Me... / Emi Hinouchi

Release Date: December 3, 2008
Track Listing

  1. O’Kay
  2. Music Of Love feat. SOFFet
  3. Kataomoi
  4. Koi wa Rirurari
  5. Chocolate
  6. Natsu Koi feat. Ryohei
  7. Goodie Memories
  8. Get Up
  9. First Date
  10. I Love You
  11. Heart Feel Vacances
  12. Ai Dake ga
  13. Interlude ~in my dream~
  14. Grow
  15. E・S・C・A・P・E
  16. Twinkle Star (Shine On Me Version)

Review

Emi Hinouchi is an R&B singer/songwriter who is probably best known for her collaborations with Heartsdales & m-flo.  She has also written songs for Ami Suzuki and Sowelu.  As a solo artist she has released 8 singles and 2 albums.  The first being Dramatiques released back in 2003 and this album called ME…

After listening to this album I’m wondering why her former record label (King Records) dropped her.  They must have had some huge sales target that they wanted this to hit.  I have no idea what that number was but considering that this album is much better than her debut (Dramatiques) either not many people actually cared when this was released or it was poorly marketed.

It’s most likely a combination of  both but that doesn’t mean this isn’t worth investing some time in.  Unlike many albums from urban artists this is actually worth listening to all the way through.  Although it’s 16 tracks long it doesn’t feel like it & doesn’t outstay its welcome.

The first half of the album contains the mid and uptempo songs.  The more interesting tracks involve Hinouchi collaborating with other artists.  Music Of Love with SOFFet is a piano driven track with a bit of Latin influence.  It reminded me a lot of the material on Sergio Mendes’ Timeless album.  Pairing up with SOFFet was a a great idea as they complimented Emi very well.

Natsu Koi is a duet with Ryohei and is a smooth midtempo track with a summery, chilled out kind of vibe.  It’s much different from their collaboration with m-flo (Summer Time Love) but equally as good.  I like how these two harmonize.  Sweet track.

Solo songs on the first half worth taking note of are Kataomoi, Goodie Memories and Get Up.  The last two tracks are slightly better than Kataomoi mainly because Hinouchi’s vocals are much better on those songs.  Kataomoi had some iffy moments where she was stretching her vocals to the point of straining.  But it’s still a great song despite that small flaw.  The beat of Get Up sounded a little bit like Amerie’s 1 Thing but not as frantic yet it was equally as funky.

As for the ballads, there are some really nice acoustic ones here that allow Emi to show off her voice a little.  The best being Heart Feel Vacances, which has a bit of a country swing to it.  Normally I don’t dig those kind of tracks but this one was a pleasing exception.  It was soothing.  The other one worth mentioning is Ai Dake ga.  It  has simple string and guitar arrangement and Emi is in  fine form conveying the emtion of the song & hitting some nice high notes in the process.

The album ends with 2 uptempo tracks.  E・S・C・A・P・E is a funky as hell R&B club track and Twinkle Star is a poppy House song.  Both are equally awesome and are a great way to complete the listening experience.

Overall I think this was a great improvement over her debut.  It definitely was more consistent and every track (even the flawed ones) were winners.  It’s a shame that she was dropped but hopefully she finds her way on to another label.  She does deserve another chance based on how good this album was.