Nami Tamaki – Don’t Stay

May 18, 2008 at 10:45 PM | Posted in Nami Tamaki | 8 Comments
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The cover of the CD only edition

Don’t Stay is Nami Tamaki’s 4th album and it was released on April 23, 2008. The album reached #14 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 18,610 copies.

♦ ♦ ♦

This short opening track pretty much sums up the entire sound of the album. Don’t Stay -Inst.- is a mix of techno and rock with a slower, more ballad-like section in the middle. It really sets the stage for what’s to come and it sounds awesome as well.

The ending of the instrumental flows right into visualize, an aggressive dance song. The music is very upbeat and includes a dash of electric guitar like many of the album’s new songs. Nami Tamaki’s vocals are solid as usual, especially when she sings at a lower pitch.

Together is also an extremely upbeat dance song, but it focuses more on the catchy synth riffs. Because of its more techno oriented sound, it reminded me of her past works except that this is much better in terms of overall quality.

Two powerful rock tracks are next, the first one being Brightdown. I thought of this song as Tamaki’s departure from the techno-pop sound she normally does because it shows a new musical side of her. Surprisingly, I think rock music suits her voice quite well.

It gets better with hitchHIKER, a pure rock song that was produced and arranged by Marty Friedman. He is a former member of the American thrash metal group Megadeth and it really shows because the electric guitar is relentless and furious here. The song itself is more light-hearted in nature if you compare it to Brightdown though. I was very impressed by how well Tamaki sang it and this is one of my favorite songs on the album.

The next song begins gently but quickly changes into a harrowing electronic track with incredible pace. Like the title implies, Speedway is very fast and it doesn’t let up. I liked the combination of the synth and band arrangements since they sounded really nice together at that tempo.

The album begins to slow down a little, but the next track is still very much a dance track. Station isn’t as impressive as the previous tracks, but that’s okay. What we have here is a more ambient song thanks to the slower arrangement and melody provided by Tamaki’s vocals. It’s still heavy on the beats and synthesizers though.

The only full blown ballad on the album is Promise, the lead track from the Winter Ballades single. I still like this song and I think it was sung quite well. Tamaki isn’t a ballad singer since she hardly performs ballads but she is pretty good when she actually does them.

re-birth is a more bouncy, pop oriented dance song complete with a very cheery sound. Once again, it is reminiscent of her past works since it includes cutesy chimes and piano chords. The bridge is quite nice despite the rest of the song being somewhat unmemorable.

This song was a surprise since it showcases Tamaki going a little into R&B territory while having a mainstream pop atmosphere. Gokigendazee! ~Nothing But Something~ was the album’s main promotional track. I thought it was an interesting listen because of its stronger use of bass beats and rapping sections by KEN from the group DA PUMP. I didn’t mind his rapping at all and this song is quite fun actually. Tamaki’s vocals sound a little different to match the urban undertones of the music.

Another impressive song in the same vein as the previous track was EDEN. It’s also on the pop side but the addtional clapping beats and short bursts of synth make this song quite unique. I also liked the looping English parts of the song since I found them to be catchy.

I can honestly say that CROSS SEASON is one of my favorite songs by Tamaki, but I absolutely hated the “After Graduation Mix”. A really nice, slower paced electronic song that commemorated her high school graduation was turned into a overblown and awful trance remix. It’s the worst song on the album, but at least it’s only a mediocre remix since the original version is so much better.

Ending the album is a very pop influenced song. 423 makes prominent use of the brass section along with a thumping beat. The music is very uplifting and go well with Tamaki’s higher pitched vocals. It’s a great final track.

A new remix of MY WAY, her 10th single, appears as a bonus track. The original version was a pop track with electronic elements but the reproduction mix reverses that. The remix makes the song more of a techno dance track while the poppish sounds are minimal.

I noticed that Nami Tamaki’s albums tend to get better with each release because Don’t Stay is her best album to date in my opinion. With the exception of the remix of CROSS SEASON, every track is very well done and I was amazed with the new balance of her older dance music and more aggressive pop rock integrating together. She also experiments with other genres of music on some of the other songs and I applaud her for that. The album is also her most mature work as well since it shows great improvement in her development as an artist. I see something even greater for Tamaki in the future as she continues to experiment and branch out from her comfort zone.

Overall Rating

4½ stars

Tracklisting

1. Don’t Stay -Inst.-
2. visualize
3. Together
4. Brightdown
5. hitchHIKER
6. Speedway
7. Station
8. Promise
9. re-birth
10. Gokigendazee! ~Nothing But Something~ feat. KEN (DA DUMP)
       (ごきげんだぜっ! ~Nothing But Something~)
11. EDEN
12. CROSS SEASON -After Graduation Mix-
13. 423
14. MY WAY Reproduction -Original Mix-

Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!

8 Comments »

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  1. Nice review.
    <3
    I just downloaded this album a while ago.
    And I loved her style of music.
    I may review her soon.

  2. Eh. I like the review, but…

    I don’t really agree. I guess I’m just not used to her style of full-out techno… >>;;

    Or maybe I didn’t listen to the album enough…

  3. Go You!!! I love Nami Tamaki, and this album i agree is her best, but real close to Make Progress. All of the reviews I read also agreed that the remix of Cross Season sucked!!!! Anyways awesome review Lex

  4. agree with you!!!
    everything you said was true…
    my 3 favorite tracks from this album was 423, gokigendazee! and EDEN :)

  5. ehh? she songs are so wonderful!!! but why the ranking was low?..also the selling??…

  6. I retract my last comment.

    Listened it over again. >> Much better than I thought.

  7. Heya Lex! Great review, as always. The Cross Season rmx was a let down, but I still liked it. I absolutely LOVED Eden. You’re right on about Tamaki’s maturing status as an artist. Her lastest material speaks strongly about how far she’s come. I’m excited about her future! :D

  8. You’re right, it’s her best album.

    However, I have to disagree with you about CROSS SEASON -After Graduation Mix-. It’s probably because I’m a happy-hardcore junky, but I absolutely love this version of the song. The original was too boring for me. And I have to say that hitchHIKER is terrible, in my opinion.


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