Yiruma
First Love


4.0
excellent

Review

by toxin USER (20 Reviews)
July 26th, 2011 | 14 replies | 8,024 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A collection of beautiful piano ballads about intimate, ubiquitous emotions.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Unlike an album with lyrics, a simple, melody-driven piano album simply needs conviction in its tunes to elicit the emotions of the readers. Although the music invokes the same general emotions from the listener, the lack of words allows the listener to consider to the emotion itself, instead of the lyricist’s interpretation of it. This allows the musician the freedom to create music without having to worry about lyrics ruining the sincerity of the message. But good pianists transcend this. They manage instead to convey the emotion with the same precision as lyrics while still maintaining the personal intimacy for each individual listener. Yiruma is no different, and to the multitudes of his adoring fans, he is perhaps the most adept at utilizing this deceptively difficult skill. Yiruma’s second album First Love is just as the title suggests: a collection of beautiful piano ballads about intimate, ubiquitous emotions.

First Love’s biggest draw is demonstrated in its immensely popular songs, “A River Flows in You,” as well as an orchestral version of his later hit, “Kiss the Rain.” One listen immediately demonstrates the strength of Yiruma’s musicianship. Both songs are beautiful melodies likely to cause the listener to demand a repeat. However, though both songs share this and their minor tonality in common, the sentiment which they elicit are completely different. “A River Flows in You” is vastly more romantic and is tantamount to the album’s romantic ballad. The melody is absolutely stunning, and Yiruma’s embellishments in the second chorus seems perfectly placed, never forced. On the other hand, “Kiss the Rain” seems to illustrate a lonely, melancholy person walking home, perhaps after a crushing loss, romantic or not. The perfectly slow pace of the song only serves to heighten the forlorn mood created by the song. Both songs demonstrate Yiruma’s ability to capture a mood perfectly and create a composition that so precisely captures it. Ultimately, the word to describe both songs is beautiful. Nothing else can define the songs so accurately.

Fortunately, First Love does not lack in its other pieces either. Are they quite as spectacular as the aforementioned two? Perhaps not, but they are certainly great in their own right, continuing to display everything Yiruma does correctly. Songs like “Left My Heart” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” are not as emotionally drenched, but the lighthearted but meaningful songs allow as a break for the other material. Yes, their melodies are not as moving, but an album can only extract so much heartbreak and loneliness from one person. “On My Way” and “May Be” are both lighthearted and enjoyable, whose juxtaposition with the emotional tracks surrounding them creates a contrast that allows the songs to be even more convincing. Indeed, for those dealing with problems in their lives, these tracks seemingly speak to them, pick them up , and put them back on their feet. As easily as “A River Flows in You” and “Kiss the Rain” break your heart, “On My Way” and “May Be” put you back on the road to happiness. Meanwhile “Till I Find You” and “Farewell” find a middle ground that reconciles the melancholy and the uplifting moments into a feeling of guarded optimism, an excellent way to finish the album (the orchestral tracks unincluded).

Like all great artists, Yiruma manages to eliminate himself from his composition. Every song is tastefully created, with the perfect embellishments, dynamic changes, tempo changes, and key shifts. This creates an environment where the music takes a life of its own. The listener does not, and certainly should not, even consider the carefully crafted elements necessary to create the music. Admiring Yiruma’s craftsmanship would require several careful listens, but would that not be missing the point? The artist purposefully avoids any unnecessary frivolities that takes away attention from the music itself, so honor that wish and immerse yourself in this moods and landscapes of First Love.



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
toxin.
July 26th 2011



12387 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Something really moved me to write about this. Not sure what I think of the review.
I really recommend listening to Kiss the Rain (non-orchestral version, technically not in this album but meh close enough) with the "Rainysounds" playing in the background. And don't be fooled by "Edward's Theme" or whatever the hell is posted for "A River Flows in You". It has nothing to do with Twilight at all

Eclectic
July 26th 2011



3302 Comments


The way you describe River Flows In You tells me that we'll have very different views on this album.
That song doesn't demonstrate outstanding musicianship at all, in fact it's rather bland and boring.

Adabelle
July 26th 2011



4257 Comments


Pos'd.

toxin.
July 26th 2011



12387 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Eclectic, yes, yes we will. Don't even bother with the rest.

vanderb0b
July 26th 2011



3473 Comments


Good review. I listened to some of his compositions, and they weren't bad, but nothing of his sounded, to my ears at least, particularly exceptional. It's all a bit too...inoffensive, for lack of a better word, for my tastes.

If you like this, try listening to Romantic-era music, I could really see you enjoying it. Try these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKY047DdTVM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ClDFmFmr0k&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkxcDMUpBN0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhnRIuGZ_dc

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2011



15034 Comments


yeah this guy is passable/boring but i've sort of grown to hate him because every girl plays that one song on piano and it gets tiring and they all think it's the best thing to ever happen to the instrument but whatever

toxin.
July 27th 2011



12387 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

@vanderb0b, thanks for the recs. I do know quite a few fucking pieces from having to play so many goddamn Romantic pieces in particular for piano competitions and what not. Jesus Christ.

@Robertsona, I know what you mean. I try to avoid rating based on outside circumstances like overplaying, though. But I might just be in the minority as I really like his music.

And I just relistened, some of the songs are a tad boring though (especially the ones I didn't mention in the review), so I dropped it to a 4.0. What this album DOES do is make me want to bump up the rating of my Einaudi review, because that is definitely better than this. But meh.

taylormemer
July 27th 2011



4917 Comments


Yeah, Yiruma is perhaps one of the lesser talents in the new age movement. His pieces are pretty, but nothing George Winston hasn't already done before.

toxin.
July 27th 2011



12387 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Pretty much the point of my review. Granted, I know next to nothing about the new age movement, but I never did say anything about innovative or technical in the first place.

taylormemer
July 27th 2011



4917 Comments


Nor did I say you did.

Cygnatti
November 16th 2012



21352 Comments


this is so prettyful

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

Cygnatti
April 1st 2013



21352 Comments


toxin, your new rating is incredibly accurate

toxin.
April 1st 2013



12387 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

yeah this is pretty mediocre; i can't believe i liked it
i still like river flows in you though but it's way too repetitive and there are a lot of better piano ballads. Might be a 2.8

Cygnatti
April 14th 2013



21352 Comments


I liked that one song until I heard the rest of the album and realized the whole thing is hilariously superficial.



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