Release Date: December 16, 2009
- Otome no Inori
- OSOZAKI Musume
- Sekai wa Summer Party
- Itsumo Itsudemo
- LALALA – SOSOSO
- Hajimete no Keiken
- Lucky Aura
- Santa no Saxophone
- Konomene no Tokimeki wo
- Matsuge no Saki no Kimigairu
- Mano Piano (Album ver.)
Mano Erina was one of the most heavily pushed artists on the UFA roster last year and if you are a follower of H!P and haven’t heard of her you were one of the few to not be subjected to her hype machine. Congratulations for living in a bio-dome, under a rock or being in protective custody for so long.
Friends is Mano’s first album and contains all her indie and major label singles. When I first heard that this was going to be released I had a sense of dread. After all, her first few singles were… What’s the word? Dull. Lifeless. Boring. The instrumentals were okay, it’s just that Mano’s vocals were less than inspired.
But after hearing her more recent material I had hope that maybe this would probably turn out to be better than I had anticipated. And for the most part it is. It’s not spectacular by any means but this album does manage to justify the fact that UFA is politely pushing her as the next big (or I guess only) soloist from their camp.
Mano’s vocals have improved greatly and there is a lot more spark to her performances. Some examples of this are Osozaki Musume, Sekai wa Summer Party, Itsumo Itsudemo and the annoyingly catchy Santa no Saxaphone. Of those songs Osozaki Musume really showcases how far she has developed vocally from her earlier more sleep inducing songs.
What also caught my attention on this album was Oyasuminasai which goes in a different direction from the rest of the songs on this album. It’s got a bit of a piano lounge kind of vibe and was certainly something I wasn’t expecting to hear, but Mano sounds good singing over these kinds of songs. A pleasant surprise for sure.
Overall this was a pretty decent debut and may change your mind about Mano Erina if you’re on the fence about her. I can even say just buy this for the covers if you like, she does look damn fine. Just saying. =)
Friends Regular Edition (Japan Version)
Friends Limited Edition (Japan Version)