Ayumi Hamasaki Discography Rate: Part 2 (FIN)

let's make it two

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Kinky.
 
Sad to see these go!

A lot of my Guilty scores are middle of the line, it truly is just there for me and has been since it's release. In the scope of Ayumi's immense discography, my scores for it weren't even that bad. However, I had a thought about why I feel this way... I think a lot of Ayumi fans at that time were having some fatigue, at least that's what I remember and what I was personally going through, and so many didn't resonate with the album as such? I just remember Next Level being such a breath of fresh air next to it.
 
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I just finished all the artwork, it's so bizarre to fall back to the 40s. Anyway, since I'm up...

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Microphone
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10 @otenkiame @vikeyeol @EachSmallStep @eliminathan
5 @junglefish 6 @digitalkaiser @ThisIsRogue

Ddd, remember when I said all my scores left were 7 and above? Well this 6.5 snuck by me. I've never cared much for this one, sorry y'all. It's a bit too choppy and abrupt in places for my taste. It's arguably the most representative track of R'n'RC, which is probably why I had trouble connecting to the album for so long. That black dress look in the PV though, whew. Absolutely flawless. I'll stop talking now and let you be the ones to give this song the justice it deserves.

Cutlery opens, "Opens up as an opera rock kind of number, and stays pretty subdued during the verses to great effect. I particularly stan the transition from the pre to the chorus as it makes the cathartic lyrics shine more" and vague also describes their personal highlights, "so dramatic. i love the organ that pops up every so often throughout the song." otenkiame loves a bit of versatility, "An organ followed by heavy and angry guitar riffs? Yes, please. Just a splendid and satisfying track all around. Quiet when it needs to be, then angry and loud." evilsin delves even further, "What an amazing lyrical content! You're reading lyrics and thinking about that love/hate relationship between Ayu and her lover, but then you remember that the song title is "Microphone" and you realize that she's singing about her career as a singer and the hardships that comes with it. Amazing! Sonically this is pretty standard rock Ayu affair, but somehow it does standout to me."

TABOO was also here for the looks, "Representative of the “Rock’n’Roll” side of the album title. I always appreciated this song for its aggressive chorus and perky verses. Excellent opener to the album! That gown in the PV was iconic." Speaking of aggressive, I can't wait for BEST FICTION to read eliminathan's commentary, "One of my favourites in her discography. Namie's Past < Future photoshoot and Golden touch video are quaking. The videos continuing into one another is iconic." And lastly vikeyeol gives R'n'RC some pretty big shoes to fill, "Ok, this is fucking incredible and perfectly encapsulates the concept of a rock'n'roll circus with how grandiose and ridiculous it is. If the rest of the album kept up this quality it could rival I Am... as her very best."

 
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my name's WOMEN
(8.340)


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10 @Cutlery @TABOO @soratami @send photo
6.5 @One Stop Candy Shop

Okay, lil newbie Ayu stan me lived for this song. Like, she's just exuding man-eating confidence all over this song and PV. Like yas, describe all the strengths of women in the lyrics. Ahead of her time chanteuse was releasing feminist anthems along the same time as Xtina was releasing Can't Hold Us Down. The PV is a bit of a Get Right rip-off, but it's still such an event and I'm drooling over bby Shuya; the concept and choreo is fantastic. The song itself and the PV are dated, yes, but I feel it adds a level of charm to it.

aaronhansome pops up yet again, "A better version of INSPIRE." Just a fan of the entire package, TABOO gushes, "Feminist anthem! Cutesy, defiant, powerful. The strength of my name’s WOMEN lies in its undeniable chorus. And let’s not forget Ayu’s command of that whip in the PV." otenkiame is a bit of a size queen about that excessive length, "Ayu dragging all men. But nearly six minutes? A little too long. The ending can feel draggy, and sort of kills the impact of the chorus. Still enjoyable, though." Of course evilsin is here for some extra length though, "I believe this was one of the first tracks that made me actually obsess over Ayu. I looove me some long choruses and here there are plenty. Still I'm not denying it can drag a bit sometimes. The music video is a total hoot as well."

Poor RUNAWAY, "I’ve never really understood the title of this song but it’s cool." It's about women empowerment sis, like 'I am woman hear me roar'. vague isn't a fan of some early-noughties quirks, "i lowkey hate that singing-in-front-of-a-fan filter/effect on her voice in the bridges, but otherwise this is a bop" and digitalkaiser saves himself from my whip, "Gah, just when you think the song is basic it also completely bops dddd. Her outfits in this vid!" eliminathan keeps it simple, "Queen of female empowerment." Their name's EachSmallStep and they saw the light, "One of her top female power anthems. Back when I wasn’t really into her aside from like Dearest, this mv was recommended to me and, despite how oddly over the top it was, I loved it." And everything comes together in the Cutlery drawer, "Ddd the production initially reminds me a lot of MJ’s New jack swing tracks, esp. from Dangerous. Anyways, the absolutely impactful and confrontational lyrics from Ms. Hamasaki and her feelings are delivered with plenty of details, such as the background vocals during the choruses, the occasional harps, strings and piano, a few synths and so on."

 
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Wow it hurt to like these elim posts.
I love Microphone, it's amazing, but I had a feeling it was going to go next since some of y'all hate theatrical rock masterpieces, apparently! But tbh, I had given it a 10 but I dropped it to a 9 because I find the "tell me why" parts kind of detract from the song a bit.
never really understood the title of this song
By "my name's WOMEN" Ayu is saying that she's speaking for all women with the lyrics of the song. I'm really surprised to see this go already. I'm not sure if it's just a victim of score shenanigans but seeing it at #40 is an absolute disgrace!
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^Ayu judging this whole rate for her most feminist anthem not placing higher
 
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In hindsight, my names WOMEN is a total 10 but it came after GAME which was almost my 11 but wasn't and WOMEN isn't quite as amazing as GAME by just a smidge so I gave it a 9 because I don't do decimals as I'm Mathilliterate so that makes working out averages on my fingers so much harder and OMFG why didn't I just give it a 10!?!?!?!?!?!?

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Yas at google image search for Ayu gifs being full of @send photo work from this thread.
 
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Hello yes I'm still up and no this is Patrick




























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CAROLS
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10 @vague @otenkiame @junglefish @vikeyeol @aaronhansome @eliminathan @send photo
6 @Animalia @soratami

Y'all like how I finally gave up on the CARLOS jokes? I bet you couldn't... CAR LOS. Get it? Care less?... Anyway, CAROLS is so god damned gorgeous in lyrical content and delivery. One of her most delicate productions, it's no surprise this is one of her most cherished ballads within her fandom. It has her longing for love, as we all do. Aesthetically it feels like the Marcia to Curtain call's Jan, so if you didn't enjoy that last number I hope you're here for CAROLS.

TABOO is touched, but only for a moment before checking their watch, "The chorus and the bridge of CAROLS explode perfectly, but the verses feel as if they go on too long for my liking. The lyrics however carry a beautiful sentiment." evilsin ever so generously gives this a 7.5, "This gets almost 1.5 point more because of the middle 8 that tries to squeeze as much sadness as it can, which it actually succeeds at. Still not my cup of tea of a ballad. Ayu has a lot better ones." Cutlery would cut a good portion of the song out, "Very pretty and nostalgic, like most of the ballads in MY STORY feel, but I think the verses could’ve used more musical emphasis because the choruses are noticeably more memorable than them" and eliminathan also pointed out the stellar chorus, "This was getting an 8.5 until the chorus hit and then it made sense why the verse was so understated. What a fantastic piece of work. The video isn't much so I don't have any commentary on it. The lyrics are beautiful. Also when the music subsides before the final chorus I get my life no matter what song does it."

ThisIsRogue compares her to my other idol Miss Kelly Clarkson, "The beginning of the PV before the song starts could be mistaken for an Idol winner's first music video ddd." digitalkaiser plays the memory game, "Yas come on memorable piano riffs! I can instantly name an Ayumi song sometimes by how it starts, and this is one of those. So pretty, I do love her holiday releases and miss them!" Only sometimes?? CAROLS gets EachSmallStep into the festive spirit, "Has always been one I enjoy more during Christmas, especially since it brings to mind gently falling snow every time."

vague ignores their own critique and gives it a perfect score anyway, "probably her prettiest single cover, which is fitting since this is such a pretty ballad. her voice gets a lil bit screechy on the chorus, but this is perfection otherwise." Good stan. Another good stan is otenkiame who gives this song the utmost praise it deserves, "A gorgeous piano ballad. I've always loved this track since first hearing it. Soft and gentle for the verses, and powerful and full of love for the choruses. I adore the message to death. Just makes me feel so warm inside."

 
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I see @Animalia and @soratami were not feeling very festive when rating CAROLS.
It’s probably my favorite of her winter/christmassy songs and I really expected it to do better. Insert every Ayu crying gifs here.
 
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