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Posts Tagged ‘Oricon Year 2004 Singles

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.


Amuro Namie’s 26th single, entitled GIRL TALK / the SPEED STAR, was released on 10.14.04. GIRL TALK was used as the the Lucido-L CM song.

GIRL TALK, a relaxing pop track, serves as the first A-side. A sweet and cute instrumental opens up the song and then the chorus begins. Namie sings smoothly through the verse and English phrases such as “girls just wanna have fun” really pop nicely. The third verse is the best verse, particularly for the final note which she holds very strongly. The adlibbing is also a nice touch and certainly a fun part of the song. GIRL TALK is a very nice pop song with a relaxing atmosphere that the listener can enjoy.

While GIRL TALK is a more sweet pop song, the SPEED STAR shows off an aggressive dance instrumentation that Namie brings to life. The fun and energetic instrumental starts off the song before the first verse begins. Namie’s vocals are strong and keep with the music perfectly, delivering attitude and sass that only she can bring, particularly seen with “say adios.” The chorus allows Namie to bring a little more vocal strength and the instrumentation really focuses on the beat. After the set of the second verse and chorus, the hook comes in with a more hushed voice. It’s very catchy and the final phrase “who is the speed star” really makes for a nice finish. The song then finishes with the hook, leaving the listener wanting more after it finishes.

In order to promote the single, two PVs were made, one for each song. Both PVs are pretty simple and feature some great choreography from Namie, particularly for the SPEED STAR. The choreography for each video definitely matches the atmosphere of the song and serves as a great fit for the respective song.

Single Ranking: A

Namie’s 26th single is a double A-side single, consisting of the sweet pop song GIRL TALK and the aggressive dance song the SPEED STAR. The two songs compliment each other well and provide the listener with two different sounds to enjoy.

Amuro Namie’s 25th single, entitled ALL FOR YOU, was released on 07.22.04. The title track was used as the theme song for the drama, Kimi ga Omoide ni Naru no Mai ni.

ALL FOR YOU is a beautiful ballad with strong vocals and an absolutely gorgeous instrumentation. The opening instrumentation evokes a really romantic feeling. Soon the first verse begins and Namie’s smooth vocals carry perfectly and help the listener fall in love with the song. English phrases such as “never walk alone” pop very nicely and catch the listener’s ear. The chorus features stronger vocals that show so much emotion. The third verse is wonderful as she sings “darling you,” holding the final note beautifully and powerfully. ALL FOR YOU is definitely a great ballad and is a great A-side.

Butterfly, a fun pop song, is the single’s B-side. The song begins with a fun instrumental with tropical tints to it. With the chorus, there is a real fun atmosphere from the “beep beep” part and Namie’s vocals which provide the listener with an enjoyable listen. Then the first verse starts and Namie’s smooth vocals keep the listener entranced. The pure instrumental section is a nice breakdown of the cool music before the chorus is re-introduced. More fun instrumentation then brings the song to an excellent close. Butterfly is another enjoyable B-side and definitely one to look out for.

In order to promote the single, a PV for ALL FOR YOU was made. The video is very simple as it features Namie singing on a beach. The setting of this video is absolutely gorgeous and is definitely eye-catching, a perfect fit for the song’s beauty.

Single Ranking: A +

Amuro Namie’s 25th single features the beautiful ballad, ALL FOR YOU as well as the fun and interesting number, Butterfly. Although Namie usually brings her touch to the upbeat style, she definitely sounds at home on this sweet ballad.

Amuro Namie’s 24th single, entitled ALARM, was released on 03.17.04. ALARM was used as the Mandom Lucido-L Prism Magic Hair Colour CM song.

ALARM delivers attitude and sass that only Namie can bring. After a cool instrumental, the hook comes in and Namie’s vocals go perfectly with the music. The English phrases such as “voltage” and “hot way” really stand out and the “words up” leads into the first verse nicely. The chorus is a standout part of the song partcularly for the repeating phrase of each line such as “kick me harder, kick my booty.” The song ends with a good instrumental, leaving the listener wanting more still.

Strobe is a sexy song that Namie brings to life. The song starts off with an addictive R&B instrumental that makes the listener take notice. Namie smoothly sings the lyrics during the first verse and her vocals actually let the sensual atmosphere of the song come to the forefront. The English lyrics such as “slowly boy you take my clothes off and make love to me” pop nicely and the little pure instrumental section introduces the chorus with a bang. The chorus features stronger vocals and Namie holds her notes strongly, going into the second part of the chorus, which features a lighter sound. Her vocals are smooth and the vocalizing works strongly and they support Namie’s sings in all English. For the third verse, Namie repeats in English “cross it, turn it” and it’s a very nice part of the song. Strobe is a wonderful song and definitely one of Namie’s best B-sides, if not the best.

Single Ranking: A +

Namie’s 24th single is a strong combination of ALARM, a song with true attitude and coolness as well as the sexy and fun, Strobe.

Otsuka Ai’s 3rd single, entitled 甘えんぼ, was released on 03.03.04.

甘えんぼ, a sweet midtempo song, is the A-side. A sweet and romantic instrumentation begins the song, taking the listener into the world of the song. Ai’s vocals carry the sweetness that the lyrics show and they go with the music perfectly. The chorus stands out as the instrumentation becomes more varied, with soft rock tints appearing to support Ai’s strong vocals. The instrumentation then builds up for the grand affair of the chorus and to match this change, Ai shows off even more vocal strength and range, hitting the higher notes beautifully. The ending vocalzing sounds absolutely wonderful and are a nice way of showing off Ai’s vocal talents. The A-side is a sweet ballad that shows off Ai’s powerful vocals over a touching instrumental.

雨色パラソル, the B-side, is an enjoyable uptempo song. Beginning the song is the sound of rain and then the instrumentation comes in, making the listener take notice. The jazzy elements of the song really stand out before the first verse starts. Ai’s vocals are very pretty and compliment the music very well. The chorus brings out a poppy energy, which Ai sounds very comfortable on. Overall the song is definitely another great B-side from Ai that catches the listener’s ear.

Single Ranking: A

Otsuka Ai’s 3rd single consists of two strong songs. The A-side is a sweet and romantic midtempo song that Ai brings to life with strong vocals and a cool instrumental. As a more jazzy and upbeat number, 雨色パラソル serves as a great B-side. Both songs compliment the other, making another enjoyable single from Ai.

Otsuka Ai’s 6th single, entitled 大好きだよ。, was released on 10.20.04. The title track was used as the the theme song for the drama Tokio Chichi e no Dengon.

The title track is a sweet and personal ballad that really touches the listener’s heart. The song starts off with a beautiful sound before the piano begins and introduces the song’s sorrowful atmosphere. The first verse features some great and beautiful vocals that really catch the listener’s ear. Right before the chorus, Ai’s vocals really start to get more powerful and portray the emotion strongly. The chorus really is memorable as Ai powerfully sings her lyrics, really bringing the emotions to the forefront. When the chorus is sung, it really provides a perfect finish for the section. The closing instrumentation and vocalizing of “la la la” really is the perfect finish as the instrumentation momentarily takes on a slightly different sound before the piano closes it out.

フレンズ is the single’s B-side. The song starts off very sweetly with the first verse, supported by a sweet instrumental driven by the guitar. Her vocals sound great here and really stand out to the listener. During a small section of pure instrumentation, heavy rock flare really comes out in the song. The first word of the chorus stands out as Ai sings it strongly as Ai sings it by hitting the note perfectly. The echoing used during the chorus is a great part of the song that really makes the lyrics stand out all the more. The pure instrumental section brings out that enjoyable rock flavor that hits the listener strongly. This song is an excellent B-side and a good compliment to the A-side.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 大好きだよ。 was made and it’s definitely one of Ai’s strongest videos. The personal theme reflected in the song comes out strongly on this PV featuring the various memories of Ai and her ex-boyfriend. The oppening sequence features Ai receiving a present from her boyfriend, which really shows how sweet the video begins and the various pictures of the two really touches the listener’s heart. For representing the emotions of the song so strongly, the PV is phenomenal.

Single Ranking: A

Otsuka Ai’s 6th single features two songs that hit the listener hard. The A-side features that personal touch on the sorrowful ballad that can make the listener cry. Ai brings the emotions to the forefront through her fantastic vocals. The B-side also is a strong song but this time with rock flares to seperate it from the A-side. Both songs really show what Ai can do.

Otsuka Ai’s 5th single, entitled 金魚花火, was released on 08.18.04. The title track of the single was used as the ending theme for Super TV Jyouhou Saizensen on Nihon TV.

The title track is the beautifull sorrowful ballad, 金魚花火. The song starts off with a gorgeous instrumentation that really captures the song’s element. When the first verse comes in, Ai smoothly and sweetly sings the lyrics, which are beautiful. The chorus stands out to the listener as Ai’s vocals show beauty and emotion, particularly on the singing of the title and the final note of the chorus. The sound of water dropping is definitely a great addition to the song. The final note of the song is held with such grace and power that the song’s atmosphere really comes to life. More sweet instrumentation brings the song to a fantastic finish. Ai’s vocals really are fantastic on this ballad and really highlight the sorrow of the beautiful lyrics.

ココ夏バケーション  is the B-side and features a happier sound. The sound of water begins this song and then a sweet instrumental comes in to assist. Soon, more of a tropical sound comes through and then the chorus starts. Her vocals sound great here and really do work well to capture that happy element and the singing of “vacation” is what really stands out to the listener. The second verse is really enjoyable as the instrumentation becomes slightly more varied. The songs ends with some fun vocalizing, bringing the song’s happy atmosphere to the forefront. The song is an excellent and happy song featuring a nice tropical sound.

In order to promote the single, a PV for 金魚花火. Although simplistic, the video is gorgeous. Much like the covers, Ai is seen underwater as she sadly sings the lyrics of the song. She is also seen on the top of a cliff, which has an absolutely breathtaking setting. The PV really does do a great job of capturing the song’s emotion perfectly.

Single Ranking: A

Otsuka Ai’s 5th single is another great combination of songs. The A-side is one Ai’s strongest songs in her discography and certainly a beautiful ballad. Ai’s vocals are wonderful, enhancing on the instrumental strength. The B-side is a fun tropical adventure in which Ai takes the listener on.