Ayumi Hamasaki – Love songs

12/22/2010 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | 3 Comments
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~Album~

Ayumi Hamasaki – Love songs

1. Love song

2. crossroad

3. MOON

4. sending mail

5. Last angel

6. insomnia

7. Like a doll

8. Aria

9. blossom

10. Thank U

11. Sweet Season

12. overture

13. do it again

14. November

15. Virgin Road

16. SEVEN DAYS WAR (Live at Yoyogi on Oct.11.2010) [Bonus Track]

Whew, this girl doesn’t quit, she’s already released an album this year, and hot off the heels of her 3 single project she releases yet another album. Some people might not approve, but personally I really enjoy her music, so the more the merrier.

I feel like “Love song” worked as a perfect opening to the album. The song has an interesting structure and arrangement, and it has a lot going on. The opening piano is elegant and really pretty, accompanied by the slightest harpsichord and soft strings which segues perfectly into a gruffer acoustic guitar, followed by some thumping percussion. Ayu’s vocals were really impressive, slightly lower than normal, and somehow, with a renewed energy and vigor. I really liked the vocalizing she did sporadically through the song especially after the first chorus, it was to die for. Altogether, really impressed, starts the album off with a bang.

Score – 9.5

I always though that “crossroad” had a really unique sound and structure.

Score – 9

MOON” was such a great rock ballad, I loved it from the minute I heard it.

Score – 9

“sending mail” is a darker track and you get that feeling write away with the wailing guitar, dark synths and piano. The pace quickens with beats and faint harpsichord in the background and Ayu really builds up the anticipation for the chorus which is really brazen and in your face, similar to Mirrorcle World in energy. The amount of repetition in the chorus really drives home what exactly she’s trying to say and you get the feeling she’s really trying to emphasize it. I liked the much deeper background vocals featured during the chorus as well. The quick fiddle to top off the song as it ends somewhat abruptly was brilliant.

Score – 9

Last angel” was a standout track on L and it had a great classic Ayu sound.

Score – 9.5

“insomnia” is our first interlude of the album and it keeps with the slightly darker theme that I’m getting from this album. I really loved the violin against all the artificiality of the beats, synths and even Ayu’s sporadic distorted and computerized vocals. I think this works as a good lead up to Like a doll

Score – 8

“Like a doll” starts off calm and quiet with pretty piano and Ayu’s vocals followed by some light beats and violin reminiscent of insomnia. When that intro finishes though, the pace quickens slightly as the beats come in and Ayu starts singing the words “Like a doll, Like a doll, Like a doll”. I really loved the guitar chord in the background of the lead up to the chorus which is very structured and slightly whimsical, as if she’s taking the “like a doll” theme even further. She then repeats what she sang in the intro but it sounds stronger, with more feeling to it, I especially love how strong she sounds at the very end of the song.

Score – 9

“Aria” sounds very baroque before the synths and strings come in. The ending is kind of random and I didn’t really see a place for this instrumental, but it was OK.

Score – 7.5

blossom” was a rock-ish summer tune, kind of in the vein of fairyland. But it still manages to sound slightly unique and I really enjoyed it.

Score – 9

“Thank U” seems like it would have worked right after Aria but who am I to say, right? Anyway this song is kind of what you might expect a song titled like that by Ayu to be like. This song and followed by Sweet Season are actually the only light songs featured on the album as far as sound goes. I liked the beat but I thought the overall arrangement was just a little weird. Of course this song featured “lalalalaaaa” with Ayu and a chorus of peoples as you can probably imagine, it actually seems like there is more vocalizing than anything. Overall it’s not a bad song by any means but I wasn’t really blown away.

Score – 8

Sweet Season” felt really unique with its slightly country sound. My opinion of it has actually improved a little since first listening to it.

Score – 9.5

We reach our third and final interlude with “overture”. I actually really liked this one and at some times it sounded like some grand theme you might here for a movie or video game, leaning more towards video game though, maybe even Final Fantasy-esque. While I don’t think it necessarily fit I really liked it and it kind of helps to break up the light songs that just played and the darker sounding do it again.

Score – 8.5

“do it again” opens with a quick piano that really intrigued me and acted as a hook to draw me into listening (as if I wouldn’t anyway right?). This song is kind of interesting in that it kind of has a lot of different things going on. As I said the song has a slightly darker tone with its percussion and background synths, along with occasional strings. The fast and thumping lead up to the chorus was actually one of the cooler parts of the song although the bridge features a very fantastical sounding arrangement that seems totally different from the rest of the song and I can sort of see how overture fits into the picture now. Sweeping strings, harp and light percussion with slight background vocals kind of act as a reprieve from the darkness, it made for an interesting effect.

Score – 9

“November” has a really interesting opening with bells and deep strings. All of this changes as the song progresses and other beats and synths come in and replace the other sounds. I really liked the chorus, the lyrics of which progress slightly, changing each time, the lyrical content itself is fairly brilliant but we all know Ayu writes good lyrics. Again Ayu’s vocals are quite good getting stronger and stronger and peaking at the end of the song.

Score – 9

Virgin Road” works to close the album off well. It’s just such an epic ballad and Ayumi sings it with just the perfect amount of emotion. I would have liked to see a new track close the album, something in the vein of MY ALL or RED LINE ~for TA~, but as I said, this is fine.

Score – 9.5

“SEVEN DAYS WAR (Live at Yoyogi on Oct.11.2010)” is a bonus track which I decidedly won’t rate. I’ve always thought that Ayu can sing really well live even when apparently crying which is what she has to be doing here. Although listening to this makes me really want to see the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus tour performances.

Final Note

So apparently everyone is hating this album? I don’t really get it. I will say that a lot of these songs were just short of a perfect mark whereas say the last album I reviewed from Ayu got at least one 10. They were good, don’t get me wrong, I loved Love song, sending mail and Like a doll. Even though I’d like for her to take a break, I’ll be eagerly anticipating her next release and I hope it’s not too far off.

Overall Rating

FullFullFullFullHalf

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3 Comments »

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  1. Great review^_^
    This has got to be one of Ayu’s best albums so far, the songs all fit in correctly and the chorus to Sending Mail is epic^_^

    • It’s definitely one of my favorite new tracks and I agree, the whole album was really cohesive.

  2. I’m a big Ayu fan and I really love this album, I don’t know why people is hating this and prefers RnR Circus.
    I didn’t like RnR Circus that much so I didn’t know what could I expect with Love Songs. But I’m really surprised. Everything is perfect. The music, the melodies, the lyrics, everything is GREAT!!
    It’s a very different work, more ‘mature’, and I think it’s one of her best albums to date.
    (Sorry, my english isn’t perfect, but I hope you can understand me ^^)


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