PAST < FUTURE was Namie Amuro’s 8th studio album. It was released on December 16, 2009 and reached no. 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 330,742 copies sold. This album has sold over 575,501+ copies. This is Namie’s first studio album since PLAY back in 2007, as well as her first album since BEST FICTION.

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4. Bad Habit
5. Steal my Night
8. Dr.
9. Shut Up
11. The Meaning Of Us
12. Defend Love

NAMIE what are you doing???? I loved your past, and now you’re ripping it up. WHY? (T^T)

nullSo besides Namie ripping up her past she’s back, and fiercer than ever! And I think the cover has a very strong message to it. And that is simply the title of her album “PAST < FUTURE.” When you look at it you can see why too. Namie’s getting pretty old according to J-Pop diva standards, but she’s still kicking. And to stay alive she’s evolving, NOT selling out by any means. But with this album she’s also gotten some new producers rather than just Nao’ymt, who only produced 3 songs on the entire album, looks like Namie’s steppin’ it up.

Showing off her new style/producer is the song FAST CAR. I honestly have some mixed feelings about this song. I’ve heard a lot of people praise this song, because it’s something that’s new, and that is true. But at the same time though, I almost can’t stand it. It reminds me of country music to some degree, even though it sounds a little western, and I mean like US Western, horses, saloons etc. But then again there is some sort of brass too. It’s not the greatest thing I’ve heard.

nullIf you loved WILD there’s a good chance you’ll love COPY THAT, both have the same producers, and that being said they’re both pretty danceable. It has some great synth elements, but at the same time still sounds like an edgy pop tune, or R&B at least. I think overall it’s just a really great song, especially since it has an infectious chorus. And if that wasn’t good enough, it was used in a FASHION×MUSIC×Vidal Sassoon campaign, along with MY LOVE. Now as for this song, it was produced by HIRO, who also did Kuu’s TABOO. This song is by far more of a mid-tempo soft R&B song, filled with various synth riffs, the atmosphere is very calming, peaceful and serene. And her English sounds pretty good too, and even the background vocals sound nice. It’s pretty new for Namie, and it’s amazing.

SUPA SISTA! That was a reference to DOUBLE for those of you that haven’t listened to BLACK DIAMOND. Turns out that she produced one of Namie’s hottest tracks, and my favorite, LOVE GAME. I’m not gonna lie, at first I thought it would be a cover of Lady GaGa, thankfully it wasn’t, because this song is hot, fierce, and just oozes sexiness. It’s a fusion of some hot percussion, some strings during the bridge, a ton of synth and some incredible beats. Her Engrish in this case wasn’t so hot though, but overall I thought her vocals were great. And the chorus naturally sounded orgasmic.

nullContinuing on R&B run is Bad Habit. There are quite a few distortions in this song, including her vocals at some points, but it sounds great for once. The music overall is very R&B driven, with some synth as usual and some obnoxious beats. It’s also the shortest song on the entire album, an maybe that’s not a bad thing. Not the most memorable. Getting more fascinating and a heck of a lot faster is Steal my Night. The music is a lot faster, just as R&B driven, and just as perhaps annoying. The song isn’t all that original in my opinion. It sounds nice, however it’s easily quite forgettable.

So Namie does change some things up with FIRST TIMER, which features DOBERMAN INC. It’s faster, and instead of being R&B it’s more electronic. Well…it sill has some R&B influences but overall the music is more electronic and features some synth. I have to admit that I do like the faster music, it makes things more interesting. And all the distortions sound pretty great too, especially Namie’s vocals. As for DOBERMAN INC, the vocals were fine, annoying at times, at others not so. Still catchy for the most part. And this song actually reminded me a bit of WILD with all the electronic beats etc. and it’s because both songs have the same producers. It’s still as catchy as I remembered, lots of great beats.

nullZOMG I JUST LOVE Dr. It’s one of her greatest songs yet that mimics the future in some respects. The different music, changing rhythm and just great melody make it incredible, and futuristic at the same time. It also proves that perhaps Nao’ymt isn’t so useless after all. The lyrics pretty much asking Dr. Kronos to grant their last wish etc. And we all knew that there was a Part 2 to this amazing song, and it’s none other than Defend Love. The producer is the same and you can hear that much. It features some distortions, synth riffs, and various beats. It’s not nearly as infectious as Dr. but it’s pretty high up there. Her vocals sound incredible, and I love the use of the alternating rhythms, well the music and beats change at different points, it’s not so mundane and there’s variety. The best part in my opinion is the bridge. It features a piano chords followed by some spacey sounds like synth lines and then Namie’s lovely vocals. And actually the chorus sounded a little ominous, good but ominous. And the final song produced b Nao’ymt is Shut Up. The song sounds pretty cool, very far out at some points, especially with the distortions. It’s going pretty good with all the music, which flows amazingly, but then it’s like BAM! The chorus is such a drastic change, being rock driven in some respects. It’s actually a nice change to hear some rock though.

But where are the ballads you ask, right here of course. The only ballad on the entire album is The Meaning Of Us. It’s quite the traditional ballad. The strings sound classical and mesmerizing. The piano chords naturally sound exquisite and even the beats are lovely. And for once I can say that Namie’s vocals sound incredible, although some power wouldn’t hurt. It’s simple, yet still an impressive ballad, at the same time though it could have been a tad bit better.

Final Thoughts: The Queen of J-Pop has once again returned! Ever since PLAY I’ve been waiting for another studio album with some new songs and I’ve finally gotten it. Like I said, I like the cover, even though she’s ripping up her BEST FICTION picture. Why you ask? Because it’s what it symbolizes. It’s very simple, but it says a lot. She’s distancing herself from her past, which could be musically, or just personal experiences. Either way she’s experimenting with new types of music, a variety of sounds, and different producers. So despite some flaws of the album I have to praise her for different producers who have made some very different songs. And she’s trying to prove that her Past in inferior, or less than her Future. Now as far as the album goes, I liked this album for the most part. It was fluid, ran pretty smoothly with a few awkward placements here and there. Music wise I was pleased that she tried some new sounds, mostly synth oriented ones, which happened to be my favorite, and I liked her edgier R&B. But without a doubt I loved her FUTURE/Spacey sounds, found in Dr., Defend Love, and even MY LOVE to some degree. Another ballad would have been good but I’ll take what I can get. I know for a fact that she’s gonna outsell Ayu, who’s seemingly lost her crown.



5 Responses to “PAST < FUTURE”
  1. Secret says:

    Did you try the male version? Even better, she has a really good male voice!!!

  2. hyperballad says:

    i love this album, the fist time i listened to it i thought it was just ok, but the songs grow onto me very quickly!

    i love the whole concept of the past and future thing…but namie’s make up is so heavy on the cover…

  3. Ayumi Hamasaki says:

    Whore beat my sales.

    She’s older than me yet I’m the dried up looking granny one.

    This sucks.

    I wish I knew how to write my own lyrics. I wish I wasn’t an alcoholic because now my voice sounds like crap. I screech and shout and can’t even sing any of my old songs anymore or any of the new ones. Which also sucked. Did you hear my “NEXT LEVEL”. More like the next level down. 😦

    First Kumi sold more. Thought it was a fluke. Now Namie?!

    Doesn’t nobody like me anymore?!

    And I’ve never been able to beat Utada.

    It’s over. I’m washed up. The Japanese hate me, I can’t sing, I look a mess and I can’t dance.

    I know! I’ll blame it on the recession! 😀

  4. Die says:

    don’t forget it was pretty much in one week to xD poor ayu
    wow and you’re right about kuu outselling her too, i thought she was still behind, guess now. guess not even ayu’s international fans can save her now. and yeah hikki’s always the best =D not even her digital sales were strong enough either. she’s gone downhill, it’s actually quite a shame

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