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Ayumi Hamasaki: A song for XX | Review

Artist: Ayumi Hamasaki
Album: A Song for ××
Year: 1999
Genre: JPop



Ayumi Hamasaki is an artist whose name I’ve heard pop up several times, but one which I never really got around to actually check out. Neither did I have much of an idea about how her music was like, so it was a welcomed recommendation.

Intro track, hmm alright, nothing exciting. I’m not sure if I’m alone in thinking intro and outro tracks are a waste of time for most albums? I just find them annoying and unecessary, unless the album is some sort of story-based musical adventure. Unrelated thought and nothing I’d let influence a review, but still. The second track reveals the real music. It’s rather 90s in the sound, basic synthesizer-like beats with some bland guitar sounds in the background. Somewhat chill and dreamy atmosphere around it, with some nice japanese vocals. She does have a nice voice.

The second track comes on, and immediately I’m thinking it sounds like a Street Fighter 2 stage theme. Still the same soundscape and basic pop sounds. Track three, and suddenly it sounds more like early 90s Prince beats. The album continues in a somewhat schizophrenic fashion, alternating between late and early 90s pop sound, and a song here and there which sounds like they’d be the perfect anime opening theme.

All in all, the thing that binds them all together is the generally pleasant sounding vocals, which seems to be the album’s strong point. The really basic pop sounds and flat lazy use of synthesizer brings everything down for me a notch. I did however generally enjoy the album, even if it did not make a huge impact. It made me download her other material, which I generally enjoyed a bit more than this one.

6 / 10