Ayumi Hamasaki – Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus

04/16/2010 at 4:16 AM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | 2 Comments
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~Album~

Ayumi Hamasaki – Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus

1. THE introduction

2. Microphone

3. count down

4. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~

5. BALLAD

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 this album was first announced I was really fiending for it. I think this is mostly because there were two double A-side singles already, and then Don’t look back and Microphone were revealed in their respective commercials. I was worried that there was just going to be another double A-side single so you can imagine my relief when the album was officially announced. Anyway, I’ve gone on quite enough, on with the review.

The album starts off with an intro, fittingly called, “THE introduction”. In all honesty it reminded me of some retro creepy video game theme or something. That’s a good thing though, I really enjoyed listening to it and it flows well with the creepy organ opening of Microphone.

Score – 8.5

I am in love with “Microphone” and I have been ever since I first heard it. The songs starts out with a crazy cool organ playing and suddenly the drums and guitar coming blaring in along with some shouts from Ayumi. She sings in a lower key and when she gets up to the chorus she really puts some power behind her voice. The guitar solo in the bridge can’t be beat and Ayumi singing here reminds me of the Mirrorcle World bridge for some reason. The final two choruses are really great I thought the organ coming in as an outro was just perfect finally ending with Ayumi saying in English “Tell me why, tell me why!”.

Score – 9

“count down” starts with this blaring riff that leads into a solo piano followed by some light beats. I really liked the turntable scratching sound being used in the background. I also liked how the chorus felt, it has some power behind it I feel, and the subject matter matches that for sure. The bridge features some vocalization but a focus on those turntable scratches which I thought was a bit different and really added something to the song.

Score – 9

Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~” is up next and is actually from on the first single that I ever review for the blog ­čÖé It’s a really great ballad that still maintains a summer feel to it. I thought Ayumi’s vocals while simple, were still emotional as always. It’s just a really nice ballad in my opinion.

Score – 8.5

Speaking of ballads, guess what’s up next. That’s right, it’s “BALLAD“. Obviously BALLAD is a ballad but it is a truly amazing one at that. Everything from it’s eastern influence to the sweeping strings and piano to Ayumi’s heartfelt vocals just make the song one of the best ballads from Ayumi yet.

Score – 10

What can I say about “Last Links”? I absolutely love it. It starts off with a great acoustic guitar and some violin. It just had an awesome feel for me. The chorus really shines for me and I thought it was it was great. Something about this track, it’s become my favorite from the non-promo songs released.

Score – 10

Our first interlude “montage” is creeeeepy. It reminds me of classic horror movie music or something. It starts out like that but towards the end things change and in comes some harpsicord backed by lighter, even upbeat, strings.

Score – 8.5

“Don’t look back” is really different from anything that I have personally heard from Ayumi. This song is extremely middle eastern influenced and you can tell right from the get go. You hear those sounds, and then the synth slowly starts to creep in and everything comes together really nicely. I liked the message of the song and the way Ayumi sings it.

Score – 9

Don’t look back is really like an interlude song for the album┬áseparated┬áby two actual interludes, “Jump!” finishes us off. It had a pretty good beat, and before I knew it, I was bobbing my head to it and singing along with the constant voice yelling “Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!” which is backed by some vocalizing by Ayumi.

Score – 8.5

When I first saw that there was going to be a song called “Lady Dynamite”, my first reaction was “Whoa, WHAT a title.” I will say that the song didn’t really live up to my expectations but it is still a decent track. I liked the fast paced feel of the music even though the singing itself isn’t really fast. The chorus is where the song falls short for me, given the lyrical content, I thought it could have been a lot louder, a bit more brazen in sound, if you will. Ayumi’s somewhat sarcastic and cocky singing are what pulls the song together for me.

Score – 8.5

If there is one track I might like more than Microphone, it’s “Sexy little things”. The song is and starts off very electric and synthy, but once Ayumi starts singing, it takes on this swing, 50’s style kind of sound and feel. That continues onto the chorus and you just want to tap your foot and snap your fingers to it, I really liked that about this song. It’s an extremely pop like song and Ayumi sings in a traditional cute way and tone. The ending is a little weird and finishes off with slightly different sound, and believe it or not, harp.

Score – 10

“Nee motto ookina koi de! Motto Ookina ai wo!” this is still stuck in my head all the way from the summer. “Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~” keeps the pop flowing . This was of course last years traditional Ayumi Hamasaki Summer single ­čśŤ but I have ┬áno complaints. It’s fun to listen to and it is catchy as hell.

Score – 9

“meaning of Love” is really the only cutesy kind of song this album has. It reminded me of some things that Ayu has done before, but she’s given it a slightly new twist. It has a nice melody and I really loved how the chorus went. It’s not remarkable, but I really liked it.

Score – 9.5

You were…” another ballad, being featured on a “Winter” single still somewhat maintains a slightly winter theme and feel to me. But that’s no problem, it’s still a really pretty and heartfelt song.

Score – 9

RED LINE ~for TA~ [album version]” closes of the album very well, and I thought this was the perfect place to put it. I was actually really hoping it would be on the album after hearing the original on the You were… / BALLAD single. The “lalala” sequence at the end is slightly elongated and and Ayu joins in┬áprominently┬áwhich fades into just her and a soft organ playing. She finishes it off by repeating a bit of the first chorus a cappella. I would’ve loves for it to have stopped at the organ playing part, but I guess I don’t mind the chorus bit.

Score – 10

Final Note

Thank you Ayumi Hamasaki for another solid album. Honestly, to me, this album was really great and I had next to no complaints. She did some newer things and I was really impressed at how they turned out. I really liked Microphone, countdown, Last Links, Don’t look back, and Sexy little things. It may be called Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus, and I might have even wanted a bit more Rock & Roll, but it does have variety. Give it a shot.

Overall Rating

FullFullFullFullHalf

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2 Comments »

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  1. Haha, I think you were being a bit too lenient by giving everything 8 9 or 10 (like seriously there’s nothing you hate!) but I do agree that it’s one of the better Ayu albums.

    • I’ll admit, in hindsight a few things didn’t deserve such high marks (Sunset and Jump! in particular), but that’s how I felt at the time so I stand by the marks ­čśŤ


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