Voice actor Reina Ueda has dabbled in music over the last few years, producing a handful of solid though at times somewhat anonymous numbers alongside composers and producers most closely linked to her home base of anime. She’s created a new album, titled Empathy, out on March 18 that sees her reworking her musical identity ever so slightly. That’s clear from the tracklist alone, which finds her working with folks such as Kai Takahashi of Lucky Tapes and MONACA, who imply that she’ll be adding a bit more spring in her step for this upcoming full length.
That’s really clear on “Amai Yume,” the first taste of Empathy and a shot of Ueda getting a bit funkier with a little help from dance-pop duo ORESAMA. Watch the video for it below.
The irony of this shift in sound is less about Ueda finding her own sonic persona, but rather grafting an existing artist’s characteristics onto herself. She’s truly mastered the pop industry! Yet credit her for at least being drawn to a project creating bop-worthy sounds. ORESAMA has been producing Technicolor-dipped dance-pop for the better part of the last five years, seamlessly merging funk with the more maxed-out sounds of Japan’s electronic community. They aren’t quite as busy on “Amai Yume,” opting instead to give Ueda a spacier disco-tinged pop track highlighted by keyboard sunshine and guitar skip. It’s a mellow backdrop allowing Ueda to showcase her voice while also not having to push everything forward herself — she sounds good here, but gets a big boost from the funky backdrop. It all adds up to the best earworm she’s crafted so far in her music career, and a great way to pique interest in Empathy. It’s also a good reminder that aspiring J-pop performers should consider getting some of that ORESAMA magic behind them.