|Look ma, no make-up!|
ayumi hotmessaki has been having a very... eventful love life these past few years. What with the marriage, the divorce, a new boy toy, etc., of course Ayu is going to be talking about love once again with another love-themed album because obviously like she said, she tends to keep her work and private life separate. Why of course.LOVE is the first of 5 releases that will be released on the 8th of every month to commemorate her upcoming 15th anniversary, which is probably why the moment Song 4 u starts playing, right off the bat it sounds like something that would've been on I am... or maybe RAINBOW.
It's also great news that unlike progress, the song doesn't start with superfluous strings and shit. Like I've mentioned before, the production of this song is absolutely on-point. I think I may have wet my pants listening to this song through my earphones and embarrassed myself in public. It's also Ayu's shortest song in a while with Song 4 u running for 3 minutes 45 seconds. At first I thought it sounded a bit short and incomplete but after a few more listens I guess it's just right. I'm just disappointed that an epic song like this didn't get a better music video.
I'm going to say something about Missing that everyone has been talking about so much that you would probably just close this whole damn blog and boycott it for life. Yes, if you combined momentum and M, you would get Missing. The song structure, arrangement and melody of the verses are very similar to momentum's, and the chorus and instrumental bridge sounds vey similar to M. I'm not gonna lie about that, but it sounds great. Call it rehashed or whatever, but if old Ayu is what you've been begging for years, here you go bitches. Too bad the lyrics sound so recycled (e.g. some parts are like Why... paraphrased). I also find that split second of abrupt silence right before the final chorus reaaaally distracting!
The last original song on this mini-album, Melody, is about to be referenced to an older work of Ayu's ONCE AGAIN -- yes, Key ~eternal tie ver.~, with some elements of meaning of Love somewhere in there. I feel like while it's not as strong as the first two tracks, it still does hold its own. People who love her mellower songs would definitely love this.
Starting the series of remixed songs next was Song 4 u (Orchestra version). Nothing special, but since it's an orchestra version, I love it nonetheless because I'm biased like that. I liked that they kept the harp from the original mix in this too.
You & Me (SHINICHI OSAWA remix) was pretty alright too, and it actually made me realise about how much potential You & Me had to be a really kick-ass song if it was given an updated, electropop arrangement. Fuck you, Tetsuya Komuro. If they actually used the entire song for this remix I'd listen to this over the original anytime of the day. I have to express my distaste for remixes like these that only use one small portion of the song it's remixing. Pointless much?
Although You & Me (Remo-con rmx - Extended) did use pretty much the whole song in the remix, I also have to say that remixes that are more than 6 minutes long bore the shit out of me so bye.
But you wanna know what's a really shit remix? Missing (Dubscribe remix). Whoever thought it was a ever a good idea to speed up slow songs for remixes must be deaf. Especially when Ayu's songs have her deadly vibrato in it where speeding them up would make her sound like a dying sheep. Whoever thought it was a good idea to give Missing dubstep treatment was probably deaf too, but with a vengeance wanting to make everyone deaf too. Somebody please stop my ears from bleeding
Melody (BROKEN HAZE remix) is one of the better remixes that's on this mini-album, but I'm still not impressed. Nonetheless, the fact that this doesn't have dubstep elements alone makes this a winner.
As a whole, we all know this is a bullshit mini-album that caused an explosion bigger than Hiroshima over there at AHS because it really is, like everyone says, a glorified single. But hey, these are all but LABELS! Which is why bitches should really keep their pants on. I couldn't care less about the fact that this got #4 on the Oricon weekly charts, let alone people who argue over trivial matters like this.
Unintentional or not, Ayu definitely pulled out the nostalgia card with this release and played it pretty damn well indeed. It would've probably done her a lot more favours if she promoted this more and actually gone on TV because this entire release stinks of Ayu serving up some 2002 Ayu realness. Especially with the tracklist emulating her older singles even though that's probably just a dumb excuse to make this into a mini-album. Dumping You & Me's instrumental in this release just made that all the more obvious.
Nonetheless, taking the original songs into regard, it would've been a strong release on its own without the other crap that is present in this mini-album. I would've easily given this release a 9/10 rating if only the three main songs are on it, but taking this whole mini-album into account, it definitely has a shit ton of shortcomings that it may just be on par with Madonna's MDNA, and that shit was BAD.
Listen to previews here.