Tags: again, ayumi hamasaki, mini album, review
Ayumi Hamasaki – again
1. Wake me up
2. Sweet scar
3. snowy kiss
5. Missing (Orchestra Version)
6. Melody (Acoustic Piano Version)
7. Wake Me Up (Remo-con rmx)
8. snowy kiss (Shohei Matsumoto Remix)
9. Wake me up (Original Instrumental)
10. Sweet scar (Original Instrumental)
11. snowy kiss (Original Instrumental)
12. Ivy (Original Instrumental)
So here is again, hot off the heels of my LOVE review. I’m just hoping to keep on popping out these reviews as fast as possible until I’m all caught up.
From the second I first hear it, I knew “Wake me up” was going to be a good song. The song starts out with deep synth and Ayu singing in a deep, somewhat serious tone. The song builds up perfectly to an explosive chorus with heavy percussion and synth with Ayu belting out the words with raw emotion. It’s catchy as hell and works well to pump you up. If I was a person who worked out regularly (I should be, oops.) this would definitely be my new workout jam.
Score – 9.5
On my first listen I thought “Sweet scar” was one of the most boring songs Ayu had ever done. However, I’ve come to realize the beauty in its simplicity. See, this song is pretty bare bones consisting of Ayu’s tender almost breathy at times vocals, alongside some piano, violin, and little else. With just those things, the song really comes together and feels really cohesive. It’s also a nice change up from the usual ballads. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love those kinds of ballads. BALLAD by Ayu is one of my favorite ballads from her, it’s so grand and opposite from this song. But like I said, Sweet scar is just nice for a change, it really shows that less is more.
Score – 9
We change gears a lot with “snowy kiss” coming up next. The electric guitar, strings and synth in the intro does not prepare you for the stuff that’s about to go down. The beat drops heavy as Ayu starts belting out the chorus and I just loved the way the vocals were layered and harmonized, it really gave it an interesting sound. The strong bass featured throughout the song gives it a sense of seriousness to the situation and Ayu’s vocals amplify that in such a strong way. I love her ability in songs like this to clue you in to what’s going on just on the sound of her voice. I love that the song never really lets up and is thumping from beginning to end. A few years ago, I don’t think I would have liked a song like this as much as I do but I guess Ayu brings that out in me.
Score – 9
The mini album closes to a close with “Ivy” which is somewhat of a mid tempo ballad in a more traditional sense. In the first half of the song, it just seems kind of OK compared to the other 3 songs on here simply because of the fact this it is more traditional with piano, strings, chimes, etc. However, the latter half of the song really impresses me a bit more. It really starts to build and feels like the entire song really was leading up to it as Ayu starts to put more and more emphasis and emotion into her vocals. Even though it’s my least favorite off of this mini I feel it closes it well and I still enjoy listening to it.
Score – 8
I couldn’t help feeling that the “Orchestra Version” of Missing sufferes from the same things that the Song 4 U Orchestra Version does. The arragement is pretty and makes the song a bit more heartfelt in a tones down way, but pales to the original still. There’s just something about the original being a bit brazen and fast paced that makes it work better than this sort of ballad format.
Score – 7
Again, I was disappointed with the “Acoustic Piano Version” of Melody. The original song is great as a relaxing, mid temp song with a laid back vibe. So I felt slowing it down and stripping it down in this way to just sole piano kind of really detracts from what is good about it. So overall just a little bit disappointed with this mix, again, considering I usually love this kind of stuff no matter what.
Going from disappointment to pleasant surprise, the “Remo-con rmx” of Wake me up is actually pretty great. I’ll try not to jinx it, but perhaps I’m becoming OK with some remixes. Mostly I’ll like a remix if it maintains at least a little kind of structure to it. It’s the crazy, hyper incoherent messes that I don’t really care for. Naturally some dubstep influences in here but I feel like at this stage it is to be expected, especially for an artist like Ayu. The heavy synth and thumping beats here in particular were actually quite melodic at times while even making the song feel a little darker and more mysterious.
The “Shoehi Matsumoto Remix” of snowy kiss kind of has the same things going for it but at the same time, I simply manage to love the original so much that it impedes my ability to fully enjoy this remix. I guess it does a good job of turning something that’s originally melancholic and emotionally charged into something dancey and keeping that emotion with it.
Well, I can honestly say that this mini was a lot better than LOVE was. The songs were just better and I find myself listening to them more than what’s on LOVE, plain and simple.