January 19, 2008

The verdict is in, and Ayumi, you are…

Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki, Review at 4:10 pm by aiwish472

GUILTY.

Ayumi Hamasaki’s 9th album, GUILTY, was officially released on January 1, 2008. I didn’t really like this album as much as I liked her last album, Secret, but I am getting used to the songs; it’s growing on me.

The first song, Mirror, is, by far, the best song on the album. The first two seconds or so is a dial-up sound that reminds me of old 56k AOL. Ayumi then begins to sing, and with that, more instruments, such as chimes and drums, start in. Almost a minute into the song, and a guitar starts to play. Ayu sounds really good and strong in the song. Unfortunately, the song begins to slow around 20 seconds before it ends. I wish this had been a full-legnth song.

The next track is (don’t) Leave me alone. This song sounds a little bit like one of my favorite Ayumi songs of all time, my name’s WOMEN. Nonetheless, this song is nothing in comparison. (don’t) Leave me alone is somewhat repetitive and boring. In my opinion, you can even tell the difference in Ayu’s voice. However, my name’s WOMEN keeps my attention throughout the whole song.

In fact, I wish I wasn’t comparing the two songs. Ayumi should come out with NEW music, not put copies of her old songs on a new album. =/

The third song is Ayumi’s 42nd single, entitled talkin’ 2 myself. This song has a heavy rock influence, which was very different from the single released prior to it. Ayumi sounds really powerful in this song, as if she genuinely means what she’s singing; her voice goes well with the instruments. It fits with the angry mood of Mirror.

I don’t like the next song. Decision is the B-Side to talkin’ 2 myself. It starts with a huge scream and guitars (which, by the way, are nowhere near as good as the ones in talkin’ 2 myself). Then, it becomes quiet…and Ayumi sings some lines. For the chorus, the instruments begin and Ayu sings.

The scream in that song really turned me off. That as well as the guitars made it sound like a metal track, and I don’t like metal.

GUILTY is my second favorite song on the album. It starts with a bit of static, then an organ, guitar, and drums play. All the instruments quiet down when Ayu starts sings in the verses, but for the choruses they start up again. The strong instruments continue during the bridge, then go quiet when Ayumi sings.

As you can tell, I really liked the choice of instruments in that song. ^^ Ayumi sounded great, too.

fated is the B-Side to Ayumi’s 41st single, glitter. Unlike with talkin’ 2 myself and decision, the A and B sides were not next to each other for this. But that’s okay.

I don’t like fated. fated is boring. I don’t have much to say because I don’t listen to it.

Together When… is a beautiful ballad Ayu released shortly before the release of this album. Ayumi sounds gentle in the beginning, which adds to the beauty of the piano and violin used in this song. She still does in the chorus, but Ayumi sounds more powerful here than she does in the verses. It is very fitting how in the end she holds her note a little.

Marionette -prelude- belongs in a puppet show. XD I’m not sure why I say that…the title, probably. This song, which is entirely bells (and a clock…), has this fantasy, mystical feeling to it.

Marionette sounds very dramatic, and the mood of this song is portrayed well in the PV. In the PV, Ayumi appears to be having a bad dream about being controlled, like a marionette puppet. Eventually, she breaks free by not only tearing the strings, but her eye cracks too (>< O_o it’s weird…).

After that is another interlude: The Judgement Day. The Judgement Day sounds stark and cold in the beginning, but it happies up about half a minute until the end. I find all the little Las annoying. Maybe they didn’t really fit with a (mostly) bleak tune such as this one, or they would have been better placed in a full song.

glitter, the next track, is out-of-place on this album, as a happy pop song among a bunch of either rock-ish or unhappy songs. It not only sounds out-of-place on this album, it sounds out-of-place as an Ayumi Hamasaki song altogether. Yes, Ayu has made happy songs before (see: fairlyland, or any song on A BEST 2 -WHITE-), but this one is sugar-coated! Even Morning Musume couldn’t pull it off. Maybe. Anyways, back to GUILTY.

MY ALL is another pop song, but it’s not as random-seeming as glitter. Although it’s more like Ayumi’s kind of song, it’s still not really fitting. Nonetheless, I like this song. It’s one of those cheery songs that leaves you feeling good when it’s over. It clearly has a positive message – Ayu put some of it’s lyrics in her blog when she lost her hearing in one ear.

reBIRTH is another interlude. Having three interludes on one album is bad enough, but putting this one so close to the end seems like a bad choice. It’s not really a good way to close the album, in my opinion. reBIRTH seems to summarize the whole CD, actually. It starts out angry, but lightens up as it goes on, just like GULITY began with songs like talkin’ 2 myself and GULITY, but as it goes on you will hear glitter and MY ALL.

The final track on the album is entitled — or, not titled — untitled ~for her~. Ayumi wrote this song for someone she knew who passed away. Therefore, I figured this song would be sad-sounding. Although it’s a slow song, untitled ~for her~ doesn’t sound as sad as one would expect on the first listen. Yes, it’s more sunny, but you can still feel the emotion when Ayumi sings it.

Overall, I would give GUILTY a 3 out of 5.

Pros:

Mirror, (don’t) Leave me alone, GUILTY, Together When, and Marionette are good songs.

Cons:

– There were too many interludes.

– I did not like decision, fated, or glitter.

– The best song, Mirror, was too short.

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