Ayumi Hamasaki – SURREAL

June 22, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – SURREAL

1. SURREAL “Original Mix”
2. Duty “Eric Kupper Big Room Mix -Radio Edit-”
3. SEASONS “BUMP AND FLEX RADIO EDIT”
4. Duty “Under Lounge club Mix”
5. Duty “nicely nice remix”
6. Duty “STEPPIN’ DUB MIX”
7. Duty “Sky Modulation Mix”
8. Duty “Dub’s mellowtech 002 Remix”
9. Duty “GENIUS BEAT MIX”
10. SURREAL “Original Mix -Instrumental-”

SURREAL is the seventeenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on September 27, 2000 (simultaneously with her tird studio album ‘Duty’). This single reached #1 on the Oricon charts and charted for seven weeks. It sold 417,210 copies, becoming the #60 single of 2000.

SURREAL “Original Mix” has really grown on me since I reviewed her album in September 2010, compared to the other tracks it’s one of the strongest and it even fits the sound she delivers today. A very rocky song, that starts off very soothing and melodic until we go right into the electric guitar influenced chorus. A worthy follow up to the previous A-side ‘SEASONS’.

Since this album was released with the ‘Duty’ album we get a lot of remixes for that track. I like the original, and Duty “Eric Kupper Big Room Mix -Radio Edit-” gives it a little more punch and tempo. There’s a lot of synths in this remix but it fit the song very well. It tends to drag after a while, but it’s not bad actually.

Another SEASONS remix: SEASONS “BUMP AND FLEX RADIO EDIT”. It has a relaxed beat, a bit urban, but it doesn’t sound like SEASONS at all since they just featured some small parts of Ayu’s original vocals and made them sound like random adlibbings. They shouldn’t give this remix the name SEASONS, it’s a disgrace.

Duty “Under Lounge club mix” is definitely the club remix for this single like the name suggests and I really like it! It’s quite fast paced, the vocals are nicely remixed as well though there’s no copy and paste, and the synths play an agressive but catchy melody. Ayu herself gets overpowered by the music at some times, but overall this remix is very very nice.

Duty “nicely nice remix” is not all that ‘nicely nice’, actually pretty straight forward and it drags like hell. The big surprise is the soft male vocals chanting with Ayu throughout the remix, but the rest of the mix is quite relaxed and not really going anywhere.

The next remix starts off with some copy and pasting considering Ayu’s lyrics, but the beat that follows is pretty hot. Duty “STEPPIN’ DUB MIX” is a heavier remix when it comes to the synths and the deep and creepy subwoofer effects. The remix is very danceable if you can call it that way, there’s a lot of repetition but still the original song is recognizeable.

Duty “Sky Modulation Mix” has some pretty catchy synth riffs during the introduction, and as soon as Ayu herself drops in the mix takes on a rather mysterious ambience, a bit slow at first but then it really builds up. It gets a little more electronica punch to it eventually, but still it’s so repetitive and it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s 8 minutes of the same old stuff, boring.

Duty “Dub’s mellowtech 002 Mix” is the other ass long remix, but the flow is a lot better and it has something funky to it that other tracks surely don’t have. I like the constant handclap beat in the background and how it goes against the synths. There are a lot of instrumental parts, but the parts where Ayu does sing actually include her verses as well which is really cool. Could’ve been a bit shorter, but not bad at all.

Duty “GENIUS BEAT MIX” is, quite surprisingly, a hiphop remix with a really strong beat. The beat is indeed genius, but the melody doesn’t really fit the signing melody, it doesn’t flow together all that well. Such a bummer, this could’ve been quite the track if only that melody ha a little variation…

SURREAL is, for a single that has been released simultaneously with her third album, a disappointment to me. Some remixes were good, but others were a complete miss or I was just a bit on the fence with them. Either way, they didn’t really win me over. Sad, because the A-side is a really cool track, it should’ve gotten a remix instead of 7 Duty remixes. Too bad Ayu, too bad.

OVERALL RATING

2 stars

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