Yoasobi, a Japanese music duo composed of Vocaloid producer, Ayase, and singer-songwriter, Ikura, became the biggest hit of the year in the country. The group formed in 2019, releasing their debut single, “Racing into the Night,” which topped the Japanese Billboard charts for three consecutive weeks in June 2020. Their popularity was sealed with an attention-grabbing animated music video that created a bonafide sensation and their notoriety has only gotten stronger throughout the course of the year.
On January 6, 2021, Yoasobi released their long-awaited first EP The Book, bringing joy and excitement to the fans who loved their singles. Its cute set of infectious J-Pop tunes, Ikura’s clear and gorgeous vocals, and the sentimental yet uplifting lyrics make you want to listen to the album on repeat all day.
The album introduces the band’s concept of “novels into music,” a unique project that takes stories on a theme chosen by Yoasobi and submitted to Sony Music Japan’s monogatory.com and turns them into songs. The result is a CD that you can also read.
The songs that open the album have unusual titles. “Epilogue” followed by “Encore” establishes anticipation through sound effects of rolling cassette tapes, along with a steady piano tempo that lays out the perfect introduction to the book.
Ikura’s yearning melodies and sensational vocals in “Halzion” tell a story of lost memories between lovers that were once beautiful and ageless. Although time moves on and people go their separate ways, the blooming of the spring halzion flowers brings back the future that she thought she had lost. In contrast to the heartbroken lyrics, the lively and upbeat instrumentals give you resilience and courage.
Ikura’s angelic and powerful voice in “Tracing That Dream” hits the deep end of your heart with feelings that have been difficult to put into words. However, when set to such charming melodies, Ikura’s captivating lyrics clear up your dreary and confusing emotions.
There is no better way to get your morning started than listening to their million record hit, “Racing into the Night.” The forward-driving drum kicks, finger-flying piano interludes, and of course, Ikura’s fast and pristine vocals that crown the piece, create an addicting and charismatic masterpiece that will never leave your ear.
“Haruka” is another head-nodding song with an ear-catching tune and beguiling percussion that complement Ikura’s engaging personality. The lyrics convey a cheerful and encouraging message about navigating the ups and downs of life.
The album ironically concludes with “Prologue,” an instrumental with a simple beat that leaves room for listeners to wonder what is to come next on Yoasobi’s journey.
The opening, almost anime-like music is simply euphoric, making The Book a perfect album to jam out to — especially when you need to raise your energy. The collaboration between Ayase’s production and Ikura’s immaculate vocals is perfectly in sync in this storybook.
Available on all streaming platforms, give The Book a listen with your morning commute.