For the most part, I’m not a big fan of Salyu. Listening to a smattering of songs off her recently released album Maiden Voyage left me pretty unimpressed. A few interesting production ideas here and there (peep the stripped down march of “HALFWAY”), but for the most part straightforward vegan vanilla flavored J-Pop anchored by a voice sounding suspiciously like the Japanese Alanis Morissete. “Ironic” might have been the jam back in sixth grade, but times have changed and Salyu needs a bit more…something…to stand out.
Enter “新しいYES.” It’s Salyu’s latest single to promote Maiden Voyage and an absolute revelation compared to everything else I scoured off YouTube. It starts out relatively simple…a few piano strokes guided forward by a subtle beat, joined by some goofy backwards noises. Then from stage left, Salyu’s voice. Here, it sounds completely unhinged, more free to flow out in whatever direction it chooses than on her other album cuts. Her vocals have more space on “新しいYES” – check the way she manages to make some of these lyrics just linger in mid-air a little longer. Then it’s time for the chorus, where Salyu just launches off into orbit, leaving behind twinkling key strokes as exhaust. Her voice just drips with emotion, a weird mixture of sadness and hope that would be a must-listen as just an a cappella.
Strangely enough, the one artist I keep thinking about when I here the vocals to “新しいYES” is Erykah Badu. I’ve probably just been listening to her too much recently (aside: new album seems poised to be 2010’s new MVP frontrunner) because the two artists couldn’t be more different…save for the singing. Salyu and Badu both boast gorgeous voices that they are capable of taking in strangely awesome directions (for Salyu, this song) that elevate their more straightforward moments into more stunning wilds. Salyu’s got it in her…she’s just gotta let it out a bit more. Then her body of songs can sound as magnificent as “新しいYES.”