I am…

July 26, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | 5 Comments
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 I am...

Eye Candy + Random Thoughts

This is pretty much the album that got me into Jpop so I thought it would be approptiate to have this be my first review.  I also want to do a little thing about the covers too.  I actually like this cover since it’s not so photoshopped as her more recent covers (ie: Sunrise/Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~).  To bad she went all fish face on us…

* * * * *

  1. I am…
  2. opening Run
  3. Connected
  4. UNITE!
  5. evolution
  6. Naturally
  7. NEVER EVER
  8. still alone
  9. Daybreak
  10. Dearest
  11. taskinlude
  12. M
  13. A Song is Born
  14. No More Words
  15. Endless sorrow ~gone with the wind version~
  16. flower garden

The first track, I am…, is a somewhat strange song from Ayu.  It has calm-like verses and you get the sense like she is longing for something.  It later explodes into an aggressive in-your-face chorus which can be a bit painful at times due to her really high voice that can get a bit screechy at times.  The end throws me off a bit because it takes on a different style since her voice is all filtered.  It seemed a little pointless, but I’ve come to enjoy.  It’s on OK title track, but not her best… not even  close.

Then we get into the awkwardly titled opening Run which makes me think if  I am… was a somewhat like a warm up track.  Anywho, this is a pretty dull interlude even for Ayu (who’s interlude’s I usually like).  It just seems somewhat pointless in every aspect since its like a big synth/electric guitar mash up on loop the whole time. It’s better when the piano joins, but it’s still pretty meh…

I liked how the last song just stopped and then this one started.  Connected is an amazing trance song that I can’t help but enjoy.  Even during the high parts her voice seems pleasent.  It’s sad that the lyrics just end up being looped in the end.  One of her most unique sounds overall though.

UNITE!comes after that slice of sexy/amazingness, and I am very dissapointed.  I think she is trying to sound emotional, but I think that just happened becuase she is straining her voice so much.  This actually is starting to sound better as it goes on… especially the bridge since it calms down a lot, but then the latter part becomes so aggressive again… I actually am starting to like this song a lot more since I like her more hardcore sounding songs anyway.  I also like the way its ends with its fading electric guitars and beautiful piano solo… ok I’ll stop gushing.

Now we come to my favorite song on the album and also the song that I think is the funnest to sing along with, evolution.  I really like the begining and the lalala’s (I think…).  Taking the same route as UNITE!, Ayu reverts to a more aggressive sound which is really working for her now.  The part that i could do without is when she says ”Wow, yeah” since she really saying wow right, it’s more like wah which can get annoying, at least my mom thinks so when I sing it.  Still, it’s a very enjoyable song that is in my Top 25 most played on my iPod, so yay!

The album then turns to less hardcore sound with the synth-pop ear amazingness that is Naturally.  This is such an amazing song (what you still can’t tell I’m an Ayu fan?) that it also is in my Top 25.  The verses are pretty amazing with the filtered and un-filtered vocals, but that just pales in comparison to the chorus.  It sounds so emotional to me and let me repeat “to me”.  I love it!

Sadly, things take a turn for the worst with the rock-ish attempt that is NEVER EVER.  her vocals in the verses sound really horrific.  It actually took a while for me to put this song on my iPod… (oh I also have every original song from her on my iPod if anyone cares to know).  Right after the bridge her vocals are the worse, and it kinda sounds like a dying seal or something, which is sad since I love seals.  The chorus is kinda catchy, but I’ve heard so much better… and I can’t believe this thing was a single….

YAY!  Things get bumped up by a mile when still alone comes around.  It’s kinda like when you have been in waiting in line for a new video game (ie: Halo 3) since 12:00 AM, and your turn is next to get it, but then you get home to play it and realize that the second one was so much better… luckily I  don’t view that song this way since this is one kick-ass song that I really like.  I have to admit though that when i first heard this song I didn’t think it was Ayu singing (which I consider a plus in this album).  Hooray for amazing songs!

 Daybreak is an uplifting break from the last song and I actually like it.  I like the way Ayu composed the verses so she sings somewhat acapella (besides the light synth in the background), then the chorus is all power house awesome with heavy beats and then it calms down again when the verse starts again (which she added more elements to this time around).  I don’t think she should have made this a re-cut single, but I still enjoy this song.

Now it’s time for one of Ayu’s most well known songs, Dearest.  Even though this song is the song that introduced me to the Jpop world (yes, from Inuyasha) I don’t get what all the hype  is about this song.  I find it really boring compared to some of her other ballads.  Sure she sounds good, but it’s just kinda meh for me.

taskinlude is a pretty interesting interlude which i could actually see being a full song since it’s a mix of Ayu’s favorite style (rock) and hew new style (techno).  It’s a little weird though since it helps no one since it transitions to another ballad, and it does it horribly

 M is another amazing song from Ayu, which actually everyone I had listen to liked it, even non-Jpop listeners which is a major plus.  It’s just so dynamic that it’s complex and simple at the same time.  It’s such a great song and I’m glad that she attempted something new at the time.  Now she needs to repeat past greatness.

Bleh… A Song is Born is kinda boring on this album so I’m going to review the one that was released on the single with KEIKO.  Neither of their voices a particularly amazing and it doesn’t get somewhat good until the last chorus where they switch parts. KEIKO’s voice can get nasally during the high parts which is bad and Ayu can sound like a little kid.  At least KEIKO’s voice is powerful.  I also like how this song builds up (well the duet version does).

Ok now this is new… and after multiple listens it is starting to piss me off!  This intro junk is so long and pointless.  No More Words is a different type of ballad on this album and when I first heard it I was addicted since Ayu’s voice sounds so serene.  The deal breaker on this song though would have to be the dumb ass intro.  It’s almost a minute long!  It does remind me of the Forest Temple in the Legend of Zelda games though so that’s a plus, but seriously… oh and sorry for the rambling.  Overall this song is ok, but it’s not the best or the worst on this album which is a good thing.  The last chorus makes up for the intro now… so again sorry for the intense ramble.

Endless sorrow ~gone with the wind version~ then makes an entrance.  She turned a “sorrowful” ballad into a summerish song that for some reason reminds me of Blue Bird.  This song pisses me off too since her voice sounds so good that I wish she did this with her previous songs on the album and that she doesn’t do that high note before the chorus like she did on the original.  Weak Ayu, very weak…

Finishing of the album is the high octane flower garden.  The part in the beginning reminds me of UNITE!a little bit, but that soon ends when she starts singing.  Um… I don’t like male Jpop singers usually, but as background vocals they kinda add to the amazingness to this song so good job Ayu on not making me go psychotic.  What a nice way to end this album

The Songs That Didn’t Make it

  1. Endless Sorrow

Well, the only song that really didn’t would have to be Endless Sorrow, and I can’t understand why since it is pretty amazing overall.  She sounds so heartfelt throughout it.  The weird thing after the first chorus is a little weird, but I can live with it.  I actually like it when she does that high note before that chorus since it makes this song so much more climatic.  I also like the hardcore/rock styled bride.  It adds so much to this song without making it overwhelming.  What a great effort from Ayu!

* * * * *

Well, for me Ayu really showed such an amazing change in her musical style drom her previous three albums.  There were a lot of amazing songs, and some not so amazing songs, but this is one of Ayu’s better, more complete feeling albums (if that even makes sense).  This was such an amazing expierience for me as a listener, especially for being my first album I listened to fully.  I wish all of her songs (and the rest of Jpop) were amazing like this.

4.5 half-naked Ayu’s out of 5

  1. evolution
  2. M
  3. Naturally
  4. still alone
  5. connected

5 Comments »

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  1. this album is amazing with lots of good singles

    i dont listen to Ayu’s albums..at all -___- but her singles are totally love

    and btw, umm i think the album cover in this post is not showing up…

    and also a very amazing review!~ ❤

  2. Ok thanks for telling me that… it’s weird since it works on my computer… but oh well i try a different picture. Thanks for the support!

  3. Fish face?
    I think her face is gorgeous in that picture.
    XD
    There’s a hint of something strong in there.

  4. no problem XD

    and about link ur name when ur making a comment

    do u mean if i click on ur name its going to direct me to ur site?

    ur name was linked when u left me the comment on my site

    i think u need to just be signed in on wordpress and or write ur blog url when ur not signed in (when they require u to write ur name, url, email etc etc)

    is that what u are asking??

  5. @ hyperballad: Oh thanks that was what i was aksing. Thanks for the info!

    @ blackmager: Ya I’m starting to get that feeling too… i still think it looks a little “fishy though”. it has to be on of my favorite album picture though from her. i think memorial address wins it though.


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