Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Amuro Namie – STYLE [5th Studio Album]

Posted on: July 11, 2008

Amuro Namie’s 5th studio album, entitled STYLE, was released on 12.10.08. The album features a fully urban Namie, which guarantees some fun dance tracks and some cool sounds. Although it is her lowest selling album, there are many gems that deserve to be recognized. Singles released prior to the album are as follows: Wishing On The Same Star, shine more, Put ‘Em Up and SO CRAZY / Come.

Namie’s Style serves as the perfect album opener. She starts of saying “ladies and gentlemen, now it’s showtime!” over a fun instrumental. The verses feature lyrics that all start off with an English lyric such as “what’s up?” (first verse) and “too hot!” (second verse). The chorus is what really stays in the listener’s mind particularly for when she sings “it’s Namie’s style.” It shows off the light-heartedness and excitement of the song. The third verse features a slightly different instrumental but still sounds great as she spells out her name for the world to hear. Namie’s Style is the perfect album opener as it shows that flare and coolness that Namie brings full force on STYLE.

Namie and ZEEBRA team up for the second track, Indy Lady. A little kid speaks saying “when I grow up, I wanna be just like you” and it’s an interesting way to open the song. Following the instrumentation comes in and then the first verse starts. Namie’s vocals are smooth and carry the appropriate attitude that makes the listener follow her every word. English is used very often but it doesn’t sound awkward at all. The chorus sounds enjoyable and every line begins “here’s what you can do for me” followed by an English phrase. After a set of two choruses, ZEEBRA delivers his rap and it’s a very nice part of the song. Like Namie, he carries the attitude perfectly and makes a smooth transition into Namie’s own rap sequence. Namie sounds great here and then it goes back to ZEEBRA to finish off the verse. Both voices work nicely together and both work strongly in capturing the attitude of the song. The same cool instrumental that opened the song finishes it off. Indy Lady is a great follow-up to the first song and one of the album’s more memorable songs.

Put ‘Em Up is the album’s third song, an upbeat ubran number made for dancing. After the fun hip-hop influenced instrumental, the first verse starts. Namie delivers her lyrics with a real attitude that works well with the atmosphere. Her vocals are pretty deep and it was a wise decision to sing that way as it keeps with the music. The various English phrases such as “anything you do, I do it better than you” are littered throughout the song but always blend with the Japanese perfectly. The chorus stands out for its catchiness and a certain poppiness. The following small section of pure instrumentation is a nice touch that leads into the second verse nicely. The full pure instrumental section is a nice although the man shouting “put em up” in the background is really unnecessary. Put ‘Em Up is a fun club song that shows off Namie’s style and flare nicely.

So Crazy, a fun dance song, appears as the album’s fourth number. After a cool instrumental, Namie comes in with the first verse. Her vocals are sung pretty deeply but they move with the music perfectly. The hook begins to introduce that energy in time for the chorus, which stands out to the listener. The English lines such as “eye to eye” and “face to face” during the hook are really what make it pop. Her vocals are shown a little more and the last line “crazy for your love” really does stand out nicely. The third verse is slightly different and Namie shows off her vocals more by reaching a little higher and delivering some great adlibs. Her rap sequence sounds great as there is that sexual energy as well as that coolness that Namie is perfect at bringing. The song fades out nicely to bring the song to a great close. So Crazy is one of the standout numbers on this album and is definitely worth the listen.

The sweet song, Don’t Lie To Me, is next. After a nice and sweet instrumental, Namie sings the first verse. Her vocals are pretty deep here but they go with the music and there is a certain smoothness that goes with the relaxing amotsphere. The chorus stands out particularly for the line “don’t lie, don’t lie to me.” The final line “gimme your hidden face” is a very strong ending lyric and stands out to the listener. The pure instrumetnal section sounds great as it spotlights how interesting the music really is. Although Don’t Lie To Me is a relatively simple track, it’s enjoyable and worth the listen.

LOVEBITE is the sweet sad ballad. After beginning with a very enjoyable instrumental, Namie smoothly sings the first verse. Her vocals sound great and work with the rapidity which she sings the lyrics. The piano begins to come out full force as the verses come to the end. The chorus shows off Namie’s vocals strongly and the English line “I don’t know why, I want to know” sounds great and its repetition was wise. The pure instrumental section shows off more of the urban side of Namie and although it doesn’t sound much like the rest of the song, it’s definitely interesting and keeps the listener waiting for what is next. LOVEBITE is an excellent album track that is worth checking out.

Four Seasons, a sweet ballad, is certainly a song to be remembered. The song starts off with the hook, whichi is sung in complete English. The lyrics are so sweet that it really resonates with the listener such as “four scenes of love and laughter, I’ll be alright being alone.” Then the first verse comes in and Namie perfectly captures the song’s sweet and sorrowful atmosphere. Her vocals sound great and smooth. The chorus is enjoyable as the instrumentation slightly changes and the last line really stands out. Hearing the chorus right next to the second verse really shows the relaxing sound of the verses and the energy of the chorus. The song finishes off with singing “four scenes, four seasons…” repeatedly and it’s not the strongest way to end the song but it’s nothing particularly bad. Four Seasons is a nice song and a great addition to the album.

Namie comes together with VERBAL and Arkitec for the always interesting, Fish. The song starts off with a cool instrumentation with a Japanese string instrument prominently features along with a song introduction. “Diamond crooks” is rapped repeatedly before the two rappers switch off with Namie singing a few lines with them to open the song strongly. Namie then flies solo for the rest of the verse. Her vocals sound great and work perfectly with the music. The chorus is fun and is sung in complete English, to make it really pop and connect the song nicely. The two rappers team up again and switch off for another verse and VERBAL saying “all right, okay, okay, all right, I’m feelin’ you” really sticks in the listener’s mind. The song concludes just like it began with the repetition of “diamond crooks” to create an excellent finish. Fish is a fantastic song worth listening to as it is one of the more enjoyable numbers on STYLE.

A pop/dance vibe emerges on the next song, gimme more. An interesting instrumental opens the song up and then the first verse starts. During the first verse, Namie sings deeply but it really goes nicely with the music. Right before the chorus starts, Namie sings pretty quickly and it really sets up the chorus nicely. The English used such as “baby gimme kiss” and “gimme more you” all combine to make the chorus stand out all the more. The third verse continues the song nicely and re-introduces the chorus, which is what closes the song strongly. gimme more is one of the catchier songs on the album and is definitely worth the listen.

As Good As features an interesting sound that hooks the listener from the first listen. A cool sounding instrumentation begins the song and then Namie comes in with the first verse. There is a certain poppiness to her voice that makes it really stand out but her vocal strength is also shown off nicely as well. The chorus has attitude as seen when she sings “baby that’s as good as it gets,” making the chorus really stand out to the listener nicely. The third verse features a slightly different instrumental that still sounds great with her voice and makes a nice transition into the chorus, which focuses more on her voice. She does some great adlibbing here that shows off her vocal strength very strongly. As Good As is an excellent song and certainly worth listening to.

shine more is one of the album’s true highlights. Violins play a key role in the opening instrumentation before Namie bursts out with a fantastic vocal before the first verse. Namie’s vocals are smooth and go with the slightly relaxing sound. As the verses come to a close, the energy picks up for the poppy chorus. The English “baby remember to shine” pops nicely and is a nice way to string the song along. Right before the second chorus, Namie belts out fantastically again with another great vocal. The third verse sounds great as Namie softly sings “everybody’s here, everybody hears, and nobody can stop music, you were gone forever” and then the following pure instrumental section is a nice breakdown, spotlighting the fun sound of the song. She finishes the song off by singing “I wanna shine,” bringing the song to a great close. shine more is easily one of the album’s best songs and one to look out for.

Come is the album’s semifinal track and a nice one at that. A relaxing instrumentation takes the listener into a different world and then the first verse starts. Namie sounds great vocally as she holds her notes nicely and her vocals are smooth. The hook consists of Namie repeatedly singing “I get” and it is a nice and catchy way to set up the chorus. The chorus features softer vocals as she sings “come my way” and there is something entrancing about her voice that the listener can’t resist. Namie’s vocals along with the wonderful instrumentation combine to form a song that brings the listener into a world, making the song one of the most enjoyable on the album. 

The album closes with the ballad, Wishing On The Same Star. Opening up the song is a beautiful piano interlude and then Namie sings the first verse. Her vocals are pretty deep but capture the emotion of the song very nicely. Her vocal power is shown off nicely with the chorus, particularly on the first line and it really does stand apart from the rest of the song strongly. The third verse continues to spotlight Namie’s beautiful and powerful vocals after a small section of pure instrumentation along with some smooth vocalizing from Namie. Wishing On The Same Star is a beautiful ballad that shows off Namie’s vocal talents very nicely and it is a strong finish for the album.

Album Ranking: A –

STYLE is a collection of great songs that is tied together by an urban flare. Dance songs such as Put ‘Em Up and Indy Lady bring that urban flavor to the forefront while more pop sounds come out for shine more and gimme more. Namie delivers nicely on the ballads too like LOVEBITE and Four Seasons. And she shows off interesting instrumentals on songs like Fish and As Good As. STYLE is a cohesive effort that certainly does not deserve to be Namie’s lowest selling album.


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