- Bold & Delicious
- STEP you
- Ladies Night
- is this LOVE?
- In the Corner
- Are You Wake Up?
- Beautiful Day
- rainy day
1. Bold & Delicious
~ya, ya, ya, ya, ga, ga, ga, ga, da, da, da, da, wo, wo, wo, wo~ Will always be one of the most absurd ways to open a song up more or less an entire album with and Bold & Delicious will always have the be remembered by. Yeah, part of the last single that came out before the album dropped, Bold & Delicious is kind of a big step out for Ayu primarily because some of the album was mostly notably known for having some songs being samples (or covers) of Sweetbox songs because GEO, the guy who produced those songs is a part of Sweetbox XD. Even now, it still is a standout song since it really doesn’t sound like anything Ayu has done quite yet. It’s poppy, anthemic, fun, and just a whole lot of fun so I’m happy it kicked the album off!
2. STEP you
Which is funny that we jump back to the first single released for the album with STEP you and the difference in styles is very much different though still a pop song at the end of the day. It doesn’t have the anthemic punch that the previous song had, but it still does have punch to it. I still find myself liking the chorus and verses a lot more than I expected and Ayu sounds really good…kind of in ways reminds me of “evolution” but still it’s own thing and I liked it!
3. Ladies Night
As one of the two promotional tracks for the album, Ladies Night was also another Sweetbox song that Ayu made into her own and this was a bizarre song for her IMO. It’s kind of like the groove of “Real me” but more darker and aggressive. I heard the original from Sweetbox and Ayu’s version is so much cooler sounding with the added guitars and such. Throw in Ayu doing some speedy-ass vocalwork through the verses and it’s just an uncomfortable but thought-provoking of a song and one of the more obtuse, yet cool songs she’s done! Add on that PV…jfc…what are journey that was. One of my favorites off this album for sure!
4. is this LOVE?
Back to the other A-side that started the era off, is this LOVE? is a much heavier and rockin’ sound for Ayu that’s kind of akin to both “Because of You” and “alterna” (though the latter came after this song). I have a soft spot for Ayu when she pulls off rock songs and this is not different for this one! To me, it doesn’t pull at the heartstrings like the mentioned songs do, but this is still a pretty solid A-side from Ayu and paired nicely with “STEP you”.
As one of the few non-GEO new tracks for the album and also the title track, (miss)understood is another rock track here, though feels a little less angsty than both “is this LOVE?” and “alterna” which makes sense as it’s placed in between them lol. That said, I do really like those songs, but this one kind of finds itself struggling to really find its identity because it’s just in-between two great songs. I will give that the guitar solo is friggin’ amazing and the almost Michelle Branch-like style of pop/rock to be cool. Not bad overall.
Ahhh yes, alterna…one of my all time favorite Ayumi songs out there! I really love the foreboding opening of the song and the fact it’s another powerful rock track that’s a bit more hard-hitting and mysterious than the previous two tracks. It’s hard to really talk about it since this is the 3rd in a row, but I feel like alterna is just the best of the 3 hands down. Very loud and Ayu’s vocals really do a lot for the song here. Like I said, it’s one of my favorite tracks…wonderfuls~!
7. In the Corner
Another GEO song, In the Corner does tend to stray from the norm by having a little Arabian flair (at least that’s what the opening kind of reminds me of). Though the sound of the song is more poppy though and there’s just something early 2000s pop about this one (kind of like a Britney Spears track), but that said it feels kind of lower-end after the last couple tracks here. To be honest, this one is the first misstep on the album for me.
Of course! What would an Ayu album be without a Tasuku interlude somewhere thrown in the mix. It’s hard to tell what Tasuku does for each of their interludes, but this one is nice as it starts with some quick-paced strings before dance beats get added into the mix. Honestly, the fusion is rather interesting and when the electric guitar melody comes in, I’m pretty much here for it. I do like the arrangement and wished it could’ve been a full-length track to be honest!
The other new track not done by GEO, criminal takes the album to a more emotional side by starting off as a ballad to me, but I did find that it was growing somewhere and when that chorus hits, it’s a bigger switch-off than “alterna” was. Ayu’s emotionally heavy vocals were what brought the song out for me and she sounds really well here for sure. I think I could see why “tasking” was put in place because this kind of is like a more dramatic “alterna”. Still, the piano, strings, and percussion is really nice here. Not bad of a song, though I still prefer the other one by a big margin.
Then we have a string of A-sides (and a B-side) starting with Pride. The dramatics continue with Pride and it’s still for me a passable track, but not one I would see myself going back to. Taking out the rock elements of “criminal”, Pride is basically what’s leftover, though also GEO track so there’s some pop elements and different chords used to make it a little more haunting. The addition of background vocals and slight R&B beats makes this one stand out. I enjoyed this for being different, but maybe in the middle for me in likeability.
Surprised to see the B-side make the album’s cut (coming from “HEAVEN”) and honestly, it still one of the more weaker offerings from the album. Not sure why it’s so, but I think the acoustic-led track just doesn’t really speak to me much. It’s kind of like a stripped down “is this LOVE?” to me. Ayu’s voice is nice and tight in this one and fits the melancholic tone of the track. Still, I don’t tend to remember this one much, maybe it fits more on either “MY STORY” or “Secret” than this album tbh.
About that, we get the A-side from the single next and HEAVEN is still one of the better ballads that Ayu has done in her career. I mean arrangement-wise it’s pretty much what you expect out of Ayu music-wise, but the song itself is kind of nice and a lot more deeper than expected (which is bolstered more by the PV it received). Still a pretty amazing ballad here and Ayu made it feel full of heart and emotion…it is a nice track still to this day!
13. Are You Wake Up?
What is with this broken English here? Other than the title making me forehead slap myself, Are You Wake Up? is another interlude to give us a break before the final 3 tracks set in. I was surprised to hear the guitars come back for this one (kind of reminds me of Nirvana xD). There are some filtered electronic vocals throughout, but the arrangement is more poppy and upbeat (especially in the 2nd half where the synths take over the guitars). Little odd interlude to change moods from sad “HEAVEN” to summer song “fairyland”.
Like I said, if it wasn’t for the interlude, the transition from “HEAVEN” to fairyland would be so weird haha. Anyways, this is Ayu’s summer A-side and it still is a mystical and fun pop song for Ayu. I really like the soundscape of the track and it just sounds lovely and fun and Ayu sounds like she’s having a good time singing this one. This is a fan favorite and I can see why, the tropical glow of the song just oozes out of this one and Ayu sounds great. One of the better A-sides she’s released.
15. Beautiful Day
The last two tracks are of course both done by GEO so eh. Anyways, Beautiful Day is kind of a mid-tempo track that is kind of poppy, but suits coming after “fairyland”. It does sound a bit like an ending song for sure with the sentimental sound it has and the guitar riffs and chords too. I find myself kind of being bored by this one for some reason. Just kind of something I feel like Ayu has done before but with a little Western touch.
16. rainy day
Closing the album, rainy day was the other track given a PV to promote the album with and it’s a slower song too (makes sense since it’s the album’s closer). While it’s not as emotional as “HEAVEN” or dramatic as “Pride”, rainy day is kind of that typical Ayu ballad to me. I don’t know after those ballads, this one comes up short on me as well. Simple, but not all that memorable.
- Ladies Night
- STEP you
Song of Avoidance
- Beautiful Day
With (miss)understood, it feels like Ayu was trying something new especially with the leaning on GEO for sampling/covering Sweetbox songs for this album, but I feel like because of that…the album doesn’t flow as good as you might think. I think as a whole though I do like majority of the songs, the only ones i wasn’t too thrilled were just Will, Beautiful Day, and rainy day, but otherwise this was a stronger album for Ayu for sure.