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Like a Love?

Like a Love?

by Rinoa on September 3, 2006 · 2 comments · AddThis

A promotional image from 'Like a Love?' photoshoot.
A promotional image from 'Like a Love?' photoshoot.
Artist: Ami Suzuki
Product Code: AVCD-31040/1
Release date: 2006-07-26
Peak Position: #13
First Press: Photo Booklet
Label: avex trax

Since her return to the J-Pop scene, last year Ami Suzuki has certainly been rather busy. With eight singles and two albums already released, along with a nation-wide tour, it’s clear that Amigo is still intent on being a professional singer and expand her career further. Approximately two months after the release of her seventh single, ‘Alright!’, Ami released a mellow summer ballad speaking about when one falls in love for the first time…

The announcement of this single attracted quite a fair amount of attention since Ai Otsuka was assigned to be the composer of ‘Like a Love?’. Needless to say both Ai-chin and Amigo fans were quite excited. This was the first time Ai Otsuka had composed a song specifically for another artist. It seems that Amigo and Ai-chin had become quite good friends since the a-nation summer festival last year. This was Ami’s first major outdoor event since she made her comeback. Due to the fact that they are very close in age (both of them were born in 1982), Ami and Ai found many common interests and became “mail” (mobile mail or e-mail) friends.

‘Like a Love?’ can be considered as a sequel of Ami’s ‘Alright!’, which was released in May this year. ‘Alright’ gives a presentiment of love, while ‘Like a Love?’ gives a fresh impression of the falling in love and a summer mood. Overall both singles have the same setting, a similar style and seem to compliment each other quite a lot. Ami’s image in this single is radically different from her 2005 one. Her hair was cut even shorter and her style in clothes is more feminine and cute. Also her official site featured a new logo with her initials united together to form a butterfly, which was quite a neat and original idea.

Avex trax again made sure to release this single one day after Ai Otsuka’s ‘LOVE COOK Tour 2006 DVD’ release. Doubtlessly avex’s marketing strategy was to attract some Ai fans to purchase Ami’s single to boost her sales. The CD Version had a first press extra, which was a 32 page photo booklet. However, apart from this, avex made little effort to promote this single. Ami only appeared in three major variety shows and it had no major tie-in, which pretty much left this single in the dark.

This single wasn’t successful at all in the charts. In the first week it reached the position of #23 and sold only 8,765 copies. It literally fell out of the charts in the following weeks, resulting into a complete flop. To date this single has been Ami’s lowest selling non-limited edition single, which is quite disappointing. ‘Like A Love?’ also made it’s debut on the iTunes charts, at #21.

 

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1. Like a Love?

This song has a typical Ami touch. The title suggest a sweet a romantic theme, which will not leave anyone disappointed. ‘Like a Love?’ is one of those mellow ballads, which portray first love as being something exciting and special.

The song starts off quite slowly with soothing electronic instrumentals and Ami’s low vocals. The tempo is pretty much constant throughout the song, remaining quite slow. One keeps on waiting for the chorus to break in, yet this never seems to happen. I suppose one can consider this track as a relaxing one. However I was quite disappointed with how this song seemed to lead to nowhere and it was so unmemorable. Personally I felt this song sounded more like the kind of song you’d insert as a filler in an album.

Ai-chin’s composition seemed to follow a similar trend to her slow ballads, with the difference of having a more polished and electronic feel to it. It carried the trademark cute composition and sweet melody, which I really enjoyed. I felt she did a relatively good job in creating a song which fits Ami’s style. However I did expect something more unpredictable from Ai’s compositions.

The promotional clip continues on from ‘Alright!’. The setting is the same, except that Ami is now accompanied by her boyfriend. They visit various places, have fun and exchange affections to each other. However Amigo and the guy didn’t really seem to have any chemistry between them, making them look rather awkward at various scenes. At certain times they did seem to look rather unnatural, Ami still managed to look happy and curious at the same time, as a girl would feel on the first date. I felt it was quite cheap of avex to use the same venue as ‘Alright!’ but in the end in its simplicity, it did manage to convey the theme of falling in love quite well. The beach and the aquarium created an idyllic setting where one would dream to have a date with their loved ones.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

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2. Squall ni Nurete

‘Squall ni Nurete’ is a mid-tempo ballad with a moody tone and an interesting style. The title means ‘Get wet in a squall or a thunderstorm’, which already makes it quite intriguing to any listener. Yoshikawa Kei composed this song.

Although ‘Squall ni Nurete’ is a ballad, it’s the exact opposite of the title track. It has a bittersweet mood and a more realistic tone to it. Personally I felt this song was so much better than ‘Like a Love?’. While ‘Like a Love?’ was a generic ballad, ‘Squall ni Nurete’ had more emotion and character within it. The background music is less electronic and manufactured, sounding more down-to-earth. There’s a lot of band-type instruments within this song, especially the use of a guitar which I feel is something quite positive. Ami’s vocals are more expressive within this song and blend in so well with the background music. This new element within this track does give more spice to this single.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Conclusion

This single wasn’t so bad overall, however it is definitely Ami’s weakest single with avex trax. To be totally frank, I enjoyed the collaboration between Ai and Ami, however I expected something more groundbreaking, rather than a single which basically sounded something you’d hear on an album as a filler. To make things worse, avex did not really promote this single, giving it even less exposure and making it sound like an extension of ‘Alright!’ rather than a separate single on its’ own.

Personally I do not like the direction Ami’s music is leading. It’s evident that avex trax is trying to fit Ami into another genre which she was popular into when she was younger. However, times have changed and Ami has also grown up. I feel this style doesn’t really fit her as much as the techno-dance style she adopted back then in 2005. Her latest two singles were too mellow, generic and quite bland, when compared to her previous releases. Also the promotional clips looked too amateur and the lack of promotion helped to put the nail to the coffin to this single.

In the future I am hoping that Amigo will go back her steps and release more enticing releases. However I am still hoping that we shall have more collaborations of Ami and Ai-chin. Both artists are extremely talented and I suggest you still check out this single, since it’s still a relatively good release and effort by Amigo.

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

 

CD Version
CD version
CD+DVD Version
CD+DVD version

CD Tracklist

  1. Like a Love?
  2. Squall ni Nurete
  3. Like a Love? -Instrumental-
  4. Squall ni Nurete -Instrumental-

DVD Tracklist

  1. Like a Love? -Music Clip-

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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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.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kingyo-Hanabi92 FINLAND September 9, 2006 at 9:13 am

Wow thanks a lot Rinoa! The review is really good! I love Ami, she’s so pretty and nice :D I hope that her sales would go UP!!

Reply

anoy September 4, 2006 at 1:46 am

Good!! I like this review. Pity it didn’t reach top five, after all, Ai-chan composed this ballad for her.

Reply

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