Ayumi Hamasaki Discography Rate Pt. III | Page 16 | The Popjustice Forum

Ayumi Hamasaki Discography Rate Pt. III

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Cutlery, Jan 7, 2020.


Favorite project from this period?

  1. Party Queen

    1 vote(s)
  2. LOVE again

    2 vote(s)
  3. CoLOURS

    1 vote(s)
  4. A ONE

    1 vote(s)
  5. sixxxxxx

    2 vote(s)

    2 vote(s)
  7. Trouble

    0 vote(s)
  1. Let's see if the 'NO FUTURE' truthers are right in rooting for it, shall we?

    They are, for now​

    Another album falls!​



    Survivor: 8.65

    HIGH: 10 (@otenkiame @RUNAWAY @lalaclairi_ me)
    LOW: 5 (@Weslicious)

    She had a great run, but this is the end for Ayumi's latest studio album. As it isn't that hard to tell, this song was produced by Timothy "Timmy" Wellard, with arrangements by Yuta Nakano, and guitar by Ryota Akizuki ('Mirrorcle World', both 'Sunset' singles, as well as a bunch of tracks from the albums rated here).

    A bit of a surprise to see it get this far, but it barely got a score below 8 other than @Weslicious (!!) which helped its case tremendously. This is one of her most memorable songs post-2011 partly due to the jungle motif, with whistling imitating birds, playful xylophones, percussion, and other sounds that would be at home in a Donkey Kong game soundtrack. And of course, the rush of a chorus that includes a small choir of vocalists chanting and adding to the adventurous atmosphere of 'Survivor'. Lyrically, the song is all about the cold concrete jungle, and you know Ayu is an expert in the megalopoly life being a superstar for years and traveling and/or living in London, L.A., Tokyo, Taipei, etc. The aforementioned chorus is a hit! It starts off:

    Far off fly fly fly fly fly away
    With you try try try try try again
    If it's us, we can make it come true

    So catchy. I hope she veers into these quirky flavors of her usual pop affairs next album (whenever that is), because I do stan this song hard. And the placement in the navel of the tracklist feels spot on, like it is the most essential song from the release. Timmy snapped.

    A common thing in your pieces of commentary was drawing comparisons to 'INSPIRE' which, yeah I guess mostly for the intro and a little bit for the choruses, but that one is more make it desert (and cornrows) and organs, and 'Surivor' goes right for the jungle approach. I find it interesting that it also has a near identical average to the aforementioned track, which placed #29 in part II (x). Enough rambling from me though, let's get to the comments:

    @evilsin, "What kind of 'INSPIRE' lite ditty? And it's produced by Timothy? We decided to stan (not really). And I see this album keeps on loving the modern world, huh?".

    @Tastlesslicious, "An uninspired Inspire jacking piece of whatever". This is better than INSPIRE, I said it!

    @otenkiame, "A true standout among her recent tracks. The whole addition of the chanting chorus gives this song something really special. Plus, the tribal vibe the track has going for it makes me feel like Ayu is trying something experimental music again. God, I really love the hooks with all the random English thrown in. Amazing song!". Yes, this exactly!

    'Survivor' was performed in the regular setlist for the album tour, complete with a mechanical city backdrop and Ayu performing while sat on a throne in a lifted platform. Watch below!

  2. Farewell, love! This leaderboard does highlight the gap in quality between those 3 songs tacked near the end of the tracklist and the rest of the album, huh?


    @RUNAWAY @evilsin — 8.39

    @Weslicious — 6

    You two girls in highest again?? For the record, @otenkiame and me were close behind. But, again, that three-track run did no favors for either of our averages.​
  3. Mess.
    Hey, @RUNAWAY.
    berserkboi, Weslicious, vague and 2 others like this.
  4. I loved when she performed Survivor and Inspire together, what a combo!
  5. vague, evilsin and Cutlery like this.
  6. Hm...



    NO FUTURE: 8.7

    HIGH: 11 (@otenkiame) 10 (@evilsin @Ana Raquel @me)
    LOW: 6 (@Weslicious) girl seriously?

    Whew, I was sure feeling my Vogue editorial oats making that cover. If you don't recall, this lqqk is part of the video for 'The GIFT', which makes Ayu look stunning. It was too good of a photo to not use it, and I think I effectively made it illustrate the mood of the track, if I do say so myself.

    'NO FUTURE' stands as the second track in A ONE, and was surprisingly composed and produced by the duo of Nakano + Komuro, the ten or so songs of which had a rocky road with tracks bombing out early or in the middle, and only 'NO FUTURE' doing as much as scraping the top 20. Which goes to say, the stars aligned for this. And how could we deny them? The melodies. The medieval-like but sleek strings. The gorgeous but not overdone piano. The electronic tinges that are oh so deliciously 2000. The way it keeps building up even more for the final chorus. It's just a song that gets things right down to a T.

    What I adore about the song is that it feels like what a proper Ayu classic with all the force that carries should sound like in 2015, while, yes, based on references, but building so much with them that it is looking forward instead of trying to live in past glories. I hate bringing up the C word but honestly? In this time of c*r*n* the lyrics dealing with the longing for physical interaction, of the anxious passage of time and feelings like these, it rings true.

    @evilsin thinks these [REDACTED]s have no idea what's in store for them, "Sweet baby Jesus. The soaring production, the vocal performance, the urgency of it all! This goodbye note is sure to sting".

    Let's hear @otenkiame, "This is so old-school TK, and not derivative at all. I LOVE THIS SONG. The lyrics are so sad, yet the music gives way to some really bombastic and upbeat sections, much to my glee. All those synths with the dance-ish beats make it so interesting. God, I love how the song keeps picking up until the very end! It's an absolutely beast of a song. Just release more of this, Ayu". Ugh you just get it.

    The track has the very unfortunate distinction of being a song Ayu has never performed live. She doesn't seem to have ever acknowledged the thing: no CM use, no PV, no setlist, NOTHING. Yet 'Sunrise' has been a regular in four different concert tours, and a handful other events. Would she even remember this unless you asked about it? Stan life is so unfair.

  7. Aw, Jesus, gross.

    I don't even know which of the songs left to rally after now. I mean I have an 8, a 9 and a 10 left, but none of them feel like a correct and deserving winner. This Part of the rate was weird no matter how it ends.
    vague, berserkboi, RUNAWAY and 3 others like this.
  8. sad & upbeat? a song called no future? thats my kind of jam

    should have been top 3
  9. Whew the outrage, glad you all are commenting.




    Terminal: 8.85

    HIGH: 11 (yours truly) 10 (@ThisIsRogue)
    LOW: 7 (@RUNAWAY)

    Let's get it right: 'Terminal' is a BANGER. Armin van Vuuren had previously been involved with Ayu in the form of an 'appears' remix all the way back in 2001 (!!), as well as an alternate mix labeled «Armin van Buuren's Sunset Dub» a year later. These two were part of her first and second Ayu Trance remix albums, respectively. I guess Avex just rang up asking for an instrumental and then they got her to record four lines of vocals over Record Plant Studios in L.A. From the Dutch DJ's side, the dub versio of the track has been included in various compilations as well as getting outings in many of his residency sets.

    'Terminal' has a bit of a history, as far as releases go. Firstly, as happened with most CoLOURS tracks, it was first available as a limited double single alongside 'XOXO', which was sold only at the Nagoya dates of Premium Showcase ~Feel the love~ from May 30 to June 1, 2014. This limited concert series would also be the first time the song was performed. On July, the album came and went, with no news came from any possible single release.The dub mix got a digital release on van Buuren's label in September, and finally, the re-cut single came on October 1, timed with the dates of Ultra Japan. Honestly, this is an iconic flop single. I think it has the lowest peak of her career in Oricon, at a measly #24. It didn't even get a video! Which was a first for her since... 2001's 'UNITE!'.

    With this quite extensive background on how the floppage came to fruition, I just need to highight how amazing the material itself is. While I have been a vocal dissenter of CoLOURS and its cheap tactics throughout the rate and beyond, I always knew this would be getting my 11. Ayu is barely in it, and you can call it DJ fodder, but I feel that this is follows a progressive path that started with 'WHATEVER' as a dance smash, and 'Connected' with trance. Ayu's music has always been tied with these elements. Plus I just love that it is all hard or go home while the few words that the track has speak of angels and devils in dramatic fashion. It's just a club blast and I'm happy she has at least one great track of this genre in her catalogue, and not just in the form of remixes, of which she has lots of notable ones.

    @evilsin knows his Ayumi history, "Funnily enough coming after 'Pray', this needs to be at least twice as long as it is, just so that the listener could bask in the glory of this trance track. It's really cute that they asked Armin van Buuren for an original track and not a remix this time around". You might find @otenkiame blasting Ayu Trance 1-4 at any given moment, "By far one of the best things to come off Colours. Yeah, it does sound like an extended interlude, but I live nonetheless with all those delicious synths. The lyrical content is so dramatic and Ayu's vocals sound so great taking me on that dramatic journey. This makes me miss trance Ayu so much. I wish she'd do more of this again".

    @ThisIsRogue commends the vocal-free sections, saying "I actually love that the first 1 minute and 11 seconds contained no vocals. This song clicked with me almost instantly. Yeah it is basically an almost 6 minute instrumental but it's so good". I detected a little bit of shade, I did. And @Weslicious is that girl I knew he was, "I’m a sucker for the Ayu-ro mix albums, so here for this".

    Premium Showcase is so far the only time 'Terminal' has been performed live, where it was part of the DJ section alongside 'Connected', which was just a brilliant moment to be honest. Avex uploaded and subsequently removed the entire DVD concert (plus many others) a couple months ago, so have this unofficial upload instead.

    vague, evilsin, berserkboi and 4 others like this.
  10. Good riddance! But also farewell to my fave track... CoLOURS, girl, why are you like this?


    @soratami — 8.6

    The host — 6.53​
    vague, evilsin, berserkboi and 5 others like this.
  11. A song called 'Survivor' being beaten by songs called 'NO FUTURE', 'Terminal', 'Sayonara' and 'Movin' on without you' is quite depressing and it would be quite shady if an Utada song would win an Ayumi rate. So I'm rooting for 'Sayonara', but considering my flop guesses it'll probably be 'Movin' on without you'.


    Koda Kumi informing Ayumi about this rate.
    vague, evilsin, Weslicious and 3 others like this.
  12. Happy to see No Future placing so high! Can we talk about the A7 Classical version? Cause it's amazing - works so well. I love the placement of No Future on A One as well. I find a lot of Ayumi albums open amazingly with the first three tracks and A Bell, Warning & No Future is no exception!

    Hoping for a Sayonara win! I love that Ayu got to cover a Hikki song but of the covers this era I prefer Many Classic Moments.
    vague, berserkboi, evilsin and 2 others like this.
  13. I'm so disappointed with the results, oh my god. Like, yeah, "Movin' on without you" is a goddamn bop and my favorite song on Hikki's debut, but it has no place winning an Ayu rate. Although I did give it a 10, so I guess I'm part of the problem. And "Sayonara" on another hand is an 8, that wasn't an 8 at first, so... I'm torn.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
    vague, otenkiame, Weslicious and 4 others like this.
  14. The top 2 is finally here! After four months of reveals...

    'Movin' on without you' vs 'Sayonara'

    Goodbye vs goodbye

    Fellow J-pop queen cover vs Taiwanese boyband feature​

    Utada Hikaru vs SpeXial​





    Our runner-up is...​



    Movin' on without you (Utada Hikaru cover) : 9.13

    HIGH: 10 (@Ana Raquel @RUNAWAY @ThisIsRogue @evilsin)
    LOW: 7 (@Weslicious)

    Is it surprising that the closest we've got to a clash of two queens has lost to a male feature? Is it shady of us to vote what's essentially someone else's song remixed and featuring Ayu's vocals so high? Whatever the answers to these questions might be, I'm sure when you hit play, you are mouthing or singing along the iconic chorus, and just plain bopping to it.

    On November 2014, with Hikki still on the long hiatus she took from releasing and performing starting on 2011, newly-merged Universal wanted to milk some rereleases and compilations (see: the First Love re-release), and announced Utada Hikaru no Uta, a playful title for a 13-track tribute album of hits interpreted by 13 different artists. With speculation surfacing about who would participate, Ayu was announced (along with an array of icons such as Shiina Ringo and Peabo Bryson), and days later it surfaced on digital platforms, serving as a promotional release. Though ineligible for Oricon, it charted at #36 in Japan's Hot 100.

    This version was, expectedly, produced by RedOne's team, who at this point had also produced 'XOXO' for her. Gone are the elements of dancepop, disco and R&B that characterized the original, instead going for a full-on EDM twist. According to some reviewer, in this track "[Ayumi] is no stranger to the dance floor and easily finds her footing among the beats. The queens of J-Pop collide on this sleek remake". Damn, man, this bitch is a stan!

    I hear you girls booing this top 2, but @evilsin really is part of the problem, if so to speak, and justifies this by calling it "a stone cold classic in all its iterations". I'm sure @RUNAWAY secretely wrote that quoted review above, as they have heaps of praise, "iconic. Absolutely iconic. Legend covering legend. She slayed this amazing song". And @ThisIsRogue keeps it short and sweet, saying it's a great cover of a brilliant song.

    As for @otenkiame, I hear calls for a J-pop standards album from her, "What a bop! Ayu killed it with this cover. She totally made it her own so much so that sometimes I forget it's not even her original song. It's all kinds of fun with the synthpop sound and Ayu's surprisingly great speed singing. Should Ayu go ahead and make a cover album? I kinda think so after this". I lowkey need her covering something like Namie's 'Want Me Want Me' now.

    @Weslicious shares a very valid critique alongside his seven point-score, saying these are "mainly for the original song. This adds nothing. The way she keeps performing this because the rest of the album is so fucking dull..."

    Speak of the devil, this is the live performance section. Ayu really grabbed onto this opportunity and has really made the most out of this cover, in terms of how much of a concert staple it has become. I'm leaving the first time this was performed live, which was during Countdown Live 2014-15 which is cut short but mostly complete. Enjoy!

    Winning post coming later x​
    New Flame, ThisIsRogue, vague and 5 others like this.
  15. A fucking mess. Also, apparently Hikki chose Ayu for "Movin' on with you" which is a bit of a kii, since I thought that Ayu would go for something like "DISTANCE" herself.
    Weslicious, vague, RUNAWAY and 3 others like this.
  16. Queen denying another queen of a ballad association. 'FINAL DISTANCE' specifically, could've been a massive 'Dearest'-style serve though!

    RUNAWAY Staff Member

    My 11 just WON?! OH MY GODDDDDDD!!!!!!1!
    evilsin, Weslicious, Cutlery and 2 others like this.
  18. 1


    さようなら: 9.2

    HIGH: 11 (@RUNAWAY @mi|kshake) 10 (@Ana Raquel @Cutlery)
    LOW: 6.5 (@otenkiame)

    Whew, misandryjustice found turned away and waved goodbye! 'Sayonara' features Taiwanese boyband SpeXial, who debuted in 2012 and has changed lineup quite a lot of times, so far being divided into four different "periods", where members were rotated. The timeline is quite confusing but see it here if you wish. The relevant information is that, at the time of recording, the lineup consisted of eight guys: Wes, Wayne, Simon, Evan, Teddy, Win, Riley and Ian. Which holds about three "periods" worth of members. News of the collaboration first broke on June 2015, when Avex and Mars Entertainment announced the new song on the then yet unnamed mini, sixxxxxx.

    Produced by DAISHI DANCE, the song has undeniable hooks, and a great chorus melody that repeats through the track and aids in making it the stone cold banger it is. It helps that Ayu sounds good and that the voices of SpeXial, at least for me and based solely on this track, are pretty sexy. Just from the intro I'm a little hot and bothered. And that spoken word outro is peak Ayu dramatics, incidentially in a similar vein as fellow DD production 'What is forever love' and without the terrible man connection (as far as I know).

    The video is softly erotic shots of solo Ayumi and with different SpeXial members in bed, a shot of Ayu on the throne surrounded by the boyband lineup which includes an absolute look. I LOVE this mask (which I used for the cover at the beginning of this elimination post) y'all have no idea. Wish it was somehow used a little earlier in the already incredible CoLOURS visuals since I get a similar edgy, excessive jewelry aesthetic from these images:


    What did you lot have to say about our winner? For starters, @Weslicious reflects on the layers of the song, "A bop!", he sentences. @otenkiame is here for the sound direction and the sound direction only, ditching the rest of the track, "I wish this track did more for me, but it gets so monotonous, especially with it being nearly six minutes long. I hate that I feel like that, though, because all the synths and dance beats make for such a refreshing sound for her. Oh well, at least I don't skip it". Sorry to disappoint with this going #1 in the PopJustice chart and all.

    @evilsin doles out eight points, and reads, "Who the fuck are SpeXial? You really knew the days were over when avex started using their divas to promote any random act. Welp, I did already mention that DAISHI DANCE productions are all one-note. This is still nice though, thanks to bass heavy nature of the verses (is it Yukumi Tetsuya work?) and catchiness of the chorus", honestly you ain't wrong. Apparently SpeXial only really got their first huge concert in... 2016, and I don't think they have released anything since 2018. It's also puzzling to me that this came to be, since both acts aren't even on same labels, would they even help each other's case in Japanese/Taiwanese respective markets? And most of all, despite getting a video and an a-nation 2015 performance, they didn't even release it as a promo single, nothing at all. What was the reason for it?

    At last, I hand the mic over to @RUNAWAY who I'm just glad to see their fav win, and with an amazing song to boot, as they were truly Ayu's biggest fan throughout the rate, "this song gives me the feels every time, and from the first moment I heard it, so many years ago, I was in love. This song has been one I continually go back to, one I’ve added to all my Ayu playlists, one I’ve watched the video for more times than I can even count, one I’ve memorized all the lyrics to, one that brings so many emotions to the forefront for me. I love it. Ayu and the boys from SpeXial did a remarkable collaboration/duet here, and their harmonies when they sing together give me chills every time. The prominence of the piano is really interesting to me, especially with the juxtaposition of the EDM beats (thank u DAISHI DANCE) and this song is just perfection to me, honestly. I can’t get enough of it".


  19. Listening to this winning entry for the first time ever, and it is a Monster Bop (though I see the point of people not feeling it is an Ayumi song per se with so much male vocal) - will still probably get big points in the next Winners Rate from this Foreign Language loving fan!!

    EDIT: I also forgot to say but great rate @Cutlery - you did amazing! Your artwork was particularly divine! :D
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
    evilsin, mi|kshake, RUNAWAY and 2 others like this.
  20. Thank you lots love~ hosting my first rate has made me realize my favorite things about it are a) interacting with the opinions of voters, and perhaps even listening to a song from a new perspective, and b) making visuals! I really enjoyed this and I want to thank everyone who commented, liked the posts and followed along the results, and even got a chuckle out of me or gave me a new thing to learn along the way. It's been very fun and, all in all, celebratory, which is what I was aiming for.
    evilsin, mi|kshake, RUNAWAY and 3 others like this.
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