Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVE

November 6, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

MINI-ALBUM REVIEW
Ayumi Hamasaki – LOVE

1. Song 4 u (Original mix)
2. Missing (Original mix)
3. Melody (Original mix)
4. Song 4 u (Orchestra version)
5. You & Me (SHINICHI OSAWA remix)
6. You & Me (Remo-con rmx – Extended)
7. Missing (Dubscribe remix)
8. Melody (BROKEN HAZE remix)
9. Song 4 u (Original mix -Instrumental-)
10. Missing (Original mix -Instrumental-)
11. Melody (Original mix -Instrumental-)
12. You & Me (Original mix -Instrumental-)

♦ ♦ ♦

LOVE is the third mini-album by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on November 8, 2012. It is the first release of the special 5 consecutive months releases event to commemorate her 15th anniversary.

Song 4 u (Original mix) is the one to open this mini-album. It kinda sounds like the stuff she does nowadays since her last mini-album FIVE, released last year. Ofcourse this is another Tales of Xilia song, which immediately explains the dramatic and yet heavy sound. I must say I’m always impressed by these songs Ayu does, it’s really fierce and a great continuation of the epic songs she releases these days. Also a great plus: NORMAL VOCALS.

The previous track flows right into the album’s mid-tempo: Missing. It’s not exactly a calm ballad or anything, but there’s a sense of peace and even some mystery to it that instantly appeals to me. I must say it reminds me of winter-themed tracks like ‘BALLAD’, but then spiced up a little. It’s not that this is one of the best songs Ayu has ever made, but it defenitely proves she can still deliver some quality stuff.

Melody opens with a beautiful piano tune before some more instruments like strings and guitars make it sound a little more dramatic and such (damn this album is full of epic stuff, it’s like a soundtrack for Tales..). I think this serves as the album’s ballad since it’s the slowest track and okay, if I’m already labeling this album as epic, it’s the most epic song yet too. The chorus melody is something to get used to, but once you know how the song works it’s really beautiful and enjoyable for sure.

It’s been a long time since Ayu last did an orchestra version of anything on an album, and Song 4 u (Orchestra version) is definitely a welcome change. It uses all the drama from the original and gave it a really nice twist. I wouldn’t even mind this being the original song tbh, but as a remake I think it works fine enough. She should do these songs more often, I always love Ayu’s orchestra versions.

Heading into the bunch of remixes (since I don’t count the previous track as a remix). You & Me (SHINICHI OSAWA remix) is the first, and I’m actually glad You & Me got a remix, I really like the original. It’s not a bad remix, I mean there are lots of instrumental parts in there and not much of Ayu’s vocals, but the music was pretty spiced up. The synths made it more of a club banger, it fits the original feel of the song pretty well.

I feel like I’m in the era’s before the ‘RAINBOW’ album, you know, with all the maxi-singles filled with ass-long remixes. Flashbaaaack. Especially You & Me (Remo-con rmx -Extended-) takes me there, but then that could also be in a good way since those singles featured some cheez good remixes. I’m surprised I seem to love the quirckiness that this remix has, it’s all over the place with its synths and beats and sound effects, but they actually used the original melody this time. Yep, this one is better than the OSAWA remix.

Missing (Dubscribe remix) starts off pretty melodic and smooth, but then the smoothness takes on another form as soon as the first verse comes in. The title already says it, this is a dubstep remix and personally I don’t have anything against dubstep. Then again, this remix is a pretty deep and loud one. I don’t really know where exactly I stand with this one yet, but overall, I guess it’s kinda cool.

I don’t think I like what BROKEN HAZE did to Melody (BROKEN HAZE remix), it’s so out of touch with the original. There’s nothing left of the pretty ballad that was. When I let go of that thought I guess this remix has something that works, but just not for me. They ruined it, it makes me mentally tired.

Well, Ayu definitely made an interesting album… And how is this a mini-album? It’s more of a maxi-single, but w/e. The first four tracks were awesome, they really got me into the mood, but then some of the remixes… Gee, I don’t know. I hope I’ll never hear the BROKEN HAZE remix again, that one almost made me retarded with its all-over-the-place attitude. If this mini-album existed of only track 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7, it would’ve been close to perfect. Since the other tracks are there too, I’m a little less satisfied.

Favorite tracks: Song 4 u | Missing | Melody | Song 4 u (Orchestra version) | You & Me (Remo-con rmx -Extended-) | Missing (Dubscribe remix)

OVERALL RATING

3½ stars

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