Queen of Hip-Pop
Queen of Hip-Pop was Namie Amuro’s 6th studio album. It was released on July 13, 2005 and reached no. 2 on the charts with 201,524 copies sold, in all it has sold over 475,600+ copies. The album also featured a tie-in with the Pink Panther.
1. Queen of Hip-Pop
2. WANT ME, WANT ME
4. I Wanna Show You My Love
5. GIRL TALK
7. My Darling
8. Ups & Downs duet with Nao’ymt
9. I Love You
10. ALL FOR YOU
The title track entitled Queen of Hip-Pop opens Namie’s sixth studio album. As the title suggests, this song is a mixture of hip-hop and pop, giving it a very unique sound. This song has got to be one of her catchiest songs though, I mean it’s fast and the music is a mixture of some synth line, claps, and impressive beats. As for the vocals, well Namie commanded total attention with her sultry vocals. Although she didn’t use much of her entire vocal range, what she did use was great. The verses oddly enough were pretty catchy, it’s amazing what some clapping can do, that and the occasional English. The chorus was catchy as ever in this song, the fast-paced music, vocals, and the English lines were incredible. What an intense opening!
If you thought the first track was hot, you haven’t heard anything yet. The second song is the sultry and sexy WANT ME, WANT ME. The lyrics are provocative, and got this single banned in South Korea, but besides that these song is amazing. The music is fast -paced infused with bhangra and a bit of reggae. This time Namie’s vocals sound even better than ever, and those whispers sound amazing. The whole song is really a guilty pleasure since it’s so naughty and sexual, but with that being said, it’s still catchy as ever. The lyrics get stuck in your head quit easily, and the lines are infectious. Naughty but addictive.
The album takes a wrong turn at the R&B WoWa. This song begins with some catchy whistling. Sadly the song become annoying afterwards. The claps weren’t all that great, and it seemed as if Namie depended on the repetitiveness of the song rather than beats or good music. Her vocals weren’t all that impressive either, but on the bright side, at least the song was somewhat up-beat.
Getting a little more R&B oriented is I Wanna Show You My Love. This is more R&B oriented than the previous track and it’s pretty synth influenced. Namie’s vocals sound pretty good, they’re deep as usual. The beats were sweet, and smooth. The clapping wasn’t annoying, and the music was great. As for the lyrics, well they were so-so really. Nothing really exciting, but the English lines were nice. Overall though, it’s not nearly as catchy as some of the singles of this era.
A little more gentle and innocent is GIRL TALK. This smooth R&B track features some pretty light R&B music with some small synth influences. There are also a few classical elements like the strings, and even the keyboard on another note. Compared to another song that shall not be named, the lyrics of this song are quite light and friendly. The music moves pretty fast, and yet the music is still lighthearted. I have to commend Namie on her vocals, especially towards the end when she sings in English, her vocals seem stronger than usual; her vocals throughout the entire song though were great.
Free features some heavy R&B beats that makes it pretty memorable. Beside that, it has some strong hip-hop like music that’s somewhat mid-tempo. Unfortunately this song really isn’t all that catchy. It lacks that wow factor that makes it so special. I really couldn’t stand the guys vocals in the beginning either. And Namie’s vocals were pretty repetitive in this song. She could have done so much better.
Coming back with some hip-hop flare is My Darling. I can honestly say right now that I don’t like this song. I’m not really a big fan of hip-hop anyway, but this song really killed it for me. The beginning is filled with the vocals of some rapper that appears throughout the song. The music is filled with heavy beats that are true to the hip-hop tune. But Namie’s vocals did sound great, and at least the music was somewhat fast-paced. But I really couldn’t stand the background vocals whatsoever. The English in this song was pretty good too, but the song still sucks. Namie needs to stick with R&B and pop for the most part, or at least collaborate with some better artists.
Ups & Downs duet with Nao’ymt is the first ballad on the album. And honestly, it’s nice to see a ballad after all those previous tracks. It’s no surprise that Namie handles these ballads with ease easily making them her own. Namie’s voice outshine Nao’ymt’s vocals, which seem to be more background really. The music sounds generally pleasant with a nice, happy vibe. The strings were quite unexpected, but were needed to complete the song. I also loved the amount of English used in this song, it was fairly nice.
Continuing with the very celebratory mood is I Love You. This song is one of her more up-beat tracks on the album that’s very pop oriented, yet almost dance at the same time. The music sounds very happy, but that’s it. This song is so repetitive and lacks some variety. The synth lines in the background were nice though.
By far one of Namie’s most enchanting ballads, ALL FOR YOU lights up the album with it’s lovely presence. The opening is classical with the instruments and so fitting for a ballad of this magnitude. The music is mid-tempo and so serene. Despite being a ballad, there are a few R&B influences in this song, namely the snaps. There was also an epic feel to this song, especially during the chorus, which was astounding. If you listen to one song on the album, make it this one.
I’m not too sure what people see exactly in ALARM. It failed to chart in the top ten, but became a summer hit. Anyway, this song features some heavy R&B influences and some great synth lines. The music itself is a bit dark and repetitive but it gets better. Although it is repetitive and there’s hardly any variety, it does sound a little catchy. Although I still don’t really care for this song all that much.
By far one of my favorite tracks on the entire album is No. The music is pretty catchy, and while it is R&B oriented, there’s some dance vibe to it, I guess it’s just that infectious. You can definitely hear some synth in this song, which is crucial.The chorus is the best part of this song and what’s better is that it uses quite a bit of English and the lyrics are great, a little humorous at times but still great. Too bad the song is kinda short. Without a doubt this is my favorite song on the album. The second chorus of this song is so addictive and catchy, and you can hear Namie’s vocals in their true glory. And it might end with a na, na, na, na, na, na… but it’s just the beginning.
Following a minute of silence from No is No Pt. 2. You might have wondered how No was a 7 minute song when it was less than 4 minutes. It’s all because this is a hidden track. It begins where No left off, but it’s a ballad. It’s the softer side of No with a slower pace and it has a ballad quality along with a different chorus. Rather than dance, there’s a softer R&B quality to it. The vocals are softer and sweeter too. An odd yet beautiful way to end her sixth studio album.
Overall Review: Queen of Hip-Pop was regal hip-pop. This album wasn’t really all that incredible, but it was good nevertheless. There were some great new songs on this album, but at the same time there were some lackluster songs too. Most of the songs were R&B or hip-hop influenced, so that was quite nice. And I loved how there were a few ballads on the album as well, giving it some variety. The opening and closing tracks were sensational and so memorable. Namie has made somewhat of a comeback with this album, but she’s made bigger strides with newer releases. I still see this as an improvement from her previous album though. And the Pink Pather tie in was just amazing!
Final Grade: 90B