Nami Tamaki’s 16th single and first release since leaving Sony Music and moving to Universal Japan, GIVE ME UP, was released on March 25th, 2008. The A-side was used as the ending theme for the Yatterman anime. The single debuted at #12 on Oricon. This review will be covering not only version A of this single, but also songs exclusive to the B and C versions as well.
At first listen, GIVE ME UP gives the impression that, although Nami’s changed record companies, not much has changed in her musical style. However, I now beg to differ – rather than forcing herself into unfamiliar genres like hip-hop and rock, Nami is right back where she’s comfortable with this happy, cute, fun song. While still airy and carefree like the bulk of Nami’s music, GIVE ME UP has a very hip quality to it, which is refreshing to hear as her singles were beginning to all sound the same after a while. Overall, this is a fun and uplifting song.
イチズナネガイ (Ichizu na Negai; Whole-hearted Wish) is the B-side that appears on all three versions of this single. This song incorporates a lot of retro-sounding synth and guitars, which makes it a style Nami has never tried before, and I’m always open to change. Although not the most memorable song she’s ever done, Ichizu na Negai is certainly worth hearing, even if it won’t stick with you after the first, second or third listen.
I can honestly say I’m not a huge fan of Nami’s ballads – or, at least, not all of them. However, in my life, which is included only on the Limited Edition version B of this single, surprised me pleasantly. Calm piano chords are played over a mid-tempo R&B beat accompanied by soft synth and charm elements. The thing I like most about Nami’s vocal performance on this song is the lack of vibrato, which reinforces the pristine, pretty arrangement. Like on the A-side, the improvement in Nami’s English is very apparent; her accent while singing In my lifetime you’re always in my heart is barely noticeable, a welcome change.
彼女 (Kanojo; Girlfriend), available only on version C (normal version), has got a lot in common with in my life – they’re both similarly mid-tempo and feature notable English phrases. The song opens with a simple music box-type sound which loops throughout. Nami’s voice sounds very pretty in the higher register, and again, her English is great. I’ve really got only positive things to say about this song so I’ll just cap it off by saying that it’s really good and the best B-side on this single. GIVE ME UP (Instrumental) is the final song on this single.
Summary: As Nami Tamaki’s first single since switching to Universal J, GIVE ME UP shows a lot of promise for the great music we have to look forward to hearing from her in the future. The A-side shows a return to the type of music that made Nami famous, and the two B-sides are not bad at all. Also, the more frequent use of English phrases that actually make sense shows that Nami’s skills in that department are improving. I only wish that you did not have to purchase all three versions of the single in order to get the other two B-sides. But other than that, I really have nothing to complain about. From what I can see, Nami made the right choice moving to Universal J.
Single Grade: A