Ayumi Hamasaki Discography Rate: Part 2 (FIN)

Oh hey y'all. @send photo told me to drop by and build some hype for Part 2 of my Namie rate, which should be opening some time next week. Us J-Rate hosts gotta stick together! Don't judge me for using the same Vidal Sassoon Showgirl ad, I'm just obsessed with it...













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Sexy little things
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10 @BEST FICTION @One Stop Candy Shop @evilsin @Cutlery @ohnostalgia @TABOO @soratami @aaronhansome @Animalia
4 @Weslicious 5 @vague

Anyone who didn't give this a 10 is NOT a sexy little thing. Y'all are UGLY. This is one of the strangest, most amazing songs in Ayumi's discography. I don't wanna give the song & it's music video too much credit, but it sorta single-handedly CREATED LADY GAGA! A song about how men think they know what's going on in girl's heads? Destroying gender norms? How many artists you know that can do that while bringing us an experimental bop?
The video is serving high fashion, haute couture cookiness with a dash of Ayumi's patented random white people, a callback to another Rock N Roll Circus bop (Microphone), a lil bit of blackface, some animal cruelty and a sprinkle of disregard for human life, what more could you want?

Our host, send photo, has a long way to go before he learns to love Rock N Roll Circus, but has a soft spot for this song, "Sometimes this song is the most fucking annoying thing in the world, but most of the time it's an absolute masterpiece in all its bonkers glory. It more than certainly deserves its top 3 placement on R'n'RC." ThisIsRogue loves a bit of experimentation, "Another quirky toe tapper. I love Ayu trying things outside of her niche." Maybe the song is too ahead of it's time for vague, "this is kind of obnoxious, but i don't, like, totally hate it. idk, it's a weird one."

TABOO stans for feminism queen, Ayumi, "Representative of the “Circus” side of the album title. I absolutely love every second of this track. It’s wacky and effortlessly wonderful in its 8-bit glory. Continue to tear those selfish men to shreds, Queen." eliminathan knows that fashion is a lifestyle, it's a freedom of expression, you have to live it, you have to love it, you have to breathe it, life's all about sexy little things, "The looks in the video that Ayumi is serving are fantastic. The song is bizarre but in a good way. Not a fan of the way the song ends."

Otenkiame is feeling his Super Nintendo fantasy, "I'm a big fan of the 8-bit sounds in songs, so I was so happy to hear them! And damn, love the way she sings, the tongue-in-cheek lyrics, the bit between first chorus and second verse. Just an intriguing and fun track with even swing influences!" Cutlery is also a fan of the video game soundtrack-esque sounds, "I'm living for all the 8-bit and cartoonish samples and vocal filters! The sarcastic, witty remarks about female fragility stereotypes in the choruses certainly have me snatched, and I appreciate how freeform the structure of the song feels."

And I'm going to hold evilsin to this, "I fucking adore this ditzy ditty with all my heart. The PV only added to that crazy mixture of sounds that bring me so much joy. The day will come when I finally record my versions of this and Don't Look Back, mark my word." Don't make a promise you can't keep!


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There goes my first 10.
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I said this earlier but I only gave 10s to the songs that I considered for my 11, so ... this hurts. I love love love everything about GAME, from the music to the lyrics to the composition to the vocal performance ... it's perfect. The final three lines are heart-wrenching and I like that the song ends abruptly without winding down from its intensity. The overall emotional tone is one of Ayu's darkest imo, touching on themes of dependence and loss of control, trying not to care about something that's hurting you and knowing that you still want it - themes that would resurface significantly years later in Microphone. I've learned that some of y'all aren't too into the harder rock sound so I figured this would go earlier, so good for it for making it this far, I guess. But I definitely think it deserved better.

Anyway, after that I can't really be that sad about Sexy little things although I do like it quite a bit. Its take on feminism is a little more murky than my name's WOMEN's but it's still decently carrying the message of "hey, women are complex, appreciate it asshole". Ayu uses her cutesy voice but in this song it comes across as slightly ominous lol. I haven't watched the video in a long time and @BEST FICTION's description isn't doing much to make me want to change that, but I remember it generating a lot of talk back in the day.

Well I've rambled on like I know what I'm talking about long enough. That gif at the end of the post though ... that is really something! I sure can't wait to see the words amniotic fluid 400 times again when the Kumi rate gets going.
 
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progress
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11 @Animalia 10 @Cutlery @TABOO @soratami @One Stop Candy Shop
6 @digitalkaiser @vikeyeol

Wheeww, it's been ages since we saw FIVE take a hit, and it's a well-deserved break as progress is one of the two tracks to take away from this mini. It takes a page out of Mirrorcle World's book, starting out slow before diving head-first into a barrage of heavy rock production. I'm here for everytime Ayu employs this arrangement for a song. The main reason she pulled out the sweeping epic aesthetics was because this soundtracked an iconic JRPG, Tales of Xillia, and we all know you need to pull out the theatrics to keep up with JRPGs. It was even what inspired Animalia to vote in the rate, shame it fell just before the top 30.

The word on everyone's mouth is 'Oh!', as Tammie Brown was in the video. One Stop Candy Shop of course noticed, "Tammie Brown anthem," and so did eliminathan, "Google earth camera spotted Tammie Brown walking children in nature." evilsin flexes his Phoenix University degree, "The chorus is strong with this one, but I can't shake off the feeling of hearing this 10 times before in Ayu's repertoire. She's a linguistics major, did you know? And by her, I mean me." More like linguine major.

Cutlery adds, "The 180° turn that this amazing track takes toward the 2 min mark has several albums in this rate SHOOK! That part in which the guitars and strings go nuts during the instrumental break is also A+, and the best thing is how it all ties in with Ms. Hamasaki’s doubtful reflecting on the pain of the past and the hope for the future," and vague probably isn't a fan of Regigigas' Slow Start ability, "hm, well, it's pretty good when the beat finally kicks in at the 2:00 mark. the ad-libs at the end are pretty nice." otenkiame agrees, "Pretty sure this is a game song or something? Sure as hell sounds like one. It's a great song, though more so for the the exciting rock track it becomes more so than the "ballad" beginning." RUNAWAY can answer that video game question for you too, "I really love this mini album. This song brings back so many memories of Tales of Xillia. I really love that game too~" while TABOO delivers the final blow of commentary, "The opener to FIVE definitely feels epic and grandiose. I adore how progress continues to build upon itself right up until the final iteration of the chorus. A truly phenomenal piece."

 
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Virgin Road
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10 @RUNAWAY @vague @EachSmallStep @One Stop Candy Shop @send photo
6 @vikeyeol 7 @Cutlery 7.5 @evilsin @Animalia

Siiiiiiigh, I wish this could've gone at least a little bit farther but I can learn to deal. People like to bag on this one because it's 'the ballad' of the album, but it really is such a special song; it's about her fans. That's us (well, most of us). It was her 50th single, not only marking her half-centurian mark for singles, but also for breaking Seiko's second record for most consecutive #1 singles with 25. Her petty ass all but quit releasing singles for a while after breaking said record, kii. And lyrically the song is all that you'd expect from such a monumental occasion, which is equally put on display with the extravagant PV that no doubt ate up the entire budget for Love songs judging by the other videos. Her delivery is exceptionally touching, tinged with just a hint of sadness that she's so expertly talented at doing. Just... such a wonderful gem.

eliminathan's wallet weeps as he watches the PV, "Ayumi loves throwing her money around, she ruined so many wedding dresses," but it was money well wasted for One Stop Candy Shop, "Excellent video. Cinematic!" And it looks like I won't be visiting evilsin's Virgin Road, "Ooh, this is a hard one. I really want to love this, but it leaves me only lukewarm usually. I believe it's beautiful, but the verses don't match the chorus, which would've been stunning has it been made even bigger by the end. The lyrics are cute, but... confusing? I didn't get when she lost the guy from the first half and met the guy from the second." The only thing that doesn't match is your commentary, beast. Even your part 2 winning song TABOO gushed, "A worthy release as her 50th single, and a worthy successor to A Song for xx. Lyrically complex, there is just so much to appreciate and unpack. A gorgeous song, in every sense of the word." And even Cutlery's heart can warm up to this, "A sappy ballad with pretty orchestration and a wedding organ outro? I moderately use."

The restraint works well for otenkiame, "A gorgeous and touching ballad. The choruses don't sound super bombastic, yet they get dramatic enough anyway." And Ayu's delivery wasn't lost on vague, "even tho the lyrics are mostly sweet and happy, there's still an undercurrent of melancholy to the song, and that's something i really connect with ddd. it's something i appreciate about ayu's music, in general, i think." And it's time I RUNAWAY into the sunset with my fellow Love songs stan, "I’m on the verge of tears every time I listen to this song. The video is gorgeous and just enhances the feeling of the song. Her lyricism shines so brightly with this song. And her voice has never sounded more vulnerable, which enhances the song even more."

 
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TOP 30

MY STORY

Moments
INSPIRE

(miss)understood

Bold & Delicious
STEP you
Ladies Night
is this LOVE?
alterna
Will
HEAVEN
fairyland

Secret

Startin'
JEWEL
momentum
BLUE BIRD
kiss o' kill

GUILTY

talkin' 2 myself

NEXT LEVEL

Sparkle
GREEN
Rule

Rock'n'Roll Circus

BALLAD
Don't look back

Love songs

Love song
crossroad
sending mail
Last angel
Like a doll
do it again
November

FIVE

BRILLANTE

Extras

Mirrorcle World​
 
I think you forgot my comment but it's fine, it didn't add much tbh

"A sappy ballad with pretty orchestration and a wedding organ outro? I moderately use"

I'm glad the best tracks in Love songs remain, and it's probably the album that grew on me the most since the countdown began (i.e. I'd give Love song and Last angel a 10, give November and crossroad higher ones, etc)

(miss)understood still holding strongly at this point of the competition is very meaningful to me, hopefully it keeps on doing well!
 
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I think you forgot my comment but it's fine, it didn't add much tbh

"A sappy ballad with pretty orchestration and a wedding organ outro? I moderately use"

I'm glad the best tracks in Love songs remain, and it's probably the album that grew on me the most since the countdown began (i.e. I'd give Love song and Last angel a 10, give November and crossroad higher ones, etc)

(miss)understood still holding strongly at this point of the competition is very meaningful to me, hopefully it keeps on doing well!
Sorry sis, I finally sorted all the commentary out over the weekend and it was a bit glitchy to say the least. Added though!

Edit: I found it in November ddd
 
he/him
TOP 30

MY STORY

Moments
INSPIRE

(miss)understood

Bold & Delicious
STEP you
Ladies Night
is this LOVE?
alterna
Will
HEAVEN
fairyland

Secret

Startin'
JEWEL
momentum
BLUE BIRD
kiss o' kill

GUILTY

talkin' 2 myself

NEXT LEVEL

Sparkle
GREEN
Rule

Rock'n'Roll Circus

BALLAD
Don't look back

Love songs

Love song
crossroad
sending mail
Last angel
Like a doll
do it again
November

FIVE

BRILLANTE

Extras

Mirrorcle World​
Oh wow.
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