You were… / BALLAD
You were… / BALLAD was Ayumi Hamasaki’s 47th single. It was released on December 29, 2009 and reached no. 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 103,351 copies sold (Two weeks total since the 1st two weeks of sales are combined). It was released in two CD+DVD editions, a CD only edition, and a SPECIAL LIMITED BOX that was sold only during her annual Countdown Live concert. The first title track was used as the theme song for the Disney movie Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. The latter was used as the theme song for the NHK drama Soukyuu no Subaru.
1. You were… (Original mix)
2. BALLAD (Original mix)
3. RED LINE ~for TA~ (Original mix)
4. You were… (Music Box mix -retake version-)
5. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Orchestra version)
6. You were… (Original mix -Instrumental-)
7. BALLAD (Original mix -Instrumental-)
8. RED LINE ~for TA~ (Original mix -Instrumental-)
God…er Ayu has yet again graced us with her presence. So after her last single, which was mediocre IMO she’s decided to give us another winter single, both title tracks being ballads.
I’m a little iffy when it comes to these winter ballads because there are usually so many of them. This year it hasn’t been that bad, but then again winter did officially just start, so who knows.
So the first ballad is You were… This song is more of a traditional ballad featuring the piano, acoustics, percussion and the guitar. I can honestly say that while Ayu usually has some great climaxes, this was only so-so and the chorus wasn’t the best. She still has some great vocals, but this song seems to familiar. It almost sounds like a fusion Together When… and Curtain call. Overall the song sounded epic but that was due to the instruments, for the most part it’s lackluster. And as for the -retake version- it was fine. The music box was a nice addition, and ayu’s vocals sounded clearer.
Without a doubt the stronger of the two is BALLAD. While the previous track was more of a traditional ballad, this ballad is more of a traditional Japanese ballad, actually it’s reminiscent of enka music with traditional oriental strings, and various traditional influences. The music is more dramatic as well as epic. The climax was beautiful as well as lovely. Ayu’s vocals were yet again powerful and excellent. This was by far the better of the two tracks, but I still have a bit more to say overall.
Not exactly what the TA was for but RED LINE ~for TA~ is one interesting song. Her vocals are steady and strong, and they go well with the rock music. The chorus is actually catchy since this song is up-beat. It sounds very cheery and happy, it’s a nice change.
The new version of Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ was meh. I’m not a big fan of the original and I honestly didn’t care much for this version. The music wasn’t epic enough, as much as I love the strings there needs to be some power.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this so here goes: I’ve heard better singles from lesser known artists. I think that Ayu has started to fall from grace, but then again it’s been 11 years since her debut. I’m not tired of her, it’s just that she’s been releasing some lackluster singles for a little too long. Her previous single was so-so, and the one before that was alright. This isn’t her strongest single, her last best single was probably Days / GREEN. That being said I did enjoy both title tracks, it’s just that I believe they’ll fade away very quickly. Overall it’s still a solid, enjoyable single, it’s just that Ayu could do so much better.