The ever popular singing diva Yoko Ishida is back with her latest album, "Sweets," featuring 11 all-new tracks, including songs from hit anime series "Ai Yori Aoshi," "Tiny Fairy Sugar," "Pretear" and more! Already known to anime fans for her incredible performances in her mega-popular dance-craze Para-Para CD series, Yoko's talented singing voice is a true listening pleasure and this long-awaited release will delight anime fans! Featuring 4 anime opening theme songs and 2 anime ending theme songs. Available for the first time as a domestic CD release. Includes insert CD booklet with song titles, lyrics and credits translated in English language.
"Spring Field" is engaging pop with a grinding rock guitar that's kind of like a poppified Alanis or Avril, while "Believing" rock with a slight bit of funk thrown in, is about a relationship in transition; whether the couple will meet again is in the air. "Do you remember the temperature of our connected hands?" Ishida asks at once point.
"White Destiny" is the opening theme to the anime series Pretear-The New Story of Snow White. A techno anthem with nice synth effects and a pulsing backbeat, this is one of Sweets' delicious moments. It's a positive song, beginning with how the main character, the heroine Himeno, will "start the snow of happiness worldwide" and how she realizes the place of warm love is in one's heart, and so she'll "fill up everyone with a beautiful heart like snow."
"Proof of Life," the ending theme to "Anime TV," is an upbeat but introspective pop song, where she wonders what the purpose of existence is, what the number one happiness is. An existential turn is given when she decides "I wonder why people live/I'll accept any fate and lonesome journey, if they are all to meet you." The difficulty of life is exemplified when she also yearns to live a life without regret but can't go forward.
"Eternal Flower" or "Towa No Hana" is the opening theme to the first Ai Yori Aoshi series, and is a sweet synth ballad with moving strings, and is the other big favourite here. It encompasses the long love the main character, Aoi-chan, had for Kaoru, her first and only love-"More than anyone, more than all I'm staring at you/This feeling for eternity" and "Your smile will become my flower, for sure..." I keep playing this over whenever I'm not watching Ai Yori Aoshi.
The upbeat "Get Away 2AM" tells of a relationship that seems doomed to end, where the woman is walking alone with the song as her thoughts, while the lush swinging Pet Shop Boys meets Swing Out Sister mélange of the life and love-affirming "Fragile Flower."
"Sugar Baby Love" which is the opening theme to the cutesy "A Little Snow Sugar Fairy" series, is done both in Japanese and English renditions. Combining the dreamy ambience of the Cranberries' "Dreams," Beatles-style pop, and majestic synths, it's a song of a repressed love, where the title love is "an unrequited love and painful night." Another winning anthem, with the nice monologue "I love you, but when I see your eyes, my lips get frozen." However, there are different lyrics in the English version where she basically sings "if you love someone, don't think twice" about it.
Of nice ballads, Ishida scores with "Truth's Door" or "Shinjistu No Tobira," the opening theme to the Gunparade March series and "Thankful," another heartfelt love ballad with a slow synth drum backbeat.
Released here in July 2003, this album missed having another song by Ishida, the theme to Ai Yori Aoshi Enishi, "Takaramono" or "Treasure," which is one of the sweetest and tear-jerking songs she's ever done. Most of these songs are indeed takaramono. Ishida is simply talented, cute, and has the luck to sing the themes to some of the best Japanese anime series, as well as songs that could be theme songs or singles in their own right. Here's hoping she puts out another album of sweets, or as they say in Japanese, "amaimono" soon. And to Ishida-san, "kono arubamu wa tanoshikatta. Arigato" In English, "this album was enjoyable. Thank you."
She truly has a sweet angelic voice that matches well with the musical pieces she uses. She can easily sing the catchy upbeat tunes like "Sugar Baby Love" or more moving emotional pieces like "Thankful". I tend to love more of the slow emotional pieces and can't say enough about her captivating voice. This album does mix things up well with both types. Highly recommended for any fan, anime-related or not.