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Album review: Yuna creates background-like music in ‘Sixth Street’

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Yuna is essentially the Malaysian version of Fiest with the soulful tone of Lianne La Havas, but with a slightly airier quality. After gaining popularity on MySpace (of all forums), the singer-songwriter, whose real name is Yunalis Zarai, was signed with FADER Label and received help from producer Pharrell Williams. Her voice has an almost child-like, soothing sound to it, which is at times wonderfully light, but also lacks immediate personality. Sometimes Yuna’s “Sixth Street” EP out on Verve Records becomes the kind of music you would hear in a Starbucks or while shopping. It’s not so nondescript that you don’t notice it, but it also has such a soothing quality it makes great, indie background music.

“I Wanna Go” is the more pop-esque of all the songs. The beat bounces every so lightly in the back of the song, as Yuna warbles out the lyrics. It starts off strong as she quickly sings about following someone wherever they want to go, but the chorus drops the song into an overly repetitive line.

“Right Again” and “Young” are both dreamy songs, like you were listening to the tracks through a mist. “Young” has an ethereal, angelic quality. The music is soft, and Yuna’s vocals gently weave through the song.

Because the singing is so soothing, “Let Love Come Through” was almost jarring with its rap opening. The track features rapper Kyle who sounds somewhat like Drake. The pairing is a nice contrast between the two distinct and completely opposite voices, but the change was abrupt.

The final track is the best of the songs. “Musician” has the force and the personality that the other songs lack. “Musician” is where Yuna’s potential is more than just background music. Yes, the track has the same peaceful waves of vocals as the others, but it also has more body to it. Because she has a higher voice, it is easier for Yuna to fall into a lullaby sounding song, rocking listeners into a relaxed state.

She hits the verge of being too much like background music on “Sixth Street.” Would you hear it in an elevator, no, but you would absolutely hear it in a store.

Grade: B+ 

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