CD Review :: ayumi hamasaki - Rock'n'Roll Circus
CD Only Cover :
CD + DVD Cover :
1) THE introduction
3) count down
4) Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
6) Last Links
8) Don't look back
9) Jump !
10) Lady Dynamite
11) Sexy little things
12) Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
13) meaning of Love
14) You were ...
15) RED LINE ~for TA~ [album version]
Rock'n'Roll Circus is ayumi hamasaki's 11th album & it will be released this coming Wed on 14th April .
2 singles which are both double A-sides are included in ayumi's latest album offering . Even though the album is not released officially yet , Rock'n'Roll Circus has already leaked out on the net .
Rock'n'Roll Circus consists a total of 15 songs & the recording for the album took place in London which was a 1st for ayumi .
4 album tracks received music videos of their own & also , Rock'n'Roll Circus will be released on the same day as her ayumi hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A -Next Level- DVD .
Unlike her previous albums NEXT LEVEL & GUILTY where there were 3 interludes & an introduction , for Rock'n'Roll Circus's case , you get an introduction opening piece & 2 interludes , which's the same album structure as what her 8th album Secret had & that goes for her older releases such as (miss)understood , MY STORY , RAINBOW & I am ... .
With a title like THE introduction , is it any better to kick off Rock'n'Roll Circus as so ? I believe it's & it's an introduction with a feel of a live opening track which sets the bar on what to expect for Rock'n'Roll Circus .
You dive straight into the 1st album track aka Microphone . It's the 1st album track to get a video & it was used to promote Honda ZEST SPARK in their ads which ayumi's the spokeswoman for the brand .
Microphone has been described as a powerful and intense rock track which centres on ayumi's music career .
I still remembered when this song was leaked out , I was captivated by the song even up to now . I really like the subtle usage of an organ being utilised in Microphone & the ending result's that it's a rock song with plenty of class & style .
It's 1 of the more angsty driven rock tracks in the album for that matter .
The next 3 songs you can find in the album are ballads .
count down follows after Microphone & it's a rock ballad which the lyrics of the song centres on ayumi's ear issues which she revealed in her TeamAyu fanclub blog that she unfortunately became deaf in her left ear some 2 years back , during the time when her 9th album GUILTY was released .
I was really impressed with count down & my 1st thought was that it sounded like criminal which's taken from her 7th album (miss)understood .
count down is not as solemn , dark & depressing as criminal but it's around the same wave length . Also , I like the usage of the guitar in count down which accompanied the piano & this's some great stuff I feel .
Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ is the 2nd A-side of ayumi's 46th single Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ . It was used in the Panasonic LUMIX FX60 camera ad in which ayumi's the spokesperson for the company .
It's a midtempo nostalgic summer love ballad & both songs utilised the same melody but with obvious music arrangements you can expect from both A-sides .
I like Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ , I really do & I feel that it contrasts Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ very well for that matter & the arrangements going for the song is plain lovely & under-stated .
BALLAD is the 2nd A-side of ayumi's 47th single You were ... / BALLAD . It was used as a drama tieup no. for NHK's serial Soukyuu no Subaru , a fictional historical drama based on Jiro Asada's book & it was aired on NHK BS hi from Jan 2nd .
I guess you can say that BALLAD is the successor of GREEN seeing that it's a ballad with traces of Asian/Chinese flair attached to it .
Oh sure I know that people will be going ??? when the titles You were ... / BALLAD were announced since it's obvious that BALLAD is going to be a ballad but for my case , I didn't expect such a different type of ballad coming from ayumi .
I thought it was going to be another typical Winter inspired like ballad from her (that goes to You were ... actually) but for her to incorporate & make use of Asian/Chinese sounds again in her music , I like & respect that .
I'm not sure if it's because I'm Chinese but I leave it as it's . BALLAD is touching & I still like the song even up to now .
Last Links is the 3rd album track & it's a hopeful song that encourages to live with love . Sounds poetic & deep but in truth , the song's a really nice acoustic guitar driven no. .
I think Last Links is the only album track to be given such a treatment & it's cool .
montage is the 1st album interlude & boy oh boy this's 1 hot interlude I have to say .
It's a really mean kick ass dark orchestral interlude that leads into the next album track Don't look back & for me what I like about montage's that it has a lot of kicks & throw a lot of punches at the right curve .
Like what I said , montage leads straight into Don't look back , which's the 2nd album track to get a music video .
Don't look back was used to promote Panasonic's latest digital camera LUMIX FX66 & ZX3 TV-CF & it's a midtempo Arabian/Indian sitar infused track .
This's the only album track that's so in Rock'n'Roll Circus & I'm glad that Don't look back is exclusive in this sense .
It really reminded me of ayumi's 14th single vogue in terms of the fact that both songs utilised more or less the same exotic beats for each song .
Not bad it's a bad thing but it was like taking a trip down to music land as it has been close to 10 years since vogue was released .
Jump ! is the final interlude & it's a digital rock no. with ayumi saying "JUMP" a lot .
While Jump ! is not as epic grand sounding as montage , you still can hear traces of those video games programming synth like sounds in Jump ! , something that was used quite often in her last album NEXT LEVEL .
I actually am quite neutral over Jump ! though even though I got turned off a bit by ayumi who said JUMP a lot in the backdrop .
Anyway , the next 2 album tracks are also incidentally the last 2 songs that got music videos of their own .
Lady Dynamite is an impacting rock track for women & no surprises , it's a rock song that makes a big impact .
Lyrics wise , it's in the same vein as her previous songs that're very women inspired like Beautiful Fighters & my name's WOMEN .
I do admit that Lady Dynamite didn't sat well with me initally but I actually like it now . It's such a fun song to groove along to & music structure wise , it's a bit different as compared to Beautiful Fighters & my name's WOMEN .
Sexy little things is track #11 & it's an upbeat swing pop number which has an electro tinge to it .
This song's the successor of last year's Sparkle seeing that you can hear quite a fair bit of autotune running though Sexy little things .
I can see why ayumi made a video for Sexy little things as it's extremely extremely addictive . I was instantly hooked onto the song on 1st listen . Even though by right I'm not really a fan of autotune & dance music , a little bit of it is ok & this's evident for Sexy little things & she probably had a lot of fun recording this too .
Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ is the 1st A-side of her 46th single Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ .
This song served as the theme song for the drama Dandy Daddy ? & it's a summer upbeat song with shades of electronic beats .
I still remembered when this single was released after NEXT LEVEL , I admit that Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ sounded like something that's taken from that album .
But compared to ayumi's most recent summer inspired songs , Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ had something different to offer , especially when you compare it against glitter & BLUE BIRD which both songs sounded eerily the same .
But nevertheless Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ is really good & contrasts Sunset very nicely with Sunset being a touching ballad .
meaning of Love is the final album track & it's a song about overflowing love .
This's probably somewhat the weak link in the album as I did not find meaning of Love as memorable as what I was hoping for but I must admit that it's a really touching song .
It doesn't have the same spark as previous album ballads of ayumi but that's ok .
You were ... is the 1st A-side of ayumi's 47th single You were ... / BALLAD .
It had a tie-up with music.jp and was used as the theme song for the Japanese version of the Disney movie Tinkaberu to Tsuki no Ishi (Tinkerbell and The Lost Treasure) .
You were ... is a really enpowering winter love ballad . Even though both A-sides are ballads to begin with , somehow or another , ayumi's able to make both songs into a proper class of their own .
With BALLAD being an Oriental sounding ballad , it's You were ... that brought out the Christmas spirit in a person when this single was released last Dec .
Found as the B-side in You were ... / BALLAD , it's RED LINE ~for TA~ & in here it has been given an album version .
RED LINE ~for TA~ is an upbeat ballad which plays against both A-sides very nicely .
Compared to the single version , there's not much difference going on for the album take of RED LINE ~for TA~ except the fact that ayumi closed things off acapella style which I really like & I think this song wraps up Rock'n'Roll Circus very well .
After being in the business for 12 years , ayumi hamasaki still has it going on & this's evident in her latest album offering Rock'n'Roll Circus .
I think this album might be more liked than her last album NEXT LEVEL in which she got quite experimental with video game like sounds & also the fact that it had 3 interludes & 1 introduction just like GUILTY , perhaps both attributes put off people from trying to like NEXT LEVEL .
To me , I really like NEXT LEVEL but for Rock'n'Roll Circus's case , I think ayumi has returned back to what she does best .
The singles themselves are already great while for the album tracks , they're great if not are more superior than the singles which I think it's fantastic .
I'm not sure whether this has to do with her going all the way to London to record Rock'n'Roll Circus but if so , I think her efforts have paid off well & I overall think that it's a great album that's really well put together .
Great stuff , I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeves next .