Ayumi Hamasaki – SEASONS

June 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki -SEASONS

1. SEASONS “Original Mix”
2. SEASONS “Acoustic Orchestra Version”
3. TO BE (Acoustic Version)
4. SEASONS “so happy so sad mix”
5. SEASONS “Jonathan Peters’ Radio Mix”
6. SEASONS “Rays of Light Mix”
7. SEASONS “Neutralize: Final Attack Mix”
8. SEASONS “D-Z BLUE SUNBEAM MIX”
9. SEASONS “Dub’s Rain of duv Remix”
10. SEASONS “Original Mix -Instrumental-”
11. ever free “HΛL’s MIX 2000″

SEASONS is the sixteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on June 7, 2000. This single reached #1 on the Oricon charts and sold 1,362,740 copies in 2000, becoming the #5 single of the year. It charted for 21 weeks and sold a total of 1,367,400 copies.

In my opinion, SEASONS “Original Mix” is one of Ayu’s prettiest songs ever released. It’s a beautiful ballad with just a little bit of power and dramatics to it, and I love how the piano melody flows through the entire song. Ayu’s vocals are a little high pitched in the chorus, but she has a wonderful timbre in the verses. The electric guitar solo in the bridge ties everything together into an amazing track. I adore this song.

I’m so happy to find SEASONS “Acoustic Orchestra Version” on this single, I love Ayu’s acoustic orchestra versions. This one is all about the piano melody and the violins that flow right with it. The background vocals that harmonize with Ayu’s main vocals come out even better this time. The strings give the song so much of a melancholic ambience, very fitting.

Another acoustic version! TO BE (Acoustic Version) is a surprise because it’s an older song from the previous era, but it fits perfectly on this single because it’s also a slow (ballad-ish) song and perfect for an all guitar acoustic version. It doesn’t feature Ayu’s best vocals, also a little high pitched, but they’re not that bad either so I enjoyed this version very much!

And those songs pretty much closed off the slow section. SEASONS “so happy so sad mix” is the first fast paced remix. That’s a bit strange for me at first since the original song is a ballad, but it can handle this too. The mix is well done, very ethereal, but still there’s not much going on in the song and some of the mixed adlibs sound a little weird. But overall quite nice.

SEASONS “Jonathan Peters’ Radio Mix” is a eurobeat remix, and although the arrangement is pretty fast itsself, the vocals become a little slower paced. But that’s okay, the arrangement has enough punch to it for me to truly enjoy it. The synths in the chorus are especially very nice and they go well with the vocals to keep the sense of melancholy to the song.

SEASONS “Rays of Light mix” is a typical club mix with a long introduction, but the new arrangement definitely gives the song a new touch. It kinda takes away the emotional ambience though, but it’s not that bad.

Now I see how SEASONS “Neutralize Final Attack Mix” got its title, the entire introduction is a mess. And it doesn’t really get better after that. Lyrics are repeated too often, they’re taken out of their original vibe. Actually, I pretty much hate this one.

Going trance with SEASONS “D-Z BLUE SUNBEAM MIX” and it’s, strangely enough, awesome, especially because of the previous disaster. It reminded me a bit of Jonathan Peters’ Radio Mix, but then much better because this is more extended and leads to an amazing ending. The melody of the original is somehow kept a bit, but the synths found their way around it perfectly. This is the perfect remix for SEASONS.

Too bad SEASONS “Dub’s Rain of duv Remix” falls a little flat, it’s monotonous and does nothing for the original as well. I like the fact that it has a reggae sound, it could’ve fit the song if the arrangement was done a bit better.

It’s nice to see the B-side of the ‘vogue’ single got its own HΛL remix: ever free “HΛL’s MIX 2000”. The original was so short so luckily this remix is more of an extended version. It’s very ethereal, the ambience is quite magical with the beauiful strings arrangement. Sometimes I’m on the fence with HΛL’s creations but this time he won me over.

Although SEASONS received the same rating as ‘Far away’, it’s slightly better due to better remixes. There were some misses on this single too, but just two of them, out of ten tracks. Now that’s quite amazing and they weren’t even hideous or anything. I just love the original song and every remix that takes on that lovely dramatic ambience and sticks to the melody. Every other creation than that either had to be an eye opener or just bad.

OVERALL RATING

4½ stars

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