Single Review: Ayumi Hamasaki – “Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~”

CD-only version

1. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ (Original mix)
2. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Original mix)
3. “fairyland-glitter-BLUE BIRD-Greatful days-July 1st” Mega-Mash-Up Mix
4. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ (Original mix -Instrumental-)
5. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Original mix -Instrumental-)

I’m ba~ck!
Ayumi Hamasaki’s forty-sixth single was released on August 12, 2009. It reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Chart and has sold 75,352 copies so far. The first A-side, Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~, was used as the opening theme for the TV drama Dandy Daddy?.

Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ is everything you’d expect from an Ayu summer song, but with a twist – it’s her most electronic song since Sparkle, and it doesn’t go soft on the strong synths and drumbeats. Despite this, it manages to sound pretty rockish during the chorus. There’s even a section that’s sung by a group of fans, which is cool. The melody sounded like it was settled comfortably into Ayu’s range, and the result is a very nice and strong-sounding vocal performance. Overall, this is a very nice song and should settle nicely into the succession of summer songs by Ayu.

I have a great fondness for Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~. It uses the exact same melody as its counterpart, but transforms it into a beautiful ballad. Aside from the fact that this song is extremely pretty albeit a bit typical-Ayu-ballad sounding, it also brings to light Ayumi’s skills as a lyricist. Writing two songs to fit the same melody while giving them very different overall feelings is no easy feat. I even believe Ayumi said that the theme of Sunrise was “you”, and Sunset is “me”. I found this to be verylove is all 2interesting and it helped enhance the feeling of duality between the two songs.

Here we have “fairyland-glitter-BLUE BIRD-Greatful days-July 1st” Mega-Mash-Up Mix, a mashup of every summer song Ayumi has ever released. I’ve must say, I’m a bit surprised that it took until now for a megamix of this size to come about. Considering how similar the songs are in lyrical content and overall vibes, they sound fantastic when mixed together. For whatever reason, the BLUE BIRD section sounded especially pretty and was probably the part I enjoyed most other than the brilliant instrumental breakdown toward the end. All things considered, this definitely did not disappoint.

Summary: As a really, really big Ayumi Hamasaki fan, I tend to look forward to each single she puts out, no matter what. There was some negative attention surrounding this particular release, based primarily on the covers (which are omgwtfhideous, I admit). However, much to my relief, it ended up not being a bad single by any means. Both A-sides are clearly meant to be summer anthems in their own different ways, and they do a very good job. Adding to the summery theme of the single is the megamix which includes all of Ayu’s summer songs, a very nice touch. Overall, I can’t really bring myself to criticize this single. I can only continue to wish the best for Ayu.

Single Grade: A

One thought on “Single Review: Ayumi Hamasaki – “Sunrise / Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~”

  1. Good review!

    Though I feel that the song flopped, it was good for me. I liked songs from her NEXT LEVEL album, Rule, Green and LOVE ‘n’ HATE more.

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