Love songs was Ayumi Hamasaki’s 12th studio album. It was released on December 22, 2010 and debuted at no. 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 180,048 copies sold. It was released in a CD+DVD edition, a CD-Only edition, and a limited edition Micro SD+USB+DVD+LP-sized Photobook edition.
1. Love song
4. sending mail
5. Last angel
7. Like a doll
10. Thank U
11. Sweet Season
13. do it again
15. Virgin Road
16. SEVEN DAYS WAR
17. SEVEN DAYS WAR (Live at Yoyogi on Oct.11.2010)
So this is Ayu’s 12th album. I’m shocked that it came out so early, considering her last was released in April I believe???? I’m not expecting all that much, but I know that it is better than her previous album. And since I’m behind on some albums etc. this is going to be a short review, as short as I can make it anyway. It’ll hopefully be a condensed review.
Let’s start off with the singles of the era! First is the rock ballad MOON. I’ll admit that I didn’t really care for it in the beginning, but it has grown on me quite a bit. In some senses, it’s still mediocre, but it’s catchy regardless. blossom on the other hand, was an up-beat rock song, catchy summer tune. crossroad was a calming classical ballad, extremely predictable. It has a flawless sound to it though, I love the percussion, synth, guitar, and strings all together. I still don’t care for her cover of SEVEN DAYS WAR, it’s just not her type of song; or maybe it’s her vocals. I didn’t like the ballad that much, studio or live version. Sweet Season still sounds just a tad country, and while I appreciate her trying new things, I just don’t think it’s all that impressive. As for Virgin Road, well, not her finest ballad either. Yes it sounds lovely, but there’s nothing that really jumps out at me. Although the orchestra of strings sounded heavenly and yet somber. My personal favorite had to be Last Angel. It’s very different from her usual stuff, and a lot more up-tempo and almost mischievous. The dark and eerie synth music makes this song; excellent use of the strings and synth, exhilarating during the chorus.
Time for the new tracks! The first and most memorable is easily the title track, well, close enough to the title track, Love song. This song is flawless, and I really mean it. It’s very classical in nature, still utilizing the guitar and percussion. What I love the most is that Ayu’s vocals sound so different, a little deeper almost; and the song is catchy. You get the picture though, this ballad is incredible. sending mail is up-beat and up-tempo, quite the little rock song too. The chorus sounded fierce and almost angry, probably a reason why it was so memorable. Great use of the strings as well. Despite the cheesy line in it, Like a doll turned out to be likeable. Again, the primary instruments were the strings, along with some percussion. The vocal distortions weren’t all that bad either, but it did sound creepy at times. Music wise, and just because it sounded extremely happy and cheery, Thank U ended up being my favorite track on the album. What’s not to like about a lovely, happy, synth driven song, it did incorporate the strings too, no shocker there. The “lalalala lalalala” parts turned out to be my favorite, it was just very catchy and it makes you feel so happy and good after listening to it. Cheesy, but it’s good. The one song I found myself not liking all that much was do it again. Her English was annoying, and the song overall wasn’t all that astounding. It was a bit eerie as well, strings and percussion, with some guitar riffs. It’s kinda like Last Angel in the up-tempo parts, but not nearly as good. November was the final new song, a typical light rock-infused ballad IMO. Great vocals for hitting the high notes, nothing really noteworthy other than that though.
And finally we have the interludes. Where would an Ayu album be without interludes?? insomnia is the first and boy is it a creepy interlude. No joke, the opening made me go “WTF?!?!?!” those strings can sound just plain scary, no lie. It became more electronic infused though as it progressed, still creepy though. aria was perfect for transitioning Like a doll to blossom. Nice mix of classical elements with some more modern, and finally rock elements. The harp part, background vocals included, could’ve easily been used in any of the songs, I’d actually love to see it made into a full song. The final interlude, overture turned out to be perfect as well. A pure classical interlude, happy and uplifting, until the end, where it took a somber and almost dark turn.
So that was pretty short right? Maybe not the shortest, but condensed enough for your liking, I hope. To make a long story short, this album is a vast improvement over her 11th studio album. Rather then being extremely rock driven, like her previous album, this album contains more ballads. It’s more classical in the sense that a good portion of the songs on the album were ballads, and string driven. That being said, a good potion of the songs utilized some rock elements. It’s interesting to think that she went from pop to experimenting in electronic elements, to finally more rock based music. This album is a far cry from total rock music, but it does seem that she’ll become a rock star just yet; she’s better as a pop diva. As far as this album goes, it’s impressive. The majority of the songs were great and memorable. Although there were songs that were just annoying and didn’t peak my interest. Overall, the quality is greater than her past albums, which excited me. Not bad for her 12th album. You can be sure to see this on my mega-review.