New Music: Yuna With New School Soul on Chapters

“Crush” is my favorite song off Yuna’s Chapters EP.  Have you ever locked eyes with someone and had an instant attraction?  That’s the theme of the black and white video of the song but it was also my reaction to Chapters .  This album is 100% silky smooth soul music.  Hearing Chapters had me diggin’ back through Yuna’s catalog of music to learn more about her and her music.

The story of Yuna’s success is one that shows that she was determined to be a musical success.  It takes determination to keep putting out music despite years of rejection.  Ultimately her fans found her! One of her music videos got over a million views on MySpace.  The record labels getting her music out to the masses was the next stage of this story.  Yuna released her self-titled EP in 2008 which became a massive hit in Malaysia.  Since then she has had a few international releases: Decorate (2011);  Sixth Street (2013); and Nocturnal (2013).    You have also heard her music on a few TV series including: Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta; the reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210Arrow and Pretty Little Liars.  Video game fans may have heard a remix of her song  “Live Your Life” on the video game Grand Theft Auto V.   Her latest EP Chapters features songs that take on both sides of romantic love.  The joys and the pains.with a heavy dose of the pains.

Chapters opens up sadly with “Mannequin a song that touches on the topic of love gone cold.  Yuna’s voice is hypnotic and lightly treads it’s way over the dead body of a relationship.

Who are you? What you want from me?
I’ve got nothing to give
Are you here to waste time with me?
Cause time is all I have
I don’t know what it means to feel whole
You’re next to me, but I feel so cold with you
I will be your mannequin, love – “Mannequin” Yuna

The dysfunctional relationship continues in “Lanes.” As I watched the video, which plays out backwards, I thought “DAMN, what did this guy do!?!”  By the end of the video it’s painfully apparent and I was ready to help Yuna go all Angela Basset from “Waiting to Exhale.”

If this is love, I don’t want it
If this is love, you can keep it
You call this love, you don’t respect it
If this is love, why am I hurting?
At the end of the day
While you are with me
We’re on different lanes
Chasing different things – “Lanes’ Yuna

“Best Love” is one of only two tracks on Chapters that tells a happy tale about love.  “Best Love” starts with an old school Isley Brothers kind of rythm and bass grooves that feels like a throw back to the blue lights in the basement house parties from the 70s and 80s.  This song gives me some hope that Yuna’s muse knows about the joys of love.

“Crush”, Yuna’s song featuring Atlanta’s own Usher, takes us to happier times at the start of a relationship.  Ooooh that magic when you first meet and are high on love!

“Time”” is a departure from songs about romantic relationships as she does a biographical tour of some of other heart aches we experience as we grow up:  mean kids in school; death of love ones; and struggling to deal with rejection.  She quotes some sage advice

And my momma said…
“It takes time
It takes a little time, baby
It will be fine, yeah
It takes time, baby”

The rest of the album is filled with Yuna’s light soprana voice on more songs about sad times in love like “Unrequited Love'” and “Used to Love You.”  The titles alone give you a taste of what to expect in the lyrics of these songs.  As I reflect on Chapters, it’s clear to me why the EP ended with the track “Time.”   Mama’s advice is often the best advice “It will be fine, yeah. It takes time baby.”

Add Yuna to your music library.

Erika Johnson Written by: