Namie Amuro – FEEL

July 7, 2013 at 11:21 AM | Posted in Namie Amuro | 10 Comments

Namie Amuro – FEEL

1. Alive
2. Rainbow
3. Can You Feel This Love
4. Big Boys Cry
5. Hands On Me
6. Heaven
7. Poison
8. La La La
9. Supernatural Love
10. Let Me Let You Go
11. Contrail
12. Stardust In My Eyes

♦ ♦ ♦

FEEL is the eleventh studio album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on July 10, 2013. The song “Big Boys Cry” was used as Kose Esprique commercial song, “Contrail”, was used as theme song for the TBS drama Sora Tobu Kouhou Shitsu, “Can You Feel This Love” was used as theme song for the Mezamashi TV program, starting on April 1st and “Hands On Me” was used as TV commercial theme song for Recochoku.

Wow, Alive definitely lives up to its name because this opening song kicks some serious ass. I’m actually glad to hear that Namie decided to continue to use English songs on her albums, her pronunciation is even better than on ‘Uncontrolled’ last year. This song is a aggressive dance song with a lot of synths and beats and her voice is perfect for songs like this one, it’s so catchy I love it already. It needs some more plays because it’s too short at three and a half minutes.

Rainbow continues the aggressive dance track feel, albeit in a slightly more lighthearted fashion. Somehow the arrangement fits the title and some of the synth effects make me think of Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road, but that’s just me and my weird associations I guess. It’s quite a simple track, but very effective since it makes great use of some dubstep elements every now and then. I love this!

How is it possible that I already know Can You Feel This Love, but I have no idea how I know it… I could already hear the chorus by reading the title words. Anyway, it’s the first bilingual song but still most of the lyrics are in English. It’s poppier than the previous two tracks but it has the same uptempo quality which results in the impossibility to sit still. Namie’s vocals are about on the edge of her vocal range in her normal chest voice, but no problems whatsoever, it’s just a nice song.

Big Boys Cry could easily be the most original song in her entire discography, I totally adore this song and the hot mess it actually is. Even better, I love everything about it. The beat is so uncommon, the flute part is adorable and Namie’s vocals are the absolute best. The song doesn’t have the regular verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus pattern, in fact its just the alterations of verses and choruses, but this is originality at its best.

Hands On Me brings back the kickass dance track attitude after the variation that Big Boys Cry brought along, I love the synth hooks in this song because it gives a whole new dimension to yet another uptempo track on the album (which is great so that no songs sound alike), and they make up most of the song anyway. Less vocals, more music, this is some original shiz Namie (not that I hate your voice ofcourse haha).

Speaking of Namie’s voice, there’s something strange going on in Heaven‘s choruses. She’s straining a bit, she doesn’t sound very comfortable singing that part of the song. Thank god she made up for it in the choruses with her semi-raps, which she can do really well. Eventually, this song turned out pretty well and I’m sure I can get over those choruses and love the track even more.

It’s taking me some time to get used to a Japanese song here, since Poison is a bilingual song that leans more towards Japanese this time. A lot of vocoding going on here, effects all over and synth loops all around. It’s fierce alright, I don’t think there’s much more to say than that since I’m already faving this album like a crazy person and this song isn’t gonna change that. Awesome track.

The shortest song on the album (and an English one again), La La La caught my attention from the very first note. It’s another track that has its fair share of synths and beats, but it’s lighter than some of the other tracks. This song is the definition of both ‘catchy’ and ‘fabulous’, and I think I already found my favorite song on the album (although it could just be my mood now since I like the lyrics a bit too much).

Supernatural Love leaves the breezy lightheartedness behind and just decides to spice things up like crazy. Namie’s vocals have such attitude, those vocoder effects make it even more effective. Everything about this song is perfect, and I can imagine that this is going to be Japan’s new clubbing song.

What, a ballad? Let Me Let You Go is such a change, after nine big uptempo dance tracks we’re getting an emotional break-up ballad. Namie is singing in a low voice, sometimes letting the Engrish overrule the good English but the effect is still there. The arrangement is very simple with just a piano melody and some strings, and sometimes Namie is accompanied by a group of background singers who add to the overall emotional feel of the song. Very simple, but a welcome change.

Contrail is fully in Japanese, and no wonder since it’s the theme song for Soratobu Kouhou Shitsu. It’s not a ballad, but still it’s a nice transition from the quiet ambience of Let Me Let You Go, theres no big shock involved. Even though there’s nothing wrong with the song as an individual track, it kinda loses its impact after a lot of kickass songs that were more of a wakeup call than this one. Nonetheless, not bad.

The last song on the album, Stardust In My Eyes, almost had me thinking it was going to be a ballad, but then a fast beat with some light high-pitched synths fill up the background. It was very unexpected so that raised the expectations quickly. Ofcourse the song lived up to the expectations, being original after all because Namie showed off some amazing vocals here and the dance ambience of the song is accompanied by some melodic strings in some parts of the song. Great way to end the album.

I had no idea Namie was going to head in this direction with FEEL, this album is so filled with amazingly catchy uptempo tracks. I’m no dance lover, but Namie almost made me a diehard fan. The genre fits her so well, so no more ‘Queen of Hip-Pop’ but ‘Queen of Dance-Pop’ if you please. There are some songs on this album that get really close to perfection, so I’m just sitting here with a huge jawdrop. I wasn’t expecting that this album would be so good, so I wasn’t fully excited. I’M GONNA TAKE THAT BACK OKAY.
In the meantime, La La La has become my absolute favorite with more plays than any other track on the album ❤

Favorite tracks: Alive | Rainbow | Can You Feel This Love | Big Boys Cry | Hands On Me | La La La | Let Me Let You Go | Stardust In My Eyes

4½ stars

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