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Sunday, 7 February 2010

[Article] Review of「You were.../BALLAD From J-ENT! World Groove CD Single

Avex trax’s reigning pop queen from Japan, Ayumi Hamasaki, nears her 50th CD single with the release of “You were…/BALLAD”, her 47th double-A sided CD single with the first song used as the theme for Disney’s video release of “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” and “BALAD” which is used for the NHK drama series “Soukyuu no Subaru”.

“You were…(Original mix)” features a song written by Ayumi Hamasaki, music by Kazuhito Hara and arrangement by HAL. The passionate, upbeat ballad features a good balance of strings courtesy of Gen Itetsu and definitely a solid single from Hamasaki with a very passionate chorus.

But my favorite single on this latest release would have to go to “BALLAD (Original mix)” written by Ayumi, music by D-A-I and arrangement by Yuta Nakano. A slower ballad featuring strings by Yuko Kajitani. A gentle, delicate touch of the piano and strings with Ayumi’s vocals. Overall, a wonderful and even more passionate ballad.

The coupling track is “RED LINE ~for TA~ (Original mix)” written by Hamasaki, music by Tetsuya Yukumi and arrangement by Yuta Nakano. The song is an upbeat track and personally, I think it could have been an A-sided single itself. Catch, upbeat and pretty enjoyable track. Interesting on the insert, there are no lyrics but a one-line message which translates to: Due to the creator’s intention, the lyrics to this song have not been mentioned/noted/ listed.

I tried to do a little research of the meaning of the song and some say it deals with a friend of Ayumi’s that passed away. But the song is for her fan club “Team Ayu” (TA).

The fourth track features a music box version of “You Were…” and the remaining three tracks are the instrumental versions of the first three tracks (for a total of seven tracks overall).

The CD insert features the lyrics for “You were…” and “BALLAD”.

It’s important to note that there are three different releases of “You were…/BALLAD”. The CD only release, then two different versions of the single+DVD. The main difference is that the version I am reviewing comes with the “music box -retake version-” of “You Were…” and the other version comes with the orchestra version of “Sunset -LOVE is ALL-” instead. But both have the same DVD content.

As for the DVD, the DVD comes with the music videos for “You were…”, “BALLAD” and the making of “You were…”.

“You Were…” features Ayu wearing a white dress that has glowing parts all over (for those who saw the “Tinkbell and the Lost Treasure” film will understand the correlation of the fairy dust to this music video) and singing while snow falls. While another woman is seen, doing a robotic dance and fire flowing all around her.

In “Ballad”, the music video is a very dramatic video with an actual story. A man is seen sending letters through a mailbox in the middle of a field and then we see a flashback with the man and Ayumi riding a motorcycle and see two animated cats on the road and while they try to swerve, they crash. We then see the man surrounded by clocks, while Ayumi is wearing a dress and is in a beautiful, serene place with flowers, a tree and a lake, while the man with the clocks is searching for her in the middle of a field until we learn what happened to the Ayu and the man after their accident.

The final video is the making of “You Were…”.

Overall, for those who have stuck with Ayumi Hamasaki for the long haul throughout her musical career will find “You Were…/BALLAD” to be a single release featuring three solid tracks, while others may question what happened to her original style that they loved back in the early 2000’s. But for the most part, if you are a Hamasaki fan, this CD+DVD release is solid. I enjoyed all three songs and the DVD, especially the music video for “BALLAD” is well-done and very enjoyable.

If you enjoy her music, “You Were…/BALLAD” is a single worth having in your Ayu music collection.

Credit: truehappiness @ AHS
Original source: J-NET
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