, with a danceable beat leading you to the dance floor to enjoy those fancy saxophone melodies and that addictive piano melody.
You can also expect a couple of Latin percussion elements in the chorus but I have some reservations about its usage.
Usually, these are used to add a danceable, sort of tropical vibe to summer songs. Nothing wrong with that – although it is overused – however, in this song, those elements don’t enhance the instrumental that was already all out on those in different fronts – the saxophone and piano melodies for example.
I felt the addition of Latin percussion, in this case, was a bit too much, as there were already plenty of elements to focus on in the instrumental that already were fleshing out the summer vibe wanted for this song. This isn’t necessarily an issue for many but I feel like, by removing those from the song, you’d still get the same effect and, at the same time, the chorus would sound much cleaner.
On the vocal end, Yuma Uchida is a bundle of energy, shining brightly while nailing that sweet falsetto and breathy mid-to-low notes. Awesome effort by Uchida.
3 – You Are Special
Wrapping up this release is “You Are Special”, song that takes us a sweet yet melancholic soundscape in which acoustic guitars and Yuma Uchida’s passionate, gentle vocals resonate.
After a slow-paced intro, the song builds up into an uplifting song with a simple yet powerful message.
“You Are Special” shines on its own for how quiet and careful it is. The emotions in this song culminate in an emotional guitar solo, a pity though that it was brief.
On the vocal end, Yuma Uchida shifts from lullabying the listener in the verses to a passionate yet contained performance in the pre-chorus and chorus. Sweet way to wrap up this release.
“Image“, the title track, is quite an interesting piece, exploring R&B and EDM in a unique fashion, at least, a unique fashion within his repertoire.
Slowing things down pit more focus on the vocals, something that I deeply appreciated, especially as Yuma Uchida was all out melodic and smooth for this song.
“SummerDay” changes things around a little and brings danceable, tropical imbued vibes to the table.
The instrumental is faster-paced in comparison to “Image” and flows in a more intense, upbeat, and bright way.
I enjoyed the song as a whole but what stood out for me was that classic looping piano melody that feels like a throwback to 90s J-pop, much in the likes of T.M.Revolution.
Awesome, energetic vocals by Uchida in this track.
“You Are Special” goes for a sweet, acoustic pop-rock performance that will put a tear or 2 on your face. It is an emotional song without being an all-out ballad and it is pretty contained in its presentation.
With the message it has and the way it was interpreted by Uchida, it wouldn’t surprise me that this song would turn into a fan favorite.
A pretty sweet song that showcased yet another interesting layer to Yuma Uchida the solo artist.
All in all, Yuma Uchida’s “Image” shows 3 different sides to his singing and ability to adapt to different music genres however, always brings his sweet R&B-ish vocals to the table, smoothing his way through all songs with a lot of comfort and charisma.
Awesome release that wraps up a solid year for Yuma Uchida.
Image is available for purchase at CDJAPAN.