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09/17/2019
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Nao Yoshioka: Undeniable

The bubbly echo-y lightness of an easy grooving “Got Me,” opens Nao Yoshioka’s new 14-song album, Undeniable. It’s been two years since the Japanese soul, and R&B phenomenon released an album, and she comes forth again with that undeniable style that led Rolling Stone Magazine to describe her music as “impeccable neo-soul.”

Cute dance tunes like “Lost,” with their synth blips and the kinetic rush of lyrics on “All in Me” (there’s a great bass line here too) are cute, but for my personal tastes I especially like her way around her slower tunes, like the torchy Prince-like “Love Me,” (I hear a lot of Prince throughout Undeniable actually), “Liberation,” and the killer strings-piano heart wrencher “Where Am I Supposed to Be.”

The production here and throughout really makes use of great beats, but always stressed is Nao Yoshioka‘s great voice, as well as her subtle songwriting ability. Too often these days you get deep into a ‘danceable’ record only to lose any real signature artistic essence to too much studio trickery and mined beats. I credit Nao Yoshioka and her long-time producer/manager, Naoki Yamanouchi with having the guts and skill to make each song its own little gem.

Undeniable is pretty much undeniable.