Namie Amuro – PAST<FUTUREDecember 19, 2009 at 12:23 PM | Posted in Namie Amuro | 15 Comments
The cover of the CD+DVD edition
PAST<FUTURE is Namie Amuro’s 8th album and it was released on December 16, 2009. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 522,343 copies.
I think the cover is cool but use an older picture to rip, Namie! BEST FICTION isn’t THAT old. XD
♦ ♦ ♦
Namie Amuro is one of those artists that continues impress me with every release and even though I was apprehensive about her new musical direction in PAST<FUTURE, I’m happy to say that I was NOT disappointed. Not in the least bit.
The biggest difference you will hear in this album is that the music is noticably less “hip-pop”. The heavy electropop influences make it quite the departure from the signature style of her past 3 studio albums. You could hear this shift begin to happen when she released WILD and Dr., songs that had a more experimental sound to them. However, the new tracks are where we get the full extent of this “futuristic style”.
That’s not to say that there are some throwbacks to the past. The first 2 tracks FAST CAR and COPY THAT both feature a cool and sleek retro sound. Think of the 60s 70s 80s single. FAST CAR is reminiscent of the roaring 20s while COPY THAT is like a homage to 50s TV spy show theme songs. I can’t tell you how addicting FAST CAR is either.
Going back to the album’s main theme of the future, most of the tracks focus primarily on quick synth lines and flat beats. From upbeat tracks like LOVE GAME, Bad Habit, and Steal my Night, the “hip-pop” sound takes a back seat. This is definitely most evident in FRIST TIMER feat. DOBERMAN INC, the album’s most chaotic track. The synth and vocal layering is pretty crazy. I like how the album ends with a bang thanks to the aggressive Defend Love too.
Amuro has a little more up her sleeve as well with Shut Up, a strange pop rock hybrid. I didn’t really like it though because of the chorus. Even with all these complex upbeat songs, the most pleasant surprise on the album for me was The Meaning Of Us. It acts as the album’s lone ballad and it’s really pretty. Despite not having the big grandiose arrangements of past ballads (Wishing On The Same Star and ALL FOR YOU), I personally loved it.
As a whole, PAST<FUTURE is a really catchy and fun album. I can listen to the whole thing with ease. Even though I don’t think it’s as good as her last album PLAY, Amuro is still at the top of her game. My biggest criticism would be that some of the song arrangements come off as monotone, hidden behind a big production to make this fact less obvious. The biggest offender would be MY LOVE, which was one of my least favorite tracks along with Shut Up. This album does trump PLAY when it comes to vocals though. Even though there is a lot of vocal layering going on, I can’t ignore that Amuro’s voice is more polished here.
Pros: Experimentation done right! All Amuro has to do now is perfect it.
Cons: There are “so-so” tracks that don’t stand out.
BASICALLY…the verdict is still waiting on if the past is indeed lesser than the future.
1. FAST CAR
2. COPY THAT
3. LOVE GAME
4. Bad Habit
5. Steal my Night
6. FIRST TIMER feat. DOBERMAN INC
9. Shut Up
10. MY LOVE
11. The Meaning Of Us
12. Defend Love
Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!