DAWN by Aimer // Album Review

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Oh, Aimer. What can I say, better yet how much will I say...Aimer is one of those artists I just can't express my adoration and love for in coherent words. Last month, she released her third album, titled DAWN. I'll just get right to it: it's a much better album than Midnight Sun but doesn't feel as well-put together as Sleepless Nights did. Dawn seriously feels like a continuation of Sleepless Nights. After the night passes over, the day begins again with the approach of dawn. Slightly more up-beat and energized songs replace slower, lullabylike melodies. The imagery still gorgeous and brilliant but after a somnolent night, morning seems to emerge with a more sunny, hopeful air. And the songs convey that feeling extremely well.

Everything starts and ends with Moon River, a tribute to the song from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Very nice choice, I must say. And very well done, I might add. I guess she wanted to diverge a bit from her usual choice of star-themed lullabies. Soft keys and chimes along with the winding and tick tock's of a clock rouses the senses with a gentle shake. Drifting from dreamland towards reality makes one question where one truly is, whether this is real life or simply fantasy. The interlude and postlude most definitely present an ethereal feeling of being in between worlds, the changing of night and day.

Believe Be:leave is one of the strongest songs in the entire album with its clever lyrics and sentiments of heartbreak. The backtrack has just enough depth and variety, not too complicated yet not too simple. With the addition of a guitar solo and backing vocals, this song feel complete. It's the type of song that can be repeated over again without one getting tired of the melody.

It turns out Kimi wo Matsu did end up on an album. Fans got lucky or maybe unlucky that this song ended up as a digital single, b-side, and an album track. It's a very beautiful song nonetheless. The lyrics from this song are a great follow-up from the previous song.

My thoughts on broKen NIGHT haven't changed from the single review. It remains as fantastical and enchanting every time I listen to it. Nor do I have a problem with its placement. The few seconds of silence at the end of Kimi wo matsu helps to reset my ears and prepare for a different mood, a different style of music.

With such a cute title as Noir! Noir! who wouldn't fall in love with such a song? It's got this charming melody that warms your heart and washes your worries away. It's a very relaxing piece but for some reason, I felt unfulfilled after it ended.

Image result for dawn aimer

Refar won me over the millisecond I heard the musical box/chime/xylophone (whatever that instrument is). Then the heart wrenching vocals appeared and wave after wave, the emotions wouldn't stop. It is truly a lovely song. The way her voice breaks and smooths over is just breathtaking.

In the latest of the AM series, it has finally come to four in the morning. AM04:00 is a follow-up to AM03:00 and AM02:00. Unfortunately it seems as time passes, the melodies are getting weaker and weaker. Or maybe the tea's becoming diluting and it's no longer the cup of tea I first ordered. Still, I would argue the chorus is catchy enough to be drilled into your head.

I was really worried about Dare ka, Umi wo being included in the album because it has such a distinctness that it would wind up isolating itself from the other songs. I was scared it wouldn't fit in with the others. On the contrary, the placing of the track is perfect. It sets its own pace and builds its own place without losing its uniqueness or taking away from the other songs.

LAST STARDUST is a song I know I should like but it feels a bit common. I respect the effort and enjoy it regardless because it actually succeeds as a grand and epic piece. Midway through the song, it changes into this muffled vocal and instrumental combination, highlighting the next track on the album. But the song hasn't quite finished, and once again, the chorus comes charging in again. I think the main issue I have with this song is that the guitar is a bit overpowering and uninteresting.

Brave Shine is a great song. With an epic buildup as LAST STARDUST provided, it was only natural what was to follow. I think I said all I wanted to say in my last review. Though compared to before, it stands out  in a refreshing way due to the slow pace and different styles of the other tracks.

If you want a showcase of what Aimer can do with her voice, listen to Kizuna. She sounds so soft, almost to the point where it feels like it's going to break into two and then she flips switches and sings the chorus with such sweet confidence. What's amazing about her voice is that she can showcase different levels of softness and sweetness, even the slightest change elicits a totally different mood. This might be my favourite track on the album just because her vocal performance is just that good. Though Believe Be:leave and Refar are other strong contenders.

Japanese ballads are my weakness. Well, Aimer's ballads are my greatest kryptonite. No one does justice to ballads like she does in my books. DAWN is a great ballad, not her strongest but still pretty good. It has all the elements to make a great uplifting ballad but there's still a piece missing.

Sleepless Nights had this story, this image, this transition from being unable to sleep in the dead of the night to slowly drifting towards dreamland. DAWN doesn't really have something that substantial to tie all the songs together as a story. It still is very well-put together as an album and all the songs share a similar theme but it fails in comparison to what Aimer's first album did. If anything, it remains dazzling as a collection of songs. Dawn is an album I would listen to cheer myself up and come to my senses after a period of darkness. After all, Dawn is the first light that appears in the sky after the sun's long absence. And like the reappearance of the sun, this album brings about a brighter outlook on the world.

(c) SonyMusic
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A little note: Album preview may only be viewed in certain countries. One of my greatest pet peeves is artists and their management restricting views. Fans around the world rely on the internet to access the same content available to those in another country. As an international fan, I feel and understand the complete frustration and annoyance. However, I want to support the artists I love as much as I can. For now and the near future, I'll try to link to official videos as much as possible despite the limitations of views in certain countries.