Rock’n’Roll Circus

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: April 14, 2010
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. THE introduction
2. Microphone
3. count down
4. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
6. Last Links
7. montage
8. Don’t look back
9. Jump!
10. Lady Dynamite
11. Sexy little things
12. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
13. meaning of Love
14. You were…
15. RED LINE ~for TA~ [album version]
When I first saw the album cover, I was like “Who IS this singer?” And then I realized there was Ayu’s name on it. My next reaction was “an album, out?! Already!?” Time does come by fast.

So I have already reviewed Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~, BALLAD, Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~, and You were… which were all given average and low ratings. The album version of RED LINE ~for TA~ didn’t sound that different than the original though.

THE introduction, montage, and Jump! were thse interludes of the album. (Wow, a much smaller amount than the last album) Anyways, THE introduction made me laugh at the title but it sounded boring. Same goes for Jump! but I thought that montage was better than those two interludes combined.

I guess Microphone, Don’t look back and count down were the more laid back tracks. But I have to say that Microphone sounded really good with the organ but I didn’t really feel any… omph with this song. Otherwise, the other two tracks were just ear scratching a nd annoying.

I’m not sure what to say about Last Links. There were some string instruments playing the backgrond but in the end, it’s just a song that’s so not worth listening to.

Lady Dynamite, and Sexy little things had some nice points with the instrumentation. I thought Sexy little things (lol with the title) was the catchiest songs that I haven’t heard from Ayu in a long time. After the failure of her past singles, I wasn’t expecting anything like this from this album. (Thank god)

meaning of Love turns out to be the only new ballads but let me tell you, it’s pretty darn boring. Sounds like something we’ve heard before.

Personal Rating: 3.5/5


You were…/BALLAD

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. You were…
3. RED LINE ~for TA~
4. You were… (Music Box mix -retake version)
5. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Orchestra version)
6. You were… (Instrumental)
7. BALLAD (Instrumental)
8. RED LINE ~for TA~ (Instrumental)
The one word for You were… is “boring.” From the arrangement to the song development. I mean, Ayu’s vocals were decent but there’s still nothing unique to any part of the song. Like it was lazily put together and the person who produced this song just ran out of ideas. So if there was a word to describe the song, it would be: “clich’e.”

BALLAD was GREAT! Sure, this isn’t one of Ayu’s best songs but since her last release and the rest of the tracks in this single are pretty much dull and boring, this was totally a refershing piece! The arrangement was rather gentle and the instrumentation worked with Ayu’s vocals gracefully. When I first heard the ehru I was like “wait, am I listening to alan!?” I guess there really hasn’t been a good ballad from Ayu in a long time. Excellent song!

RED LINE ~for TA~ just didn’t cut it. I know that the song is dedicated to her fan club, but I can’t get myself to like this song for some reason. It’s okay but it’s on the edge of “never listening to the song again” and “oh, this song isn’t worth listening to.”

Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Orchestra version) was bleehh…. Like everyone saids, great instrumentals but dull vocals.

Personal Rating: 3/5

Memorial Address

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: December 17, 2003
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4/5

2. Greatful days
3. Because of You
4. ourselves
5. HANABI ~episode Ⅱ~
6. No way to say
7. forgiveness
8. Memorial address (take 2 version)
Apparently there are only three tracks in this albums that I haven’t reviewed yet… I guess I should have expected this much from a mini album. (I don’t feel like reviewing the songs again so follow the links on the tracklisting!)

But what does exceed my expectations from a small album was it’s opening track, ANGEL’S SONG. The delivery of the song was rather catchy and happy. The arrangement accompanied her vocals quite well and added a lot of development and song climax. Nice track – it’s definitely something I would like to listen over and over again.

Because of You is probably one of my favorite tracks in the album. I liked how it was soft in the begining and all of the sudden, Ayu’s rock vocals take over. Unlike in her more recent rock tracks, I thought Ayu was more powerful with a rock oriented arrangement this time around and the song sounded more likeable.

After a four track gap of her previously released songs, Memorial address (take 2 version) finally serves as the mini album’s final track. I actually liked this song, Ayu stressed a ton of emphasis in her vocals and displayed a lot of emotion. Her vocals were fluid along with the instrumentals and the song definiately had a very dramatic atmosphere. Definitely a keeper but the lyrics breaks my heart.

Great album! Though, I wished that they had more new tracks. (Because all of the new tracks beat the older ones)

Personal Rating: 4/5


Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: November 29, 2006
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4/5

1. Not yet
2. until that Day…
3. Startin’
4. 1 LOVE
5. It was
8. momentum
9. taskinst
10. Born To Be…
11. Beautiful Fighters
13. kiss o’ kill
14. Secret
Not yet was an interlude with some sort of whispering at the beginning which eventually progresses in to that powerful rock mood. A short and great way to start off the album. (Where did that fire come from, girl?!)

Many people say that until that Day… was an average song but for some reason, I enjoyed it quite much. The guitar riffs were a cool touch and the chorus was just plain powerful….maybe it’s because she kind of repeats parts of the lyrics too much? I honestly didn’t find it a problem listening to it though.

Startin’ is pretty upbeat for my taste. The introduction has a little hip in the beats that sounds a little out of place in the song since the vocals has a touch of agressive pop in it. This was probably the first song that Ayu’s vocals began to sound more mature but even so, I got pretty boredof this song quickly.

The only distinguishing factor with 1 LOVE is the fact that it’s got a great opening and kickass chorus but it seems like I want to skip the majority of the song just to listen to the chorus. Otherwise, I would just pass on this track.

The common style within the album are the calm opening that transitions (in other words explodes) into this hard rock or techno atmosphere. That’s how it is with It was, with a very quite introduction and extremely strong arrangement during the rest of the song. This turns out to be one of my favorite new tracks of the album.

LABYRINTH is a boring interlude. There’s nothing mroe to say about this track.

I honestly do not know why JEWEL was choosen to be one of the promotional tracks of the album and why it’s popular among the other songs. It has the same style as To Be when there little or no instrumental in the background with only Ayu’s vocals. Don’t get me wrong though, I did love how Ayu’s vocals flowed nicely with the song but it just see it as a ballad that could be boring.

I actually watched the (wintery) music video before listening to this on the cd. momentum was somewhat a hard pop track but for some reason, I just had to listen to this song over and over. The tone of her voice sounds so melachonic and the instrumentals provided very strong support to her vocals. This song is definitely worth the listen…dont’ forget to watch the music video too! (Another one of my favorite among the new tracks.)

taskinst is like one of those interludes that just sticks out like a sore thumb. It just doesn’t blend well with the tracks after this.

Born To Be… begins with a choir singing “Born to be” until Ayu’s vocals enters in not soon after. Now, this is new Ayu material since her songs aren’t normally oriented this way. Plus, her vocals were flawless but the arrangement still didn’t go up a notch.

Another song is the popular Beautiful Fighters. When I first gave this song a listen. I thought that the beginning of the song was a bit awkward. The whistles blaring at the beginning of the song was something new but not something I would like to hear at the beginning of the song. However, I liked the chorus when she’s like “We are Beautiful Fighters.” Very catchy, but perferrably without the whistles. (Although I know that it was supposed to compose and incoprate the whole mood of the song.)

BLUE BIRD was definately a great song! I liked how the acoustics in the background were pretty slow and how there was a change in rhthym as the song progressed. After hearing it the first time, I would remember how I always wanted to replay the whole song a few or more time. I guess, it grew onto me pretty quickly! The charming instrumentals gave this song another thumbs up!

kiss o’ kill is another enthusiastic and strong track with awesome chorus and arrangement. Overall, its a decent song but the only reason why I like listening to it is because of the chorus. (Pretty selective with the parts I listen to with the songs of the album.)

Secret was one really boring ballad. Plus, I didn’t feel statisfied when I realized that this was the end of the album. It’s just a boring way to end it, enough said. D=

Personal Rating: 4/5


Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: July 9, 2003
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3/5

1. ourselves
2. Greatful days
3. HANABI ~episode II~
4. theme of a-nation ‘03
5. ourselves (Instrumental)
6. Greatful days (Instrumental)
7. HANABI ~episode II~ (Instrumental)
ourselves is pretty dark compred to the other songs featured in the single. (Kind of reminds me of that feeling I got from listening to Endless Sorrow) Then all of the sudden, the song plunges into a mid tempo pop-rock oriented track. This time around, I’m loving her vocals but the reason why I dislike this song is because the background sound isn’t doing their job right. (By being uncaptivating and are not supporting Ayu’s vocals)

Greatful days sounds like a real Summer song because the atmosphere reminds me Summer song. (sung by Yui) Anyway, it pretty much has the same case as ourselves, the vocals sounds like an A+ but I would probably give the arrangement an big C because this time, it doesn’t going in synch with the pacing of the song. (Or the vocals are the ones that’s not following the pacing. Either way, the elements of the song does noy synch)

HANABI ~episode II~ sounds more aggressive than the first version, giving us a more powerful performance. I actually quite enjoyed this song compared to the original although Ayu sounds like she’s forcing the vocals to go out of her throat. Lately, I been enjoying her more upbeat songs…

Finally, theme of a-nation ‘03 ends up being my personal favorite of the single. (Especially near the end when the ad-libbing is like more than majority of the song.) I just love how this time the chorus and the arrangement actually go well together and that the arrangement really supports all of the vocalists. (Yep, Ayu isn’t the only one singing here) Nice song, anyway

Personal Rating: 3/5


Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: July 24, 2002
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 4.5/5

1. independent
2. July 1st
4. independent (instrumental)
5. July 1st (instrumental)
6. HANABI (instrumental)
There were so many covers for this single! I simply chose to use blue one because blue’s my favorite color.

I just loved how the mood and pace transitioned back and forth throughout independent! There were some quick and energized parts and then the chorus is also thrown in to change the moderate pace to fast. For some reason, I felt that Ayu really handled her vocals pretty well this time too!

Transitioning moods in July 1st also reigns surpreme! At first it sounds like a complete balland and the next minute, the arrangement is thrown in to the trance and dance category. This was probably one of the best Ayu releases out there and a total job well done.

Finally, HANABI has the kind of instrumentals that soudns pretty scary. Not to mention, Ayu has that sad voice to add to it. I really liked the song and its beautiful arrangement but when I listened to this song a few minutes ago, I was really in the mood for happy music…

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

Startin’/Born To Be…

StartinArtist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Release Date: March 8, 2006
Label: Avex Trax
Personal Rating: 3.5/5

1. Startin’ (original mix)
2. Born To Be… (original mix)
3. teens (acoustic version)
4. Startin’ (original mix Instrumental)
5. Born To Be… (original mix Instrumental)
The Startin’ (original mix) is pretty upbeat for my taste. The introduction has a little hip in the beats that sounds a little out of place in the song since the vocals has a touch of agressive pop in it. This was probably the first A-side that Ayu’s vocals began to sound more mature but even so, I got pretty boredof this song quickly.

Born To Be… (original mix) begins with a choir singing “Born to be” until Ayu’s vocals enters in not soon after. Now, this is new Ayu material since her songs aren’t normally oriented this way. Plus, her vocals were flawless but the arrangement still didn’t go up a notch.

Finally, the teens (acoustic version) has more stings elements instead of the traditional guitar and piano. The overall melody was great since it’s claming to the ears but now I’m wondering, was there even an original version of this song?

Personal Rating: 3.5/5