In Yamamoto Sayaka's eight years with NMB48, she was not only one of the most popular members of the AKB48 Group, but also one of the very few to be known for her vocal and musical talents. As an NMB48 member, she released two solid solo albums, with 2017's identity
in particular standing out as my favorite 48 member solo album to date. After graduating from NMB48 in October 2018, Sayaka begins her solo artist career with the self-penned single Ichirinsou
, which builds on the musicality she showed in identity
Sayaka wrote and composed the mellow, medium-tempo ballad Ichirinsou. The title and lyrics refer to an anemone flower that becomes a symbol of strength and inspiration. While walking and walking, lost in past pain, the sight of a single white flower blooming proudly on the roadside serves as an unchanging signpost of strength.
Sayaka impresses with both her composition and her vocal performance, especially during the transition fron the pre-chorus to the faster-tempo chorus. She aptly carries the soft and soaring notes of the unassumingly beautiful song, and I really like its clean overall structure and melody progression. Kameda Seiji, who also worked on her two solo albums, produced and arranged Ichirinsou so the song production is top-notch.
The side track Kimi to Film Camera goes in a more alternative rock direction. While a noticeably less polished offering than Ichirinsou, Kimi to Film Camera's fresh, free-wheeling energy works for the earthy, guitar-driven number. The indie pop sound and anecdotal lyrics are warm, cozy and just a bit cute, and the song fits well with Sayaka's natural vocal range and comforting tone.
No matter how popular one may be as an AKB48 member, former idols must reestablish themselves after graduation, and this is often not easy or straightforward. There are very few, if any, examples of enduringly successful and meaningful solo music careers among 48 alumni. Yamamoto Sayaka has the talent and potential to be the exception.