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» » » [Album Review] ayumi hamasaki - again

I want to show the world how happy I am with my new boyfie, Maro-kun! ^_^
As the 2nd of 5 releases on the 8th of every month leading up to her 15th anniversary, again is once... again, another mini-album, that is once... again, like LOVE, which is not really a mini-album. It's not even a mystery why it's titled that way. Even though this album flopped hard on the charts and Namie is getting a real kick out of looking at her fall from grace from the top of Tokyo Dome, are the quality of the songs in this release a sad, miserable flop too?

The album opens up with Wake me up, composed by Phrased Differently, who have done songs for Namie Amuro and Koda Kumi previously as well. Funny how they didn't announce the composers from the very start, but I guess it's because of how easy it is to source out the demos from their site *cough*AT THE WEEKEND*cough*. This electropop-rock track is catchy like Sparkle, but it sounds more updated and current. Ayu apparently has been spending too much time on the beach as she uses a lot of sandcastle analogies in the lyrics which is starting to make me suspect that it's referring to her vagina. Just look at the translation:

"It has everything yet absolutely nothing in its halls. It's the law of my sandcastle!" - My vagina, my rules, bitches.

"Wake up! It's not too late!" (to enter my coochie)

"While the wound is superficial and the sting is light" (looks like someone has been doing it rough)

"Gellup! Gellup!" (referring to the other party's wooden chopstick)

Exactly.


Sweet scar, composed by DAI, has very calm and mellow feel throughout with minimal instruments used (mainly piano and guitar) and without any significant climax. Yet, it doesn't sound boring. It sounds good. Can't say the same about its PV though, now THAT'S a snoozefest, crazy bitch singing to marijuana plants and shit. Sweet scar is a song you can listen to while you're lolling about in bed. The only downside is that you'll be so relaxed you'll fall asleep and not get any shit done for the day. But hey, it's all good.

When I first heard snowy kiss was going to be composed by Tetsuya Komuro, I was like oh no shit is going to get down. And then I heard the preview of the chorus and I got SHIT pissed, because it's an exact rip off from sending mail's pre-chorus. But when I heard the full song, I have to say I was blown away. snowy kiss is of about the same calibre as the songs on Love songs or even slightly higher, and that's very good given the standards of TK compositions in my opinion. The song generally gives off a very intense feeling throughout (not sure how to put it in less awkward words), but I LOVE it. It's 6 minutes long yet it doesn't feel that way, and that's when you know a good song is a good song.

Look how happy Maro-kun and I are... hehe... Maro-kun...
please touch me like this all day... ^_^
Ivy, another TK composition, is to again like how Melody is to LOVE. It's a really good song, but I don't think it stands out from the rest. It has really touching lyrics though, and she utilises a lot of repitition in them ("All kinds of..." / "Am I still..."), but essentially it's about her moving forward without looking too much into the past because she has found loooOOOooOOove, so nothing new here.

I don't know if it's just me, but I noticed that they seem to have processed her voice a little less in this song if you know what I mean. It sounds more like her actual singing voice here compared to the other tracks. But maybe I'm just weird.

Missing (Orchestra version) and Melody (Acoustic Piano version) are really pretty songs, but nothing special. I guess the best thing about the Orchestra version is how there isn't that 1 second of abrupt silence before the final chorus. I'm sure the classical version on A CLASSICAL will blow this one out of the water. As for Melody, its piano version actually gives a rather fresh perspective to the song, and it actually fits with a more stripped down arrangement like this! Something you can roll around your bed with on a lazy Saturday afternoon along with Sweet scar.

I have to say that for LOVE, I was heavily disappointed with the remixes for You & Me and the only decent one was the one for Melody. Even though 2012 didn't happen, I wish it did come to take away Missing (Dubscribe remix) and then go away. That was a terrible attempt at incorporating dubstep. Compared to Wake me up (Remo-con rmx), that Missing remix is like toilet paper that's soggy with shit. Not the solid kind of shit, but those that are watery like diarrhea.

It is now my secret fantasy to have Ayu perform this remix live, while busting out some epic, hot, back-busting choreography during the dupstep parts. I'm sure if this was Koda Kumi's song she would do that coupled with a move of her adjusting her boobs in the middle of the dance.

The last remix on this mini-album is snowy kiss (Shohei Matsumoto remix), and I'll say it's slightly below Wake me up (Remo-con rmx)'s level. I like it, but I don't love it. It's nice when you only listen to it for a while, but for the full 7 minutes? Maybe not.

again is a HUUUUGE step up from LOVE. It has one more original song, and all the remixes are actually listenable. It could make do without the instrumentals and it'll be okay on its own. Plus it really does show off Ayu's creativity - no one song is like the other. But of course, the flaw with this release is how it's a freaking single.

I cannot imagine how epic of a mini-album it would actually be if LOVE and again merged and there wasn't that whole 5-releases-in-5-months bullcrap.
LOVE again

1. Wake me up
2. snowy kiss
3. Song 4 u
4. Missing
5. Sweet scar
6. Melody
7. Ivy
This release would have been orgasmic on so many levels. It just might be on the same level as Memorial address. Okay, maybe slightly lower, but this will sure as hell make FIVE look like a piece of shit, you gotta admit that. But alas, the reality is just not what it seems...


7/10

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