Bold&Delicious/Pride

by Rinoa on December 30, 2005 · 11 comments · AddThis

Sweet 2006
Ayumi on Sweet, January 2006 Issue
Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Product Code:AVCD-30892/3
Release Date: 2005.11.30
Highest Ranking: #1
Genre: Pop/Gospel
Label: avex trax
Format: CD or CD+DVD

Around a little more than two months after the release of “HEAVEN”, Ayumi Hamasaki surprised her fans and released her 38th single which was recorded and filmed in New York. It was titled “Bold&Delicious” and was released only one month prior to her eighth studio album.

This single has created quite a lot of commotion amongst fans of Japanese Pop and Hamasaki alike. It has a very different feel from her previous releases, it sounds rather urban and daring. The music itself sounds rather “American” and this fact was emphasized especially since both of her promotional videos were filmed in New York. Ayu herself admitted in a magazine interview, GirlPop, that she herself did not know how her fans would react to the release of this single. In a way, she released this single as if to test the people’s reactions and to surprise the public with something unexpected.

Apart from having a completely new atmosphere and feel to this single, a new composer was hired, GEO of Sweetbox. This composer has never composed for her releases before and thus giving this single a very fresh feel to it. It is interesting to note that originally Ayumi Hamasaki had finished recording another song to release as a single instead of Bold&Delicious. However, Ayu had previously mentioned to her staff how she would have liked to sing a song like Sweetbox and to her surprise, her staff contacted GEO, who sent her a tape with 12 songs on it. Bold&Delicious managed to make a huge impression on her and thus she decided to release it as a single.

Sales wise, as compared to her previous releases, this single sold quite poorly, a mere amount of 124,645 copies. However, when Bold&Delicious ranked at #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts, Ayu managed to achieve three records. These were as following: female artist with the most #1 singles, female artist with the biggest amount of top ten singles, female artist with the most copies of singles sold.

 

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Bold&Delicious

Possibly being the most shocking and bizarre song of this year, Bold&Delicious was simply an unexpected genre, without any doubt. It has a funky, gothic feel to it, like a really intense oil painting, which is rather infective. The genre of this track is questionable but it is definitely styled with a Gospel and R&B flavor. This track oozes of self-confidence and energy. Hamasaki has mentioned how she had been inspired by Mrs. Smith’s attitude from the movie “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”.

The track starts with the choir and Ayu singing ‘yayayayagagagagadadadawowowo’ which will get any listener raising their eyebrows. However, Ayumi Hamasaki cleverly managed to infuse her voice with the power of a gospel choir making this track sound extremely energetic and lively. The choir reminds you of a church full of powerful singers giving a very active and cheerful atmosphere.

Various people consider it a weak track; however, no one can refuse the fact that this song is extremely catchy and unique. You might not love this song after the first listen but I assure you that after listening to it for a few times the song itself will enter your mind and refuse to budge. Nonetheless, this track rather weak as compared to her brilliant releases of this year and in my opinion is more suitable as an album track, rather than a single track.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

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Pride

This track is rather dramatic and contrasts against the former upbeat track. The style of this ballad is quite different from the traditional ballads we are used to hear from Hamasaki or any Japanese Pop artist. Nonetheless Pride is full of passion and emotion making it extremely powerful and haunting. The vocals are simply stunning and full of fervor. The melody emphasizes the sadness emanating from this track.

The lyrics are simply outstanding and probably the best of this year. They are definitely inscribed with philosophical implications with references to humans, the mistakes they make and their way of dealing with them. The most striking line “Because there is nothing more frightening than giving up” creates a conflicting sense of hope and despair at the same time. Hamasaki has explained that even if human beings do mistakes, that does not make them truly cruel. She herself has done mistakes in the past and she does not want to give up in believing in herself. The underlying message is that Ayu wanted to tell everyone that she doesn’t want anyone else give up either because giving up is the worst despair.

This song is reminiscent of Opera and Classical Music. In fact, it has a hint of “The Phantom of the Opera” as Ayu herself has admitted.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

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HEAVEN House Mix

This remix is reminiscent of her trance album remixes. It’s quite enjoyable to listen to as a remix track. However the mood of this ballad isn’t exactly preserved as much as I would have preferred to and the track in fact is rather up-tempo compared to how slow HEAVEN was.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

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Will Wall5 Mix

This mix is really neat. It’s rather strange, reminds me of some of HΛL’s mixes with a twist. However, the oriental touch is still left reverberating within this track which manages to clash with the techno background music, giving this mix a very interesting feel to it.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Conclusion

Personally, I have found this single very pleasant to listen to even if it is not her best single in 2005. I enjoyed the fact that it had two sides – the upbeat and happy side and the melancholic and poignant side. I also do believe this single marks the point where Ayu wanted to change. She wanted to be more confident and bold. Some might dislike her “in-your-face” approach but I must admit I love this sassy side of her. Many critics might accuse Ayumi Hamasaki for being “fake” but I personally believe that in this single she has cleverly portrayed the image of the real Ayu who just wants to enjoy herself. This has given a rather bold and direct response to everyone.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Bold&Delicious/Pride CD version Bold&Delicious/Pride CD+DVD version

1. Bold&Delicious “original mix”
2. Pride “original mix”
3. HEAVEN “House Mix”
4. Will “Wall5 Remix”
5. Bold&Delicious “original mix- Instrumental”
6. Pride “original mix – Instrumental”

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About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

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cat UNITED KINGDOM December 15, 2006 at 6:30 pm

Great review (as usual). Bold and delicious took ages to grow on me, but i can listen to it when i’m hyper! Pride is one of my fave Ayu songs though, so cool and emotional! I saw the Mv which was really nice (she looked great).

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nyarin *-* GERMANY October 16, 2006 at 7:46 pm

i just stumbled across this site… love it! >_<

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Diana UNITED STATES August 28, 2006 at 5:59 pm

When I first listen to these two songs… I thought it was amazing!!! I really like her style of sing sooo much…it is true that it is different from all the songs that she sings, but I think that these songs really bring out her voice…don’t you think so???…but yeah…no complaints…good job with the article….Ayumi fan forever!!!…

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Icy UNITED KINGDOM July 8, 2006 at 10:48 am

hi i just came across to this page the information is well written i must say ^^. great job! ^^. i didnt liek bold & delicious at first but i think its a alright song now i love the song pride i didnt know she got that song from jade from sweetbox but i think ayumi changed it a little and sounds really good and the way she tones her voice ^^.

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tejung UNITED STATES January 29, 2006 at 3:45 am

i only heard little from the preview (immediately i turned it off). this single is not the best, yet surprising to all ayu fans.

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Kikaru UNITED STATES January 22, 2006 at 12:08 am

Nice article Rinoa. I was a little suprised when I first heard Bold&Delicious, but it’s really growing on me. It’s nice to know that Ayumi isn’t so stressed and intensed about her releases like in 2001 (god knows the girl worked herself to almost half-deaf), and that she’s just having fun. I like the Pride PV better than Bold&Delicious PV, but B&D PV is just amusing to watch (the New Yorker’s faces when they saw the truck where she was filming. Some people were even taking pictures).

I love Pride. It for some reason gives me an 40s-50s oldie feeling. I like the emotions Ayu always able to carry out perfectly, and the lyrics are so inspiring.

Off topic, and answering Aprilis’s question. Bold&Delicious is a single that Sweetbox is planning to release this year. The lyrics aren’t a translation of the actual Sweetbox’s B&D lyrics. The only words Ayu managed to fit in there was Bold&Delicious, rest are completely different.

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eyn CANADA January 13, 2006 at 11:39 am

I’m not a big fan of Bold&Delicous, the first time I listened to it I really hated it, but now it’s starting to grow a little on me. I have to admit this song is really catchy and it just stay in your head after a while, but still it’s not her best. The PV is kinda disspointing for me, I expected a little more but it’s just totally different from what I have anticipated. I don’t like her heavy makeup and extravagant wearings, all of the elements in the PV just doesn’t flow well together , in my opinion.

Pride is much better than Bold&Delicious, but still it’s not as good as her other ballads this year like HEAVEN or rainy days. I think Pride is a little too slow, too sad, too melancholy. It somehow gives you this depressing feelings, and being depressed is not a good thing. :P

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Aprilis CANADA January 13, 2006 at 2:52 am

After knowing that Ayu put this single out to test people’s reaction, I can finally breath a sigh of relieve. Bold & Delicious is just not my cup of tea. Pride is a bit better; maybe it’s because it reminds me of ‘Once Upon a December’. Oddly enough, I prefer Bold & Delicious’ PV over Pride’s PV. I have yet to look up the lyrics to these 2 songs, so I can’t really say about that.
You mention that Ayu listened to the 12 song that the GEO sent her and she really liked Bold & Delicious. Can you expand on this? Does this mean Ayu didn’t write the lyrics for Bold & Delicious, or did she write her own lyrics after listening to the tape?

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HANABI.1984 UNITED STATES January 8, 2006 at 11:03 am

Great article! The way you describe the songs so well is amazing. I didn’t even know about the story of how the single came to be.

I have to say that Bold & Delicious has grown on me quite a bit. I admit I was taken aback by it at first, but now I can’t get enough. ^_^ The performances of it have been great and the way she sings it live is slightly different. I love it!

Anyway, keep up the great work here, Rinoa.

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Lainay UNITED STATES December 30, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Rii-chan, this is just a MAGNIFICENT article. You really did an awesome job with this one. This was really a pleasure to read; you described all the songs very nicely, using huge vocab words (XD) and just did an awesome job and…yeah! Great job!! (remember: ohhhhh demolitiooonnn XD)

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