Japanese, Reviews

SAWA Soars: I Can Fly EP (Review)

December 31, 2010 | | 3 Comments Share thison Facebook SAWA Soars: I Can Fly EP (Review)on Twitter

We’ve covered SAWA quite extensively on OSV. If you don’t recall, however, she’s the Japanese vocalist responsible for much of the vocals heard in The World Ends With You. Since then, our reviews of her releases have been pretty mixed, but I think she just may have corrected her trajectory this time around with a much softer release.

[Update: we’ve since been informed that this SAWA is not the same artist as the band, SAWA, that was featured on The World Ends With You.  The band has since disbanded, and this SAWA is not associated with the band in any way.  While this is an interesting coincidence, this SAWA stands on her own.  Thanks Cait!]

Hit the jump for our review of SAWA’s I Can Fly EP.

The first pressing limited edition that we’re reviewing actually has a running time of almost 45 minutes, but I admit that that’s a bit misleading. There are actually 5 tracks, totaling about 25 minutes of music, but the limited edition gives listeners different vocal and instrumental versions of one of the tracks that are found at the end of the disc.

Let’s start from the top. The EP opens with the title track, “I Can Fly,” a dreamy and extremely catchy pop track with alternating Japanese and English lyrics. The groovy bassline and electric guitar work paired with the driving percussion and warm synth backing sound like something out of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. The older, better Sonic material, that is. It’s a strong start to an amazing series of songs.

It’s then off to the club with “Sing it Back.” This is the track that gets the varying vocal and non-vocal “extended club mixes” at the end of the disc, although the versions don’t differ that greatly aside from their length. I’d categorize this track as house with its smooth bass and acoustic guitar combination, but whatever you want to call it, it’s also quite catchy and may even have you singing it back to the radio.

“NightDesert” sports a glitchy electronic backing for the highly reverberating vocals, creating an otherworldly sound, while “My Sunny Days” is sticky sweet with super upbeat synth lines and prominent vocals. The synth work actually reminds me of a lot of Korean pop, and I bet if you removed the vocals from the track (not to say I’d want to, as they’re great), this track would be right at home in a game like Ragnarok Online.

I did skip a track along the way, however. The title “I Love You Always Forever” may look familiar, and it should, as it was a big hit from Donna Lewis in the 1990s. This track has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, so I was really surprised and delighted to see it here. In line with the rest of the music on this EP, we get a cool chillout version of the track with some great synth and guitar work. SAWA sings the lyrics in their native English to sometimes comical results given her strong Japanese accent, but if anything, it’s rather endearing, and I actually find it to be more cute than anything else. In any case, I was happy to see it here, and SAWA dose a fantastic job with it.

And there you have it. The first pressing edition sports a blue and pink color scheme, with SAWA on the cover in a golfer outfit. Kind of interesting. The regular edition is more erratic in its color choices, so I’d say given the smooth nature of the music here, the light blue is fitting. I enjoyed this release a whole lot, and am hoping to see more from SAWA in the future. If you’re interested in checking it out, which I recommend, it’s still available at Play-Asia (Limited and Regular) and CD Japan (Limited and Regular).

What do you think of this new SAWA? Will you be looking into her future releases?

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