GUILTY

by Rinoa on February 27, 2008 · 11 comments · AddThis

Photobook
Photobook Image
Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Product Code: AVCD-23503/4
Release Date: 2008.01.01
Highest Ranking: #1
First Press: Photobook
Genre: Pop/Rock
Label: avex trax
Format: CD or CD+DVD

A new year has finally arrived and J-Pop diva, Ayumi Hamasaki has walked in 2008 along with her ninth studio album. Following a similar trend to previous albums like “I Am…” and “(miss)understood“, “GUILTY” was released on the first day of 2008. However the album was available on sale in stores on Christmas day. The album was released in two packages, which comprised of a CD-only and a CD+DVD version. A special 32 page photobook was included with the first press edition. It is needless to say that “GUILTY” was highly anticipated amongst both Hamasaki and J-Pop fans alike.

Hamasaki would return once again to the United States for the photography of her album artwork and photobook. The cover artwork features Hamasaki in a Dolce & Gabbana leopard print dress standing in a desert environment. This image would be reminiscent of her “Duty” cover art. Several other outfits would also feature Dolce & Gabbana outfits which were striking and bold. While a fairly large percentage was shot in the desert, the rest of the photoshoot was shot at a huge and sophisticated mansion, featuring more feminine and mature outfits. The photobook is more like an extended version of the booklet, including more photoshoots from the booklet.

Booklet Image
Booklet Image

The promotional campaign for this album was quite large. However this is nothing particularly new for an artist of the status of Hamasaki. In December, Hamasaki would perform her digital single “Together When…” for a total of nine times in order to promote her album and digital single concurrently. Furthermore she was also scheduled to perform on the CD TV Special but could not attend due to exhaustion from her Countdown Live concert and her hearing problems. Hamasaki was also featured on the cover of eight prominent fashion and music magazines. She was featured twice on Sweet and made her regular appearances on ViVi, SCawaii, Cawaii and bea’s UP. She also made her debut on VOCE. Furthermore, avex promoted this album throughly through promotional billboards which were featured in Shibuya, Tokyo. Finally several lorries sported the promotional photos of “GUILTY“.

The chart history of “GUILTY” seems to suggest that it is bound to sell a little less than “Secret”. On it’s first initial week of release it sold approximately 202,000 copies and ranked at #1. However since Oricon combines the first two weeks of sales in the New Year period, the album ranked at #2, selling 432,113 copies in the initial two weeks. “GUILTY” ended up being the only album which didn’t debut at #1 and also resulted in Hamasaki’s lowest first week sales for a studio album. It was outsold by Kobukuro’s “5296″ album by 22,488 copies. Up till now the album has sold a total of 541,195 copies.

Despite the fact that the sales in Japan were a little disheartening, “GUILTY” managed to garner a lot of success on other aspects. “GUILTY” made its’ debut on the United World Charts at #7 and managed to climb up at #3 on its’ second week. On SoundScan, the CD+DVD edition debuted at #1 by selling 209,107 copies, while CD edition ranked at #13, selling 39,327 copies. Similarly to “Secret”, it ranked quite high on several Asian charts. In Hong Kong “GUILTY” made its’ debut at #2 on their Japanese Charts. In Taiwan it managed to debut at #1 with 39.78% of total J-pop sales and 6.7% of total music sales for its’ 1st week. Currently “GUILTY” still holds the #1 position on the Taiwanese G-Music charts, for its’ 4th consecutive week.

GUILTY” has a particular style and mood that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. This is most particularly the case for casual Ayu fans who might enjoy a specific genre and are not particularly fond of her darker albums. While “(miss)understood” blended a lot of genres in one album and “Secret” reinvented the synth and modernistic genres from “I Am…”, “GUILTY” seems to have the same vein of the pop-rock genre of “MY STORY” and the dark atmosphere of “Duty”. Overall most tracks move towards a heavily rock and orchestral direction with a few pop tracks included.

Promo Photo
Promotional Photograph

Evidently this album portrays a lot of strong emotions and emanates a powerful aura. For fans who have followed Ayu’s career and personal life, it is clear that last year was quite difficult and posed a lot of challenges. She had a hectic release schedule with three singles and a best compilation. Furthermore it was her first time touring in Asia. To top it all, Hamasaki broke up with her longtime boyfriend, a close friend of hers died and she completely lost hearing in her left ear. Hamasaki herself would claim that the recording of the album was a heart wrenching experience.

This is rather vividly depicted in “GUILTY“. The album progresses through a lot of emotions; from guilt and anger to despair and loneliness to finish off with Hamasaki trying to find peace within herself and move onwards. Although most of Hamasaki’s albums typically have a lot of emotion and personal touches, this album distinctly seems to veer towards being yet even personal and honest. My personal opinion is that this album feels like an emotional outlet for Hamasaki’s painful experiences in 2007.

 

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. Mirror

Faithful to Ayu’s signature style, this album opens up with a prelude. Also following Hamasaki’s tradition the prelude hints to the album’s overall style, genre and mood. “Mirror” has diligently managed to produce this result. Personally I feel this track was quite experimental. The track starts off with what resembles a dial up network connecting online. However it quickly transitions to a melancholic and mysterious tone with a beat which is reminiscent of music box melodies combined with marching beats. Instruments such as percussion and chimes are used for the first segment of this song. Hamasaki’s suggests a lost, resentful and desolate emotion.

After the song progresses for a minute however it abruptly switches to an angry and bitter tone with an edgier rock direction, with powerful guitar riffs and drums. In the last few seconds the track resumes to the music box melody and the tempo slows down until the mood is more serene and her vocals feels as if she’s finally letting go of her anger and despair. Although Hamasaki always has excellent interludes this one does manage to particularly capture the listener’s attention in the time span of two minutes.

Rating: ★★★★½
 

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. (don’t) Leave Me Alone

The album transitions smoothly onto “(don’t) Leave Me Alone”, which continues onto the same tone as “Mirror”. The song is mainly an edgy pop track with some rock and synth influences. Following a similar style to “Until that day…” from Secret, the track is upbeat, showcases powerful attitude and manages to be a very energetic opening to the album.

“Your pitying glance
Makes me nauseous”

On this particular track, Hamasaki’s vocals are deeper and focus on a lower key. The lyrics for this track are particularly blunt and honest. Hamasaki suggests how a false attitude towards her is something she cannot stand. It is very clear in the chorus, where Hamasaki sounds almost desperate and frantic, while she begs the listener not to blindly accept her as she is and to hold her out of pity. Although not a particularly outstanding track, “(don’t) Leave Me Alone” manages to be quite memorable, with her striking lyrics and powerful instrumentation. In the end it manages to be an excellent precursor for the darker part of this album.

The promotional video was directed by Takahide Ishii and features Hamasaki and her female backup dancers in a blue tunnel. Carrying a modernistic theme, it provides a continuation of the attitude portrayed in the lyrics. Hamasaki even performs has a simplistic choreography, including some martial arts. This track managed to top the USEN chart, which meant it was the highest requested song on Japan radio and TV station. Furthermore it topped the iTunes Music Video Chart.

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.

3. talkin’ 2 myself

talkin’ 2 myself” sheds away the pop influences and moves onto orchestral rock. The instrumental track is layered by several instruments. One can particularly pick up the guitar riffs, drums, bass and strings. The strings were performed by “The David Campbell String Ensemble”. All these instruments were tentatively balanced in a rock-orchestra combination. With an aggressive tone, a haunting atmosphere and powerful lyrics this track manages to portray a spectrum of emotions. The most appealing thing was how this track feels so much at home within this album. It manages to fit in perfectly within the dark atmosphere of “GUILTY”.

“I pretended to be ready for the negative feelings
That would come after makeshift pleasures
I end up escaping from reality”

Since this song was released during the time when her breakup was announced, the lyrics reflect on the concept of creation occurring after destruction, in her frantic attempt to move on and live life her own way. A particularly different side of Ayu is portrayed in this track, where she insists that one cannot deny reality and live in an illusion, where one blames people and events for their unsatisfied present. The clear message is that one cannot let their past weigh them down or their present to discourage them. One must live their future and move towards their own chosen path with a strong will and accept that on their way they will encounter painful episodes.

The promotional video was directed by Tetsuo Inoue. Following a particular style which is familiar with Ayu, this video is dark, gothic and contains an extensive use of imagery. By producing the environment of an aftermath of a war, one could probably conclude that despite all the destruction and chaos that one can have in their life, anyone can simply start over and grow up from their experiences. Despite the fact that it has no glamor or particularly exciting scenes, I think this video did manage to bring forward Ayu’s message quite vividly.

Rating: ★★★★½
 

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.

4. decision

“decision” follows a rather similar theme and mood to “talkin’ 2 myself” but contains a more tragic and darker atmosphere. With a sense of finality, Hamasaki reluctantly explains how she has to move forward, let go of the past and simply be herself. I simply adore this track because it’s got this polished feeling, where every single aspect of this song is carefully constructed. The lyrics are poignant and powerful, the instrumental piece flows effortlessly between rock and orchestra and the chorus is very powerful and emotional. Hamasaki’s vocals are quite brilliant too, managing to produce both a vulnerable and powerful side of her personality.

“I walk on with my chin up without looking back nor running away
Some day you will understand
That I’ll just have to remain myself”

The promotional video contains all the ingredients of a standard rock music video. Similarly to these kind of videos that were directed for Hamasaki, she is featured as a performing artist with her band in a large arena. The basic concept brought forward was that it was more of a rather polished performance rather than a music video. The camera angles and the depiction of the band were rather striking but it pretty much stops there.

Rating: ★★★★½
 

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.

5. GUILTY

At a first glance, although “GUILTY” is the title track of this album, it doesn’t particularly outshine the other tracks from the album. However I personally feel this track has a certain appeal to it. Although it does not contain any outstanding instrumentals or impressive displays of vocals, Hamasaki does manage to bring forward a lot of emotion to the song. Hamasaki’s vocals remain consistently dull throughout the whole track, giving away only the sense of desperation that she conveys to the audience. The focus seems to be particularly on the lyrics where Hamasaki tries to put her feelings in words.

Hamasaki brings up her past once again, a past that she cannot seem to forget. It’s as if she is still unable to forgive herself and she’s scared that one day her past will take over her future. She knows that her decision will continue to weigh her down for the rest of her life and she is forced to live with her guilt. In the background, a male voice seems to continue condemning her by repeating “guilty”.

“However far I escape, I can’t have a clean escape
How far does my past chase after me?”

The arrangement is quite simplistic but the instrumental choice is rather interesting and manages to create a rather vivid imagery, reflecting the mood of the song. The atmosphere created is quite eeire, reminding you of an apocalyptic scene. Furthermore it is also reminiscent to fantasy video games soundtracks. I really liked certain instruments used. The bells did manage to create a sense of finality and poignancy and the acoustic guitar managed to set the somber mood quite well.

Rating: ★★★★½
 

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.

6. fated

“fated” is a slower-paced rock ballad, which moves towards a more melancholic tone. Although not a particularly striking ballad, it manages to maintain the flawless quality in the vocals, lyrics and instrumentation department. Hamasaki’s emotions are composed but her vocals still manage to project the perfect mood matching in with the lyrics. The lyrics are rather expressive, melancholic and touching. They reflect a heartbreaking love which was full of misunderstandings, words unsaid and regrets. Hamasaki bitterly relates how she never realised that her lover had truly loved her until it was too late and childes herself for feeling too weak no matter how large her desire to be strong is.

“I feel the more I wish to be strong
The weaker my heart becomes in inverse proportion”

The story related through the music video is quite tragic. Hamasaki falls in love with her bodyguard and throughout the whole video, one can observe their struggles to remain together. Despite the fact that the short film is a silent one, emotions were clearly transmitted to the viewer. What I really found to be particularly striking were the foreshadowing elements and the shooting style linked to the flashbacks. Another concept which was introduced was that of fate and destiny, where their love seemed to be doomed from the start. It was definitely the best part of this short film.

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.

7. Together When…

Together When…” is the first power ballad in quite a long time. Personally I’ve always felt it was the strongest ballad she ever released since “HEAVEN” and it definitely manages to stand out within this album. The emotion within the ballad is so infectious that the audience cannot help but feel empathy towards Ayumi. One can observe how Hamasaki’s vocals seem to have matured through the years, with a shift towards a vibrato. Although several fans are not so keen on her extensive use of her vibrato, I’m rather fond of how it manages to aid in the creation of an overly emotional tone. Hamasaki manages to transmit an emotion which is rather raw and regretful.

She explains how her relationship with her lover had eventually faded to the point where suddenly she realised that she was alone after all. Hamasaki believed she had found her soul mate but when she found that it was not the case she felt shattered. She yearns to thank her lover for the memories they shared together and wishes she was able to tell him that she loved him. However she holds back because thanking him gives her a sense of finality and saying that she loves him is both true and false. Hamasaki is clearly reflecting how she’s stuck in a situation where she desires to let go but still feels emotionally tied to her ex lover.

“I couldn’t say “I love you”
But I feel it was both my biggest lie and the truth”

“Together When…” managed to peak in the monthly download charts and it was her first time hitting #1 on these charts. The song also achieved platinum state in Chaku-Uta, while the ringtone achieved 2x platinum. The promotional video follows a similar formula to her symbolic ones. It contains a small plot, reflecting the relationship of Hamasaki and Nagase. A cab driver observes Ayumi, who is sitting down and watching a puppet show. The imagery created through the puppets is particularly interesting, as the way they react to each other manage to influence the way Hamasaki feels. In the end however, Hamasaki decides to move on and carries her luggage with her, symbolising a sense of finality.

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.

8. Marionette -prelude-

The prelude to “Marionette” sets the scene for a much darker side of the album. This particular interlude cleverly manages to produce a lot of imagery within a few seconds. An eerie and desolate mood is set up, while the atmosphere is reminiscent of a dark and abandoned mansion. The clocks ticking and the chimes of a music box in the background continue on building an ominous setting. This particular setting is quite familiar to horror movies. Personally I find myself getting the image of someone who is on the verge of death and is dragging themselves on the ground with the music box as a sole companion.

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.

9. Marionette

The prelude transitions flawlessly to this track. Maintaining the same haunting vibe, “Marionette” moves onto a rather dramatic tone. The track has epic feel to it, most particularly within the chorus, reminding me of those elaborate renaissance settings. The song has a particularly interesting style, where the verses deceive the listener into thinking that they are listening to a mellow ballad, while the chorus contains a lot of emotions and rock influences. The arrangement is particularly intricate, containing a wide variety of strings. orchestral and rock influences. Hamasaki’s vocals retain their powerful tone throughout the whole song climax into an emotional crescendo in the chorus.

“Now, let’s stand up without fear
For the sake of no one else”

The promotional video is definitely something one must watch, since it matches perfectly with the atmosphere and lyrics of “Marionette”. A fan provided a particularly interesting interpretation of the video. The video represents different sides of Ayu. The marionette version reflects Ayu in her past relationship. The sleeping version reflects the real Ayu, while the one on tv is the polished version which is shown to the media and the fans. The media portrayed her relationship with Nagase to be idyllic and perfect but in reality there was more to that. There were problems which were making her unhappy and uncomfortable but in order to keep appearances she pretended that everything was perfect.

Throughout the lyrics Hamasaki mentions another presence in their relationship, a girl. One could speculate that Nagase was cheating on Hamasaki at a certain point of their relationship. The marionette version feels like she was just putting on a mask and is living as if she were dead. In the end though the strings are broken and her eyes regain their old life back. Hamasaki wanted to be honest to the world and quit caring about what people thought about her.

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.

10. The Judgment Day

“The Judgment Day” is yet another interlude which moves onto yet another direction. The interlude starts off in a slow and ominous tone. There is a prevalent feeling of loneliness and hope at the same time. The extensive use of the organ was a perfect choice to create the eerie sensation of this track. Eventually it gradually moves onto a faster paced direction, with a slight dance influence. At the end the song reverts back to the same slow and ominous tone which was present in the beginning. However at the same time, the prevailing feeling of guilt, remorse and sorrow, which was present throughout the first part of the album dissipates and there’s a heady feeling of freedom. Hamasaki’s vocals contain no lyrics, yet she successfully blends in with the background music to match the exact mood and direction.

Rating: ★★★★½
 

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.

11. glitter

Although nothing particularly outstanding, “glitter” is your typical summer track. It contains a lot of energy and positivity which was quite well needed to this album. It is also one of the few tracks which belongs to the pop genre, while containing some dance and techno elements at the same time. 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 great deal of layering is present within the song. The instrumentals are quite complex and the way they are blended together are reminiscent of video games.

“I’ve become an adult unfortunately
But I don’t stop the acceleration yet!”

The promotional video relates the story of a budding love between Hamasaki and her bodyguard, Shawn Yue. The video projects certain “accidents” and troubles which Ayumi encounters and she quickly realizes that Shawn is always there ready to rescue her. The two eventually fall in love, despite of their situation and shyly try to bring forward their affection towards each other. The atmosphere created is quite amusing and awkward at the same time. I really enjoyed how the director managed to portray the innocence and joy that one has when discovering that they have fallen in love.

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.

12. MY ALL

With every album, Hamasaki produces, there’s always the mandatory happy pop track. “MY ALL” contains an upbeat, cheerful and childish attitude, reflecting Hamasaki’s most positive side. I really like the cute atmosphere of this track and the use of the electric guitar. The chorus is particularly catchy and manages to move onto to a happier tone, making it the perfect song for a concert ending. The lyrics speak about the joys that love brings about and she clearly admits that she doesn’t regret falling in love. This song happens to be a real mood booster, since Hamasaki reminds herself never to give up, even when she feels she has hit the bottom. Overall I enjoyed the change from the dark atmosphere of this album and how the track made the audience feel that despite her unhapy feelings, she is ready to move on and live positively.

“Even now, I can say definitely
That I don’t have a regret”

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.

13. reBiRTH

“reBIRTH” is the final interlude from this album. It contains no vocals and features only soft and mellow instrumentals. The piano and strings are particularly dominant within this track. Despite of this, it still manages to bring forward something new to this album and produces a feeling of continuation. It initiates with an ethereal atmosphere, bringing forward a strong feeling of sadness, mystery and hopelessness. Gradually it switches direction to a more positive note, where the listener feels they are able to unwind and let go of their emotional baggage. I truly enjoyed how this interlude metamorphosed in a flawless manner.

Rating: ★★★★½
 

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.

14. untitled ~for her~

Once again, a ballad was chosen as the ending track for “GUILTY”. The song “untitled ~for her~” is an emotional ballad which was dedicated to a close friend of hers who has recently passed away. Once again the extensive use of orchestral instruments are present in this track. The emotions encountered while expressing her grief are vividly portrayed through the soothing strings and her vocals which seem to be instilled by hope, sorrow and loneliness.

“If I could have just a wish come true now
I want to see you again”

The interesting aspect of this track is that Hamasaki’s vocals are not overly emotional. They retain their mellow, bittersweet tone throughout the whole track. One can almost imagine Hamasaki singing this while trying to hold back her tears. In the end it manages to achieve the perfect balance between expressing grief and being able to move on with a positive attitude. Personally I felt it was the perfect song to say “farewell” to a dear friend.

Rating: ★★★★★

 
Conclusion

As a whole, this album was a very powerful and personal package, even to Ayu’s standards. “GUILTY” contains a wide spectrum of emotions and themes and thus it is quite easy that listeners would relate to certain situations. At the same time it manages to be rather cohesive in producing a rather mature atmosphere and mood. Hamasaki reflects on her breakup and past relationship with Nagase, her feelings on losing her friend, her hearing problems and how disconnected she feels from the rest of the world. Due to being so dark and melodramatic, this album heavily sides towards rock and orchestra. On certain occasions pop is used to instill a playful mood but the album predominantly remains to be dark and melancholic.

“GUILTY” was not that well received amongst some fans due to the fact that most of the musical styles were used before in previous albums. Despite of this, the album manages to pull off a lot of polished tracks with absolutely no fillers. One can easily notice how Hamasaki has put her heart into her material and this has been reflected on how personal and honest her lyrics are. Furthermore the transition between each single track was rather smooth and professionally made. Although this meant a lot of interludes, the end result was that this album sounds really polished and flawless. My only gripe was that there were few full tracks, leaving most listeners begging for more.

Although this album is not her best work to date, it is definitely something one should listen to. Although it is not experimental or bold, it manages to bring around a very strong message. Hamasaki has spent ten years in the J-Pop industry and she still manages to produce material which is powerful enough. Furthermore the evolution Hamasaki goes through from album to album and how she deals with personal experiences is particularly interesting to observe. Overall I really liked the direction Hamasaki is going to, through album and I’m anxious to see what is coming up next.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

 

CD Cover
CD Cover
CD+DVD Cover
CD+DVD Cover

CD Tracklist

  1. Mirror
  2. (don’t) Leave me alone
  3. talkin’ 2 myself
  4. decision
  5. GUILTY
  6. fated
  7. Together When…
  8. Marionette -prelude-
  9. Marionette
  10. The Judgement Day
  11. glitter
  12. MY ALL
  13. reBiRTH
  14. untitled ~for her~

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Sources

 

On a final note I wish to thank isaac hiew at Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai for translating Cawaii’s December Issue which has led me to understand further what she really meant to say when she wrote the lyrics for those songs and her real intentions behind this album. Thank you for giving me permission to use some of your translations within this review. I really appreciate it.
.

Related Posts:

  1. (miss)understood Ayumi Hamasaki's recent album, released on New Year's Day has raised many eyebrows and has again topped the charts. Hamasaki has portrayed an experimental and powerful side of herself as she produced a variety of genres within this album. This album focuses more onto her career, her take on feminism and life itself.......
  2. 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.......
  3. Tsuki ni Shizumu Ayumi Hamasaki stars in Tsuki ni Shizumu, a short musical film that is based on her 28th single 'Voyage'. The story is about a pair of soul-mate who was separated in the past life because of a ritual. The two continues to look for each other in the present life, without even realizing that they are looking for each other. This movie marks Ayumi's debut as an actress since joining avex trax.......
  4. 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.......
  5. HEAVEN Ayumi Hamasaki’s 37th single “HEAVEN” was recently released on the 14th September 2005. Apart from being Ayumi Hamasaki’s 3rd single for this year, it is also the theme song for the highly anticipated movie “SHINOBI -heart under blade-”. ......

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.

{ 1 trackback }

International Wota » Blog Archive » [Blogs] Channel-Ai Reviews Ayu Album UNITED STATES
February 28, 2008 at 10:05 pm

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Koda November 30, 2008 at 2:27 am

amazing review Rinoa. I could almost feel what you were feeling though I understand I never will. GUILTY was a really amazing album, and you really showed that in your review.

like the album’s been saying all along, believe in your future :D

Reply

angelina MALAYSIA November 29, 2008 at 9:04 am

love GUILTY very much .great review
ayu havesweet song
i like together when
talking 2 myself
and all the song
thanks Q for the great review!!

Reply

JWT MALAYSIA November 28, 2008 at 7:37 am

Great review. You just made me love this album even more.

Admittedly, I didn’t really like GUILTY and untitled -for her-. I think your review just changed my impression about this album.

Where can I get the translation to the lyrics?

Reply

allan (ARAN) baguisa estrella UNITED STATES June 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Hey, thanks for the review! xD After reading the review it made reconsider to actually buy “GULTY”. I thought “Secret” was good enough, but now I would want this album. I’m quite impress with your reviews anyway because you really look into the album and refect upon it while giving the truth of what the album is all about. NICE JOB! That is what I do with my albums as well. I don’t want to buy albums for the sake of having them, I want to buy them because I not only enjoy listening to it, but I want to be able to relate to the artist as well. Well, Hamasaki Ayumi IS “Human” all of the fans should be capable in reflecting upon her songs and to relat to them. Again nice job with the review, I enjoyed reading it and finding how emotional her can be.

Reply

Reika UNITED STATES March 24, 2008 at 8:25 pm

wow. i really enjoyed this album
a lot of pple complain about it, but i like it :]
hope everyone give this album a try

love “mirror” when i first heard it i was like
O_______o LOVEEE!!!
but sadly it was only for 1 minute or so :/

thanks again for the great review!!

Reply

Saya UNITED KINGDOM March 1, 2008 at 7:39 pm

You’re review is outstanding, I love how you reflected on what Ayu wanted to convey: I’ve never really though about it that much but it really adds another element to love about the album. I really adore this album, and I love the new direction Ayu is going in. I also loved how well the album flowed, you could play it from begining to end and no track sounds out of place or anything. It’s just outstanding, and I think that what makes Ayu awesome is that every album is a little unique, presents something new. That’s how she has survived so long.

Just hope she realeses something new soon ^_^ (and it’ll be interesting too see what that will be like)

Reply

octocoffee UNITED STATES March 1, 2008 at 12:41 am

It’s always been a pleasure to read your reviews, Ree-chan, and this one is no exception. GUILTY is one of my favorite albums because of its sheer strength and lack of fillers. ‘fated’ was probably my least favorite, but I just replaced the original with the orchestra version so I’m all good.

Reply

Charlie February 29, 2008 at 7:59 am

I admit to being one of those fans with mixed feelings though I was still surprised to hear that it debuted at #2. Though with so many PVs available before hand maybe that was inevitable. You raise a good point, there are no filler tracks. It’s not as good as previous releases but unlike some artists she hasn’t gone done that easy route.

Reply

hiro UNITED STATES February 27, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Thank you for the review!
Together When… is such a powerful ballad.
I can really feel the emotion when she belts out “Arigatou tte iitakatta” and “Aishiteru to iitakatta”
The other songs were good too, but that song was definitely my favorite.
Ayumi’s voice just goes well with power ballads :)

Reply

SKY UNITED STATES February 27, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I really am fond of this album and to me it does flow so well. I love Ayu and all of the inspiration she’s given me and I’m so glad that she’s able to take music and make it meaningful.

Awesome review! I enjoyed reading it.

Reply

Leave a Comment

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: