Single Review: “Days/GREEN” – Ayumi Hamasaki

days_green_jacket_a1  Today I’ll be reviewing Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest single, Days/Green, which was released on December 17, 2008. The single peaked at #1 on Oricon.

The first track on the single, Days, is a pretty standard-sounding Ayumi Hamasaki winter ballad, but here “standard” is not being used as a depreciating term. Once again, Ayumi has given us a beautiful, heartfelt love song with a gorgeous arrangement. The lyrics come from a genuine place in Ayumi’s heart as they’re inspired by her ex-fiancée, Tomoya Nagase, with whom she split last year and will soon be marrying someone else. Her vocals are-pretty spot on and it’s hard to find any other flaws in the song itself.

Next, we have Green, by far the more interesting of the two A-sides. The song features very strong Oriental influences, and its accompanying PV is inspired by 30’s-era Shanghai club singers and the film Lust, Caution. Despite the fantastic arrangement throughout the duration of the song, I couldn’t help but feel that Ayu’s vocal performance was a bit stiff. But on this particular track, the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot as this is a great song.

green_days_jacket_c

Here is where the 10th Anniversary remakes begin. On the Days/Green version we have Love ~Destiny~ (10th Anniversary Version), a remake of the original on Ayu’s second album, LOVEppears. It sounds pretty much the same as the original, aside from some minor changes to the instrumental and Ayu’s obvious vocal maturity. As far as remakes go, this one is pretty and overall very nice.

On GREEN/Days, we have TO BE (10th Anniversary Version), which, like “Love ~ Destiny ~”, sounds almost identical to the original version save for a fuller arrangement and some additional synths, and Ayu’s vocal performance which showcases how dramatically her voice has changed over the years. Listening to the version on LOVEppears and then to the 10th Anniversary edition, it almost sounds like two different people. However, I personally prefer the original because her voice sounds more genuine in that one. But both versions bring something different to the table and they’re both worth a listen.

So in conclusion, this is a very solid release from Ayumi Hamasaki. She seemed to have stumbled a bit in early 2008, but after two singles she’s regained her place on top. Her next single, RULE/Sparkle is due out on February 25. I’ll be reviewing that one too ^_^

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