Ayumi Hamasaki – Rock’n’Roll Circus

July 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | 2 Comments
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  1. THE introduction
  2. Microphone
  3. count down
  4. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
  6. Last Links
  7. montage
  8. Don’t look back
  9. Jump!
  10. Lady Dynamite
  11. Sexy little things
  12. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~
  13. meaning of Love
  14. You were…
  15. RED LINE ~for TA~ (album version)

I was highly anticipating Rock’n’Roll Circus because of all the hype surrounding its release. When the tracklist was released I was surprised by how fierce some of the titles were and couldn’t wait to hear how they would sound. Unfortunately, the album did not live up to my expectations.

THE introduction is a nice opening and I like how dramatic it sounds because it compliments the next track. The organ in Microphone is awesome and leads right into a blast of guitars. This is the rock track of the album and it’s very aggressive. Ayumi’s vocals are powerful and help set the tone of the song. The only complaint I have is that the verses are underwhelming. They sound too calm and aren’t as aggressive as they should be. There’s nothing really special about count down except for its lovely arrangement and dark vibe. The piano melody is great but the same can’t be said for the vocal performance which leaves much to be desired. The song feels dull and it shouldn’t be because the arrangement of the song is interesting. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ is much better with its calm summer vibe. The instruments and synths are gorgeous and make the song feel peaceful. I really liked this song and was surprised to read that not many people enjoyed this track. The song does drag on towards the end but it isn’t that big of an issue. BALLAD has a really epic and oriental feel to it. I didn’t like this song at first but it has grown on me and Ayumi sounds much better here than she did on count down. The bridge of the song is amazing as you get to hear the beautiful instruments. The arrangement of the song makes it the albums best ballad.

The acoustic sound of Last Links was quite a surprise and I loved how the rest of the instruments burst into the middle of the verse. Too bad the chorus is a dud and brings the song down completely. This song suffers from the same problem as count down. The albums second interlude, montage, is a dark orchestrated piece of music. It sets the mood for the albums best and most epic song, Don’t look back. This is what I’ve been waiting for, a track that’s unique and captures my interest. The Arabian influence of the song is interesting and compliments the songs dark and angst vibe. Ayumi doesn’t have many songs like this and she should continue to make them because it’s fantastic. This is the gem of the album simply because of its audacity. Jump! is the final interlude and it’s pretty pointless. There wasn’t a need to have two interludes so close to each other. Lady Dynamite intrigued me because of its bold title and was one of the songs I looked forward to listening to. The song doesn’t deserve the title because it’s absolutely generic and a huge disappointment. The song is ridiculously boring and even the arrangement isn’t able to salvage it. This song had so much potential to be good but I guess that’s what happens when you judge a song based solely on its title.

Luckily, Ayumi redeems herself with the quirky and insane, Sexy little things. This is another one of the albums highlights and the opening synths are crazy. This is the song that most closely reflects the feeling of a circus. The synths right after the first chorus along with the drums is phenomenal. There is one aspect of the song that I feel could have been better and it’s the vocals. It’s different to see Ayumi sing in the cute tone that she uses in the song but it would have been better if she sang this song differently. However, that is just one minor problem and the song is still exceptional. Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ is pretty much just Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ with an upbeat makeover. The song is much more summery with its livelier arrangement and vocal performance. It’s not quite as good as Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ but I still enjoyed it. meaning of Love has a simple arrangement but her vocals are grating during the chorus. This is a typical ballad and there’s nothing interesting about it. The arrangement of the song is a little too simple thus making the song sound bland. You were… is an improvement over the previous song and Ayumi sounds great. The song is nice but other than that it’s your typical winter ballad from Ayumi. Rock’n’Roll Circus closes off with RED LINE ~for TA~ (album version) which has an upbeat and catchy chorus. The verses lack the feeling that the chorus has and come across as a little plain. The song also runs on too long and could have easily ended around the four minute mark because the rest of the song is just the instruments that finish off with a cappella singing.

Conclusion: I was severely disappointed with Rock’n’Roll Circus because many of the songs came across as bland and uninspired. The production is great but even then the songs just don’t sound as good as they should. The tracks that are good are the ones where Ayumi was brave enough to experiment with and they save the album. Ayumi should have had more tracks like Sexy little things and Don’t look back because these were the standouts on the album. There are also too many ballad and most of them aren’t even that good. Ayumi has ballads that put these ones to shame and it’s tragic that even the good ballads aren’t even close to what Ayumi is capable of. I might sound too harsh but I went into this album thinking it was going to be amazing and came out confused and disappointed. Despite its obvious flaws it still has some surprising tracks.

Recommended Tracks: Don’t look back, Sexy little things, Microphone, Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ and BALLAD




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  1. Agreed on how the ballads she made for this album don’t compare to the epic stuff she’s done in the past.

    I see this album more as easy-listening(especially since I haven’t listened to it since like it’s first 2 weeks of release. :l)

    • She has such epic ballads like moments and no more words <3. I really hope she makes another ballad like them in the future.

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