Yuna-Rescue (Video)

It’s rare, but sometimes I really do disappoint myself. Yuna’s easily one of my favourite vocalists to have emerged in the last couple of years, and I completely overlooked the release of her second album, Nocturnal, late last month. Foolish. There’s something about her voice that’s just inherently mesmerising- it’s incredibly engaging and you’ll rarely give anything of hers only one play.

This single is from the aforementioned album and offers great hope for the rest of the LP, as well as being a good introduction for those unfamiliar with Yuna. It’s much more extroverted and upbeat than some of her previous work, throwing forth lively, island-esque percussion and gentle piano touches for easy-to-digest verses, and a more extravagant soundscape for the hook, with guitar strums, stronger percussion and plenty more entering the fray. Yuna’s vocals are excellent as always, remaining controlled and smooth in the verses, and scaling up to an explosive, soaring style for the hook which you can’t help but get caught up in, purely for the sheer positivity emanating from every note. The heavy anchoring around the chorus is classic structuring that serves to make that section about as feelgood as anything you’ll hear, whilst giving the verses a more lyrical focus. A fantastic piece of pop, accompanied by some good camera time for Yuna, who delivers bright, uncomplicated visuals with a nice touch of fun. Worth a watch, definitely worth a listen, and be sure to get that album now.

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Yuna-Someone Who Can

Yuna’s self-titled debut album was an excellent piece of music, combining laidback soul sounds with rousing pop numbers, all held together with her wonderful vocal set.

This effort is taken from her upcoming Nocturnal album, set for release on 29th October, and again demonstrates those addictive, near-hypnotising vocal qualities, with a gentle, mostly mellow performance that actually ends up softening some of the harsher, more rebellious elements of her lyrics. When read on paper, her writing is much more aggressive and ‘jilted’ than much of her back catalogue, making for a nice touch of progression and diversity, and it’s a credit to her inherently relaxing voice that those frustrations can easily go quite unnoticed on first listen.

The production is helmed by the masterful Chad Hugo, who serves up a production that straddles the line between uptempo and chillout very skilfully, pairing a warm, reflective melody (that’s very similar to the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind theme) with a high-speed yet light percussion line for a good blend of styles that comes off as nimble yet delicate. Worth a go, and look out for more from Yuna soon.

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Yuna’s one of my favourite vocalists to have emerged in the last year or so, and following her superb debut album is the Sixth Street EP, set to land on 7th May, almost exactly a year after the release of her album.

This track seems to be in her traditional Malaysian language (correct me if I’m wrong!), and whilst that might make it a little less relatable than her previous works, it’s still a lovely piece that hits the right spots as far as melody, emotion and instrumentation go. Opening in a grainy, tape recorder style, the track stylishly swings into live with soft ukelele plucks, a dash of percussion and some nice digital touches for a mellow soundscape with likeably sharp edges, courtesy of the various melodic elements competing for the dominant role. Yuna’s vocals are as elegant and smooth as ever, though she also takes the opportunity to experiment with a couple of new, more aggressive deliveries in certain spots that add good flashes of emotional variety, and it caps off what is a welcome return for Yuna. Be sure to get that EP on 7th May.

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Yuna-Live Your Life Remix ft. Theophilus London

Two of the more unique and upcoming talents in the music game hook up for a remix to Yuna’s lead single from her self-titled album. I’ve waxed lyrical about both Yuna and the aforementioned album at length previously, and hence I’ll spare you me doing that again. This is however a nice reminder and refresh of a relaxing yet perky track, arguably one of the more ‘upbeat’ efforts from the album, with the short Theophilus verse adding a contrast to Yuna’s soft vocals. Not a great deal else to be said on this one, as otherwise it’s identical to the previously-reviewed original, but if you’re unfamiliar with Yuna this is an excellent starting point.

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Yuna-Thinkin Bout You (Frank Ocean Cover)

Big statement time. Yuna is my favourite vocalist in the world right now, without any doubt. I managed to grab both her self-titled album and the Decorate EP, and it’s incredibly replayable music right the way through on both projects with plenty of diversity.

Her voice has a fantastic genuinity, with tons of real feeling thrown in with bundles of skill and lots of versatility. Pretty much all of that is on show here, as she tackles what is still many fans’ favourite Frank Ocean song, so loved for its bare and honest vocals and lyrics, but ensuring her own mark is left on the cover. A live performance in which she provides her own backup, the vocals are typically flawless from start to finish, capturing the raw essence of the original whilst enhancing the delicacy and gentleness of the track.

Let’s avoid making comparisons: this is a wonderful rendition of an exceptional song, and both are excellent examples of vocalists on the top of their game. If you enjoy this half as much as I did, support real talent and grab her stuff on iTunes now.

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R&B Fridays: Episode 135

I wanted to open this week’s episode with a breakdown of why the number 135 was special. Turns out, nothing of any significance is tied to the number, so that’s that.

A few decent posts to recap on from the week gone by, with Ed Sheeran and Yelawolf teaming up for the first track from their upcoming EP, John Legend hooking up with Ludacris for a solid R&B jam, the excellent Elle Varner dropping off a brand new mixtape for her fans to enjoy, and finally a fantastic chillout instrumental from MeLo-X.

All caught up? Good. Feel free to resume your browsing by clicking below for this week’s instalment. There’s also a surprise new feature included in this episode that we’ve been requested to add for some time. Mysterious.
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