Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Hamasaki Ayumi – INSPIRE [33rd Single]

Posted on: August 27, 2008

Hamasaki Ayumi’s 33rd single, entitled INSPIRE, was released on 07.28.04.

INSPIRE is an edgy rock song worth of praise. The song takes off with a somewhat mysterious sound before the crashing and addictive rock instrumentation comes in, really catching the listener’s ear. Ayu then comes in with the first verse and her vocals are a little deep here but very smooth, nicely complimenting the music which has taken on a softer sound. She brings some more vocal power to match the more aggressive instrumentation, making the chorus stand out in the listener’s mind. It’s the pure instrumental section that is the highlight of this song as it begins with a softer rock sound and soon it’s as if the light switches and the listener is carried into the more aggressive and edgier instrumentation perfect for dancing. Then there is the imagery of the sun that re-introduces the chorus with the emphasis on Ayu’s voice as the music remains pretty soft. Rock sounds come crashing back in for the final chorus and then more instrumentation closes the song. INSPIRE is definitely a strong and memorable song, very noteworthy in Ayu’s discography.

GAME serves as the single’s B-side. Opening the song is a very mysterious and cool instrumentation that begins softly and then the first verse begins. Ayu’s vocals support the beautiful music so well that a dreamy feeling is established and soon, the rock sounds come crashing, breaking the listener’s calmness and bringing a more excited feeling. Following there is a distortion in Ayu’s vocals that works well with the music. On the chorus, the distortion is removed and Ayu gives stronger vocals that really compliment the aggressive and edgy music. The pure instrumental section stands out as the coolness and sleekness of the music is spotlighted. GAME is a fantastic supporting song and definitely features a rock sound that the listener can enjoy from start to finish.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made, one for INSPIRE and one for GAME. The PV for INSPIRE was filmed in Los Angeles and is pretty simple. Ayu casually is seen walking on the street and sees a billboard with the word “INSPIRE” on it and soon the viewer is taken inside the world of the billboard where the rest of the video is done. After Ayu is taken to the beach, she dances with her dancers and most notable is her long fingernails. Easily the best shot of the video is at the end of the pure instrumental section when Ayu’s back faces the camera and there is a tattoo of a butterfly on her back. She looks absolutely gorgeous and it’s definitely eye-catching. The video ends with Ayu going into her limo and then depearting. It’s definitely a nice video and it’s very eye-catching. In order to match the dark atmosphere of the song, the PV for GAME consists of darkness. Ayu is seen rocking out with her band as well as walking past flickering television screens. There isn’t much substance to the video but it effectively communicates the emotion of the song strongly.

Single Ranking: A +

INSPIRE and GAME are both rock tunes tha Ayu shines brightly on. While the A-side is more of an upbeat and light rock song with a dance feeling, the B-side takes on a darker atmosphere. Both songs are enjoyable and allows the listener to go through both sides of rock.


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