Ayumi Hamasaki Discography Rate: Part 2 (FIN)

Ugh, I should have rated Startin' higher...It's a serious bop.
Probably one of the more straightforward ones in her discography!




10 @One Stop Candy Shop @ohnostalgia @junglefish @TABOO
6 @eliminathan 7 @vikeyeol

And then there was one #pray4Moments. The production on this one makes it one of the more unique songs within Ayu's discography. For some reason it reminds me of Sonic 2, shrug. As you can no doubt judge from the title, it's a pretty inspirational song. I'm listening to it now trying to inspire me to go for that morning run I said I'd do, but the impact is not real. The PV is a heap of cultural appropriation so let's just get to the commentary.

TABOO noticed the choreo Ayu blessed us with, "Not Ayu serving some desert choreography! INSPIRE is one of my all-time favourites; the chorus explodes bombastically, her vocals are well controlled, and the can-do nature of the song is, well, inspiring." Cutlery Yoshi jumps another album of hers to pay compliment, "The comparison is probably not very accurate, but this sounds straight out of a better version of Rock’n’Roll Circus, and I’m definitely getting my life to it! My favorite bit is probably the bridge," and digitalkaiser was also INSPIRED by another of Ayu's works, "Yas come on late album banger *bussy pops* Love the slightly rnb production to all this mixed with her traditional guitar work and organs! It reminds me of one of my other favorite bops ‘Ourselves’!"

eliminathan dubs her "Cornrows queen" while ThisIsRogue names the aesthetic, "Her look and the staging during the My Story Arena Tour reminded me of the Persian king Xerxes in the movie '300'." evilsin is also a sucker for a good live show, "This is such a spectacle live, whew. I like how different this sounds to other Ayu songs, even though in its core it's still a pop/rock song." EachSmallStep is gripped by Ayu's commanding delivery, "Her singing demands attention in the best way and the mildly Arabian rock beat is something I always enjoy when she dabbles in it." And RUNAWAY loves a good interlude-song pairing, "the lead-in to this song from Kaleidoscope is ICONIC and this song is an inspiring jam. Feminist icon Ayu."

otenkiame stays captivated, "I remember seeing Middle-Eastern Ayumi and being mesmerized. This pop song is really fun and cool. Plain and simple. Those choruses are fire and the speed she goes at them with takes the cake." And lastly ddd this is so cute vague, "this had just been released when i was first getting into her, but i didn't get around to listening to it until the album came out. i just remember seeing the single cover online and thinking it was so amazing that i printed it off and put it on the front of my school agenda dddd. the cover is still iconic, tbh, and so is the song."

So which album will fall first? Will GUILTY prevail over MY STORY? Or is it possible that we have another cull before either of them fall?​




11 @EachSmallStep 10 @aaronhansome @evilsin @junglefish @TABOO
7 @digitalkaiser @ThisIsRogue

Miss Ayu set out to make a bop and boy ever did she succeed. It's hard to be paired with a damn Olympic theme and hold your own, but Startin' does that and even leaves Born To Be... in the dust by a considerable margin of 43 eliminations. Lyrically this feels like Ayu is telling Pearl to wake up. I'm still going to take 5 naps a day but I appreciate the effort sis. PV-wise, it gets a lot of comparisons to Britney's Toxic, but it really feels like more of a Missy Elliott video. Zany queens all around anyway. Hands down, Startin' has solidified a place in her discography as one of her boppiest bops.

otenkiame loves a spectacle, "The video for this song alone is enough to score extra points. It's a really fun pop song, though my love for it has faded over time." eliminathan even gives us a full rundown, "The bad acting from the extras in this is phenomenal. The three people in the Jeep that Ayumi is racing with pretending to be shocked but all at different times with different expressions is a highlight. Also love that she was feeling her Psylocke fantasy with those pink butterfly sunglasses and I want them. The video was already a mess but who directed that ending and thought the white guy should be Ayumi all along because holy shit." There goes my reveal at the end of this rate );. ThisIsRogue will be perusing eBay this afternoon to replicate Ayu's look, "Queen of fashionable eyewear." I love a subtle accessory, and so does evilsin, "A bop of massive proportions, played it to death when it was released. Love all of the references in the PV as well and those butterfly glasses... a lqqk!"

Startin' isn't without its critiques, startin' with vague, "good verses, great bridges, weak chorus. she looks really pretty on the single cover," and endin' with Cutlery, "In many ways, feels like a precursor to Sparkle with its electronic production and encouraging lyrics combo. Although the feeling is less aggressive than in the NEXT LEVEL single, it's still very catchy."

I wasn't the only one to notice Missy's influence as digitalkaiser points out, "This video is almost a bit ridiculous, it feels like she’s stolen sets and backup dancers from Missy. I remember when this song came out it was very...huh, after being such a stan for (Miss)understood. I love the song now though, that OVER THE TOP dress and hat in the video though." And TABOO praises another of their fallen faves, "Uplifting bop! Ayu is most assertive and in control on Startin’. One of my absolute favourites." EachSmallStep closes for their 11 by picking out the same favourite lines as me, "Gripping from start to finish. In love with the “dreaming, starting” lines. A great message about believing in yourself and moving forward too." *puts on repeat until I do exactly that*

me listening to Startin'


Popjustice gays hate fun. I'm shocked.

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10 @vague @soratami @aaronhansome @Animalia @eliminathan @send photo
7 @Weslicious @evilsin

MY STORY isn't the only album worn down to a nub today, as R'n'RC loses one of its two tracks left as well #pray4Don'tlookback. I'm sad to see this one go, but I'm pleased as punch to see it get so far. Before voting, I expected this to get dog-piled by ballad haters for being "generic and lazily named" or something. It is absolutely not either of those and it's so touching to see y'all stan it along with me. Everything about this song is so breathtakingly gorgeous: her delivery is on point, the strings are theatrical yet understated, and the aesthetics of the PV are some of my favourite, with Shuya in particular being a highlight. It's so quintessentially a ballad I can't imagine it being named anything else.

evilsin critiques, "I think this might have been great coupled with GREEN, no? It sounds grand and OST-y, but I would've liked more memorable melodies." The only complaint from otenkiame is the title, "Bland title aside, I adore the traditional Asian instruments against her emotional voice. It's a gorgeous track with a sweeping final chorus." It works for One Stop Candy Shop, "The title fits." And vikeyeol elaborates, "Better than a track just named "BALLAD" has any right being."

We find a stan in eliminathan, "Really considered this for my 11, such a brilliant, grandiose track. The video is beautiful as well if not a little bit cliché." Don't come for the PV sis or I'll slap some cats in the road in front of you. ThisIsRogue perked up or this number, "One of the more captivating ballads from the last couple of albums," while vague perks up for the aesthetics, "oh, waow, this is so majestic; one of her best. she looks absolutely stunning in the video as well." TABOO has thankfully seen the light, "This song has been one of my highlights of revisiting Rock’n’Roll Circus. I never truly appreciated what a beautiful and cinematic ballad we received at the time. Ayu’s vocals shine here!" And Cutlery froths at the mouth with positive things to say, "The gorgeous orchestration and East-Asian music influences are EVERYTHING, Ayumi sounds really good in it too and comes through for the last minute of the track. This is one of my favorite ballads in the rate."

. i just remember seeing the single cover online and thinking it was so amazing that i printed it off and put it on the front of my school agenda

I loved the cover too! I ended up framing the insert from the single. I actually far preferred Inspire over Game when it first came out (it was also the first Ayumi single I bought) but now both are equally amazing! I also love the choreography.

Don't come for the PV sis or I'll slap some cats in the road in front of you.

One of the many comments of this thread!

The Ballad PV is so gorgeous and I love her vocals at the end. I think this one of the many examples of Ayumi doing what she does best. Amazing song coupled with a beautiful PV.

The Startin' elimination is getting me all nostalgic. I loved the Not Yet -> Until That Day -> Startin' combo.

Kiss O Kill deserved better. I love how powerful this song sounds.

My 11 is still in along with (I think!) three 10s & six 9s?

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10 @RUNAWAY @vague @digitalkaiser @junglefish @soratami @send photo
4 @TABOO 7 @Cutlery 7.5 @Animalia

Just thinking about how much I love this song is making me tear up. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I can't even form words to say why just asdjghsdg it's perfect. Listen to it. LISTEN!!!!!! Have y'all ever experienced autumn in New England? The world-renowned leaves changing colour, the apple picking, the apple cider, the pumpkin delicacies, etc. Pack all my most cherished memories into a song and you've got November. I remember having Love songs, and more specifically, November on repeat all during November 2011 when my grandma was visiting for the month, which would ultimately be the last time she visited. So when I listen to this, I not only remember dramatically lipsyncing to it in New England's breathtaking autumn settings, but also one of my last positive memories with my grandma.

...Anyway TABOO hates it, "I feel like y’all are gonna come for my score of this one, but I stick by it. Cute, but it isn’t all that interesting." vague only hates a moment of it, "i kind of hate the intro, but everything else about this is beautiful. probably my favorite song on the album (for now ddd)." otenkiame adds, "Gushing about that xylophone and harmonica melody! So perfect! I'm just a bit disappointed that there's not a stronger chorus for the song." Sis are you deaf? Let ha know evilsin, "The harmonica in the beginning is kinda misleading, isn't it? The chorus is freakishly massive, probably one of the most memorable melodies on the album and that's saying much, because as per usual, this Ayu's album is full of them. And you can feel so much emotion in that chorus, geez."

I see a fellow Harvest Moon stan in vikeyeol, "The instrumental to this sounds like a cute early 2000s video game where you'd build your own farm or something and I love it." Probably another reason why I love it, that's my favourite game series and yes I think of that too ddd. Sometimes it actually does get better, as eliminathan says, "It starts of well but at around the 3:40 mark the track gets way better." One Stop Candy Shop is me, "Anthem of the 11th month but also a bop during the rest of the year." All I Want For Christmas who? And finally a word from fellow Love songs stan RUNAWAY, "Every year, the forum tradition has made an impact on my life on November 1st, just like July 1st, this song evokes a strong autumn feeling and it’s just so gorgeous." Kii, my impact.

PHEW okay we're really getting into it now huh. Let's see ...

INSPIRE is a good song, but for me it suffers from its placement on the album. I'm not sure where it would fit better, really, but being between a sappy ballad like CAROLS and a nightmare like HONEY doesn't do it any favors. Still, listening to it on its own is a pretty good time. I like songs where she tells me I'm not uncool ... Thank U Ayumama. britneycry.gif

I looove Startin', it's great. I didn't care for it much when I first heard it but it grew on me pretty quickly. Like @mi|kshake said, the opening trio of Secret is amazing. The lyrics are cool too.

I ... don't have much to say about BALLAD. It's pretty and sad and perfectly fine. Moving on ...

I really wish November could have done a bit better, it's so lovely and sentimental. Still, it seems to get overlooked a lot so I'm glad it even made it this far. I admit I may be slightly biased for it since I was born in November (what's up @junglefish) but I genuinely love the music and atmosphere and the wistful romantic lyrics so much. I remember when I first listened to it and heard the call back to Ayu's familiar bird-with-one-wing imagery I actually teared up. Honestly I don't even recall why I decided not to give it a 10, that was stupid.
at least one person will be losing an 11 each day until the rate is done