Kurayami Monogatari

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Ayumi Hamasaki – A ONE April 14, 2015

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 5:55 pm

aone

Track Listing

  1. a Bell
  2. WARNING
  3. NO FUTURE
  4. Anything for You
  5. Last minute
  6. Zutto…
  7. Out of control
  8. Story
  9. The GIFT
  10. The Show Must Go On
  11. Walk
  12. Movin’ on without you
  13. Tell All (2015 mix) (Team Ayu Limited only)

1. a Bell

Of course, Ayu would kick her album off with a short intro.  I’m not sure what I was expecting from it, besides a bell somewhere in the background, but a lot of it is just only piano/strings.  To be quite honest the intro sounds like something from Final Fantasy X or Kingdom Hearts…it just has the flowing, grandiose sound…but as quickly as it starts, it ends.  Weird because it doesn’t connect very well into the first full track…

2. WARNING

Simply put, WARNING just kicks things into gear with a heavier rock sound.  I do love the mix of the synths and guitars giving it a high-octane track.  Ayu sounds pretty good here and the energy is off the wall which is something I’ve been missing from Ayu for quite some time.  I do think her ~la-la-las~ are a bit overused in the song (so much padding).  Still a great song to really get things going (despite the album not exactly coming close to replicating this feeling for the rest of the way).

3. NO FUTURE

Seems like Ayu is working with Tetsuya Komuro again and this is a throwback song if there was ever one.  It sounds like something I would’ve expected globe to release back in the days.  It has that signature Tetsuya sound with the synths and eurobeat chords that really represent avex of days past.  Ayu though does pretty well in this song, she sounds strong and suits the arrangement quite nicely. (If only “Love songs” had sounded remotely like this).

4. Anything for You

Then we leave the upbeat songs for our stretch of ballads.  Up first is Anything for You and judging by the 7:00 length of the song, I was already coming in with a frown on my face.  I will say that if anything, it does reminds me of “M” for some reason, but this song drags a lot of the way and by the time I get to the end, I’m so unfocused on the track and forget what it sounds like.

5. Last minute

At least we get into some familiarity with Last minute (part of the triple A-side that preceded the album).  I still do think that from the single, Last minute was the most impressive because Ayu really projected her emotions very well.  Plus, the song opens up into a kickass rock ballad as well which is something to break the monotony of her ballads.  Great song to have on the album!

6. Zutto…

Interesting that this and “Last minute” switched spots as being first.  Being the lead A-side, Zutto… is a pretty good ballad as well, but if it wasn’t for the exploding aforementioned song, Zutto… had to take 2nd place.  I will say hearing it now, it oddly reminds me of “Anything for You”, but the melody is quite stronger and Ayu put more effort here.  There’s not much else to say here, but it’s a nice little tune still.

7. Out of control

For a song title like Out of control, I was kind of expecting something like “WARNING” with power behind it, not another simple piano/strings ballad.  Talk about being led astray, Out of control barely left a mark on me and feels like something we just heard in “Zutto…” and “Last minute” but half-assing on both.  The guitar solo I suppose was really nice, but overall…it was just white noise.

8. Story

Man, these ballads are really killing me right now.  I really don’t know why she’s linking so many ballads together, but it’s starting to bore me to death.  It’s a lot like what I felt for “Out of control” but this time it’s a little more like “Last minute” with the stronger guitar chords.  Also, the melody does stick to me a little better as well, so it’s not a total loss.

9. The GIFT

I’m not sure why, but the opening for our next song sounded almost haunting (well before the song switched it up and became plain again).  I do like that Ayu’s singing is a lot lighter than in other songs.  Something about this ballad though works and there’s some really interesting parts.  Not bad and the ending is pretty as hell lol.

10. The Show Must Go On

I wasn’t sure what we were going to get with our next track, but it feels like we’re escaping the ballads finally!  Bringing back a nice eurobeat arrangement to give us a song that sounds like it would be great for live performances as it’s loud and bright.  Ayu sounds good too (if not slightly nasal), but this track is fun, that’s for sure.

11. Walk

The only song from the single, I wished was left off the album was this track, simply because it really doesn’t leave much of an impression nor does it do any better being here as it’s even less remarkable.  Weird that it is separated from the other ballads of the album (probably was a smart thing in the long run).  Just still kind of flies over my head, though it’s not as boring as “Out of control” and this song kind of sounds like a ballad from her past albums.

12. Movin’ on without you

I was surprised that this was added on last minute to the album.  If you don’t know, this is a cover of a Hikki song (plus it was released on her tribute album, “Utada Hikaru no Uta”).  Ayu’s take on this classic is quite nice and has a certain updated R&B feel which caught my interest quickly.  It’s the odd song of the album, but I feel like Ayu did this cover quite well!

13. Tell All (2015 mix)

For Team Ayu members, they get a bonus track in the form of a new version of her 2013 digital single, Tell All.  I was surprised that she’d throw this on A ONE (and not “Colours” for some reason).  It opens like a ballad which is no surprise, but I knew the song was going to get strong.  There’s a lot of differences between the two versions, but I prefer this one because it builds up to an epic chorus and throwing the guitars and synths from the original in the second chorus was just awesome!  Great revision!

Tracks Recommended

  • Last minute
  • NO FUTURE
  • The Show Must Go On
  • Tell All (2015 mix)
  • The GIFT

Song of Avoidance

  • Anything for You

With Ayu these days, I’m not sure what she’s going for anymore. “Colours” brought a more vivid and outgoing Ayu while A ONE focuses more on the calmer side (with some exceptions like WARNING and THE FUTURE) but I kind of was here and there with this one.  A ONE really shoved most of the ballads in the middle of the album, minus Walk…but I was so over many of them quickly and the upbeat songs too precedence to my likings.  With a mini-album already announced less than a week this album dropped, I wonder what’s going on.

 

3 Responses to “Ayumi Hamasaki – A ONE”

  1. Cybuster_God_of_Wind Says:

    So did you like it overall? I’m new to Ayu, besides hearing a few of her songs. Is this a good place to start or should I start on one of her earlier projects? Don’t know when I’ll get around to her though, there are too many artist to keep track of and listen to, so I tend to stick with my favorites, ya know. Just curious as where to start with her if I do.

    • Raphael Says:

      I feel this album is like a bit of everything she had done in the past… It is definetly a good album to start with ayu… see the tracks you like and they will lead you to the similar material she did… If I had to relate each song to particular albums, i would say :

      Warning : Secret-Guilty-Next Level
      No Future : A song for XX, LoveAppears, Duty
      Anything For you : LOVE again
      Last Minute : Memorial Adress, My Story
      Zutto : (well this is the classic Ayu ballad you have on almost every album)
      Out Of Control : Rock’n’Roll Circus, Party Queen
      Story : My Story
      The Gift : A song for XX
      The Show Must Go on : LOVE again, Love Songs
      Walk : LOVE Again
      Movin on without you : CoLOUrs
      Tell All : Secret, Guilty, Love Songs

      • Cybuster_God_of_Wind Says:

        Thanks for the help.🙂 It kinda sounds like alot of her songs sound alike, but when it comes down to it I guess every artists/groups have their comfort zones. I heard her older stuff was better and that’s she hasn’t been her normal self lately, but this seems like a good place to start after all. Thanks again!🙂


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