Ayumi Hamasaki – crossroad

September 26, 2010 at 8:48 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – crossroad

1. crossroad (Original mix)
2. SEVEN DAYS WAR (Original mix)
3. blossom (Clockwork yellow remix)
4. blossom (Orchestra version)
5. MOON (Orchestra version)
6. crossroad (Original mix -Instrumental-)
7. SEVEN DAYS WAR (Original mix -Instrumental-)

crossroad is the 49th single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released, as the second single of a three-part project to celebrate her (yet unreleased) 50th single <em>L</em>, on September 22, 2010. It debuted at #1 on the Oricon Daily Charts, selling 69,746 copies in its first week.

I’m very curious about which road Ayu is going to take for (probably) her next studio album. I must say the music for crossroad (Original mix) sounds very interesting for the use of acoustic guitars, bass and a lot of strings to add a tad of drama to it. It’s very dramatic indeed, but not too heavy and certainly not overdone. Ayumi’s vocals are very good in this track, much better than in some other songs she did before. It’s very good to see and hear she teamed up with Tetsuya Komuro on this one, because they also worked together on one of my favourite Ayu tracks, ‘a song is born’.

Ayumi takes a rather interesting turn with SEVEN DAYS WAR (Original mix), which has a very interesting melody first of all. Second, I almost didn’t recognize Ayumi’s vocals on this one, she sounds more mature than ever! Yes, I know she’s a 32-year-old woman, but hey, we all know Japanese singing voices sound a little… different. I like her ‘revolution’ and ‘communication’ lines, as well as the hook in this song. The bridge is very lighthearted, something you just don’t expect from a song that has the word ‘war’ in its title. Very catchy and ‘Ayu’, this track, even though it’s a cover.

Wow, they really fixed up blossom (Clockwork yellow remix), and made it less of a rock ballad. On the contrary, it’s a rocky dance track now, and I must say I like what they did to the track for this remix. They kept the rock elements with the electric guitars and non-electronic beats, but they added a little more spunk to it with heavily altered vocals and a LOT of synths. I might even like this a little more than the original, since that track is almost too similar to its fellow A-side track MOON.

Then blossom (Orchestra version) sounds very interesting as well. The beautiful chorus melody of the original song comes back better than ever with a lot of classical strings and most of the time only a piano. I didn’t really remember a song like ‘blossom’, even though I reviewed it last month, but then the melody has something I recognize, and immediately I know the song is so much better than what she gave us on the MOON/blossom single. It’s variated, it fits all styles, and she proved it with this track as well as the previous one.

Yeay, another classical version with MOON (Orchestra version), this time with other instruments, such as a beautiful harp and even a flute. This version is again better than the original, since those tracks were a bit Ayu stereotyped and looked alike a lot. Now both tracks really stand out with their own unique orchestral arrangements. I don’t know if Ayu did a vocal re-take on this song for this version, but she sounds flawless!

I am very surprised by how good this new single was, especially when I look at the covers and then listen to the songs. I thought crossroad was going to be a bit like Rule/Sparkle, but on the contrary! The song crossroad was more pop/rock, and even though it was a little faster, it was neither a ballad or an uptempo song. SEVEN DAYS WAR, all the same. Every track stunned me, and the new versions of ‘blossom’ and ‘MOON’, both off her previous single, have had a very nice tune-up as well. I’m very pleased, and I’m awaiting L!

Favorite tracks: SEVEN DAYS WAR (Original mix) | blossom (Clockwork yellow remix) | blossom (Orchestra version)

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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