SAWA – Welcome to Sa-World
Album: Welcome to Sa-world
Release Date: 07.07.10
I’ve never been much of an electro-pop junkie when it came to J-Pop, since it’s a genre that’s pretty much either a hit or a miss for me, and I haven’t found many Japanese electro-pop artists that I enjoy listening to, but SAWA caught my attention ever since I started to read about all the excitement surrounding her first full-length release, Welcome to Sa-world. Because Jinny used her as our poster child on our 10 PERFECT J-Pop Albums collab, I felt like it was my obligation to give her a shot, and I don’t regret it at all. She’s exactly what I was looking for in Japanese electro-pop!
The first song, Opening Ceremony ～Sa-Worldへようこそ～, serves as an introduction for the album, being an interlude, and it certainly captures the essence of the record, being a fun, cute track, and SAWA speaking is incredibly cute and fierce at the same time. It’s sort of misleading because it’s funhouse-themed, when the album as a whole is very contemporary and electronic, but it’s still very cute!
MerryGoRound officially opens the album in all its upbeat, electronic colors. I love how SAWA sounds on this track, when she hits the higher notes, followed by the cuteness of the instrumentals, it’s a very innocent-sounding song, very uplifting and sweet. The instrumentals keep it fresh all the way through and go perfectly with SAWA’s wonderfully nasal vocals.
Stars is one of my favorites on the album. I think the energy of the chorus is extremely contagious, and her synthesized vocals work magic. Here she sounds a lot less nasal because she’s covered in synth, but it all just comes together beautifully, with a powerful, intricate chorus. It also holds a mysterious feel that’s very different from the previous track. It runs very beautifully and smoothly.
I love the piano that kicks off NightBus, it’s very organic, compared to the previous songs, and it slowly grows into amazing electronic goodness. The mixture of the piano with the synth makes this song really feel-good and unique. The piano brings the song a whole disco feel that I love listening to and it’s just very fresh, and once again, goes perfectly with SAWA’s vocals.
Chocolate Zone ～野生のSAWA～ is another fierce/cute interlude that includes a part of the next song, Throw Him Away!, and it’s sort of like we’re listening to SAWA compose the song. I’m not very fond of the playful, kid-like noises on this interlude, but it only makes Throw Him Away! sound more amazing.
Throw Him Away! is a lot less electronic than the previous tracks, mostly focused on guitar riffs and drums, that classical type of uplifting J-Pop that’s perfect to listen to first thing in the morning. It’s fast-paced and cute, full of backing vocals that sound extremely fresh and adorable. I love this song, and it definitely stands out among the others for its organic instrumentals.
ManyColors brings us back to the original electronic roots of the album, along with the amazing piano left behind since NightBus. It’s not as stellar as the other tracks, even though it’s quite catchy and addicting, it isn’t as intricate and beautiful as the previous ones. Still a very fun addition to the album that holds very enjoyable elements.
I’m a president is a very unusual title for a song, especially one that’s as good as this. It’s very upbeat, once again taking a more organic route, with constant electronic interferences. It has very upbeat, positive energy and I love SAWA’s voice on this song, she sounds very comfortable and her range sounds very good even with no synth covering up her voice.
Danger Zone ～逃げろ! 危うしSa-World!～ my love for this interlude was a surprise to me. I hardly ever like interludes because they tend to serve as simple introductions to the following track and aren’t worthy of their short lengths. However, there’s something about the mystery and darkness of this interlude that I love. The screaming people, crying children, breaking glass, SAWA’s fierce warnings, all in perfect harmony with the light electronic beats in the background, which grow into verses of the following song, Swimming Dancing, sung at a slower pace . . . It’s all music to my ears, for some odd reason.
Swimming Dancing might possibly be my favorite song on the album. I love everything about it. The chorus is very powerful and it’s electronic from beginning to end. SAWA’s nasal vocals work magic contrasting with the delicious electronica and it’s a showcase of beauty in synthetic sound. It’s very intense and the intricate, explosive instrumentals make for one orgasmic song.
Friday Night is feel-good from the title to the first second of the song, to the last second. It’s the type of song to have a good time to. SAWA sounds amazing as well, and her voice brings a lot of uplifting energy to the song. It’s definitely one of my favorites, because it’s not as intense as some of the others, it’s just a great song to have a good, positive time to.
Planet-T brings back the vocal synthesizers. It’s a very fun song, once again. I really like her vocals here, they’re very high-pitched and go very well with the instrumentals, once again. The chorus is a little strained, but that’s the beauty of SAWA, she can strain as much as she’d like and she’ll still sound amazing in the end, and completely in harmony with her electronic music. The instrumentals aren’t repetitive at all, which is always a plus, and it’s a great song.
Eat It All ～Live in Sa-World～ sounds like an average electronic club track interlude at first, but it grows into delicious electronic J-Pop, typical of SAWA, it’s pretty catchy and once again, an amazing interlude.
I Can Fly starts off in quite an annoying tone, since SAWA sounds way too pitchy, and I don’t like it very much, but the rest of the song is pretty good. Not a highlight of the album, in my opinion, but an okay song.
あいにいくよ isn’t a bad song either, I really like the instrumentals, and it’s very sweet overall. Some parts are very awesome, especially when she hits higher notes in her nasal manner, but overall it’s just another okay song, nothing too amazing about it.
Dream about… starts off in quite an interesting way, but falls pretty flat the rest of the way to the end. The instrumentals aren’t as awesome as I wish they were and even though SAWA’s vocals are always awesome, they aren’t enough to bring up the song.
Thank you for visiting ～My name is…～ is yet another interlude, to end the album. It’s very sweet with SAWA talking, I love her message and it’s extremely funny and entertaining. Makes me wanna listen to the album all over again.
Overall, Welcome to Sa-World lives up to every single review I read so far, it’s a pretty amazing album! It keeps itself fresh throughout, which is pretty hard since it’s pursuing a single genre, and even though it falls a little flat in the end, it’s an amazing electro-J-Pop record!
98 / A
SAWA – Swimming Dancing