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Aug. 19th, 2012

Music Review: 愛言葉 (VOICE) - Maki Goto

Hello everyone! It's been a really long time since I've written a music review, but I simply cannot resist not doing one for this fantastic album that I'm about to review. Please look forward to it!

Maki Goto was a member of the popular girl group in Japan, "morning musume", where she joined them when she was 13 and graduated in 2002. She remained in Hello! Project and graduated in 2007. Throughout her years as an idol, she has released many solo singles and albums, and was touted to be one of the most popular members of morning musume due to her vocals. 愛言葉 (VOICE) is her first full solo album since she switched labels to avex trax's sub-label rythmn zone in 2008.

Released on November 2nd, 2011, 愛言葉 (VOICE) comes in 3 editions: CD-only, CD+DVD and a limited edition 2CD+2DVD release. Today, I will only be reviewing the CD-only. The 2CD+2DVD version comes with a "collaboration disc" where the whole of her previous SWEET BLACK album is on. I will be reviewing that album at a later date.

CD-Only cover:


CD+DVD cover:


2CD+2DVD cover:


Tracklist:
1. What is LOVE
2. Get your way
3. YOU
4. 月影 (Tsukikage, lit. Shadow of the Moon)
5. 愛言葉 (Ai Kotoba, lit. Words of Love)
6. EYES
7. Paradise
8. SCANDALOUS
9. 宝石 (Houseki, lit. Jewel)
10. 「ねぇ、、、」("Nee...", lit. "Hey...")
11. 華詩 -hanauta- (Hanauta, lit. A Song)
12. Believe
13. 足跡 (Ashiato, lit. Footsteps)

Italic = Promotional tracks for the album
Bold = Featured in previous mini-album, "ONE" (2010)
Underline = Featured in previous mini-album, "Gloria" (2011)
Colored = Featured in previous mini-album, "LOVE" (2011)

---

1. What is LOVE

What is LOVE, being chosen as the 1st song of the album should be a song that brings about attention, that makes you go, "Wow this is an album to listen to", and it couldn't have done a better job.

Right when the song starts, we're treated to a heavy strong bass coupled with chants of Maki's voice on a vocoder going, "What is real love, what is pure love?" and it repeats itself for a satisfying amount of time before Maki's (surprisingly) strong and deep voice begins the verses. The verses are extremely monotonous yet not being boring; the strong bass line continues, entrancing you as each second goes by. When we reach the chorus, we're once again treated to Maki's extremely clear and powerful voice, belting out each word with strength.

What is LOVE is a great opener and sets the tone and style of the album very well. Indeed this is pop music at its very best.

"Rip open your chest and show me the real you
If there is love there, even if you lose
Scent, sound, touch, light and music
My love will always remain"

What is LOVE - Maki Goto
Score 10/10


2. Get your way

The music continues as Get your way opens. A similar chanting starts the song with "You gotta, you gotta get your way." Granted, this is a style extremely similar to What is LOVE but way more subdued. There is a lack of power and ferocity in Get your way, but it doesn't mean it's a bad song. It just pales in comparison to What is LOVE. However, the bass here is equally an earworm, and while Maki's voice might be less powerful here but it still is very clear and pleasing listen to.

Props to the bridge (something that is sorely lacking in J-Pop songs) for sounding unique yet not feeling awkward from the whole song.

"Fly away and find your perfect future beyond the endless horizon while carrying both anxiety and hope
The living proof of hope stays unchanged forever"

Get your way - Maki Goto

Score: 8/10


3. YOU

Suddenly, the mood of the album downs as we head into a couple of ballads. YOU is a very run-of-the-mill J-Pop ballad that serves its purpose well. The verses are beautiful, the chorus is stellar, Maki's voice is at its best and it has a beautiful arrangement, reminding us of traditional enka. Imagery starts to rise in our minds; sakura flowers, rivers, death, darkness... The rock guitar that drives the chorus is so powerful, it tugs at your heart strings.

In a way, YOU reminds me of something J-Pop Empress ayumi hamasaki (in fact it sounds like a slightly more powerful part of Me from Ayu's discography), which isn't a bad thing at all. Kudos to Maki's vocals again, for being so powerful. I love this song.

"If I didn't love you, I wouldn't feel lost
I wouldn't feel this weak
I lived without realizing that I needed you"

YOU - Maki Goto

Score: 10/10


4. 月影

After a power ballad, we slow down even more to a beautiful oriental ballad that is 月影. You can hear the beautiful instruments throughout this song, so kudos to the arrangement.

Once again, I can't emphasize how Maki's voice simply shines throughout the song. Soft whispers, subtle dynamics and a seductive tenor, Maki's vocals are brilliant.

I personally feel it isn't as catchy or amazing like YOU; in fact it can get a little boring halfway through. However, it is a unique song in Maki's discography and it is an ethereal experience listening to this song. Highly recommended if you need to treat yourself to Maki's stellar vocals. I particularly love the bridge where Maki ad-libs along with one of the most amazing arrangements my ears have listened to.

"Like the way the cresent moon surely but slowly grows bigger
I want to love you a little more tomorrow than I did yesterday
I want to simply love you"

月影 - Maki Goto

Score: 8.5/10


5. 愛言葉

The pace picks up a little again with 愛言葉. Similar to YOU, it is a power ballad, but stripped off the oriental sounds. Instead, we get a very haunting piano with another beautiful arrangement. The first few seconds of the song greets us with an echoing chant (she really loves doing this doesn't she lol) with, "Can you hear my voice?"

The verses start off very slowly; monotonous like What is LOVE but definitely less attention-catching. The rythmn picks up just before the chorus as the electric guitar kicks in and yes, what a darn nice chorus this song has.

It's a standard song, and coming as a title track, I have to say 愛言葉 is pretty weak. It is listenable but nothing "wow" like most of the songs in this album.

"Your words of love saved me
That's why I want to show a smile at all times
Even during farewells"

愛言葉 - Maki Goto

Score: 8/10


6. EYES

Ah finally. It's songs like these that make me love Maki Goto even more. You see, she's like a good mix of ayumi hamasaki and Koda Kumi's best elements - her voice is stellar and she has really nice ballads ala Ayu, but Ayu has horrible "slutty" songs... and Koda Kumi has amazing slutty songs but her ballads are a mixed bag at times. Maki Goto has great ballads, and even better sexy songs, and EYES is one of them.

The sexiness starts up on the album with this and we're immediately treated with a fun guitar run and amazingly catchy trumpet and percussion! Maki's vocals are deep and sultry, drawing you on the first listen. The chorus is so fun to bob your head to and the verses are another amazing music.

This is what a good pop song is to me - catchy, fun, easy to listen to and above all, coupled with some darn good vocals.

"EYES; If you will still give me the speed of an instant
LOVE; I'll boldly feel your gaze
LIES; You're a tornado that whirls my heart away with the things you do"

EYES - Maki Goto

Score: 10/10


7. Paradise

So... Paradise is a mixed bag. I'm not exactly sure how to feel about this. Well for starters, we get another chanting. Paradies tries to follow up the fun and sexiness that started with EYES but in my opinion, definitely doesn't succeed in this as well as EYES.

The verses are pretty catchy and the chorus is unfortunately a let down. It is a fun song to listen to but there is something missing that I can't put my finger to. Like what I would say about 愛言葉, it is a listenable song but sadly, nothing too special. A classic example of a mundane album track.

"Flashing my bare skin before your eyes
Seducing you with an upward glance
I approach you defencelessly
Almost close enough to touch"

Paradise - Maki Goto

Score: 7/10


8. SCANDALOUS

Right, we're now back to amazing songs! SCANDALOUS really should have come after EYES so we can have 2 great sexy songs back to back.

Like how I said EYES was a perfect sexy and fun song, SCANDALOUS definitely is another great contender. From start to finish, this song is just catchy and really fun to listen to. The chorus is full of amazing music and you will find yourself singing along soon to, "You got me feeling scandalous"!

Kudos to Maki Goto for doing sexy and fun so well through her songs.

"Don't look at me like that
But don't look at anyone else either
I love the world 'special'"

SCANDALOUS - Maki Goto
Score: 10/10


9. 宝石

And now, we're back to the ballads. 宝石 starts off with a really adorable twinkle before Maki starts singing in the verses with a crystal-clear voice. The pace picks up in the chorus and it turns into this semi-dance song, which is welcoming to me.

There isn't much to write home about with 宝石 but it is a very decent song that will catch your attention. However compared to the ballads, it is not as spectacular musically, so it is a little disappointing.

"The world sparkles as if it's loved and loves in return
If it shines like a rainbow then it's all right even if the rain never dries up"

宝石 - Maki Goto
Score: 8/10


10. 「ねぇ、、、」

We continue with the ballads as the songs start to get slower and mellower. 「ねぇ、、、」 is a beautiful, beautiful ballad that is pretty underrated to me. Maki's vocals are brilliant here, from verses to chorus, and although it is so simple, 「ねぇ、、、」has a beauty that is only found in its simplicity.

It may not be as intense as YOU, but it fares amazing as a ballad of its kind - a simple love song.

"Hey, no matter how ordinary the days would be
If we could spend them together...
It would be my treasure"

「ねぇ、、、」- Maki Goto
Score: 9/10


11. 華詩 -hanauta-

Ah and now we come to what I would say is the most emotional song of the album, 華詩 -hanauta-. In January 2010, Maki witnessed her mother pass away from falling off from their apartment. Was it suicide, or was it homicide? What we know, was only that her mother seemed to have drunk beforehand. But whatever the reason is, losing your mother probably is one of the most painful things on earth, and witnessing it probably adds another layer of anguish that not many people can imagine or emphasize.

Thus, from her mother's death, comes 華詩 -hanauta-. I would see it as a tribute... the last words Maki would want to tell to her mother before she lost the chance to forever. In many ways, this reminds me of some of Ayu's songs that she has written for deceased friends/family members (ever free, Memorial address and untitled ~for her~). There is a beauty in this darkness, and you can really feel the pain from Maki as she belts this song out.

To add on it, nothing is dreadful in this song. The arrangement, the lyrics, the vocals, the melody, the composition; everything welds together tightly into a beautiful song. I highly recommend this to first-time Maki Goto listeners. Brilliant.

"'I want to see you, but I can't'
Unable to put it into words, the more I wish the more painful it becomes
Even so, I'll never be parted from my memories and feelings for you"

華詩 -hanauta- - Maki Goto
Score: 10/10


12. Believe

Yawn. I'm sorry for going a little unprofessional, but this is all I could think of with Believe. Is it a bad song? Like most of Maki Goto's songs, it is far from bad. But is it boring? Is it lackluster? Is it uninspiring? Yes, yes and yes!

The problem with ballads is that many singers tend to sing the same kind of ballad over and over again and we end up with very generic-sounding ballads. However, I feel Maki has avoided this issue with most of her ballads in this album. But with Believe... well, hey, at least one song has to suck in an album.

The chorus gets a little interesting but the verses are really a drag and actually Believe sounds like a rip-off of some generic Anime ending. Unimpressive. You can do much better Maki.

"The things you chased shine beautifully
But your face looks lonely
You hug your knees to your chest every single day
I don't want to see you like this anymore"

Believe - Maki Goto
Score: 5.5/10


13. 足跡

They say, "save the best for last" and I cannot agree more with this album. 足跡 is arguably my favorite Maki Goto song and I am so glad this song was placed right at the end.

So firstly, we get a really cool guitar riff before Maki's just amazing vocals start the verses. The riff before the chorus kicks up the pace with the drum and all the music escalates into the perfection that is the chorus.

I love this song so much because it's so relaxing to listen to without becoming a snorefest. It is a contemporary hit. It is a classic, and it is a must-listen for everyone who has good taste! This is the kind of songs that Japan eats up (explains the great popularity and success of Mr. Children).

A great end to the album, it makes me think of many things. 足跡 translates to "Footsteps", and Maki Goto hasn't had a smooth-sailing life (or at least from what we know of it). Listening to this album, and remembering that she is going on a hiatus since the start of 2012... it makes you wonder if this is her message to her fans - That her footsteps are going to stop here, and she is going to go somewhere else...

"All I need is a tomorrow I can chase with you
With your words, I can leave my footsteps behind"

足跡 - Maki Goto
Score: 10/10


Conclusion:

愛言葉 (VOICE) is a brilliant debut album with avex trax from Maki Goto and I must say it is a huge pity that she is going on a hiatus right after such a great musical production, but it is understanable considering what she has been through and I wish her nothing but the best.

Overall score: 9.5/10


Credits:
Translation of "What is LOVE", "Get your way", "YOU", "月影", "愛言葉", "Paradise", "SCANDALOUS" & "Believe" belong to tenshi_no_hane @ http://verduistering.livejournal.com/

Translation of "EYES", "宝石", "華詩 -hanauta-" and "「ね ぇ、、、」
" belong to carlenne @ http://carlenne.livejournal.com/

Translation of "足跡" belong to snorio @ http://lyricstranslate.com/en/ashiato-%E8%B6%B3%E8%B7%A1-footsteps.html

Dec. 20th, 2010

Music Review: Love songs - ayumi hamasaki

Hello everyone~ It's time for a music review & this time I'll be reviewing Ayu's latest 12th studio album & 13th overall original album, "Love songs". Love songs is set to be released on December 22nd, 2010 with 3 editions: CD-only, CD+DVD & a limited edition USB+MicroSD+DVD set. 3 singles were released prior to Love songs. They are MOON/blossom, crossroad & her 50th single, L.

Love songs CD-only cover Love songs CD+DVD cover Love songs USB+MicroSD+DVD cover
 
 
Tracklist:
1. Love song
2. crossroad
3. MOON
4. sending mail
5. Last angel
6. insomnia
7. Like a doll
8. Aria
9. blossom
10. Thank U
11. Sweet Season
12. overture
13. do it again
14. November
15. Virgin Road
16. SEVEN DAYS WAR (Live at Yoyogi on Oct 11th, 2010)*

* The live of SEVEN DAYS WAR is only on the CD+DVD & USB+MicroSD card+DVD editions. The CD-only edition comes with the original mix of SEVEN DAYS WAR, which is found in the crossroad single.

Bold = Song featured in a prior single
Italic = Interlude

---

1. Love song

Love song, being the title track of the album, obviously should be the strongest album-track, and I couldn't agree more.

The song starts off with a strong guitar riff, before Ayu's strong vocals kick in. I have to say, Ayu's vocals are excellent in Love song and the style she is singing in... it's new and very refreshing. Kudos to her for attempting a new vocal style despite being deaf on her left ear!

An interesting note is that around the 1:30 time mark, a guitar riff with the exact same melody as Last angel starts to play and this is so interesting because it feels like Love song encompasses the sounds of the single-tracks in this album; blossom's piano tune, Last angel's melody, crossroad's guitars. It's very amazing, to be honest.

One last thing is that with Love song, the lyrics of the song basically sum up what this album is about - it's beautiful and really manages to combine all the emotions and feeling of the following songs into this title track. The melody and arrangement are fantastic too. Check out the parts where an acoustic guitar plays on one side of the speaker, while an electric guitar acts as the bass on the other. Strings, piano and the drums also come in as fantastic add-ons.

"I’m not confident of living
A life without love"

Love song - ayumi hamasaki
 

Score: 10/10


2. crossroad

crossroad, a single-track on her 49th single of the same name, comes in right after Love song.

crossroad starts mellow and peaceful before there's an ascend in the key and melody right before the chorus, and the chorus blooms into amazing energy. The song sings about choosing our roads, and how different it might have been if we have chosen a different road.

One thing I dislike about crossroad is that during the chorus, the editing of Ayu's main vocal track and the backing vocals clash so badly it sometimes is a pain to listen to.

However, crossroad is still an amazing mid-tempo song and comes very naturally after Love song.

Overall, a solid song.

"I had the feeling that the profile of someone I passed by now
Looked like that of the girl I had known before
But why was I just staring at her back, as she walked away
Without even being able to call to her?"

crossroad - ayumi hamasaki


Score: 9/10


3. MOON

MOON was one of the A-sides on Ayu's 48th single, MOON/blossom.

MOON is a full-on emotional rock ballad which starts off very subtly and quietly. There is a boom coming in the form of an electric guitar and the drums after a few seconds, and the song starts to quieten down as Ayu sings out the first line.

I must say, the lyrics to MOON are extremely beautiful and touching, and the song is very heart-wrenching as well. The song might not capture attention upon the first listen, but gradual listens prove MOON to be a very emotional ballad, like with other Ayu ballads.

The guitar in the bridge is also worthy to take note of, as it is so heart-wrenching and emotional.

One of the better single-tracks in the album, in my opinion.

"I'll give you a gentle song
So that you can believe in eternity for ever
So please don't ask me anymore
With such sad eyes, in a trembling voice
"Do you love me?""

MOON - ayumi hamasaki



Score: 9.5/10


4. sending mail

What appears to be a song with a weird title, turns out to be one of strongest album-tracks.

sending mail starts with a rustling sound, similar to what we hear at the beginning of MOON, before the piano, electric guitar and strings come in slowly, almost creepily, followed by Ayu's voice.

The song kicks up in tempo into the second verse and we are thrown in for a surprise at a fast-paced and repeated chorus of four stanzas.

sending mail is a song about the torment of being in love, and wanting to convey your feelings and words to the person you love, but failing to do so in the end.

The arrangement in sending mail is amazing, with little sound bites such as electric guitar riffs, piano runs, and the use of a vocoder on Ayu's voice in the second verse. The end of sending mail sends us into another surprise as we are treated with a violin run.

sending mail is definitely one of the strongest tracks in Love songs, and it's not difficult to see why.

"Being at your side, just being at your side
You smile at me, forgive me, hey
Will such a day ever come?"

sending mail - ayumi hamasaki
 

Score: 10/10


5. Last angel

Last angel was one of the songs in Ayu's 50th single, L, and proving to be another amazing song from Ayu.

Last angel starts with a minute-long instrumental introduction, with strings starting the song. We start to hear elements of electronica and trance music as the beat kicks in, followed by Ayu's "announcement", signaling the start of Last angel.

The verses of Last angel are extremely monotonous, sounding creepy to a certain extent. Ayu whispers her way through the verses in an almost assertive manner that sends chills down the spine. The choruses of the song, however, are filled with melody as Ayu belts out her message.

While coming as a surprise on L, since it was the only non-ballad song there, Last angel seems to fade away on Love songs. Maybe it is because it came right after something as perfect as sending mail, but I personally feel that among the upbeat songs in Love songs, Last angel seems to be one of the weaker ones. I was wishing there was more kick in the song, but the song never exactly reached a climax.

"I had such a love that I couldn't be proud of
And felt guilty about
A merry night and a lonely morning
I repeated such a life"

Last angel - ayumi hamasaki


Score: 8/10


6. insomnia

insomnia is the first of three interludes in Love songs. insomnia starts with an extremely creepy sounding, followed by odd melodies by the strings which adds on to creepiness. The cellos continue to play in a staccato way, almost feeling rigid, while beats start to play in the background, and a strange vocal is heard in ascending notes.

insomnia is very reminiscent of Marionette -prelude- in a previous album, GUILTY. However, insomnia absolutely triumphs the creepiness here, and it's not hard to see why as every second of insomnia gives me the creeps, making this 2-minute long interlude a beauty to listen to.

Score: 9/10

7. Like a doll

Like a doll starts with a waltz-inspired piano melody, before Ayu's vocals kick in, complementing the piano.

The drums start to come in, providing a steady beat. Suddenly, Ayu's vocals reach higher, as repeated chants of "like a doll" come in with the strings and more electronic beats.

Ayu sings again, in a creepier manner adding more personality to the song.

The chorus comes in an almost hypnotic way, which strangely, makes me feel like dancing, as if I'm a marionette controlled by strings.

Like a doll sounds very royal, as if the music itself is fitting for a dance in a castle or something for the princess. Very beautiful piece of music, I must complement.

"If you ignore all your feelings
You won't feel any hurt
But you won't feel any happiness too"

Like a doll - ayumi hamasaki
 

Score: 8.5/10


8. Aria

Aria comes in after Like a doll, and the second of three interludes present in Love songs.

Aria is an extremely peaceful and sweet-sounding interlude. Listening to Aria gives the feeling of walking into a beautiful forest filled with flowers and butterflies, and you slowly make your way out to a crowded and busy small town with people dancing. Not to mention, the faint choir at the background gives a very quaint feel to Aria, settling your heart down.

The sudden musical merges and explosion toward the end further exemplify the beauty of Aria as it ends, beautifully.

Score: 9/10

9. blossom

blossom, another single-track on the single MOON/blossom comes after Aria.

blossom starts off softly with a piano, and the guitar kicks in with the drums giving a sudden climax, before dying down with Ayu's vocals again.

The song slowly picks up in tempo as the chorus kicks in with an electric guitar.

blossom is a nostalgic and bittersweet song, with a melancholic guitar solo at the bridge. While there isn't much to say about blossom because it's such a simple song, the simplicity here is the perfection, and Ayu's vocals once again, brings out the emotion in blossom flawlessly.

Amazing song, personally.

"Just as we have protected the naturally-colored flower petals together
We will gently see them through together until the last one falls"

blossom - ayumi hamasaki
 
Score: 8.5/10


10. Thank U

The next song, Thank U starts with a little orchestra introduction as the song picks up in tempo, followed by Ayu's cheery lalalas, which basically is the chorus of Thank U.

Thank U could be classified as one of Ayu's cutesy songs, however, I feel that there is something different about Thank U. The verses, while adorable, has a nostalgic sound reminiscent of 80's J-Pop, and the lalalas are endearing to listen to.

While, I can't say much about Thank U, it is one of my favorites in Love songs, and never fails to bring a smile to my face as Ayu sings emotionally; a song to her fans.

"Because there is no need to promise
That tomorrow will come"

Thank U - ayumi hamasaki
 

Score: 8/10

11. Sweet Season

Sweet Season is one of the single-tracks featured in the 50th single, L.

Sweet Season is a mid-tempo country-inspired song that is relaxing and gorgeous. The songs sings about transcending through the seasons, and is one of my absolutely favorites, even when I heard it in L.

Ayu's vocals are relaxed and nice to listen to, while the music itself gives off a peaceful and happy feel that you can almost imagine yourself sitting on a grassfield in the summer days humming to Sweet Season. The "kira, kira, kira" at the end of the every chorus is almost pleasing to listen to, and puts a smile on my face.

"The tears shining there now
Is the proof that you didn't yield to yourself
The smile shining there now
Is the proof of your happiness, so brilliant"

Sweet Season - ayumi hamasaki
 

Score: 10/10


12. overture

overture is the last of the three interludes present in Love songs.

overture, similar to Aria, is a slow interlude filled with strings. However, while Aria sounded cheerful and hopeful, overture carried undertones of melancholy, almost close to destruction, as the strings slowly play out the painful melody that is overture.

overture almost gives an imagery of walking through a dungeon in a video game; very apt and beautiful.

Score: 7/10


13. do it again

And after overture, comes a string of the three strongest and most amazing songs in Love songs.

First off, with do it again.

The running piano melody in the beginning already gives off a sense of urgency as Ayu repeatedly sings, "dance, dance, dance, do it again, sing, sing, sing, do it again" with an extremely melancholic melody at the back.

The verses are subtle and quiet almost anticipating for more, as the song slowly picks up in tempo towards the refrain filled with electronic beats, while the whole song hits a ritard. (sudden slow down) as the chorus of "dance, dance, dance, do it again, sing, sing, sing, do it again" comes in, totally just giving the song an epic stamp.

The music here actually reminds me a lot of the sounds you hear in battle, and with a touch of that "epicness", makes do it again one of the best songs in Love songs, and extremely hauntingly beautiful too. This is the one song everyone has to listen to.

""Letting go is also courage"
That is something we know as we become adults

But it isn't easy to do
At this time, I've realized that it's"

do it again - ayumi hamasaki
 

Score: 10/10


14. November

The next epic song on the lineup is November.

Now, I'm not sure on how to describe November. It is a ballad quite obviously, but not like the typical ballads you hear every day. November is layered, complex and rich in musical texture it is beautiful.

A "question & answer" musical style starts November, with the bells playing a melody, and an oboe-like instrument playing an "answer" to the "question" that the bells ask. This repeats until Ayu starts the verses.

There is no distinct chorus in November, and this almost feels like a letdown to me, as I feel November is just lacking an "oomph" in its chorus to be completely catchy. However, despite this flaw, the arrangement and instruments of November are perfect and gorgeous beyond words.

Ayu also sounds like she is crying throughout the song, very painfully beautiful. The lyrics to November are equally heartbreaking as well. The musical build up to the last chorus of November is also something to take note of; one of my favorite moments in the song.

One of the best songs on Love songs, though I just wish there was a catchy tune in the chorus!

"If I could grow one more wing
So that I could fly freely in the sky like a bird
I want to give you both of those wings
So that you can fly to the place you want to go"

November - ayumi hamasaki
 
Score: 9/10


15. Virgin Road

Virgin Road is the lead-song of Ayu's 50th single, L.

Virgin Road is a touching ballad; a thank-you song from a child to his/her parent... one of the most beautiful songs in the album.

Virgin Road starts with Ayu's tender vocals and piano, before the strings drop in in a beautiful melody. Basically, that's the formula of Virgin Road, but amongst this simple arrangement, is a sincere heart from Ayu, thanking her mother for everything.

As we all know, Ayu & her mum have had rough moments in the past, seeing how Ayu wrote one of her first masterpieces, "A Song For xx" to her mother. 12 years later as the most influential J-Pop singer; a J-Pop Empress, Ayu has matured, and now understands her mother, and so Virgin Road is born.

I can't exactly explain how touched I am with Virgin Road and Ayu's feelings, but I can safely say, this is THE BEST song on Love songs and deserves everything it has to be the leading-song of the 50th single, L.

I have to add the lyrics of Virgin Road are very touching too, and is something everyone can relate to, someday, somewhere in their lives.

An interesting note is that "walking down the virgin road" also means walking down the aisle, a.k.a getting married.
 
"I met a person who said, "I love you and want to protect you"
We start to walk together now
Whatever sadness we may face, whatever gladness we may feel
We promised to live on, sharing every moment together
Please watch over me"

Virgin Road - ayumi hamasaki


Score. 10/10


16. SEVEN DAYS WAR (Live at Yoyogi on Oct 11th, 2010)

SEVEN DAYS WAR, a remake of an 90's pop song, was featured as a B-side on the crossroad single. On the CD+DVD & USB+MicroSD card+DVD editions of the album, a special live recording was featured instead of the original mix on crossroad.

To celebrate the release of 50 singles, Ayu extended her ARENA TOUR 2010 ~Rock'n'Roll Circus~ to a special 7-day live that ran from her birthday to October 11th, 2010.

On the last day, at the last song, with tears flowing out of her eyes, this amazing lady sang her heart out with SEVEN DAYS WAR, and was recorded and placed in this album.

No lying, Ayu was crying throughout the song, and I could feel her emotions, so closely, so loudly.

May I sidetrack a little here to say that, with Love songs, Ayu has taught me a lot, once again.

I used to think that I couldn't live without love, as in the love that comes when you have a boyfriend. But I realized with this album and its songs, that there is more to love than a boyfriend/husband. Love for friends, love for nature, love for music, love for dreams, love for life and love for love... I can't live without those loves as well, and it's just unfair to say that I have never been in love in my whole life, when in fact, I'm in love every day of my life, with the things I should appreciate and cherish.

And I couldn't have realized that, if it wasn't for Ayu.

Ayu, thank you so much for continuing to sing, and releasing this amazing album, because without it, I might still be deluded about love. I will fight, just so I can be myself. I love you, Ayu. <3

"I will fight, just so I can be myself."

SEVEN DAYS WAR

Score: 10/10

---

Overall, Love songs is easily one of my favorite albums of Ayu along with MY STORY and RAINBOW.

The message, lyrics, emotions and musically-sophistication of the songs just won me over. I dare to say this is her best album since (miss)understood in 2006.

Kudos to Ayu for Love songs, and for being who she is, always.


*All lyrics translations credit to masa, Misa-chan and tenshi_no_hane from AHS

Dec. 13th, 2010

Poor thing

Poor thing

Why are you crying?
With joy coming from your lone smile
Were you hurt again?
With tears running down your tired eyes

But all you wanted, was to be loved
Right?

Why are you laughing?
With wounds all over your weary heart
Did you hope again?
With tears all over your swollen eyes

But all you wished for, was to be found
Right?

That dream that you were dreaming that day
Are you still chasing it today?
Even though it feels like
There is nothing to believe in anymore

Do you still believe?
In the dream you had believed in
Have you given up?
Tired of chasing the impossible

But all you wanted, was to find love
Right?

That dream that you were dreaming that day
Are you still chasing it today?
Even though you know now
There is nothing to believe in anymore

Fleeting dreams and empty wishes
Are you tired of chasing them?
But why, why, why
Do you never stop?
Believing you will find love some day?

That future you were hoping for then
Has it come to you already?
Even though you’ve shed tears
Too many times alone every night

But all you wanted, all you wanted
Was to have a meaning in this life
Right?

But all that happened, all that happened
Was your heart dying again and again
Right?

---

new poem again wee~

Dec. 12th, 2010

"Enter Passcode"

 

 
They said I'm still young, and that I should wait a while more.
They said love will come some day, as long as I wait.

But I'm just wondering - what if it will never come, however long I may wait? What if there was an odd number of people in this world, and when everyone has found their match, you realize the odd one out is... yourself?

Everyone is born in this world to love and be loved, surely. But maybe, just maybe, there is someone born to be alone.

For now, I hope everyone around me finds love, so I can at least hold onto the lie; the dream that it will be my turn.
Some day.
 
 
 
 
"The lovers are walking hand in hand
Looking very happy
It appears that everything is going well
But no one knows the truth"

appears - ayumi hamasaki

Dec. 10th, 2010

Secret

 
"I turned my eyes away from the girls I passed by
Because they looked dazzling to me
They had the free wings like an innocent child

Even if I search for a light place over the darkness
Spreading the only wing left for me
I can't reach the truth alone

How am I looked
In your eyes from your place?
Please laugh away
These days of mine filled with false things
Before it's too late

Even when I get tired of flying, I don't even have courage to rest my wing
If I could have a wish come true
Take me away from here, please

I'm still here and have been searching as before
For a place I can fit in
I heartily wish
This feeling could reach you at least
I want nothing else

How am I looked
In your eyes from your place?
Please laugh away
These days of mine filled with false things

I'm still here and have been searching as before
For a place I can fit in
I heartily wish
This feeling could reach you at least
I want nothing else"

Secret - ayumi hamasaki

Feeling like this these few days, like totally.

Dec. 8th, 2010

Love song

I was having dinner at Ikea today & while walking around the furniture section, I saw a gay couple.

Never mind about their bodies or faces, what I saw was a couple in love, picking plushies for their Christmas party (I think).

1 of them was busy picking while the other was looking around. Suddenly this toddler came running towards them, & the guy who was doing nothing noticed the toddler& smiled to him in the sweetest way ever.

As I walked away, looking back at them, I just realized something; a truth I should've fathomed a long time ago.

I am going to be single & alone forever, for the rest of my life.

They tell me, "You're just 18, wait a while more, & you will find someone who loves you."

The thing is, how long do I have to wait? A year? Ten years? Until I'm 35? Forever?

Laughing so heartily at everything I see & hear, that's the me you know, right? But when everyone leaves & all that's left is myself, I only remember how lonely I am.

The saddest thing is to feel great joy but have no one to share it with.

No one is obliged to make me feel happy, & I know there's no one in this world but me who can make me feel happy, but wouldn't it be nice if I know what love is, even if it's once in my life?

But deep down in my heart, I just know it, that love doesn't last. Or maybe love never existed.

Don't tell me to wait again, because I know that even waiting isn't going to make miracles happen.

So I walk alone down this road, & I should've known, to be contented with loneliness.

Good-bye happiness.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Tags:

Dec. 6th, 2010

(no subject)

Myself

I wake up to an empty bed
On the same mornings
I thought I should be used to this
But why does it still hurt?

I look up to the snowing sky
On the same Christmases
I thought I should know this by now
But why do I still cry?

“I’m fine,
I’m really fine
By myself
Myself…”

The hand that yearns to be held
The lips that yearn to be kissed
The heart that yearns to be loved
I wonder how long would it be
Before the desires stop
And the acceptance starts

I sit with the empty table
On the same evenings
“One person’s share of food will do”
But why do I still laugh?

I watch the latest movies alone
At the same cinema
“Such a life is fitting for me, right?”
But why do I still wait?

“It’s fine,
It’s really fine
I’m used to
Myself…”

My hand that yearns to be held
My lips that yearn to be kissed
My heart that yearns to be loved
I wonder what I have to do
Before they finally know
It’s hopeless, waiting

You
Do you see me?
Desperately wishing for someone to find me?
You
Do you get it?
Are you still finding for someone, like me too?

The hand that yearns to be held
The lips that yearn to be kissed
The heart that yearns to be loved
I wonder how long would it be
Before the desires stop
And the acceptance starts

My hand that yearns to be held
My lips that yearn to be kissed
My heart that yearns to be loved
I wonder what I have to do
Before they finally know
It’s hopeless, waiting

“I’m fine,
I’m really fine
By myself
Myself…”

---

Wrote this while thinking how it'd be like if I were like I am now when I'm 35. It feels reli real, so I doubt I'm worrying too much.

Aug. 22nd, 2010

Envious

 Today, on the streets, I saw a couple.

They were walking together, hands apart. Suddenly he put his arms around her shoulder. She looked a little embarrassed, and then tried to push him away. He kinda chuckled and tightened his grip, and pulled her closer to him. Then he shook her a little and put his cheeks to her cheeks and they walked together like that until I couldn't follow them anymore.

I then began to wonder, "When can I do that to someone?" I wish I could pull an embarrassed you to me and embrace you with all the love I have for you.

The problem is, where are you?

How long more... do I have to be alone?

May. 15th, 2010

Hmm

Ugh I don't like how I have a LJ and only use it to look at other people's journals... perhaps it's time to make use of this~

I think... I'm gonna post music reviews here! Yeah lol I should do that... I'm gonna start with SUPER JUNIOR's latest album, BONAMANA so please look forward to it~!