glitter/fated

by Rinoa on July 26, 2007 · 10 comments · AddThis

glitter/fated photoshoot
Shooting for the cover artwork
Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Product Code: AVCD-31274/5
Release Date: 2007.07.18
Debut Ranking: #1
Label: avex trax

While being one of the hottest artists at avex, Hamasaki seems to be permanently set for high budgets and extensive promotional campaigns. Each and every release of hers is highlighted with a lot of hype and expectation from her fans. Throughout the years, the quality of her singles have increased, aiming towards spectacular artwork and impressive promotional videos. Since Hamasaki’s single releases have become less frequent, many are rather excited when a single is announced. In any way, after almost a year after “BLUE BIRD”, Hamasaki would return with a new single called “glitter/fated“.

2007 was another busy and stressful year for the J-Pop Queen. With the release of her second best compilation and her Asian tour, Ayu seems dead set on working on her musical career and moving onto her third chapter as a singer and songwriter. On the 26th April, Hamasaki would announce on her Team Ayu blog that she had just finished writing a new song and was preparing to go record it. On the 17th May, Tower Records would reveal the title of the single. On the following day, avex would officially announce the release on Ayu’s official website, calling this single the opening of her “third chapter”.

However due to her hectic schedule, while traveling in Asia, Hamasaki would not be able to work on her single until the 30th May. In fact Hamasaki would initiate working onto this single a week prior to the end of her tour. With a very tight schedule, Hamasaki and her staff would go to Hong Kong for the filming of the promotional video and the photoshoot for the artwork.

Offshot
Ayu in Hong Kong

The arrival at Hong Kong was once again greeted with a lot of excitement and hype. Fans would follow Ayu while filming for the promotional videos and the tabloids would once again have a field day with rumors and false stories. Hamasaki would also have several surprises for Hong Kong. Shawn Yue, a famous actor and singer, would become her co-star and love interest. Furthermore the promotional videos were announced to be a short film, that spanned around 18 minutes. Hamasaki would also share her first onscreen kiss, which shocked a lot of people. A new director would be appointed for the short film, Wong Hoi.

The promotional campaign was fairly similar to the typical campaign Hamasaki’s singles receive. Hamasaki performed both songs on the most prominent variety shows, appeared on several magazine covers and both promotional videos were aired on several music channels. The short film was displayed as the spotlight of the single and thus billboards depicting Shawn Yue and Hamasaki decorated Tokyo. Predictably enough, everyone knew that Hamasaki was releasing her 41st single.

In any way, the single would once again debut at #1 and managed to peak on the weekly charts once again. According to Oricon, Hamasaki has sold approximately 110,165 copies to on the first week. This is quite excellent in itself. However when considering her previous single, this is a bit low in comparison.

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

1. glitter

If you expecting anything outstanding or different from “glitter” or you’re going to be in for a huge disappointment. Many Ayu fans have complained endlessly, until you truly feel like tearing your hair out, but one must consider one central point: most summer singles which are successful usually have a lot of pop influences. Thus this song is no exception. “glitter” is a summer song, which contains some electronic and techno elements, but is predominantly a pop song. The whole atmosphere is rather uplifting and hopeful, suggesting to the audience to find their way to have a special spark in their summer.

Despite how simplistic this song sounds, a lot of elements were inserted within this song. A great deal of layering is present within the song. The instrumentals are quite complex and the way they are blended together, reminds me of video game soundtracks. I suppose the fantasy elements have something to do with that. The chorus is rather attractive and highlights the innocent atmosphere of the song. “glitter” was chosen to be the CM song for Zespri Gold Kiwi. This is her second tie-in with Zespri.

The live performances for this song were quite entertaining. Hamasaki wore bright, sparkling outfits. Probably to highlight the idea of “glitter” or something similar. Her backup dancers had a similarly designed outfit. Hamasaki either ditched her hair extensions or has cut her hair, since most of her performances feature her with shoulder-length hair. In the end most of the performances were well designed to fit the theme well. Hamasaki dances on the majority of the performances and overall the atmosphere is rather summery and energetic.

The promotional video was what truly attracted the fans’ attention. The whole concept of “short film” promised a plot for the fans, a concept which most fans enjoy. Furthermore a love story was promised, with a co-star. This concept might not seem particularly shocking, but Hamasaki has never had a male co-star, acting as a love interest. Naturally, “glitter” comprises the first part of the story. In any way, Hamasaki is representing herself: a very popular diva, who has a tight schedule. Shawn Yue, happens to be one of her bodyguards.

The video projects certain “accidents” and troubles which Ayumi encounters and realizes that Shawn is always there to rescue her. On one occasion, Hamasaki is ambushed by paparazzi and somewhat ends up shielded by Shawn. Hamasaki is too shocked to do or think anything but when the tabloids reveal photos of them together, she starts contemplating about him. Despite having a communication block, Hamasaki always tries to show how thankful she is towards him and tries hard at communicating with him. In what one would consider the climax, Shawn rescues Hamasaki from some fans which were tailing her and they spend the evening together and get to know each other better. Most of the scenes are very amusing, they go and eat at a restaurant, Hamasaki gives him her ring and then they separate when the other bodyguards appeared. I truly enjoyed the whole concept myself. It fitted the song quite well, being cute and projecting a certain kind of innocence. The whole idea of a first love and having hope was definitely portrayed really well. Hopefully we shall be having even more polished versions of these “short films” by Hamasaki.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

2. fated

fated” is a mid-tempo ballad, with rock influences. For fans of emotional ballads, this song will sound rather attractive because the emotion is well projected within the mood of the music and the vocals. Furthermore, this song is an interestingly original direction for Hamasaki. While balancing the single’s mood, the atmosphere retains the summer element, which is excellent in creating a consistency.

The lyrics are rather expressive, melanchonic and touching. They reflect a heartbreaking love which was full of misunderstandings and regrets. Hamasaki’s vocals yet again manage to shine while projecting the emotions which were penned in her lyrics. Furthermore the composition is rather mellow, which leads to certain instruments to get overshadowed in certain parts of this song. This is a shame since the instrumentals create a rather melancholic melody. “fated” is the theme song for the movie Kaidan, starring Onoe Kikunosuke and Kuroki Hitomi.

For those who enjoy beautiful visuals, they’re in for a treat. Both performances were aesthetically pleasing, with gorgeous outfits, beautiful hairstyles and ethereal sets. The whole band is complete in these performances, along with the backup singers. Hamasaki has the ability to project so much emotion in her voice and this fact really does push the performances to a higher level. My only regret is that Hamasaki only performed this song twice.

The promotional video of “fated” continues on with the previous video. I won’t reveal a lot for the sake of not spoiling the video for those who haven’t watched the video yet. “fated” projects a more serious and sombre atmosphere. While reflecting a more mature kind of love, there are also reflections of regrets, stress and holding back. Despite the fact that the short film is a silent one, emotions were clearly transmitted to the viewer. Overall I really loved the foreshadowing elements and the shooting style linked to the flashbacks. It was definitely the best part of this short film.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

3. Secret

To date, I am still confused that the original version of “Secret” has ended up in this single. The song is identical to the original version from the album “Secret” and provides nothing new to this single, which was quite disappointing. It was used as the theme song for the Hong Kong movie, “Confession of Pain“, starring Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro. This song is used in the credits segment of the short film.

Despite my initial disappointment, “Secret” still remains a very strong and majestic ballad. The orchestral elements are utterly impressive. The lyrics display her most weak and hidden feelings that she has as an artist and as a human being. To me it sounds a rather personal song, which is riddled with insecurities, contemplation and hidden pain. Combined with Hamasaki’s raw vocals, the whole song is simply a masterpiece.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Conclusion

In 2006, Hamasaki would release two singles only, while “glitter/fated” was Ayumi’s first single in 2007. Although Hamasaki retains her busy lifestyle, the amount of singles released every year are on the decline. This fact is quite worrying, since single releases create a lot of hype and excitement among fans. Hopefully Hamasaki shall release a new single in fall.

Considering all factors, this single was a rather strong release but it did have some disappointing aspects. Most of her summer singles contain a solid theme and heavy influences on pop. This aspect has not changed to date. However the quantity has declined. In the past Hamasaki used to release singles with three or more new tracks. These singles used to be so exciting that the sales were extremely high and the hype created was gigantic.

However in the past three years, the summer singles have reverted to a double-A side, which has become a less appealing alternative to most Ayu fans. One might argue that the quality of the singles have increased; most promotional videos had huge budgets, exotic locations and spectacular. However I must admit I do miss her remixes and extra tracks. In the end one can only hope to see the return of these summer singles, which have gotten so many fans excited in the past.

In the end though, I feel this single was an excellent start of her third chapter. The quality projected throughout this single is very high and the whole package was simply excellent, making this single a rather tempting purchase. Hopefully Hamasaki will manage to retain the high quality and continue releasing singles which are worth it to purchase.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

 

Regular CD Edition
CD Version
CD+DVD Edition
CD+DVD Version

CD Tracklist

  1. glitter
  2. fated
  3. Secret
  4. glitter (instrumental)
  5. fated (instrumental)

DVD Tracklist

  1. “距愛 ~Distance Love~” Short Film

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Related Posts:

  1. BLUE BIRD J-Pop Diva, Ayumi Hamasaki is well known for her exciting and lively summer singles. This year was certainly no exception. Her 40th single was announced to be released in June as a multiple A-track release. Following up the tradition of her summer singles, the songs are upbeat, colourful and contain a summery theme.......
  2. Ayu’s anniversary "Mirrorcle World" is Ayu's 42nd single which was released to celebrate her 10th Anniversary.........
  3. Ayumi Hamasaki’s Secret 'Secret' is Ayumi Hamasaki's eight studio album. It was released on the 29th November 2006 and has attracted the attention of all her fans worldwide.......
  4. Together When… "Together When..." is Ayumi Hamasaki's first digital single.........
  5. GREEN/Days "GREEN/Days" is Ayu's 43rd single released to celebrate her anniversary.........

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.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricardo January 11, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I love Ayumi All even though i am not asian i still love her music i am a mexican so yeah thanks for the upload

Reply

Riko UNITED STATES October 16, 2007 at 10:53 pm

This single has definitely made my Birthday List! ^^

Reply

Rinoa September 19, 2007 at 2:50 pm

Secret was used as a theme for “Confession of Pain”, a Hong Kong movie, which premiered in July in Japan. My point though was that they re-released something as an “extra” which wasn’t exactly one. The least they could’ve done was add a remix or rearrangement.

Reply

Yuki NETHERLANDS September 19, 2007 at 1:33 pm

“Secret” was on there because it was the soundtrack to the Japanese version of some Chinese (or something like that) movie that came out around that time. So they put it on the single for promotional purposes.

Reply

Kikaru UNITED STATES August 31, 2007 at 10:42 pm

I wasn’t that fond of Glitter in the beginning, but now I can’t stop listening to it. I actually like fated better and I thought the rain really fit the mood. For some reason Fated reminds me of Rainy Day.

Reply

Nathan CHINA August 17, 2007 at 10:25 am

I love the single ,especially fated . I love AYU sing sad songs

Reply

Maxker NORWAY August 5, 2007 at 1:41 pm

Wonderful review! Your are an excellent writer :D

Reply

tejung UNITED STATES July 31, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Awesome review!
I’ve watched the short film, the first part featuring glitter is quite impressive. But the second part featuring fated is just all right. The concept and plot proved to be repetitive/similar to other “love stories”. However, I still liked it. =p

As you’ve mentioned about how “secret” sounds just like the original version. I thought of that,too, How bizarre. I thought it was a “remix” version or something.

Reply

sakuranbo UNITED STATES July 27, 2007 at 1:15 pm

waahh~ i luff ayu xD!!!i luv all of her songs^ ^
when i heard glitter and fated i got goose-bumps :p

Reply

tomba CANADA July 27, 2007 at 8:02 am

wow, this was an amazing and thorough review
good job Rinoa : )

i think secret was included on the single since it was used during the end roll of the mini-movie

Reply

Cancel reply

Reply to tomba:

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: