DOLCE was Ami Suzuki’s 6th studio album, and her 2nd collaboration album. It was released on February 2, 2008 and reached number 26 on the charts with 7,071 copies sold. In all this album has sold over 10,835+ copies. A grand total of three editions were released, a first press edition with a photobook, a CD+DVD edition, and a CD edition. The first press edition featured the track “if.” Strangely enough, this album reached number 26 on the charts just like CONETTA, and was originally named CONETTA 2 but was changed for some reason.
1. FREE FREE (AMI SUZUKI joins Nakata Yasutaka (capsule))
2. feel the beat (album version) (AMI SUZUKI joins Sugiurumn)
3. Potential Breakup Song (AMI SUZUKI joins Aly & AJ)
4. Bitter… (AMI SUZUKI joins STUDIO APARTMENT)
5. SWEET DANCE (AMI SUZUKI joins RAM RIDER)
6. The WeekeND (AMI SUZUKI joins CAPTAIN FUNK)
7. SUPER MUSIC MAKER (radio edit) (AMI SUZUKI joins Nakata Yasutaka (capsule))
8. MUSIC (AMI SUZUKI joins RAM RIDER)
9. Stereo Love (AMI SUZUKI joins Tomoe Shinohara☆☆☆)
10. Ai no Uta(AMI SUZUKI joins ROCKETMAN feat.YOU THE ROCK★)
11. Futari wa POP(AMI SUZUKI joins Hoff Dylan)
12. Atarashii Hibi(AMI SUZUKI joins YO-KING)
13. if (First Press Bonus Track)
The begins with the ever-infectious FREE FREE. It was the first song in her DOLCE Era and oddly enough kicks off the album. It features some amazing distorted vocals and infectious synth beats. The music is a mixture of heavy dance beats and synth instrumentals. The verses are sung entirely in Japanese for the most part and the chorus is all English. It’s a pretty addictive song especially during the chorus. I wanna be FREE! And I loved the verses more than the chorus oddly enough, but the song overall was such a flashy, infectious dance tune. This song’s collaborator was Nakata Yasutaka. What a way to kick off DOLCE.
The next song that follows is feel the beat (album version). The original version was featured as the B-Side on Potential Breakup Song, and it was extremely long winded. Originally lasting over eight minutes, this version was shortened to about five and a half minutes. I honestly couldn’t stand the original version as it was just way to focused on the beats rather than Ami’s vocals. But in this version, it’s gotten a little better, and there’s no enormous intro thankfully. I still don’t like this song but at least it’s more tolerable now. And here SUGIURUMN was collaborator, or song producer, either way he’s credited for something.
After the previous song, things seem to take a right turn and somehow ends up at Potential Breakup Song. This song was also released as a single and it was downright fantastic! Despite being a cover song Ami owns the song hands down. I did love how it was in Japanese rather than in English and how Aly & Aj, the collaborators, would sing background, and in Japanese! The verses were impressively catchy, yet the chorus was just amazing. Not to mention is was additive. The music in this song was more club oriented and the music was fast paced. I can’t think of a better song from Ami!
Another stunning song is next and it just happens to be Bitter… This song was basically used to promote the album, and the PV for it was just wonderful. The piano and violins in the beginning made me think ballad. But then it changes into a new wave of music with a constant beat and claps. Ami’s vocals were just so great, I mean they could use some work at times but they were enjoyable, not too overpowering. The chorus here was particularly great. Not only was it catchy but Ami’s vocals were just gorgeous. I also loved how it was still mid-tempo along with the English lyrics. The best part about this song is that it’s not dance oriented. I love Ami’s dance songs but this one isn’t so it’s a nice change. The collaborator was STUDIO APARTMENT for this particular song.
I’m pretty sure that the name SWEET DANCE gives away the song’s genre. It’s a great dance song, but it’s not all that heavy techno oriented like FREE FREE, so it’s actually a wonderful change. The music begins softly but slowly builds up until Ami’s vocals become stronger. While Ami’s vocals were distorted a little you could still hear her true vocals. The music for once was a little on the lighter side, featuring some small synth beats. And although the chorus wasn’t all that catchy is was great, in a cute kind of way. RAM RIDER is the collaborator, but I remember him from a remix of Real me by Ayu.
Leave it to CAPTAIN FUNK’s collaboration, The WeekeND, to be a really funky song. It almost reminds me of a disco song from the 70’s. Again Ami’s vocals were distorted a little, but for the most part they were untouched. Beside being funky and odd, it’s the longest song on the album, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. The instrumentals were very synth oriented and all of the beats were actually good. It just sounds out of place for this music era. I don’t think the song is overall that catchy but it’s not bad either, just needs some help.
Easily one of my favorite songs on the entire album, SUPER MUSIC MAKER (radio edit) makes its move. Like FREE FREE it began the DOLCE Era as a double A-Side single. This song features some amazing techno beats and energetic music. And as you might have guessed, the original version was way to long for the album so the radio edit was featured instead. There are still distorted vocals in this song, but you can actually hear Ami’s real vocals more easily. Surprisingly the verses were entertaining, and catchy. The chorus was quite energetic and up-beat, not to mention just plain catchy. Hey you YEAH! you have to listen to this amazing song. And just like FREE FREE, this song’s collaborator was Nakata Yasutaka.
Another RAM RIDER cover is MUSIC, and go figure that he’s the collaborator. This song is definitely more dance oriented and faster paced than SWEET MUSIC. It’s no surprise that Ami’s vocals are distorted but they’re actually great. I particularly loved the chorus. It was so up-beat and not to mention catchy. I was thrilled that there was some English in this song and that it sounded great. If fun dance songs are your thing, listen to MUSIC!
A little slower paced is the dance tune entitled Stereo Love. When compared to the other songs her vocals are a bit slower but at the same time they sound better. There aren’t as many distortions as before either, which makes the song a little more original. And the song actually isn’t all dance, nor is it all pop. It’s more of a fusion of dance & pop, with a little synth. I just wish that there was a little more variety in this song. Not even the English was all that great. And I’m not exactly sure who the collaborator Tomoe Shinohara☆☆☆ is, maybe he’s some dance artist or techno.
Next is Ai no Uta lit. Love Song. And a lot, and I mean a lot of artists have songs entitled Ai no Uta, must be very popular. But unlike those songs this one isn’t a ballad, it’s actually more rock really. This song is more upbeat and features a rock/pop sound with some excellent brass instrumentals. I’m not too crazy about ROCKETMAN feat.YOU THE ROCK★’s vocals but they could have been worse. I did love how there was a lot of English in the song, but there was just one thing that couldn’t tolerate. It was the fact that Ami only sang the chorus. It’s as if she was the background singer, but at least when she sang it was good.
Following Ai no Uta is Futari wa POP lit. Our POP. And it’s actually a pop song, well partially, I actually hear some none pop sounds, just don’t know what it is. And this song is actually different from most songs on the album as it’s rather up-beat and just pop sounding, no techno, synth, or rock. One thing I noticed about this song is that it has an almost 50’s quality to it, but it’s still a pop song. The chorus in my opinion is so-so and really repetitive. I’m not sure if Hoff Dylan was singing or not, some parts sounded like him but they also could have been Ami, either way it’s ok.
Ending the regular editions is Atarashii Hibi lit. New Day. It’s actually a light rock song for the most part. The guitar is the main instrumental, hence the light rock, but it’s not that overwhelming. I particularly enjoyed Ami’s vocals because they weren’t distorted and they just sounded so great with the rock music. I personally think the guitar made the song better than some of those dance/club songs on the album. The collaborator here was YO-KING, who I’m guessing played the guitar. But what I liked most about this song was the chorus hands down, it was so catchy and so just so different from all of her previous songs.
Now if you were to purchase the first press Photobook edition you would receive the bonus track if. And one of the perks of getting the photobook edition beside the extra track is the fact that if has no collaborator, which makes it pretty special. The song features some great acoustics along with some piano chords. I also loved the English in this song, especially during the chorus. For one there were no distortions featured in this song and it was such a refreshing change. As for the chorus, well it was so sweet and adorable. Not to mention when the strings came out either, that only made it better. “if I could be with you…” it’s so simple yet when she sings it, it’s so beautiful and innocent. What a beautiful and surprisingly awesome way to end DOLCE.
Overall Review: DOLCE was an amazing collaboration album. After looking at the chart performance I was a bit skeptical to hear this album, but now I’m so glad I decided to give it a chance. It was surprisingly good, and despite all of the collaborations it was fantastic. Ami did such an amazing job. I think it’s a shame that it didn’t do so well on the charts but it still made it, so that’s good. And for some reason, DOLCE reminds me of the Spanish dulce meaning sweet. With that being said this is a really sweet album. And it also reminds me of the designer and like the designs, this album is classy, not to mention pink!
Final Grade: 94A-