Ayumi Hamasaki – M

August 24, 2012 at 4:14 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

SINGLE REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – M

1. M “Original Mix”
2. M “Dub’s Hard Pop Remix”
3. SEASONS “Yuta’s weather report mix”
4. M “nicely nice winter parade remix”
5. Far away “Laugh & Peace MIX”
6. M “REWIRED MIX”
7. M “SMOKERS MIX”
8. M “RANK-M MIX”
9. M “NEUROTIC EYE’S MIX”
10. M “Original Mix -Instrumental-”

M is the nineteenth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on December 13, 2000. This single reached #1 on Oricon charts and charted for 18 weeks. It sold 1,319,070 copies, becoming the #2 single of 2001.

M is probably one of the most epic songs Ayu ever released in her entire career, from beginning to end. It starts off as this really mysterious ballad with something that she herself described as a ‘cold melody’ (and she was right), but it evolves into an energetic song with emotional vocals and blazing electric guitars. I definitely loved the solo in this track, it takes things up a notch before the track goes right back into that peaceful, angelic ending. I love this one, it’s one of her best songs.

Now this is one loooong era and all singles have these ass long tracklists with an aweful lot of remixes, but I’ll fight through I suppose. M “Dub’s Hard Pop Remix” isn’t very promising to be honest, it has a really long introduction with some annoying repetition going over and over. When the actual song comes in it gets better, but only slightly and I still can’t say I like it. The synths follow a nice melody though, but that’s about it.

At first I was like, ‘where the heck is SEASONS “Yuta’s weather report mix” taking me??’, but even after that weird copy and paste introduction this track is enjoyable when the original song starts. There are some parts however that I find pretty annoying, but I like what they did to Ayu’s pitch and the way the vocal melody and the new arrangement blended together. It actually fits amazingly well, I’m surprised.

M “nicely nice winter parade mix” had kind of an interesting sound to it, and I guess it is indeed wintery (with those little chimes that remind you of Christmas snow) mixed up with something that sounded pretty oldschool. It’s also not that damn long so being a very cute and fluffy remix and all I really like this one.

It’s funny to see Far away make a comeback here as Far away “Laugh & Peace MIX”, and quite an energetic remix as well. It has an extremely strong beat and a lot of futuristic and high pitched synths throughout the entire track. They didn’t even alter Ayu’s vocals (much), hallelujah.

M “REWIRED MIX” is pretty much some handclaps, a heavy beat and some synths (and Ayu singing ‘Maria‘) for the first three minutes or so. It only captures my attention after that huge part of the remix when Ayu starts singing the chorus. In my opinion this is a very shallow and poor rendition of the original song, this is way beneath it and even the catchy synths can’t help that.

M “SMOKERS MIX” is the more chill remix on this single, which I completely love since the word ‘remix’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘pump up the energy 10000%’. Plus, this remix uses a lot more from the original song, so it isn’t as bad as the REWIRED. It puts together some pretty calm beats, bass and synths, and although it’s not like you can dance your ass off to it, it is one of the better remixes on this single.

You CAN probably do it to M “RANK-M MIX”, another one of those random long club remixes with more intro than song and a lot lot LOT of Ayu chanting ‘Maria‘ over and over again. Getting kind of fed up with it. Then again, some of the instrumental parts are indeed very energetic, incorporating the melody of Ayu’s chanting to make it more memorable and recognizeable. Maybe not so meh after all.

M “NEUROTIC EYE’S MIX” uses more than just the chorus and the chanting of the original song, so that a plus already. I like the echoed vocal effects, they provide a contrast against the beats and synths in this remix which are pretty fierce. This is one strong remix that actually follows the chords of the original song, that’s just amazing to hear. This one definitely belongs to the remixes that saved this single.

Opening the ‘I am…’ era (and solidifying her status as the Empress of J-Pop), M is a milestone in Ayu’s musical career. Also because this is actually the first time she took creative control over her music’s composition, writing both the lyrics and the music for the original version under the pen name CREA. I think she did an amazing job, she is such a talented woman when it comes to that, and although she couldn’t save some of the remixes, the people she worked with for this single at least tried to give their best versions of her song. Some did very good, others sucked at it. Sorry, but true. Still, this single isn’t bad after all, it has some really good songs on it eventually.

OVERALL RATING

3½ stars

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