Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Amuro Namie – Queen of Hip-Pop [6th Studio Album]

Posted on: July 11, 2008

Amuro Namie’s 6th studio album, entitled Queen of Hip-Pop, was released on 07.13.05. The album is considered a “comeback” of sorts as it sold roughly double her preceding album, STYLE. The album is a strong collection of songs, mostly upbeat tracks, from start to finish. The singles released before the album are: ALARM, ALL FOR YOU, WANT ME, GIRL TALK / the SPEED STAR [the SPEED STAR was left off of the album] and WANT ME, WANT ME. In order to further promote the album, WoWa was used as a promotional track.

The album opens up with the infectious title track, Queen of Hip-Pop. After introducing herself to the listener, Namie slickly sings the first verse. There is a smoothness to her voice and every final note of each line sounds great as there is almost a breathy quality to them that sounds great. The chorus stands out for having that dance element that is so enjoyable to hear. Namie brags that she is the queen of hip-pop and she holds the title proudly. The third verse is slightly different but is still a great part of the song, taking a more slow sound. The song ends just like it began, which rounds out the song as being strong from start to finish. Queen of Hip-Pop is a great title track and shows off that Namie style that makes it so enjoyable for every listener.

Namie’s sexy side comes out on WANT ME, WANT ME. The looming sitar during the instrumentation only enhances the sexiness more and Namie comes in strongly with the chorus. The English such as “like a virgin” and “trojan” used shows just how dirty the song is. The first line of the first verse “oh boy, you are so hot” really bring the verse to a strong start while keeping the sexiness. Namie nicely whispers “I can do you, you can do me,” which sounds great and is something that leaves the listener wanting more. Namie shows off more vocal power on the second verse as she holds her notes strongly. The song finishes with Namie repeating “nobody can do you, do you like me; nobody can do me, do me like you” along with the repetition “ah, ah, ah, ah, touch it, touch it, touch it” to show off that sexiness proudly. WANT ME, WANT ME is one of the most infectious songs in Namie’s discography and certainly one of the strongest on the album.

Namie goes to pop for the next song, WoWa. After a marching beat and a whistling instrumental, Namie comes in with the first verse. Her vocals are smooth and a little beat and sound great alongside the instrumentation. The repetition of the song title is what makes the chorus so enjoyable and light-hearted. The third verse is a nice change of pace although it is short and re-introduces the chorus. Following the chorus is a pure instrumental section that spotlights that marching beat that makes the song so loveable. WoWa is a fun pop song that stands out nicely on the album.

I Wanna Show You My Love is the song for her fans that Namie delivers strongly. After a fun instrumental with Namie vocalizing, the song comes to a strong point with the first verse. Namie delivers attitude as she sings “I know that they don’t like me but that’s okay, I don’t give a…” Her vocals during the verses sound great and go nicely into the hook. The English such as “this is for all my fans” really show the song’s meaning and are great to listen to.” The final line feature some great instrumentation with some strong vocals from Namie. The vocalizing during the chorus is always enjoyable and the energy comes full force.  The third verse continues the song’s enjoyment as Namie continues to bring the energy and flavor with a great finishing vocal. The song finishes off with pure instrumentation for an absolutely perfect finish. I Wanna Show You My Love is one of the standout tracks on the album and certainly a great representation of her gratitude for her fans.

The relaxing pop track, GIRL TALK, is the fifth song on the album. Opening up the song is a sweet and cute instrumentation with a certain relaxing feeling to it. Then the chorus starts and it’s one of the standout parts of the song as Namie sings smoothly and it’s particularly the English line such as “girls just wanna have fun” that really stand out. The verses carry the song along nicely and Namie’s vocals are still smooth and enjoyable. The third verse is the best verse as the instrumentation is slightly different and Namie sails thrugh it greatly, particularly at the end when she holds the note very well. During the final chorus, Namie performs some great adlibs hat really sound great and give the chorus that extra kick. GIRL TALK is a very nice part of the album and is worth the listen.

Free, a cool song with lots of attitude, comes next. After a cool and sligtly mysterious instrumental, Namie repeats “free” and then the first verse starts. Namie’s vocals amazingly show off attitude and fire that make the listener really believe what she is singing. The chorus sounds great as she sings “any kind of time, I am free free free,” showing the slickness of the song perfectly. The pure instrumental section sounds absolutely fantastic, putting a spotlight on the coolness of the song before the third verse. She sings “hey girl” with a great voice and that final repetition of the line really is a nice finish. Free is a fantastic album track and is something not to miss out on.

The twin song of Free appears with My Darling, a hot urban number. After an unidentified delivers some lines, Namie takes the reigns on the chorus. The English phrases such as “oh baby boy, I’m so proud of you” really pop to make the chorus the most energetic and exciting part of the song. The verses are more relaxing but are still delivered with that Namie attitude. The guitar moment right before the second chorus sounds great and contributes to the fun spirit of the song. The hook precedes the third chorus and remains interesting as Namie goes a little higher with her vocals. The breakdown part which consists of just the instrumentation with the man making noises is nice although it puts a spotlight on his voice and then it comes to the realization he talks throughout most of the song. His presence really isn’t needed but it’s not something too terrible. My Darling is a perfect number after Free and a very memorable album track.

Namie and Nao’ymt come together for the uplifting song, Ups & Downs. After Nao’ymt talks in English, Namie’s verse comes in. her vocals are smooth and move with the song’s slow music well. The hook features both of them and their voices sound great together and the lyrics are particularly noteworthy such as “if you forget this sky’s blue.” Both of them sound great on the chorus and the lyrics continue to be uplifting and comforting. Nao’ymt shows the same smoothness, vocally, as Namie did when singing her voice. The third verse nicely shows off both singers’ vocals with the last line “you can still fly.” Nao’ymt and Namie make a great team on this uplifting slower song that is a nice addition to the album.

I Love You shows off Namie’s kawaii side nicely. After a cute instrumental, Namie delivers the chorus in which she sings in different languages (French, Spanish, etc.) that all translate into “I love you.” During the verses, her vocals sound nice and work well in capturing the song’s kawaii feel. However the song is pretty repetitive, making it a little monotonous to listen to. I Love You is the weakest track on the album but it’s definitely worth the listen every now and then and does a nice job of showing the cute side of Namie.

The album’s sole ballad is the beautiful ALL FOR YOU. The song starts off with a romantic instrumental before the first verse starts. Namie’s vocals during the verses are smooth and are a perfect fit in capturing the song’s atmosphere. The English phrases such as “never walk alone” and “you’re gonna be my love” really stand out to the listener’s ear strongly. The chorus features some more powerful vocals from Namie and the way she holds her notes is a very nice touch that makes the chorus pop. The third verse sounds great, particularly for Namie’s vocals. She continues to show power and when she sings “darling you,” she hits the higher note beautifully. The chorus re-appears and then instrumentation brings the song to a close. As the only ballad on the album, ALL FOR YOU is an excellent song that shows off Namie’s voice.

Attitude and even a certain sexiness come out for the album’s semifinal song, ALARM. After a hot instrumentation, Namie sings the hook, which sounds great. The English phrases like “hot way” and “words up” all pop for that urban flavor. The verses are sung slickly and with enough attitude to keep the listener hooked from the first moment. It’s the chorus that really stands out in the listener’s mind as she sings “tick tock lady, tick tock baby” and “kick me harder, kick my booty.” The pure instrumental section sounds great as it takes a slightly different feel with the echoing of the English phrases. ALARM is a fantastic track that shows off a dance flavor that is not to be missed.

The album closes with the dance song, No. The song starts off cooly with Namie saying “yeah, 2005 baby, new style, this is not fake” and then a fun dance instrumental comes in. The first verse is sung with attitude and smooth vocals, lines such as “I don’t give a damn” further show off this attitude strongly. The chorus stands out as Namie shows a little more vocally and the song’s title is sung strongly and sticks out to the listener. The whispered line “how about some sweet peach” during the second verse gives off a sexy vibe and can be highly apreciated by the listener. The pure instrumental section consists of the hot instrumental and Namie repeatedly saying “say N.A.M.I.E.” until she delivers a line with rapidity and then the chorus comes back. After silence, No Part. II comes in, which is a ballad version of the original song. It honestly sounds great and Namie’s vocals smoothly sing the song. It’s a great treat for the listener to hear how the song is sung in ballad form and it shows off Namie’s vocals nicely. Both parts of No are fantastic and the song is the perfect way to close this album.

Album Ranking: A +

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