Ayumi Hamasaki – Memorial address

July 15, 2015 at 10:51 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | Leave a comment

Ayumi Hamasaki – Memorial address

2. Greatful days
3. Because of You
4. ourselves
5. HANABI ~episode II~
6. No way to say (Original Mix)
7. forgiveness
8. Memorial address (take 2 version)

♦ ♦ ♦

Memorial address is the first mini-album by Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on December 17, 2003. It reached #1 on the Oricon charts selling 524,028 copies on its first week. It charted for 48 weeks and sold a total of 1,220,000 copies. It is currently the best-selling mini-album by a Japanese female singer, having sold over a million copies in Japan.

Only three new tracks, and ANGEL’S SONG is the first one. It opens in quite a dramatic way but then it develops into an uptempo dance/pop track with just a little hint of Ayu’s signature style. I was expecting a ballad, so this kind of blew me away. It reminds me a little too much of a song she released later on, but since this one was there first I don’t mind. Quite a nice opening for the album.

Because the first track was already uptempo, Greatful days and its bright summer sound comes out way better here than it did on the single. It’s very catchy and this should’ve been more popular during this era than it actually was. Uplifting!

Moving on to the more mysterious tracks on the album, there is the new song Because of You. Putting this on the album was genius because it spices it up with a kickass rock track that is on the heavier side. Ayu always nails these types of songs (just listen to ‘Microphone’) and this is definitely no exception. The standout track on this album.

Next are the four songs she released earlier, including the three major A-sides. ourselves comes out great right after Because of You, somehow it just fits while being on the more mellow side. Quite a typical sound for the year of 2003, but in Ayu’s discography this stands out so much. Love the works on the strings and drums.

Staying on the darker side, there is HANABI ~episode II~. By now I can’t really find anything to dislike about this track and it really starts to grow on me more. The use of electric guitars in the chorus while the verses are more on the quiet side is very cool and Ayu’s vocals are strong and steady. The male chanting adds something nice as well.

First we had a summer track, now we have the winter ballad No way to say. I think this was my favorite A-side of the era, most of all because of its dramatic winter sound and acoustic guitar and piano in the arrangement. It’s a bit ominous at times and you can almost feel the winter all around you, but that’s what I like about it. Recommended!

Followed by my least favorite A-side forgiveness. I still don’t know what it is, but I think it’s about the use of melodies, especially in the verses. This just isn’t my thing, while the song is actually quite good if you listen to it objectively. But writing reviews isn’t about being objective so…..

Is there a take 1 version of Memorial address (take 2 version)? Maybe it’s because this melody was already used in LOVER SOUND TRACK’s song “kumo” (both are composed by Tetsuya Yukumi). Anyway, this has always been one of my favorite tracks because after about a minute and a half of quiet piano music they go full out with drums, electric guitars and Ayu’s fierce vocals. This is a bit like Because of You, real Ayumi Hamasaki rock at its best. As a fan, I adore this.

After most of the singles proved a bit disappointing I was anxious for this mini-album, but eventually it turned out so much better than I expected! This is actually a pretty solid effort, I only dislike forgiveness for some strange reason I don’t really understand myself. I never really cared much for this era, but now I just have to remember myself of the fact that this mini is worth my time and there are some very strong tracks here that deserve more plays. Nicely done, Ayu!

Favorite songs: Greatful days | Because of You | ourselves | HANABI ~episode II~ | No way to say | Memorial address (take 2 version)

4 stars


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