- love the island
- alone in the room
- all night long
- white key
- Don’t leave me behind
- BE TOGETHER
- OUR DAYS
- Don’t need to say good bye
- Tsuyoi Kizuna
- FREE FREE
- KISS KISS KISS
- Future (iTunes only)
1. love the island
So the best album opens up unsurprisingly with her debut single…though something is different…Oh yeah all of the songs on this album that were released originally under SONY have been rearranged and resung! Opening with beautiful strings this time, but keeping the similar xylophone melody was a smart thing to do and you can hear some of that 90’s sound still present. The biggest difference is that of course Ami’s vocals matured so much between then and now and she’s singing in a more comfortable range instead of screeching her way through. I’m still getting that nice, breezy feel of the song and it’s just so very pleasant…a much better turnout that expected!
2. alone in my room
The sheer difference in Ami’s vocal tones keep surprising as she tackles her 2nd single once again as well. While the kind of pop/rock sound has been dulled out by more bass and synth involvement, I think it keeps the breezy atmosphere going from “love the island”. While I do love her voice more here in the original, I think the arrangement of the original is better…weird right?
3. all night long
I was wondering why most of Ami’s SONY songs are coming from her debut, “SA” because a lot of them weren’t too memorable except for the first three singles. This song was my favorite from the album because it showed us a different side to Ami’s music bringing a cool Eurobeat-like track. On the revision, the arrangement is a bit more electronica and the cool tricks are neat to witness. The tune has a heavier beat and just has more oomph even if the original was pretty damn good too. If one thing, Ami does seem to get covered up by all that’s going on in this new arrangement, but it’s not a terrible issue. Still, what a cool redone song!!
4. white key
Of all the “SA” songs that threw me for a loop, white key was one of those songs where I could stomach through it once in a while, just not all the time. Luckily, Ami once again did much better in the vocal department so it wasn’t all over the place and she wasn’t hitting absurd notes. The arrangement also doesn’t sound as blatantly 90s which was another bad thing that held it back! Though that weird synth from the intro is still there…kind of fits the song better though…not bad!
5. Don’t leave me behind
Not surprised she kept in the opening dialogue from the background singers of the album version of the song. Don’t leave my behind wasn’t a song I remembered much because of how similar it was sounding to various songs from her debut album. It still carries some of the urban R&B sound she was heading towards, but I actually am pleased in her vocals…still probably my least favorite of the choices, but it’s a lot better than its original!
6. BE TOGETHER
I think of the bigger surprises is that BE TOGETHER gets a big facelift in comparison to other songs from this SONY era. Instead of the cool pop song, it was changed into this electro club-friendly take of the TM NETWORK classic. While I don’t think vocally it’s gotten better or worse in this version, I think the arrangement seemed to be the focal point here. It’s still pretty catchy and Ami still sounds like she’s having fun doing this song so I can’t fault her here.
7. OUR DAYS
I knew this is one of Ami’s other big songs back in the day and I was hoping to hear a new version of this song because let’s be honest, Ami was rough singing this ballad. I like how comfortable Ami is singing OUR DAYS and the arrangement while not having strayed too much off the original’s arrangement, the changes were pleasant and flowed much better. Even the part where she goes into a minor tone and it’s asking for her to sing in a much dramatic tone, is done SO MUCH better. Great song now!
8. Don’t need to say good bye
Another song that I never really connected with, Don’t need to say good bye is a lot of what I thought of “Don’t leave me behind” in the way that vocally it’s very much improved, but it’s still a kind-of boring song when you get to the nitty-gritty. I think everything that Ami’s done with these SONY songs should be applauded for vocally being much better and sounds a lot more cleaner.
9. Tsuyoi Kizuna
Though things get strange as we enter this odd section of her career where Ami was actually an indies artist and released this single. Unlike the SONY songs, this wasn’t redone so it’s in its original format. It retains a lot of 90s sounds which is pretty nostalgic to some and for me it’s a good mash. Ami still sounds decent and I’ve enjoyed this song a lot more than I first reviewed the single though I still prefer “FOREVER LOVE” as her better indies release.
Then we enter her avex career and Delightful was a way to return to the spotlight for Ami. During this time, avex was going through this pretty cool euro-trance phase with their artists like Ayu, so it wasn’t surprising that Ami’s debut under the label would be as such! After hearing how mature Ami’s voice got in the two indies singles, she really took advantage with Delightful which is a very pulsating euro-trance song that caters to a wide audience! Still of the best songs from Ami and she surely got better after this single!
Actually, I wasn’t expecting this track to appear, but considering she’s going more for variety than the big hits, Negaigoto is a nice song among the list of electronic songs she released within “AROUND THE WORLD”. Being the song with the least amount, this song is very strong and kind of gives me vibes to “OUR DAYS”. Maybe her best ballad during avex actually (though she didn’t have too many that weren’t simply B-sides).
That being said, I was also taken aback that she included this song (this was about when I joined in the fandom). The song is an interesting song because it does have a certain strong avex sound to it, but with a summery twist. I actually do compare this to “love the island” because both to go for the same breezy sound and with the latter going through the change on this album, they kind of almost blend if put together. Still I like this song because it was one of the first Ami songs I’ve heard (alongside “Delightful” and “Eventful”).
13. FREE FREE
Then we hit the “Dolce” era and boy did she kick down the doors with this song (which was a collaboration with Yasutaka Nakata, the ever-loved producer for Perfume and his own group, capsule). I mean this song captured the electronic buzz that was filtering throughout J-pop and I would say this was one of the catalysts! FREE FREE is definitely focused on the arrangement from Nakata, but hearing Ami in the mix of filters and auto-tune was just a magical combination, maybe one of THE bests of her career!!!
Then we have the collaboration she did with Taku Takahashi (of m-flo fame) and seemed like it split fans on whether it was a good song or just a hot mess. Honestly, I dug the weird disconnected feel of the song and the verses of Ami’s light vocals with the repeating synth line is really mysterious. Then it just explodes to this electronic banger (alongside Ami’s pseudo-yelling). While it might not reach the same levels as “FREE FREE” or even “ONE” did, it’s very fitting to Ami’s electro status in the time period.
15. KISS KISS KISS
It’s so weird to say this was the last single Ami released before going into a lengthy hiatus (with some odd releases since then). KISS KISS KISS was a song I never really caught on with despite it fitting in Ami’s catalog of electronic party songs. This one isn’t as heavy with the synths like the previous two tracks and has a nice little guitar lick going on too. Y’know, after listening to this again, it’s not bad and has class to it.
It’s kind of weird that the new track featured here is ONLY an iTunes exclusive track (kind of ripped off don’t ya think?). Also despite being added to “Snow Ring” (which was released quite a bit after this album), it’s an odd choice to include. I mean it makes sense as it’s the newest song, but it really dove off from the electronics off from “FREE FREE”, “Reincarnation” and “KISS KISS KISS”. The song itself isn’t bad and has a poppy vibe to it, but it kind of makes me think it should have been mingling alongside the SONY remakes. Weird way to close this best.
- FREE FREE
- OUR DAYS
- all night long
- love the island
Song of Avoidance
- Don’t need to say good bye
Wow, I mean It took quite a while for Ami to actually release a best-of since joining avex and this was at the beginning of her major slowdown of releases. I thought it was amazing that she decided to remake a lot of her SONY songs (though I’m sure many would’ve been happy if she would’ve redone ALL of her A-sides). Then the avex songs came in (and Tsuyoi Kizuna) and I feel like she could’ve redone some of the earlier ones and then throwing a new song at the end as a digital-only exclusive was a bit odd too. I liked it, but it could have been handled better!