Ayumi Hamasaki – appears

March 29, 2012 at 9:27 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – appears

1. appears “99 Greeting Mix”
2. appears “Scud Filter Mix”
3. appears “Dub’s Eurotech Remix”
4. WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten dub mix”
5. appears “JP’s SoundFactory Mix”
6. appears “HAL’s MIX”
7. immature “D-Z DUAL LUCIFER MIX”
8. WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten vocal extended mix”
9. appears “Keith Litman’s Mix of Truth”
10. immature “JT Original CM Version”
11. appears “99 Greeting Mix” (Instrumental)
12. immature “JT Original CM Version” (Instrumental)

appears is the eleventh single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on October 11, 1999 (the same day as the release of her second studio album ‘LOVEppears’). This single reached #2 on the Oricon charts and sold 282,170 copies in 1999, becoming the #81 single of the year. It charted for three weeks and sold a total of 290,550 copies.

Reviewing a freaking album again instead of a single.. xD  appears “99 Greeting Mix” is the one that was used for the PV, so this could be seen as the original song. It kind of starts off as a winter ballad with bells and a piano, but afterwards it becomes more of a dance/rock song with a nice beat and some great electric guitar riffs. What I love about this song is not only the great dance/rock combination (which she has put out for the past few singles), but also the fact Ayu doesn’t sing in a bizar high pitch. Her vocals are very natural and deep.

appears “Scud Filter Mix” kicks off with a pretty fast beat accompanied by the cute little jingle bells from the original track. For the first four minutes or so, Ayu’s lines ‘maru de subete no‘ and ‘hajimete no denwa’ are constantly repeated, the rest of the song features the first verse. It’s a copy and paste remix, but it doesn’t really irritate me as much as these songs usually do. It’s a pretty cool remix if you ask me.

At first I thought appears “Dub’s Eurotech Remix” was gonna feature a tribal sound, but it’s just as eurobeat as the title implies. The thing I like most about this track is the use of the synth and strings, which have a completely unique melody in the ‘chorus’. Many of Ayu’s vocal parts sound the same, but they’re not altered or tossed around the song so I’m completely fine with this remix focusing more on her vocals than the previous one. It’s a long one, just over 8 minutes, but so much better than the “Scud Filter Mix”.

WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten dub mix” is above all an instrumental remix with a minimum of vocals. Fellow countryman or not (Ferry Corsten is a Dutch DJ), I don’t really like his work. Sure, he made a cool remix and I like how this is the darker and more mysterious one on the single, he’s creative with beats and synths in this song as well, but I’ll just have to get over my dislike towards DJ’s and their remixes. After a eurobeat remix, this is after all not a really bad way to bring back ‘WHATEVER’ with an electronica remix.

appears “JP’s SoundFactory Mix”  is a long, dark trance remix and because it’s such a long one it takes a lot of time before Ayumi herself comes in. Before that, it’s mainly beats and synth riffs. What surprises me most is that, as soon as Ayu drops in, an acoustic guitar joins as well and it’s such an unexpected and unique element in the remix. It makes the song a bit more latin, and I like the versatility of that. One of the remixes I actually enjoyed very much.

If some remixes on this single were dark or mysterious, they don’t compare to appears “HAL’s MIX”, which is also a rather strange one in my opinion. It’s very slow, it focuses on slow beats and synth riffs and it’s also quite short at 4:41. There is no climax in this remix, it constantly follows the same pattern when it comes to the arrangement, so this is another miss for HAL.

Finally the B-side, and they introduced it with a remix. Oh well. immature “D-Z DUAL LUCIFER MIX”‘s main focus is the synths ofcourse, and they follow a very nice melody throughout the song. My favorite part is the chorus, the verses are not very interesting (when it comes to Ayu’s vocals). During the chorus, it seems like the song gets a little lift and I instantly like it a bit more. Not a bad remix and definitely not a bad way to introduce ‘immature’.

Basically, WHATEVER “Ferry ‘System F’ Corsten vocal extended mix” is kind of the same as the other remix for WHATEVER on this single, especially because it starts off the very same annoying way. The only difference can be taken from the title litterally: the vocals are extended. Ayu’s weird adlibbings are featured more often and some other singing parts as well, and the song finally starts to grow on me after a few minutes. The fact here vocals are featured more prominantly in this version is  a HUUUGE plus for this remix.

Oh hell no, appears “Keith Litman’s Mix of Truth” is a copy and paste track (vocally). It gets better though after about two and a half minutes when it’s less repetition and more of Ayu’s original vocals. The music for this remix is pretty good, it follows the melody of the original song most of the time and adds a new dimension to it with the aggressive synth parts during some points of the track.

immature “JT Original CM Version” is sort of the original for immature, and it can easily be compared to the A-side because it starts off in the same winter ballad kind of way. Just like with the remix, the song doesn’t get interesting until the chorus, when a more lighthearted melody drops in with high pitched synths. This track also features a dance/rock sound, so on the one hand it was well chosen because of the similar sound. On the other hand it doesn’t contrast with appears at all, and I always like a little contrast on a single.

Remixes can be a hit or miss on Ayu’s single every time, and sometimes its such a shame because the original songs are actually very good. It was the same with A, her single before appears was released. If it weren’t for the remixes, that single would have received 5 stars. This one would have received about 4, maybe 4½, but some crappy remixes managed to drop that to a little less appreciation. There were some really good remixes on here as well, but some of them took a lot of time to actually get anywhere. Still, this single left its impression on me.

OVERALL RATING

3½ stars

 

 

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