News Ticker


Hello December: Winter Ballad Selection Ayumi Hamasaki

Hello December! We are nearly three weeks away from Christmas, but unfortunately the weather hasn't been too jolly about that. I haven't paid much attention to the lights and stuff though. The festive crowds had almost deprived me of air the other day as I was struggling to walk along the underpass. Even though over here we aren't blessed with the fun and joy of winter (I would so love to have snowball fights for instance), with a little bit of imagination and creativity it is possible to simulate the ideal winter in anybody's heart. Before I completely run out of juice which isn't going to reflect favourably especially at the beginning of the month, I shall attempt to keep warm by sampling compilation albums all set for the winter. Today's recommendation is a recent digital release from one of my idols: Ayumi Hamasaki.

I've been a long-time supporter of Ayu since her debut with Avex Trax back in 1998. Those lovely, big eyes staring at me from the cover of 'A Song for xx' were a timely prompt as I didn't think twice about picking up a copy. However, despite being so forward with my purchase I've got to admit that it wasn't quite love at first hearing. Ayu's high-pitched vocals required several months on my part to get accustomed to. Thankfully, the appreciation has paid off throughout all these years. I wouldn't want to miss even a hint of an opportunity to listen to her beautiful songs. It's been sixteen years that I'm following Ayu's music career. In Japan where change is on par with its express trains and such, Ayu is still standing firm with strong records.  

The digital-only compilation album by Ayu is titled 'Winter Ballad Selection'. It was released on 26th November through iTunes, recochoku and mu-mo. The compilation album consists of twelve songs. The album cover shows a beautiful, wintry backdrop of what I assume is the Tokyo Tower and its surroundings. Right away, I spotted a few of my favourites from Ayu's early days (A Song for XX, LOVEppears, Duty). The remaining numbers stretch across Ayu's career over the past decade or so. I've decided to narrow in to just a few songs from the list for my write-up.

♪ POWDER SNOW (A Song for XX, 1999)
Taken from Ayu's debut full-length album, POWDER SNOW is an escape to a faraway place where the falling snow would comfort in moments of deep hurt and solitude. The long instrumental makes up for the concise lyrics in which a good half of them is mere repetition of half-choruses. The bridge is where Ayu's signature high pitch plays out in its greenhorn rawness which has since become quite the rare stone. I've got to say that POWDER SNOW ages like a bottle of fine wine.

♪ momentum (Secret, 2006)
I love the aesthetics of this song. Ayu walks down the bitter cold while reminiscing and reiterating what seems like an unwavering love for someone who is no longer around. The melody quickly picks up momentum (pun may be intended) at the first chorus. An interesting element in many of Ayu's songs is the disjointedness which usually contradicts yet at the same time it complements the aesthetics of her music. Is anybody able to interpret 'the last forever'?  

♪ Missing (LOVE, 2012)
'Missing' is the 'newest' track in the compilation album, dating back just a couple of years ago. The lyrics are reflective of one's true nature without barriers, and the harsh reality of ending a relationship. The gradually upbeat escalation comes off as a pleasant surprise as I wasn't expecting an energetic number with those words. The emotions are largely confrontational. This song is easily another of my favourites.

The other songs include: Appears, teddy bear, Over, No way to say, CAROLS, Jewel, Together When..., Days and You Were.... ♪

Even though I'm not blessed with the fun and joy of winter, listening to this compilation album is enough to simulate the ideal winter in my heart.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

Share This:

Post Tags:

No Comment to " Hello December: Winter Ballad Selection Ayumi Hamasaki "