Ayumi Hamasaki – MOON / blossom

August 16, 2010 at 9:56 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – MOON / blossom

1. MOON (Original mix)
2. blossom (Original mix)
3. Don’t look back (Reggae Disco Rockers remix)
4. Microphone (THE LOWBROWS remix)
5. Last Links (Orchestra version)
6. meaning of Love (Acoustic Piano version)
7. MOON (Original mix – Instrumental)
8. blossom (Original mix – Instrumental)

This is J-pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki’s 48th single, and the first in her ‘road to fiftieth’ (50th single). It was released on July 14, 2010, and peaked on the #1 spot in the Oricon Daily Singles Charts as well as the Weekly Charts with 89,785 sold copies as of August 2010. The song ‘MOON’ was used as a promotion for Honda’s Zest Spark Kei car, while blossom was used to promote Zespri kiwifruit.

There’s a certain amount of variety in the musical arrangement of MOON. It starts of really calm with an orchestra made of soft synths and strings, but only seconds later heavier percussion and electric guitars blend in. Ayumi’s vocals are very solid and powerful in the versus, where the music stays as calm as in the intro, and it’s the complete opposite of the fierce chorus and even heavier bridge. I think the prettiest part of the whole song is the acapella part after the bridge, and even if this song is over 6 minutes, it flows so well I didn’t even noticed.

The intro into blossom almost builds in the same way as MOON’s, but this track has a little more tempo than the previous one. At first some classical instruments, such as a piano and and strings, but quickly after that the percussion and guitars come rushing in. blossom actually sounds really happy and positive at some points, but on the other side it does take a middle position between euforic and melancholic in some parts. It doesn’t sound like anything Ayumi has released before in her musical career, and maybe the bridge is even heavier than MOON’s with a terrific guitar solo.

Now come four remixes from songs off her previous album ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus’, which was released on April 14, 2010. The Arabian sound in ‘Don’t look back’ has been remixed into a rather Jamaican sound for the Don’t look back (Reggae Disco Rockers remix). It’s more boring than the original version because only the basics of Jamaican reggae music has been used: percussion with a typical reggae rhythm and some synths as well. Nothing exotic about this, and it’s a pity because that’s what made the original version so interesting for me.

The rock song Microphone (which I believe is her most aggressive and fierce song to date) has been transformed into the Microphone (THE LOWBROWS remix). The dance beat works well for this song, but every time a rock song is being turned into a dance song the idea stays quirky. The original version is HOLY! But still, this actually works fine.

Last Links (Orchestra version) focuses on Ayumi’s grown and strong vocals. The music is very classical, and if you’d remove the vocals you’d have a classical composition made by a professional composer. Some people may not like classical music, but if you know a little about Ayumi, you know she’s always experimenting with all kinds of music and that she has released a classical remix album of one of her most rocky albums to date (‘MY STORY’ (2003)). This classical remix sounds good to me, since I can appreciate it. At least, when it sounds like this.

With meaning of Love (Acoustic Piano version), the beautiful musical aspects of the original version are still there. The beautiful melody has been replaced by one single piano, playing the entire melody on it’s own, and this track was born to be mixed like this. Again, the song focuses on Ayumi’s grown vocals which truly stand out, and I really love this version.

Ayumi Hamasaki gave her 48th her best shot, since the A-sides are genuinly strong tracks and album worthy (so put them on it, Ayu!). The B-side remixes were a good addition too and there’s not very much to complain about, although the original album versions remain the all time best. If you ask me, Ayumi can come up with a single like this any time!

Favorite tracks: blossom | Last Links (Orchestra Version) | meaning of Love (Acoustic Piano version

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