The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki (#1!!!)

New year, new thread!

Welcome to Part II of the Ultimate J-Pop Queens singles rate! This is the second of four upcoming rates dedicated to scoring the singles of Japan's most legendary female artists.

The first rate, for Utada Hikaru, is currently finishing up its top 5 this week. Now it's time to open voting for Part II, which means we'll be scoring none other than...

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... Ayumi Hamasaki!

Born October 2, 1978, Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ, Hamasaki Ayumi), also know as Ayu (あゆ) to her fans, is a singer, songwriter and occasional record producer hailing from Fukuoka, Japan. Often dubbed "the Empress of J-Pop" for her widespread popularity and influence, she is the highest selling solo artist (male or female) in Japanese history, and the 3rd highest selling overall, with total record sales of more than 50 million since her debut in 1998. Hamasaki's constantly changing image and tight control over her artistry has helped her popularity extend across Asia, and internationally she is sometimes referred to as "the Japanese Madonna".

Ayumi holds several domestic records for her singles, such as the most number-one hits by a female artist (38 and counting), most consecutive number-one hits by a solo artist (25 and counting), most million-sellers, and highest overall sales. Hamasaki is the first female singer to have all 12 of her studio albums since debut top the Oricon, and has had a #1 single on the charts every year from 1999 - 2010 (she didn't release any singles in 2011).

In August of 2010, the New York Daily News conducted a survey of the 20 richest female singers of all time, based on contracts, tours, and inheritance from lists provided by Forbes magazine. Hamasaki was the only Asian artist on the list, placing 7th overall and reportedly having made gains of $400 million U.S. ($$$$$$$~)

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Hamasaki has 74 songs in this rate, coming from 51 physical singles in Japan (including 9 AA-sides, 3 AAA-sides, and 1 AAAA-side), 2 physical singles in Germany, 2 digital-only singles, and 1 radio-only single.


HOW THIS WORKS

Below are a list of all the songs in the game. Rate each song from 0 - 10, with 0 being absolutely the lowest score and 10 being absolutely the highest. SUBMIT YOUR VOTES TO ME VIA PRIVATE MESSAGE; DO NOT POST THEM IN THIS THREAD. You'll also notice every song is hyperlinked to audio, so please take advantage of this before you rate each song. Voting will be open for 2 weeks, after which all scores will be combined and averaged. The song with the highest average score will be declared the winner. Simple enough? Have at it!

SCORES WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH MONDAY, JANUARY 16, AT 6 PM US EST, 11 PM BRITISH GMT (UTC 23:00)

0. NOTHING FROM NOTHING
1. poker face
2. YOU
3. Trust
4. For My Dear...
5. Depend on you
6. WHATEVER
7. LOVE ~Destiny~
8. TO BE
9. Boys & Girls
10. monochrome
11. Too Late
12. Trauma
13. End Roll
14. Appears
15. Kanariya
16. Fly high
17. vogue
18. Far away
19. SEASONS
20. SURREAL
21. AUDIENCE
22. M
23. evolution
24. NEVER EVER
25. Endless sorrow
26. UNITE!
27. Dearest
28. Daybreak
29. Free & Easy
30. independent
31. July 1st
32. Hanabi
33. Voyage
34. Connected
35. ourselves
36. Greatful days
37. Hanabi ~episode II~
38. forgiveness
39. No way to say
40. Moments
41. INSPIRE
42. CAROLS
43. Naturally
44. STEP you
45. is this LOVE?
46. fairyland
47. HEAVEN
48. Bold & Delicious
49. Pride
50. Startin'
51. Born to Be...
52. BLUE BIRD
53. glitter
54. fated
55. talkin' 2 myself
56. Together When...
57. Mirrorcle World
58. Days
59. GREEN
60. Rule
61. Sparkle
62. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
63. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
64. You were...
65. BALLAD
66. MOON
67. blossom
68. crossroad
69. Virgin Road
70. Sweet Season
71. Last Angel
72. Love song
73. Happening Here

P.S. - The easiest way to do this is to copy + paste the above list into the body of a PM with your scores next to each song.
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Just submitted my rankings! (And kept a copy for myself this time)

Only gave 4 10s (and a few more 8s and 9s). It was quite hard to rank though - I was getting confused between 7s, 8s & 9s lol. I do wonder if I gave too many 9s. Ayumi definately has a load of great songs which haven't been singles (Rainbow!)

mi|kshake~
 

Mr.Arroz

Staff member
he/him/his
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

STEP you for the win!
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I'm moving into uncharted territory with this one. Will hopefully get to do it this weekend.
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I had a lot of 9s, and no 0s or 1s, but only three 10s. I guess consistency is her strong point!
 

Mr.Arroz

Staff member
he/him/his
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Where's Rik!? Someone ALERT him!
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I will say this now, I'm going to be one of those annoying people who rates her newer stuff much more highly than her old works; simply because I only really got on the Ayu bandwagon with Next Level (and Sparkle specifically).

3Xs said:
In August of 2010, the New York Daily News conducted a survey of the 20 richest female singers of all time, based on contracts, tours, and inheritance from lists provided by Forbes magazine. Hamasaki was the only Asian artist on the list, placing 7th overall and reportedly having made gains of $400 million U.S. ($$$$$$$~)
WHAT THE FUCK.

EDIT: It's quite a revelation listening to poker face after being obsessed with it's Ayu trance remix all year.
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I also became a fan around Next Level. I originally got into her through Mirrorcle World, and Sparkle maintained the interest, so my only 10s appear half way through the list.
 
he/him
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Well well well after listening to her earlier songs and reading the lyrics, I am now a mess.

Ayu is clearly my favorite J-pop Queen. Too bad some of her best songs were never released as singles. I definitely prefer her stuff from LOVEppears to MY STORY than her most recent stuff, even though as a whole (miss)understood, Secret and GUILTY were nice albums. The singles were just weak. I think my average score was around 8.01...
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Just checked my average score which is 7.32 which is quite good considering I thought I was chucking out a lot of high scores.

Really looking forward to the rest of this rate and the Hikaru Top 5!

mi|kshake~
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

She's released lots more ballads than I thought. It's making it difficult to get through all the songs (since I'm not really a fan of the melodrama involved with Ayu ballads)
 
He / Him
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I don't know any Ayu songs apart from Ladies Night (and thats only because of the superior Sweet Box original...) ...I thought checking out Utada would take a while, haha!
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Ah I'm excited for this~

Vogue or SURREAL for the win!

Also, ugh, are we really including Happening Here in this?? I like to pretend it doesn't exist..
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I swear if people will elminate her earlier stuff right at the beggining I will go "Chris Brown" on y'all!
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Monkey0 said:
I swear if people will elminate her earlier stuff right at the beggining I will go "Chris Brown" on y'all!
I best start dying my hair red then.
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

I went through this afternoon/evening. It was very consistent, with few standouts - good or bad. Consequently most songs got a 5 or 6. A few fell a bit short of that and got 4's, while a number did impress me and scored higher. That said, none grabbed me enough to deserve a 10 next to the ones I gave Hikki or I know I'll be giving Namie, even being generous because I didn't know most of the songs.

Highest score: 8 (5 times)
Lowest score: 3 (once) - same as Hikki
Average score: 5.9

Ultimately, I enjoyed doing it and, while I don't feel compelled to go digging into her back catalogue any further, there are a number of songs I'm very glad to have come across. Naturally, they'll all leave berfore the top 20.

*prepares baracades for imminent Ayu-stan assault*
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Haha don't worry about any abuse MarkB - I'll be interested to know which songs you rated highly when we start counting down the singles. I do worry that I've not been as strict as I should be and given too many 8s erm..28 I think. Though I did score one song a 1.

Doing this rate, I realised how many great album tracks she has (or songs which aren't counted as singles by Avex) like Rainbow, Rainy Day, Alterna, Guilty, Don't Look Back, End of the World,Ever Free (<- which is her best B side, not that she has many!)

I was watching a video on Youtube someone had made of all of Kumi's PVs which got me thinking am I scoring the songs for Ayu in comparison to how I rated Hikaru's? Or just scoring against other songs in Ayu's discography?

Watching the Kumi video, I now know of 2 songs which are getting a definate 10 when we come round to doing that rate!

mi|kshake~
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Okay, so granted she's probably the least popular of the 4 divas here on Popjustice (and also I just tend to give out higher scores more freely than most) - but I'm still pretty surprised there haven't been more high scores all around (except aftersch who was flawlessly handing out 10's and 9's like candy). She defintiely has a lot of worthy singles here in my opinion. I'm not a self-professed 'Ayu fan' by any stretch but even I gave her lots of high scores, including 10 10's!

re: her older material - I don't necessarily care for much of her older stuff either, HOWEVER, fuck EVERYONE who voted "poker face" less than a 9. You do all realize that's one of the most legendary J-Pop songs OF ALL TIME, right? Perfect chorus, brilliant slowed-down hand-clap middle 8, killer vocal performance; just such a beautiful song. And also quite sad too - I almost always get emotional when I hear it. Wasn't it recorded the day Ayumi found out her grandmother died? I think that defintiely contributes to the bittersweet vocals.

But anyway, ya'll are a mess. It's like Utada and Automatic all over again! And the sickening part is that compared to Namie and Kumi they actually have AMAZING debut singles. *sigh* I guess I'll be the only 10 for that song!!

re: how you should score songs - I defintiely would NOT recommend scoring in comparison to the other artists in this rate. Just score each song on its own merit and how much you like it individually. That's the best way to get the most honest results.

And on a final note ya'll have just over a week left to vote. I know there's a couple big Ayumi stans who have yet to vote, and of course we're still waiting for the other half of MiChiMadNesS' ballot...
 
Re: The ULTIMATE J-Pop Queens Singles Rate, Part II: Ayumi Hamasaki

Sorry! I've been the busiest mess this weekend, I'll get round to it wednesday night (very specific). I'm up to about song 40 now.

SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.
 

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