Category Archives: Worth a Listen
Ayumi Hamasaki was one of my first J-Pop loves, along with Hikaru Utada, but unlike Hikki, I haven’t really kept up my love affair with her music. Recent albums have been a bit homogenous and bland, and she’s been unable to place some fantastic singles she’s had over the past few years (Mirrorcle World and Sparkle for example) within the surroundings of an imaginative album.
Luckily, someone’s lit a fire beneath Ayu, because her current album is one of the best I think she’s released in years. Including the singles “Sunrise / Sunset Love is All” and “BALLAD / You were…” which were all pretty boring and mediocre on their own, the album contains powerful tracks which prevents the singles from getting dull such as “Microphone“, “Lady Dynamite” and the funky “Don’t look back“, which is the type of track I haven’t heard Ayu attempt for years. Oh don’t get me wrong here, this album doesn’t ooze originality nor is it overly provocative, but at the same time, for Ayumi it is a little more unique than some of her other works – although the brave attempt in styles in marred slightly by the over-indulgence in a few too many ballads and may leave you snoozing before the faster tempo tracks kick in, they’re tolerable if you know what’s around the corner. I’m never a fan of a ballad unless it really moves me, and unfortunately none on this album really do it for me – although it have gained a new-found love of Ayumi’s Sunset / Sunrise single which sounds a lot better spaced so far apart on the album, rather than being placed next to each other on the single.
Worth a Listen?: If you’ve ever like Ayumi Hamasaki, or if you like generic J- pop, this is most certainly worth a listen. It’s far from one of my favourite albums, but it shows the potential which Ayumi has at a more diverse range of music. There’s also a whopping 13 vocal tracks, so you’re bound to pick up something you like, whether it be the visual kei inspired Microphone, the sexy Don’t Look Back, the rocky Lost Links or one of the many, many ballads…
- The Introduction
- Count Down
- Sunset: Love is All
- Last Links
- Don’t Look Back
- Lady Dynamite
- Sexy Little Things
- Sunrise: Love is All
- Meaning of Love
- You Were…
- Red Line: for TA (Album Version)