Ayumi Hamasaki Discography Rate: Part 2 (FIN)

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walking proud
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10 @mi|kshake @RUNAWAY @vague @Weslicious @send photo
5 @vikeyeol 6 @soratami

Well with GUILTY down to a nub I suppose it's MY STORY's turn for a cull as it loses its third song in a row. Have you ever felt defeated after a rough day and put this on for the trip home to, quite literally, walk proud? I probably do that more than I change my underwear teebs, and I do that pretty damn often before any of you try it. It's just such a perfect song for the occasion. Life has beaten and battered me to within an inch of my sanity, but I'll hold my head up high through the pain and persevere. She's serving fragility with just a glimmer of strength shining through. And the PV is such a beautiful visual as well; walking proud remains a work of art on all fronts.

digitalkaiser leads those walking shamefully, "I like the chorus on this, but I’m a little let down by the rest." Oh, everyone else was fairly complimentary, kii. eliminathan passes digitalkaiser by, "I'm good I don't want any candy little sis." ThisIsRogue compliments Ayu getting worldly, "Queen of racially diverse casting," And EachSmallStep stans the classicals, "One of her top more subtle built-up ballads. The classical version is even better, which I find to be the case for quite a few MY STORY tracks."

"these lyrics….seriously. I’m in awe of her," gleams RUNAWAY with stars in his eyes, and TABOO says much the same, only with tears instead of stars, "Moody and melancholic. I’ve always had a soft spot for walking proud. Everything about it comes together perfectly." otenkiame has merely a slight complaint, "This soft and feel-good rock ballad ! The chorus melody is just so endearing and encouraging. I wish the verses were a bit more interesting, though." evilsin even namedrops my favourite Ayu song, "This to me sounds like a cousin to Endless Sorrow music-wise." And finally the absolute most from miss vague, "maybe it's because i'm a little bit tipsy while writing this, but just listening to this rn is making me kinda emotional scream! what a mess. i haven't even looked up a translation of the lyrics yet, but i bet they're sad as fuck, too, so i don't need that rn ddd. i love the slight deviation to the vocal melody she does in the last chorus. oh, man, this song is so good!!" I'm as messy as you are when I listen to this sober let alone inebriated, go on sis!



Sorry for buzzing through these today, I wanted to give myself a full day away from my computer because I just feel gross sitting at it so much. I'll be back fully refreshed tomorrow ♥​
 
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CAROLS is cute and sweet and all, I really liked it when I was younger and first discovering Ayu/J-pop in general, but it feels a bit basic and boring to me now. Gosh I'm sure my neighbors loved hearing me try to match Ayu's pitch while singing along to it back then.
walking proud is really beautiful though, the lyrics are definitely heartbreaking - much like count down, I can't really listen to it often because I'll make myself too dang sad.
my favourite Ayu song [...] Endless Sorrow
If we're talking original flavor then that's some damn good taste. "gone with the wind ver." is fine too, I just really prefer the original.
 
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Deleted member 16293

That “do you want candy?” part of the walking proud video is so awful. What does it even mean??

@send photo, you’re doing a great job. I love a rate with a good pace.

An 8.4 average at #38, has that ever happened before in a rate? Or is My Story-Five era Ayu truly the best thing in the History Of Music??
 
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NEXT LEVEL
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10 @One Stop Candy Shop @digitalkaiser
5 @vikeyeol

I’m back refreshed, and what a fitting song. I'm a bit shook at how easy breezy beautiful Covergirl this is considering the rest of the album is pretty much about blasting your taint into the stratosphere. Give us whiplash queen! NEXT LEVEL is just so quintessentially spring; when the weather warms up and you can finally open that moonroof, because we can't all afford convertibles like Ayu sports in the PV. I don't usually seek it out, but when it comes on I often ask myself why not? It's spectacular.

One Stop Candy Shop states it quite clearly, "Anthem of driving in a car." Funny enough, his fellow 10 digitalkaiser is actually a member of the illustrious Gays Afraid To Drive Club, "Listening to this after Guilty is a bit of a breath of fresh air innit? I think I love how light and airy and energizEd this is, very much a ‘drivin’ down the road of life’ sort of song. I know we aren’t rating the interludes but the interludes on this album are bops, I’ll just stick that comment here real quick." Let's focus on automatic before we talk stick, okay sis? But he's not alone, eliminathan can't drive either, "Me when I finally get my driver's licence." That 'when' is hopeful but work I guess. Hopping back to the GUILTY hate, ThisIsRogue gives his two cents, "Listening to these albums in order, 'NEXT LEVEL' is a bit of welcome relief after the diminishing returns 'GUILTY' experienced after the run started by 'My Story'."

The praise hits a pothole as evilsin adds, "I feel very free listening to this, the music video translated the mood of the track perfectly. Still, this doesn't go anywhere and is not that exciting, so I can't really give it anything more." otenkiame also praises the PV's accuracy, "I can never get the music video out of my head, which is fine, because it fits my image of the track perfectly. It's just so relaxing and pleasant to listen to." Cutlery gets ha Vanessa Carlton on, "Love how “tears roll suddenly” is the lyric that connects this track to the intro. NEXT LEVEL uses fairly simple but okay production, in which the highlight is the piano that occasionally pops up and seems to walk alongside Hamasaki as she describes in the chorus" and vague inhales a big whiff of positivity, "i think a lot of times even ayu's happier songs have a tinge of melancholy to them either in the melody, her voice, or with lyrics that can be read as being more bittersweet than just plain sweet, but this just feels so carefree and calming to me. it's refreshing." And one last breath of fresh air from TABOO, "Incredibly serene and Summery, and one of my favourite title tracks. Ayu’s vocals are beautiful here. The positivity is encapsulating."

 
I actually lived for the juxtoposition of going to the 'next level' with a track like that only to go full on electronica in the rest of the album.
 
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rainy day
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10 @One Stop Candy Shop @evilsin @vague @ohnostalgia
6.5 @Animalia

Ticking usually stresses me out, but it's calming alongside the other faint production tidbits. Much like NEXT LEVEL is quintessentially spring, rainy day perfectly recreates the delicacies of a rainy day. With the rain comes the gloom, and Ayu spends the majority of the lyrics brooding in her thoughts, as both happy and sad feelings wrestle for prominence. The rain doesn't last forever, after all, and if Mimi can make it through the rain so can Ayu.

TABOO agrees that the imagery is on point, "A gorgeous closer to (miss)understood. The lyrics paint a portrait of hope and trust. There is something fulfilling about the close of the narrative that I find difficult to put into words, but it is wonderful." ThisIsRogue also joins us for interpretations, "Beautiful song about a concept as simple as waiting for a significant other, and the quiet joy of seeing that person. Highlights Ayu's songwriting ability well." otenkiame is ready for an iconic rainy day nap, "What a pretty lullabye-like song. It's so minimalistic, yet beautiful in its own way. Love the melody of the chorus! So soothing."

eliminathan makes me shed a tear for this ballad stanning, "A perfect contrast to Beautiful Day that came right before it. Ballads really are the best y'all. Kind of mad she left that dog in the rain and smiled about it but it's whatever." DDD SAME. And evilsin takes us back, "Perfect for a rainy day. Figures. I remember I played this to death when, I believe, a radio rip surfaced before the album release. Love this to every single droplet." And another trip down memory lane with vague, "oh, man, i've loved this since the first time i heard it way back when i was, like, 13. it's so pretty and dreamy. i love the bg vocals throughout, too; they're lovely. one of my all-time faves, for sure."

 
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