First Message

First Message was ayaka’d debut album. It was released on November 1, 2006 and reached number 1 on the charts with 350,580 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 1,200,909+ copies. Originally the album was to be released in September but it was postponed so that Mikazuki could be released as a single. That’s probably the reason why the album did so well. First Message also has the highest selling first week of a debut album by a solo female artist since Nakashima Mika’s TRUE back in 2002.

First Message - ayaka
Tracks:

1. Start to 0 (Love)
2. Real voice
3. Sha la la
4. Blue Days
5. I believe
6. Stay with me
7. melody
8. Kimi no Power to Otona no Furi
9. Eien no Monogatari
10. Toki wo Modoshite
11. 1・2・3・4
12. Story
13. Rairarai
14. Mikadzuki
15. message

Review:
The album begins with Start to 0 (Love), a typical ayaka tune featuring the guitar and some great acoustics. It’s almost a country song namely the acoustics featured but that’s about it, otherwise it follows a pop song for the most part. It’s pretty catchy in all aspects and with ayaka’s great vocals it easily becomes a memorable first track. I just really loved this song, it was so free so happy and so up-beat.

Real voice is another typical ayaka song, very guitar oriented. Some people have said that it’s pretty average but I like it, maybe I’m just odd. Oh well, it’s still good, pretty catchy and the strings were a great touch.

Finally we can hear the studio version of Sha la la. The live version was released on her single melody ~SOUNDS REAL~, and since then I’ve been dieing to hear the studio version. This version sounds a lot better than the live version, but not much better. It’s still a nice and all, but it didn’t peak my interest all that much. Still the the guitar as the main instrument it was nice.

The roller coaster song, aka Blue Day. This song had both its ups and downs, hence the name. I loved how the song had such a slow moving pace, but ayaka’s vocals weren’t all that great at certain points. Her vocals were really just too quiet for me, more power. Other than that it was OK.

And now one of the most beautiful songs and fan favorites, I believe. ayaka is know for her ballads and I believe is certainly one unforgettable ballad. The vocals were superb and so enchanting. The music was so dramatic and so epic. If you listen to one ayaka song, make it this one.

Stay with me is a rather interesting song. It features the guitar as well as the tambourine and what appears to be a church organ almost. Still the song is very good, up-beat and so happy and with the choir “Ahh” it makes it sound so peaceful and church-like almost.

I just love the next song on the album, and go figure that it’s melody. It’s so up-beat and ayaka’s vocals are deep but so so inviting. The music seems to complement her vocals and her amazing skills. The chorus was such a treat and with ayaka’s great use of English it made it an easy listener. How she manages to make everything sound so catchy is beyond me.

The longest title on the album is Kimi no Power to Otona no Furi. Despite it being so long it’s not all long winded. It’s a pretty fast moving song that again as a country feel to it, it’s that acoustic guitar. ayaka’s vocals were pretty great and that’s really what made the song. The chorus sounded a little average to me, but still nice.

On of the shortest songs on the album is Eien no Monogatari. At just barely over 2 minutes it’s more of an interlude than anything. Still despite that fact it’s pretty good. It’s completely acoustic driven and ayaka’s vocals are high for once, not so deep. It’s a nice change too.

First thing I noticed with Toki wo Modoshite was how different it sounded from the previous up-beat tracks. It sounded a little darker than the first few but oddly enough I liked it, gave the album a little more variety. With the brass instrumentals in the background I found it to be pleasant. I wasn’t all to happy with the chorus that much but it will suffice. It just wasn’t all that catchy, just sounded good. But ayaka’s vocals did sound a little different, almost angry so that was a great bonus.

After a dark tune we now come to 1・2・3・4 which is pretty up-beat. Again like most of the songs on the album it’s acoustic driven for the most part. ayaka’s vocals were great again but it just seemed all to familiar. Her songs just sound so similar at this point, well a few do.

If rock is your thing you’re probably going to enjoy Story, or as ayaka says Stoly. From the beginning it’s pretty rock oriented but as you continue to listen it becomes a fusion of rock and a little country. It’s still got those deep ayaka vocals. There’s not much variety in the song, but it’s still good.

I’m honestly not sure whether you’d pronounce this song as Rairarai or Lailalai? Since in Japanese the Ls and Rs can be interchanged it makes sense that you can call it whatever you want. But ayaka pronounces the latter. The one thing I loved about this song were the drums, then all the guitars and such. I did like how she ad-libbed and everything though.

And now the other phenomenal ballad Mikazuki. This and I believe are some of ayaka’s most famous songs, each for obvious reasons. With a voice that could sing to angels ayaka proves that she’s one of the most talented new artists. The instrumentals were just beautiful and it’s no wonder why this is also one of her highest selling singles to date.

We end the album with Message. It’s the shortest song on the album and it only features ayaka’s high vocals. There’s no real music and the only sound is afterwards towards the end, it sounds like the wind. Not a bad way to end First Message.

Overall Review: First Message was an impressive debut. Now it was mostly dominated by guitar driven songs but a few of the songs were lackluster to say the least. Other songs were great, full of power and great vocals. The one major issue I had with this album was the fact that there wasn’t enough variety. I think it needs more variety besides the guitar as the main instrument. Besides that the album was great. With those deep vocals of ayaka she made one heck of an album.

Final Grade: 94A-

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