Ayumi Hamasaki – vogue

June 18, 2012 at 7:37 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – vogue

1. vogue “Original Mix”
2. vogue “HΛL’s MIX 2000”
3. too late “Soul Solution Remix”
4. vogue “Dub’s mellowtech Remix”
5. vogue “Groove That Soul Mix”
6. vogue “400BPM Fatback Mix”
7. WHATEVER “FPM’s WINTER BOSSA”
8. vogue “pandart sasanooha mix”
9. vogue “Original Mix -Instrumental-”
10. ever free

vogue is the fourteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on April 26, 2000. This single reached #3 on the Oricon charts and charted for 17 weeks. It sold 767,660 copies, becoming the #23 single of 2000.

It’s kinda funny to hear how Ayu’s experimenting with banghra for vogue, a track that really grew on me since I first heard it and definitely since I reviewed the ‘Duty’ album back in September 2010 (damn, long ago). What I love most about this track is the unique ambience that the tribal percussion and Indian guitar (something like a sitar? Correct me if I’m wrong) create. This song is so different from the previous era, and a very welcome change. Vocals could’ve been more varied and a little bit better though, but still not bad.

Remixes, remixes, remixes, OH MY. HΛL took our lovely banghra song and made vogue “HΛL’s MIX 2000″ into an interesting rock/dance hybrid. Too bad it lost that amazingly cool banghra vibe and it just can’t find it’s own beat. There isn’t really a highlight in this remix or something that pops out, but what I do like is that HΛL mixed some electric guitar riffs into the background while synths play clearly over that.

I laughed my ass off during the introduction of too late “Soul Solution Remix”, because Ayu’s high chanting (in a rather strange voice) sounded something like ‘keelpijn’, which is the Dutch word for ‘sore throat’ xD  But besides that, it’s not only great they brought back ‘too late’, this remix is pretty hot if you forget about that introduction! There’s a sense of mystery about this mix at some points and then it suddenly bursts into this joyful trance bash. Kinda like it.

vogue “Dub’s mellowtech Remix” is quite a relaxed remix for a dub, actually nice for a change. It’s mostly synths with soft dance beats in the background, and although I like the flow of the remix, it can get a little repetitive after a while. There isn’t much variety in the melody, which is kind of a bummer but the remix is not bad, thank god it’s not a fast ‘BUMP-BUMP-BUMP- one if you know what I mean (damn that was definitely jargon xD). Boring.

vogue “Groove That Soul Mix” first had a kind of slight Brazilian ambience, but then they mixed in piano and strings that gave it more of a ‘pop song extended’ vibe. The piano is actually what makes this remix ‘groovy’ (if you have to explain the title, Jade…) and the strings give the original song a 180 twist although it made me think of Spice Girls music. Still this is the best remix I encountered so far!

If I have to be really honest now, I think vogue “400BPM Fatback Mix” is downright annoying. It’s just a complete mess! Everything was thrown together into some kind of chaos that is supposed to be musical, but every section of the song features elements from different instruments, the background music doesn’t really fit Ayu’s singing melody and there’s simply too much distortion in both music and vocals to fully enjoy this remix. And I could kill the last 20 seconds…

WHATEVER “FPM’s WINTER BOSSA” doesn’t sound wintery to me at all, but that could just be my crazy mind. To me, this sounds like a relaxing beach vibe, like Ayu’s walking on the beach of Hawaii or something. It’s too tropical, but oh well, go ahead and laugh ;p   I didn’t really like WHATEVER and the song actually started to make me sick at this point, but this remix manages to turn the tide and bring it back into the spotlight.

I remember pandart sasanooha doing the remix for ‘from your letter’ a couple of singles ago and that remix was my guilty pleasure, so I was very curious about vogue “pandart sasanooha mix”. It features the typical elements for a remix of this kind: the background conversations, some strange elements (this time some strings playing a rather interesting melody and the addition of a saxophone) and very heavy percussion. Too bad Ayu sometimes gets overshadowed by the music but it’s another nice last of pandart sasanooha here.

ever free is the long awaited B-side on this single. It’s a ballad and it starts off pretty soothing, much in contrast to the A-side, and it develops into one of the powerful kind of ballads Ayu does with so much dedication. It’s a track that comes off as a bit short (though being almost four minutes long), probably due to some long instrumental parts with an electric guitar solo and Ayu’s backing vocals softly adlibbing, but this could’ve well replaced one of the more plain tracks on the ‘Duty’ album.

vogue is, in conclusion, not one of her best singles if you look at the complete single, but if you take the A-side individually (and the B-side), Ayu delivered something strong here. She stepped out of the box and went banghra, which was probably among the first signs of her experimenting with other genres. There were some remixes on this single that I really liked, and that gave a completely different feel to the original tracks, and one or two of them were complete shizz. So… I should say interesting?

OVERALL RATING

3½ stars

 

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