- ourselves “Kentaro Takizawa Remix”
- HANABI ~episode II~ “HAL’S MIX 2003”
- forgiveness (Instrumental)
I have to say, I have said many times that Ayu’s ballads are usually kind of bland and rather forgetful in the grand scheme of things, forgiveness is one of those rare exceptions to the rule, but I think you could already assume that this wasn’t a normal piano/strings ballad just from its cover art (or the PV). Not sure how she ended up here, but forgiveness is rather majestic and Ayu’s light and pinchy vocals actually sound good here which normally isn’t for ballads (though I do think this was her peak). What a beautiful song and just surprised me overall with its grandiose sound…definitely one of her bests!
2. ourselves “Kentaro Takizawa Remix”
Back to remixes huh? Yeah, we get some remixes of songs off her previous single, “&” and ourselves is the first one up! This remix right from the start sounds a bit more bass-heavy and funky in comparison to the original, but after a bit, the weird percussion timings get to me and the repetition is a little more than annoying to me. I do like how chilled out it is, but yeah no…
3. HANABI ~episode II~ “HAL’S MIX 2003”
Of course we have HAL coming back to remix HANABI II and instead of the pop/rock angst of the original mix, HAL takes the song into a more relaxed, jungle-like setting and I’m finding myself happier with this track than I did with the original since it gave Ayu a bit more room for her vocals to flourish in the arrangement…pretty neat remix here…much better than the one for “ourselves”.
2nd single of the “Memorial address” era and I’m pretty happy with the single, a bit more than I was with “&” since forgiveness was a really great ballad for Ayu to get and really shows that she’s just on top of the world in 2003! As for the remixes, I would listen to the HANABI one more than the ourselves one because the former just changes the song in a way that sounds different than the original. The latter just seems like many of her previous remixes, a bit too repetitive for my tastes.