Ayumi Hamasaki – Dearest

August 26, 2012 at 10:56 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

Ayumi Hamasaki – Dearest

1. Dearest “Original Mix”
2. Dearest “Depth Nostalgic windmix”
3. NEVER EVER “Jonathan Peter Radio Mix”
4. Dearest “Energize Mix”
5. Dearest “Huge 20011002 mix”
6. Endless sorrow “Hex Hector Main Radio Mix”
7. Dearest “Laugh & Peace MIX”
8. Dearest “Fresh energy MIX”
9. M “Johnny Vicious RADIO VOX”
10. Dearest “Original Mix -Instrumental-”
11. Dearest “Acoustic Piano Version”

Dearest is the twenty-fourth single by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on September 27, 2001. This single reached #1 on the weekly Oricon charts and sold 696,990 copies in 2001, becoming the #17 single of the year. It charted for 17 weeks and sold a total of 750,420 copies.

And finally we have the first actual ballad this era has to offer: Dearest “Original Mix”, and what a ballad indeed… I love this track for it’s power, while still maintaining the emotional ballad formula. It’s a real standout track, for it doesn’t burst out in rocky electric guitar music after a soothing intro. Ayu’s vocals are way better now as well, at least it sounds like that to me. There’s nothing that could make me dislike this track, it’s the perfect ballad for the ‘I am… ‘ era.

Dearest “Depth Nostalgic windmix” is the first interesting twist on the original ballad track, giving it a 90s pop music feel with just a couple of synths added to it. For something that’s quite uptempo, the remix doesn’t get out of control and stays very relaxed all the way. The newly added acoustic guitar melodies were a very welcome addition as well. CMJK created a very good remix track.

Jonathan Peters makes some pretty awesome remix tracks, and he did another great job on NEVER EVER “Jonathan Peters Radio Mix”. He made this the last standing ovation for ‘NEVER EVER’, which already had some nice remixes on its own single and the original A-side was another perfect song, it deserves another moment in the spotlight. Very uplifting dance music, not too many synths but som strings for a change. Awesome mix.

The longest remix on this single is Dearest “Energized Mix”, and energized it is, right from the start. Ofcourse it’s a club mix, by KO・I this time, and although the introduction is very long it has some good fierce and futuristic music with a lot of synths. As soon as Ayu starts singing the chorus, I know everything is turning out fine and the newly added synth melodies work fine with the original vocal melodies. Long, but enjoyable.

Dearest “Huge 20011002 Mix” is quite peaceful for a remix to be honest. It has some R&B styled randomness going on in the first part, but that fades away to just leaves the groovy beat and the keyboard accents to do the trick in this one. I find the random additional voices during the non-singing parts pretty funny, I don’t mind them. Dearest even sounds good in R&B, who knew.

I like what Hex Hector did to Endless sorrow “Hex Hector Main Radio Mix”, not too complicated and still so much more was added to the original song to make it a little bit more club ready. Being the shortest mix on the single at barely 4 minutes long, it’s also one of the more energetic with a lot of beats and synths. It incorporates the original chords as well, which I always like in a remix.

And Laugh & Peace are back again. They took the original ballad and made it into a, surprise surprise, electronica song. Dearest “Laugh & Peace MIX” proves that even the most emotional sounding ballads can be turned into a good electro song with some attitude without sounding awkward. But then again I know Laugh & Peace are some of the best remixers Ayu has ever worked with.

Dearest “Fresh energy MIX” has a different intro when compared to the rest of the track. It starts off pretty soothing and dreamy, then a soft bass and some beeping come in to make up the arrangement, soon accompanied by an oldschool beat and strings. Although it’s not what you would expect with a song like Dearest, I guess it works because I find no big issues with this style. It’s just that it doesn’t fit the title, but I don’t wanna be a bore.

Oh ‘M’, how nice of you to stop by. M “Johnny Vicious RADIO VOX” is a nice rendition of another one of Ayu’s big songs, also from this era. It’s not the best remix, but it’s not that aweful either. It has a kind of tribal feel to it before it moves into a more synth influenced section which works a little bit better. The overall remix is very original and especially the chorus of the original song is represented well. Pretty good one.

FINALLY after so many singles without a genuine song, there is Dearest “Acoustic Piano Version”. Dearest stripped down to its most true and original form, with just a lone piano accompanying Ayumi. When you understand the lyrics, I think this would be your favorite version since the focus is very much on the song’s lyrics and emotions. Simply stunning, I was moved.

Now I know for sure, Dearest is the best single of this entire era. There actually wasn’t a single song I disliked, and that with sooo many remixes. I used to hate remixes, but I think Ayu’s overflow of remixes taught me to love them. The A-side was also easier for the remixers to work with than songs like ‘NEVER EVER’, so these ones turned out way better of you compare them. Did I mention the acoustic piano track? AMAZEBALLS. Forget what I said when I reviewed ‘Endless sorrow’, pick THIS one. I didn’t give it 5 stars for nothing you know.


5 stars

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