Ayumi Hamasaki – I am…

I am
3.5
Connected
4.5
UNITE!
2.5
evolution
3.5
Naturally
3.5
NEVER EVER
2.5
A Song is Born
2.5
Dearest
3.5
no more words
3.5

thoughts. B-.
It’s weird how much I am… doesn’t really do anything for me. It is better than Duty in terms of how memorable the songs are, but it’s just one of her few albums that’s just there. I feel the same way about RAINBOW. I didn’t like her vocals when it came to tracks like UNITE! and especially A Song is Born, where her vocals became almost unbearable. However, you then have Connected and Naturally where she sounded pretty decent and the tragically under-rated no more words where her voice is actually quite gorgeous a la Close to you. So, it’s just a weird relationship I have with this album. I can’t really explain it, because I both like and don’t like it. The tracklist possibly could have been better, the songs aren’t really experimental but it just seemed like she was trying new sounds out and just threw them on the album, so it makes for a mixed bag listen. Up, down, in the middle. It’s just an interestingly bland listen.

  • favorite track – Dearest
    least favorite track – A Song is Born
    guilty pleasure track – Naturally
    under-rated track – I am/no more words

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Ayumi Hamasaki – Duty

Duty
3.5
vogue
3.5
End of the World
3.5
SCAR
2.5
SURREAL
2.5
AUDIENCE
2.5
teddy bear
3.5

thoughts. C.
Duty is Ayumi Hamasaki’s third and I believe best selling studio album, and I’m both surprised and not surprised. I use to really dig this album even going as far as to say that at one point it was my favorite album from her. It’s crazy, but true. With repeated listens however, it’s dawned on me that this is a really boring and almost forgettable album. It’s a little perplexing to me, or maybe it’s because I always end up liking the albums no one really does, and feeling impartial to the albums everyone does like. I’m not saying everyone likes this, I’m just saying I don’t get why it’s the best selling. I am… was a bit better. I also don’t get the appeal of SURREAL, like, I don’t. It’s one of her signature songs, was a huge single for her, but no matter how many times I listen to it I never remember it. Almost like Carols. The only songs that really stick out to me on this album are Duty, vogue, End of the World and teddy bear. The rest are just album filler to me. Sorry.

  • favorite track – Duty
    least favorite track – AUDIENCE
    guilty pleasure track – vogue
    under-rated track – teddy bear

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Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVEppears

Fly high
2.5
Trauma
2.5
And Then
3.5
immature
3.5
Boys & Girls
2.5
TO BE
3.5
End roll
3.5
P.S II
2.5
WHATEVER
2.5
too late
2.5
appears
2.5
Monochrome
3.5
LOVE~refrain~
3.5
Who…
3.5

thoughts. B.
LOVEppears is slightly better than A Song for xx, slightly. It improves on the quality of the music and her vocals are a bit better. However, it’s still on the mediocre side in I don’t understand why she decided to have a mix of WHATEVER even if it does go with the flow of the album (it’s just a little jarring as it takes too long to start up). Also, for some strange reason monochrome (which is one of my favorites) just ends abruptly and I’ve never understood why (was it meant to end suddenly like Hikki’s Take 5 or am I trippin’?). LOVEppears is pretty decent though as it has what A Song for xx lacked (an you can tell that a lot more effort was put into this sophomore album as well as money). The songs stand out more; the replay value isn’t very high, but I’d listen to this album before I listen to A Song for xx.

  • favorite track – And Then/LOVE~refrain~
    least favorite track – Fly high/too late
    guilty pleasure track – TO BE/P.S II
    under-rated track – immature/monochrome

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Ayumi Hamasaki – A Song for xx

A Song for xx
4.5
Hana
2.5
FRIEND
3.5
FRIEND II
2.5
pokerface
3.5
YOU
3.5
Trust
2.5
Depend on you
3.5
Present
2.5

thoughts. C.
As I was with ayaka’s First Message album I am utterly astounded that this album pushed a million copies upon it’s release. It’s a classic album don’t get me wrong, but it definitely does not live up to it’s hype. A Song for xx is dated, generic and because of Ayumi’s mediocre vocals very annoying and sheer ear torture. Despite this it’s not my least favorite album from her (it’s like a tie between Rock ‘n Roll Circus and Party Queen). And for what it’s worth it’s not terrible an even has some nice, genuine songs on it. A Song for xx showcases Ayu when she actually gave a shit about putting out quality music; before she became a product, disillusioned and a shadow of her former self. I’d say pick this up if you’re an Ayumi Hamasaki fan like me or for nostalgia’s sake.

  • favorite track – A Song for xx
    least favorite track – Hana
    guilty pleasure track – Depend on you
    under-rated track – FRIEND/Present

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