Namie Amuro – break the rules

July 26, 2018 at 12:22 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

breaktherules1ALBUM REVIEW
Namie Amuro – break the rules

2. no more tears
3. better days
4. break the rules
7. never shoulda
8. CROSS OVER (Album Mix)
10. NEVER END (Album Mix)
11. think of me
12. RULE 8PM
13. HimAWArI
14. no more tears REMIX

♦ ♦ ♦

breaktherules2break the rules is the fourth album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on December 20, 2000. The album reached #2 on the Oricon charts, making it Namie’s first album not to reach #1. Yet it sold 334,520 copies and was certified platinum.

RULE 8AM is basically recordings of Namie in an American supermarket. Kind of unnecessary.

no more tears is the first full length track and I’m actually glad this opens the album! Since I reviewed the single yesterday it remained stuck in my head, especially the chorus. This song also shows how much Namie’s vocals have improved. It could have been a bit shorter, but I still enjoyed every bit of it (the last 2 minutes are best).

I like the arrangement in better days, the plucked strings make it a lighthearted and the overall vibe is very laid back. This is probably why Namie herself sounds very much at ease, songs like this one complimented her voice best at the time. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

The title track, break the rules, is quite interesting. The rap parts are like a throwback to the old Namie, only with better vocal control. It’s sassy and Namie knows how to handle it, but the one thing she can’t do is pronounce the title words right (‘break the lures‘?). The previous two songs were much better, but this isn’t a disaster so to speak.

LOOKING FOR YOU is Namie’s first song that is entirely in English, which makes it easier for me haha. It shows a different side of her and I must say I’m impressed with the way she handles it. It’s nice and catchy and I think this could really grow on me after a few listens.

After a couple of breezy R&B songs, PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (Album Mix) is more edgy with the electric guitars and loud percussion. I still don’t like the haunting strings that appear throughout the songs, but when I ignore them this is actually a good track. Doesn’t really have a highlight, but the placing on the album already does it more justice than the single.

never shoulda is one of the new tracks and it fits well after PLEASE SMILE AGAIN since it continues that edgier sound. But where the previous song is more pop/rock, this is more R&B. It’s decent, but to me there is a misfit between the verses and the chorus, a completely different sound.

breaktherules3CROSS OVER (Album Mix) was paired with PLEASE SMILE AGAIN on the latter song’s single release. I like the melodies in this one and Namie sounds very confident. The arrangement tends to be all over the place at times, but somehow it works and it makes this better than its A-side PLEASE SMILE AGAIN. Nice detail: an uncredited male rapper fills up the space around 3:30 minutes that was left empty in the single version.

Somehow in GIRLFRIEND someone thought it was a good idea for Namie to sing in a very high voice. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but in this case it’s borderline nagging. Which is a shame because it could have been a very nice song but the way Namie uses her voice kind of ruins it.

I was kind of disappointed to hear that NEVER END (Album Mix) is more like the single’s radio edit instead of the original mix, which had more Japanese elements in it, but it’s still by far one of the best tracks on the entire album. It’s incredibly catchy, the arrangement has a lot of body and Namie nailed the vocals on this one. Highlight of the album, if not her early career as a whole.

It makes sense that think of me would be placed behind NEVER END, it fits very well. I’m still a bit baffled that they didn’t polish her vocals on this one, but that put aside this is a beautiful ballad with a lot of potential. The arrangement is among the best on the album, but her vocals haven’t been this bad before. I actually feel a bit embarrassed for her.

RULE 8PM, again unnecessary, so what if the girl goes to a store.

There is a nice bounce to HimAWArI that I like, but that’s probably where the liking stops. Namie’s vocals are way too loud and it’s like she can’t control what she’s doing. To me it sounds like she’s at some bad karaoke club and she’s trying her best to sing well, but sometimes she’s almost off key.

I believe the no more tears REMIX is basically an extended version of the club dub that was featured on the single release, but that was already a long track and now it’s a whopping 9 minutes long. However, it does feature more vocals which was what was missing from the club dub! A little side note: this album was released before said single, so basically it’s the other way around and they shortened this remix and edited out some of the vocals, but I reviewed them in reverse order (on purpose) which explains my point of view. Anyway, I really enjoyed this remix and I’m glad they put it on the album.

I was anxious at first to pick up where I left off over 5 years ago when I was last reviewing Namie’s discography. Her first three albums weren’t that good; most of the songs sounded the same and Namie had to take some singing lessons. She lost a lot of fans to Ayumi Hamasaki and Utada Hikaru, but maybe that opened her eyes. She traded long time producer Tetsuya Komuro for American producer Dallas Austin and her singing improved, and the result is this album that is by far much better than her previous ones! But hey, it’s quite easy to top the disaster that ‘GENIUS 2000’ was.

Favorite songsno more tears | better days | PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (Album Mix) | CROSS OVER (Album Mix) | NEVER END (Album Mix)

3½ stars



Namie Amuro – think of me / no more tears

July 25, 2018 at 3:12 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

thinkofmenomoretears.pngSINGLE REVIEW
Namie Amuro – think of me / no more tears

1. think of me
2. no more tears
4. no more tears (club dub)

think of me / no more tears is the seventeenth single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on January 24, 2001. The single reached #7 on the charts, selling 112,670 copies.

Despite what others might think, I say think of me is Namie’s first serious attempt at a heartfelt ballad and she ALMOST succeeded at it. The arrangement has been kept simple with mainly piano, guitars and percussion and it sounds beautiful, leading into a big ending. The only thing screwing it up at times is Namie herself. Her vocals have improved a lot, but someone should’ve told the girl she wasn’t ready for Whitney Houston-style adlibs. At times she almost nailed it, but mostly she didn’t. Luckily Namie re-recorded the song in 2002 for her ‘LOVE ENHANCED♥  single collection’ and it sounded a lot better.

no more tears is an uptempo pop song about a girl that doesn’t want to cry over her boyfriend anymore. The arrangement is typical 00’s pop with a nice bounce to it and Namie kept her vocals relaxed throughout the track. The further it progresses, I start to like it more and more.

For I TO YOU, Namie took a page from TLC’s book for a slick R&B approach. I acknowledge that this was very much a song of its time and it was probably successful among her die-hard fans, but it’s plain and bland most of the time.

It’s clear that the second A-side was the more popular of the two since it got its own remix. no more tears (club dub) is like a more uptempo Summer beach club version of the original and it quite suits the overall theme of the song. But, as is mostly the case with Namie’s remixes, I’m missing some vocals. Other than that, very enjoyable.

3½ stars


July 25, 2018 at 2:46 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

pleasesmileagain.pngSINGLE REVIEW

2. CROSS OVER (TK Original Mix)
3. PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (Jamaster A Mix)
5. PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (acapella)

PLEASE SMILE AGAIN is the sixteenth single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on October 4, 2000. The single peaked at #2 on the charts, selling 216,960 copies. PLEASE SMILE AGAIN was used as the Meiji Confectionary Fran commerical song.

PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (TK Original Mix) is an interesting song, so different from her previous single ‘NEVER END’ and somewhere between the old Namie and the newly improved (and better singer) Namie. The opening sounds haunting, though I don’t think it was intended to be. It could’ve been a fierce pop/rock song, but it doesn’t quite take off the way it should. Yet it’s catchy enough for me to get used to it and even like it a bit.

The B-side CROSS OVER (TK Original Mix) is actually the better song of the two! The arrangement makes more sense and I like how they used both a soft piano and more edgy electric guitars for a nice 00’s pop track. Namie’s vocals sound better and more confident too. This should’ve been the lead-in for the next album to be honest.

Though some parts of PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (Jamaster A Mix) are very messy, it’s an interesting take on the original and since it completely left out that haunting synth part it might even be better. Yet I’m missing some vocals, if only I’d heard more of Namie..

3½ stars


Namie Amuro – NEVER END

July 25, 2018 at 2:26 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment


Namie Amuro – NEVER END

1. NEVER END (Radio Edit)
2. NEVER END (Original Mix)
3. NEVER END (Chanpuru Mix)
4. NEVER END (Acapella)

NEVER END is the fifteenth single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on July 12, 2000. The single peaked at #2 on the Oricon charts, selling 640,310 copies. NEVER END was used as the theme song for the 26th G8 Summit that took place in Okinawa on July 2000.

NEVER END was an important song for Japan at the time, which is probably why the arrangement has more of that Japanese sound than Namie’s previous singles. I’m amazed to hear that Namie’s vocals have improved so much. She’s finally able to hit more high notes without straining, although the chorus is still a little bit too high for her. The Radio Edit and Original Mix differ only slightly, but both have their pro’s and cons. The Radio Edit features Namie’s vocals more prominently, while the Original Mix is more minimal and has that Japanese sound. Overall I’m more satisfied with this single than I thought I would be, it’s actually pretty good!

The Chanpuru Mix just features the choir, not Namie’s own vocals, so it’s like the karaoke version. The Acapella Version is beautiful, but not really acapella since the vocal track was simply taken from the original.

4 stars

Namie Amuro – Hero

August 27, 2016 at 2:49 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Namie Amuro – Hero

1. Hero
2. Show Me What You’ve Got
3. Hero – Instrumental-
4. Show Me What You’ve Got -Instrumental-

Hero is the forty-third single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on July 27, 2016. The single debuted at #6 on the charts and has sold 47,157 copies to date. Hero was used as the opening theme to NHK’s broadcast of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

I really like Hero, I think I can even say that I love it and I can imagine this being the Summer Olympics 2016 anthem it was. It’s interesting that it starts off slow and still manages to wow me, but after the first chorus it speeds up with some more drums and violins. Her vocals even appear to be more solid and energetic, less thin than they were on Mint. Talk about your uplifting and inspiring track…

Now a ballad wouldn’t be the best fit on this single, but I also have my doubts about Show Me What You’ve Got. It’s like a cheerleader pop anthem and it doesn’t feel like a lot of production value went into it. It feels a little empty, and it’s so sad especially since Hero is amazing. I’m not into it, but luckily the A-side saved the day.

4 stars


Namie Amuro – Mint

August 27, 2016 at 2:20 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

mint_zpsmwjbjwypSINGLE REVIEW
Namie Amuro – Mint

1. Mint
2. Chit Chat
3. Mint -Instrumental-
4. Chit Chat -Instrumental-

Mint is the forty-second single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on May 18, 2016. The single debuted at #4 on the Oricon Charts and has sold 44,339 copies to date. Mint was used as the theme song for the Kansai Fuji TV drama Boku no Yabai Tsuma.

When I first heard Mint, I was very surprised by its arrangement. It’s not typical, but it kicks ass. It’s kind of a dance rock song and Namie pulled it off nicely, to say the least. Her voice can be quite thin, but somehow she can handle all the action going on. For me, it’s not that hard to think of any reasons why this single was so successful when she released it. Alright, I’ll give you one: that beat ❤

Chit Chat complements Mint very well because it borrows some of the fierce arrangement, yet the song has its very own sound. The previous song is more dance club, this is for a slumber party with the girls (hence the title, I guess). It took me a couple of listens to really start to like this, but now it’s stuck in my head for the rest of the day. That darn catchy synth riff…

4½ stars

Namie Amuro – Red Carpet

December 3, 2015 at 1:15 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

redcarpet_zpscblhl6lgSingle review
Namie Amuro – Red Carpet

1. Red Carpet
2. Black Make Up
3. Red Carpet -Instrumental-
4. Black Make Up -Instrumental-

Red Carpet is the forty-third single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on December 2, 2015. Black Make Up is used for theme of One Piece ~Adventure of Nevlandia~. The single debuted at #2 on the charts and sold 13,130 copies on its first day.

I feel so proud of Namie, Red Carpet sounds amazing from beginning to end! ‘_genic’, the album released earlier this year, was very good, but some of the songs did not stand out. This track does, so she’s going places with this. It’s very rhythmic, combining electric guitars, synths and acoustic guitars, and very catchy. I love the chorus, her vocals are very good and the melodies are very memorable. All in all, I love this!

Black Make Up is like a throwback to Namie’s ‘PLAY’ days (the 2007 album), it’s as playful as some of the tracks on that particular album. It’s faster paced than the A-side track, kinda funky with a lot of nice electric guitars, baselines and percussion. The arrangement is less full than that of Red Carpet, but it’s more fun while Red Carpet was impressive. All I can say is: perfect combination of two tracks on one single!

5 stars

Namie Amuro – GENIUS 2000

July 19, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

Namie Amuro – GENIUS 2000

1. Make the Connection Complete
2. LOVE 2000

♦ ♦ ♦

GENIUS 2000 is the third studio album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on January 26, 2000. The album reached #1 on the weekly Oricon charts and charted for eight weeks. It sold 802,740 copies, becoming the #28 album of 2000.

Wow, dem capital letters. Anyway, let’s start with Make the Connection Complete, the only normal listing. It’s quite a useless intro, it does give a good intro to what the album is supposed to sound like (futuristic because oh wow, the 21st century), but all the computer sounds just bore me.

LOVE 2000 is more promising, it also introduced Namie’s newly improved vocals! They really went all the way with the arrangement, including everything they could possibly find (kick drums, synths, strings, a harp, subtle autotuning…) to create this energetic song. The middle section was stretched a bit too long, but the rest of the song has a pretty awesome vibe to it.

Despite the aim for a more ‘new century’ sound, RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE sounds like every 90s summer song, but that’s not meant in a negative way. It’s like an improved ‘DON’T WANNA CRY’ with its light chorus and gospel choir in the background. The verses are a bit darker and Namie is straining a bit in the choruses singing in her head voice, but there’s a nice flow to the song and Namie doesn’t drain her own vocals like she used to (definitely improvement here).

Ah, a new track. LEAVIN’ FOR LAS VEGAS has a nice beat to it and I like the groovy guitar riffs in the background. Namie is singing in her lower register and it’s as low as I’ve ever heard her sing. Sometimes it sounds good, other times she’s not hitting it well. As for the song as a whole, it’s actually kind of boring since it’s so repetitive, too bad because the arrangement has potential.

SOMETHING ‘BOUT THE KISS was made in collaboration with Dallas Austin, so this has a more western R&B sound to it, very ‘turn-of-the-century’ and fun. It’s pretty catchy, maybe a little too repetitive after a while but it has something. It’s definitely better than the previous track, I even liked Namie’s rap. The only issue is the English background vocals while Namie herself is singing in Japanese, that was kind of distracting.

I’m still having a hard time identifying the style of I HAVE NEVER SEEN, I don’t know if it’s a ballad or midtempo but there is this constant anticipation of a faster beat. Not very relaxed to listen to. Namie’s vocals have definitely improved for this first A-side of the era, compared to the previous one, but it’s still not quite there yet. Eventually, there’s nothing for me here.

STILL IN LOVE felt a little off because it’s a new track written with the new concept in mind (probably), so it sounds so different. I must say I like Namie’s vocals so much more and she sounds like she does nowadays, much more comfortable. Other than that, it’s not very special and it’s another example of English and Japanese not mixing very well.

I like the Spanish guitar opening the fast paced MI CORAZÓN (TE’AMOUR). The song doesn’t really sound bad overall, it has a nice tempo to it, but the pitch seems a little too high for Namie to sing comfortably without straining and, I hate to say it, it’s not catchy or anything. I do have the feeling this could grow on me in the future because of its Spanish influences.

Years ago I used to listen only to YOU ARE THE ONE feat. IMAJIN, the better version that is (the single version was horrifying). It’s so much better than the single version, the arrangement has improved so much as well. It’s still true that the real stars are the IMAJIN boys with their soulful vocals, Namie still needed some lessons. Yet, compared to other tracks, this was one of the better tracks on the album.

Now we only have 5 new tracks left, of which KISS-AND-RIDE is next. It’s a slow song with a mellow sound to it that I like very well. Namie’s vocals are autotuned, but I don’t even mind because it keeps her voice on track. I got through the whole thing, but only because my phone kept me occupied. This song didn’t because it gets boring too soon, it shouldn’t have because it could’ve been so much more.

Staying in the ballad vibe, THINGS I COLLECTED features an acoustic guitar, strings and soft percussion while Namie sings in her lower register again. I can’t help but think she sounds kind of shaky, just not solid at all, and the song doesn’t grab my attention at all. Maybe because it’s way too slow and dragging?

Can I stop listening to this album yet? NEXT TO YOU doesn’t do anything for me either. It’s also an Austin Dallas production with slightly better English-Japanese mixing, it’s uptempo and it could’ve been catchy, but this just doesn’t appeal to me because of lack of originality.

Maybe ASKING WHY isn’t too bad? At least there’s some variation in the song and there’s something enjoyable about it. Also, Namie’s vocals are better than in other tracks, she’s holder her own more. I still wouldn’t say this is a very good song, it’s just better than some other cr*p on this album.

Bad Engrish opens GIVE IT A TRY. I’m thinking about not giving it a try at all, but oh well, last song. This is just plain ugly, I’m sorry. LOG OFF isn’t interesting either since it only closes the album with a piano tune.

I’m not going to waste much time on this. GENIUS 2000 isn’t my thing at ALL. I’m glad Namie is a better artist and singer now, having more control over her vocals and having more variaty in her music. This album got way more praise than it should have, if you ask me. Nope, not liking this at all.


1½ stars

Namie Amuro – _genic

June 12, 2015 at 11:11 AM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

Namie Amuro – _genic

1. Photogenic
2. Time Has Come
3. Golden Touch
4. Birthday
5. It
6. Scream
7. Fashionista
8. Fly
9. B Who I Want To B (feat. Hatsune Miku)
10. Stranger
11. Every Woman
12. Space Invader
13. Anything
14. What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro)

♦ ♦ ♦

_genic is the twelfth studio album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro. The album was released on June 10, 2015 in three different versions (CD+Blu-ray, CD+DVD and CD Only).

The album opens with Photogenic, which has this amazing guitar riff in the background that makes it a bit more groovy instantly. Also it seems Namie is gonna stick to English for most of her tracks, and she pulls it off quite well again. Not an explosive opening track or anything but I think the chorus is so catchy I still like it very much!

Time Has Come has a very interesting arrangement! It opens with a synthy EDM-ish introduction before it slows down with a piano tune in the verses. It reminds me of another track I’ve heard sometime before, but I can’t even come up with the artist so w/e. Anyway, English again, executed well, and also another very catchy tune indeed.

Namie’s vocals sound a little off in Golden Touch, probably because of the higher pitch so I’ll just let it pass. Also, this is a very memorable and strong track with a little ‘One Thing’ (by Amerie) vibe going on with the percussion and brass instruments. I think her long time fans (like myself) will definitely like this.

What’s up with all these b-day songs lately?! So I saw the MV for Birthday last month or so and I thought it was pretty much fun. The song itself is very empty if you put your critic cap on, but it’s freaking enjoyable nonetheless. So would I describe this happy slappy dance track as a guilty pleasure? Oh yes.

No song would be better at this point than It, since after the b-day song it opens in a playful way with the rhythmic whistles which I loved. I can’t help myself and it’s impossible for me to sit still to this one, especially because of the nice rhythm and piano tune in the background. Short, but love this.

Scream is a fast paced dance track with a summer vibe to it, though I don’t really know why. It’s probably because of the use of the synths, it just reminds me off all these beach dance tracks. I must say Namie’s vocals are top notch here, she slays the chorus! I don’t even mind the English having gone completely out the window here, small detail.

By now I have added all the previous songs to my fave list (sorry for the SPOILER), and another candidate is Fashionista. It’s a busy song with a lot going on like heavy beats, synths, brass, high pitched vocals in the chorus, oompfh. It’s not quite there for me yet but I bet this will grow that extra 5% on me so that it will belong among the favorites in time.

If someone has a clue of what she’s singing about in Fly, please, sign me in will ya. Still, another uptempo basher that is quite catchy and definitely enjoyable so I’m willing to forgive Namie for her bad English. After a while it already grows on me and I’m starting to like it more and more.

The feature on this track was apparently a surprise. Namie has gone robotic, OMG. Can I just say I feel uncomfortable listening to HATSUNE MIKU’s (Hakuna Matata’s xD excuse me) vocals? It’s silly, its arrangement is lacking and it’s just… bad? Slip-up.

Stranger sounds like a louder and updated version of what Namie did in the past with some songs on ‘Uncontrolled’. I can only think of one place where this song would be suitable on the playlist, and that is in a packed-to-the-roof night club. It’s literally all over the place and you either love it or hate it. Unless you’re me. Then you can neutrally handle it.

Every Woman seems to continue the major streak of EDM songs here but it still easier on the ears than Stranger and I like the playful verses. It’s definitely sassy and I love the addition of the brassy synths, gives it more of an 80s feel while still sounding like a modern song. Interesting composition and I really seem to like it.

I definitely wasn’t expecting Space Invader to sound like this! Among all these fast paced EDM songs there is also room for a smoother one and it’s like a breath of fresh air. Her English is also easier to understand, but sometimes I wish it wasn’t (I’m not gonna mention the ‘rocket in my face‘ lyric since the lyrics have a hidden sexual vibe to them, oh wait, I just did). Nonetheless, LOVE IT.

I already heard the entire song Anything and I saw the MV as a whole a couple of weeks ago, and now I must say this slow song is sooooo welcome. Finally there is some room for guitar music in the arrangement! It just feels a little weird after Space Invader, but oh well, I really like the positive ambience of it. The album would’ve been one big mash-up without this track so this deserves extra credit.

As the closing track there is the bonus What I Did For Love (David Guetta feat. Namie Amuro). Is it just me or has Namie’s English just magically improved for just this one track? Oh dem producers. I heard this track with Emeli Sandé doing the vocals and it didn’t impress me. Does it impress me now? Well, it’s about the same. It just feels like it’s tacked on to the end of the album without a purpose.

I’m very satisfied with this album, and mostly the first half of it. After that, the album is starting to feel like one big mash-up of dance tracks and I think Namie would’ve done good to add some midtempo’s to the album. Anything feels like the odd one out, but that’s just what makes it more welcome if you know what I mean. Finally room to breathe. Still, Namie has done the best she can and I can see myself loving this album even more in the future. Most of the tracks are very enjoyable, sometimes you just have to listen to up to three of them at a time to not get overcome by all the energy. Amazing album, BUT: handle with care! Small detail: her English seems to have deteriorated for this album, but I couldn’t understand her anyway so…

Favorite songs: Photogenic | Time Has Come | Golden Touch | Birthday | It | Scream | Every Woman | Space Invader | Anything

4 stars

Namie Amuro – TSUKI

January 27, 2014 at 8:48 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | Leave a comment

Namie Amuro – TSUKI

2. Neonlight Lipstick
3. Ballerina
4. TSUKI (Instrumental)
5. Neonlight Lipstick (Instrumental)
6. Ballerina (Instrumental)

TSUKI is the thirty-ninth single by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released on January 29, 2014. Neonlight Lipstick was used as a KOSE ESPRIQUE CM song, and Ballerina was used both as a GUCCI×Vogue Japan promo song and as a Recochoku CM song.

I’m so excited for this new single, it has definitely been a while since Namie last released a single (March 2013). TSUKI sounds the way the cover looks, and by that I mean that the song has a nice wintery touch to fit the time of year as well. It’s not your typical ballad so I’d dub this a peaceful midtempo song that reminds me of BENI’s music somehow. The arrangement is quite peaceful with a nice harp taking centre stage and Namie herself keeps her vocals controlled yet strong. Love this one!

So the two B-sides were both released previously as digital singles, but since I’m not too fond of the digital single type of releases, this is my first encounter with both tracks. Neonlight Lipstick is a 180 from the A-side with a deep and pumping vibe, so it brings a nice contrast to the single although this is an older song. It’s very edgy and Namie shows some attitude performing this song, not too bad but still I’ll have to prefer the A-side.

The other B-side, Ballerina, is an uptempo song too. It’s badass, but to me it just seems a little empty and sometimes I really don’t get the vibe that’s going on. Namie’s vocals are altered way too much for my liking. I was hoping for something better. I can still get used to this, I suppose, but the first impression isn’t too good.

3½ stars

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