Kurayami Monogatari

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Ayumi Hamasaki – M(A)DE IN JAPAN May 12, 2016

Filed under: Ayumi Hamasaki — solarblade @ 5:48 am

madeinjapan

Track Listing

  1. tasky
  2. FLOWER
  3. Mad World
  4. Breakdown
  5. Survivor
  6. You are the only one
  7. TODAY
  8. Mr. Darling
  9. Summer Love
  10. Many Classic Moments (bonus track)

1. tasky

Ayu kicks off her album with another in the line of the “task” series of intros/interludes with tasky.  It starts off slowly but grows with some ascending notes that sounds almost traditionally Japanese in style but then switches it up to more of a dance beat with heavier synth usage.  The intro does end a bit abruptly, but it does a nice job introducing the album.

2. FLOWER

The shimasen follows through into the first vocal track with FLOWER.  I liked the mysterious nature of it before it adds guitars and bass to switch further into more of a powerful rock track.  I’m sure it’s just me, but Ayu’s vocals are sounding a bit more harsh than I remember as it sounds a lot more throaty than past songs of hers.  Really though, it’s a bit more familiar if you were into Ayu during her “Secret” era.  Not bad for a first track to be honest.

3. Mad World

Moving onto Mad World, it also starts slow and yet quickly shifts to more of a pop/rock style.  Unlike the previous track though, Ayu sounds back to normal as her notes are in a more comfortable setting.  The track is a bit of a slow burner for me, but I really enjoyed the chorus and the growing of the song in general.  I’m sure this will end up being of the favorites from the album that’s for sure!

4. Breakdown

Why does this song open almost the same way like “Mad World” did?  I was seriously hoping for a ballad and I kind of got it with Breakdown which has this very cold and lonesome sound to it, similar to her past track, “Marionette”.  Actually, it also slightly reminds me of “SCAR” due to some familiar melody movements.  I do think the ending section with the guitar solo came out of nowhere from such an emotional rock ballad and to end with Ayu singing ~kono mama~ as if she was trying to start a thought was different.  Still it’s a pretty cool track overall!

5. Survivor

I’m not sure why, but when I listen to our next track, it has this epic experimental sound and yet sounds a lot like “INSPIRE”.  I do love the oldish J-pop feel mix with the chanting and background tribal kind-of-feeling I get.  It’s god such a wild kind of setting that the previous tracks kind of lacked so far, so I’m happy to see a track like this make the cut.  Definitely one of the standouts of the album for certain!

6. You are the only one

Is that bagpipe I hear in the intro of the song?  Well of course it sounds a bit like it came from a computer and not the actual instrument.  After the relaxing intro, the song fortunately doesn’t become a rock track and remains a full-on ballad this time around.  Ayu’s vocals sound really pleasant against the ethereal arrangement.  Strings do enter the fray later on and the track sounds a lot more majestic and flowing.  This is a pretty decent ballad!

7. TODAY

Another ballad comes next with TODAY and this one feels a little bit more safer and familiar sounding when compared to the other tracks on the album.  I’m not sure why, but there’s a myriad of songs I can think of thatit reminds me of just in Ayu’s discography.  If there was one track that had to be the filler song, I think TODAY would fit into that category.

8. Mr. Darling

Did “Life” reappear?  Yeah, this song might be  more upbeat than the previous two tracks, but Mr. Darling did nothing for me sadly.  I do enjoy the acoustic guitar in part of the track and the chorus is loud and all I could really remember is ~soba ni ite~ which is sung multiple times throughout the chorus.  Just a slight bit generic for me.

9. Summer Love

Why is this the album closer?  It feels a little bit strange on the album too because it’s the only track to really being under EDM and the only track that would’ve suited being after “tasky” if anything.  I have to say though, it’s an energetic track and while I was thinking it would’ve been a lot like “Sunrise ~Love is All~”, Summer Love is more towards “Feel the love” or “Terminal” or any of her old remixes actually.  It’s just a fun summery dance track and a total surprise for this album!

10. Many Classic Moments

As a bonus, the album ends with a cover of a classic globe track (and also the album’s only old song as this was on the globe tribute album released last year).  I felt that it suited being after “Summer Love” due to the EDM upbringings here.  Although this was more eurobeat originally.  While Ayu did a good job, it didn’t have the depth or emotional drive that KEIKO had originally.  While the breakdown in the middle of the song is omitted (replaced by more of a musically fronted solo).  Still, it’s a decent cover and one of the more exciting tracks of the album.

Tracks Recommended

  • Summer Love
  • Breakdown
  • Survivor
  • Many Classic Moments
  • Mad World

Song of Avoidance

  • TODAY

Wow, that was REALLY unexpected that Ayu would release an album (well, technically just for streaming, the album will release at the end of June) out of the blue.  M(A)DE IN JAPAN is a really interesting to say the least.  Not sure if I was prepared for it, but I don’t think it was as strong as “sixxxxxx” was or a lot of “A ONE” to be honest though there are some decent surprises.  Not sure if there’ll be more to this album by the time its physical release comes around, but I kind of hope so.

 

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