A not very nice review of YOHIO’s album

YOHIO’s debut album “Break the borders” was released the other day. I haven’t purchased it yet, but from what I’ve heard I think it will be great.

The reviewer from Aftonbladet” (a big Swedish evening newspaper) is not that impressed though. Here follows a translation of his article. (The original in Swedish can be read HERE.)

What do you say? Is he too hard on YOHIO? 

(If there’s any interest  in me translating the movie clip in the article – adding subtitles – , please press like on this post so I know if it’s worth doing or not. ^^)

Yohio is more a ”look” than a ”sound”.

Friendly put, ”Break the border” can be described as “scraggly”.

Break the border - YOHIO

Break the border – YOHIO


In an article in DN (Swedish newspaper) from last Sunday, nine-year old Anna Garefelt describes why she’s been hooked on an androgynous guy from Sundsvall, a definition that probably says – as much as anything – about the musical manifestation.

– He sings very good and he has learned to speak Japanese by himself. And I like the pink in his hair.

It’s an eloquent description that illustrates the attractive force. At the same time as it’s impossible to not fall in love with the phenomenon YOHIO, it’s equally hard to whole-hearted love the artist behind the name.



Pushy “wasabi-pea”

The debut album by the multi-talented teenager that jumped into the Swedish song contest like a pushy “wasabi-pea” is rather a look than a sound. A flashy colorful and visual package by a musical product that friendly put can be described as “scraggly”.

In some kind of anti-genre where everything seems to be allowed, “Break the border” is such an incoherent product that the only thing that keeps it coherent is its lack of coherency. YOHIO likes to express himself with self-confident capital letters in the song titles (”MY MURDEROUS URGE”, ”REVOLUTION”, ”INNOCENCE”, ”ON THE VERGE”) but gets lost in the main execution between everything between Dubstep to Death core to light-goth to pop punk to sentimental “take-away-sushi”-music.



Not very elegant

A lot passes as purposive in a not very elegant way, while other tracks (the horrible ”Sakura Falling” for example) rather is Pokémon than Budokan.

That’s why it’s so hard to know exactly what YOHIO, the artist, really want to execute. And if his fans will gain more of the Jeff Loomis sound guitar performance “Aggressive beauty”, rather than the maker’s pink hair.

Best track: “Aggressive beauty”.



6 replies »

  1. Yes I read this yesterday. I didn’t even post it on my site. I thought the reviewer was anti-YOHIO from the start. Extremely patronising using a child as a reference point. Didn’t seem to understand the musical diversity and multi-talented aspect of YOHIO. He had no idea about visual rock, was culturally slurring about the Japanese, and more than a touch homophobic.

    • I’m sure a lot of negative critic await. After all – it would be strange if it wouldn’t. He’s opinion is just one among many others and after all. 🙂

      • And his article is balanced up with the video clip with YOHIO which explains it all in a better way so I don’t think people will react that negatively.

  2. I think the only real problem with YOHIOs album is that it is actually so japanese that the modification of it into a European version (The English version that is now sold and we all talk about) doesn’t really work out. For example, while we insiders know that giving songs English names in latin capital letters is common in Japanese music culture, this journalist misinterpretes it as attention-seeking. And there are also a lot more things that you can misinterprete if you are looking for faults. The westerners just don’t understand the “japanese” structure of it and that’s why it seems incoherent to them, or at least to this journalist. Also, while I think he is right about the thing that many people are fans just because they are fascinated with the phenomenon YOHIO, he is completely wrong about the part that “It’s hard to love the artist behind the name” because you only have to google YOHIO once to know so many people are infatuated with him in every single way possible, ESPECIALLY because they appreciate his music. And appreciate the diversity of it. This article is superficial and badly researched in my opinion.

  3. For some reason, that review cracked me up a little. As in, I had to chuckle. Of course it’s a badly researched journalist piece, but he is actually right about the album being very incoherent and misstructured, as if it was hastily put together. It does show. I don’t think the album is bad, though. YOHIO just needs to take more time in the studio and try to find an overall theme to the songs or arrange them in a way that makes it less scrambled. As a musician, you need to balance out coherence and repetition with experimental songwriting. And I clearly have to say, this album is really not doing that very well. It’s a pretty good debut record nonetheless, though he can do much better.

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