Ayumi Hamasaki – Rule / Sparkle

March 6, 2009 at 8:39 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | 10 Comments

The cover of the CD+DVD edition

Rule / Sparkle is Ayumi Hamasaki’s 45th single and it was released on February 25, 2008. The single reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 130,816 copies. The first track was used as the theme song for the movie Dragonball Evolution.

♦ ♦ ♦

I got to admit that Rule is a pretty cool song after a couple of listens. It’s a rock oriented track but not like the more “serious” stuff that was on GUILTY. The music does have that edgy and hard-hitting sound to it, but the mood is less, how should I put it…DRAB. The entire song came off as a little awkward at first, especially with the strange verses that feature muffled vocals, but the chorus is definitely a highlight since it’s pretty catchy.

When someone asked me to describe Sparkle, I said “OMG HOT AND SLUTTY FIERCE POP ♥♥♥”. Putting my love for this song aside, it is honestly one of Hamasaki’s hottest and most eye-popping tracks in a long time. Even though I like Rule, this song totally blows it out of the water because of one big reason: it’s different. Hamasaki should do more electronic dance tracks like this because it works well with her voice and this type of music is better suited for her overall. I’m hoping that her new album NEXT LEVEL will feature similarly executed tracks.

All versions of the single include 2 remixes of Rule but unfortunately, I didn’t really like either of them. The 80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix is filled with loud synth riffs that drown out the vocals with Hamasaki’s disembodied voice repeating “RULE RULE RULE” over and over in the background. Trust me bbz, it gets annoying after a while. The Remo-con “tech dance” remix is almost as annoying because of its constant, yet really messy beats as well.

That’s why you should ditch the CD+DVD edition and check out CD only editions A and B instead! I’ll start with the remixes of Days that appear on version A.

  • The 8-bits of tears YMCK remix is insanely cute and I loved how YMCK changed the song into something that sounds like old school video game background music. I thought it was quite innovative and I’m definitely interested in hearing more remixes from them.
  • You know that I love me some orchestral music so I was pleased to see Days get that treatment. The acoustic orchestra version is more interesting than original as far as I’m concerned. It’s quite beautiful too.

Finally, let’s look over the remixes of GREEN that are featured on version B.

  • The CMJK Spring Storm mix is not bad and I liked that it’s not a complete mess compared to the Rule remixes. The electronic sound of the remix certainly gives the song a neurotic mood with its use of electronic guitar and deep synth riffs.
  • The song also has an acoustic orchestra version and I thought the strings were interesting this time around. They are a little more hectic to match the arrangement but it’s all good.

Overall Rating

4½ stars


CD only edition (Type A)
1. Rule (Original mix)
2. Sparkle (Original mix)
3. Days (8-bits of tears YMCK remix)
4. Days (Acoustic Orchestra version)
5. Rule (80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix)
6. Rule (Remo-con “tech dance” remix)
7. Rule (Original mix -Instrumental-)
8. Sparkle (Original mix -Instrumental-)

CD only edition (Type B)
1. Rule (Original mix)
2. Sparkle (Original mix)
3. GREEN (CMJK Spring Storm mix)
4. GREEN (Acoustic Orchestra version)
5. Rule (80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix)
6. Rule (Remo-con “tech dance” remix)
7. Rule (Original mix -Instrumental-)
8. Sparkle (Original mix -Instrumental-)



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  1. You are so out of your mind. Rule (80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix) is not a mess. I used to dislike remixes, but after a while I started enjoying them after many listens. This remix is awesome and you should give it another chance. :|

  2. yeesh, someone’s fangasming over a “REMIX”
    besides the YMCK remix is the only important one

  3. i loved this single. lol and i definatly agree with you! ayu should try more dance tracks like Koda Kumi =D lol

  4. Nice review, but I totally agree with Kim. 80Kidz did a wonderful job on Rule, the remix is so much better than the original song…
    YMCK remix is surprisingly quite enjoyable, considering the fact that their own songs are horrible.

  5. I’m “fangasming” because it’s actually an excellent remix. I could dance to this all night long; I’m sure other people would be able to as well.

  6. Ayu needs more YMCK remix’s

  7. I agree with you on that the remixes of Rule weren’t fantastic but the other remixes are cool , considering that I’m not really a remix person to begin with . Sparkle’s <3

  8. […] Ayumi Hamasaki – Rule / Sparkle (Beyond The Sea) […]

  9. I love this single! I only really care for both Days and GREEN’s two remixes and only one of Rule’s so… I love 7/8 of the single tracks, not bad :)

  10. I don’t know why people are getting so worked up over the reviews on the remixes for Rule(song), I’m unsure of whether or not this blogger is male of female, but it’s their own opinion, if they don’t like a remix then they don’t. Different people have different tastes, and I think this blog is amazing although I do disagree about their views on the remixes I do respect it because they’re really good at their reviews.

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