Ayumi Hamasaki – Rock’n’Roll CircusApril 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Posted in Ayumi Hamasaki | 23 Comments
The cover of the CD+DVD edition
Rock’n’Roll Circus is Ayumi Hamasaki’s 11th album and it was released on April14, 2010. The album reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and sold 205,058 copies.
What a tacky cover…and her eyes are HUGE.
♦ ♦ ♦
The latest Japanese artist to hop on the circus bandwagon, Ayumi Hamasaki’s Rock’n’Roll Circus is, for the most part, a pretty decent album. My fandom has died down over the past year but don’t get me wrong, I will always like her. During this era, Hamasaki’s music hasn’t impressed me since the single Rule / Sparkle.
The 2 singles leading up to Rock’n’Roll Circus were basically carbon copies of much better past songs (Sunrise ~LOVE is ALL~ and You were… being the biggest offenders). It’s better if you ignore the A-sides because they don’t represent the album at all. I still have a soft spot for BALLAD though. However, Ayu did have some tricks up her sleeve for the promotional tracks. There’s 4 of them which is the most she’s ever done for an album.
The central track of the album has to be Microphone, a hard-hitting rock song that utilizes organs and heavy drums. Don’t look back was interesting because of the Middle Eastern influences and I liked the catchy chorus. My favorite song on the album was Sexy little things, the only song to really fit the “circus” part of the title. It’s quirky, different, and incredibly infectious. There’s also Lady Dynamite, a dance-ish track with electric guitars. It’s too bad that Hamasaki didn’t release any of these songs as singles because they’re all quite good and way better than the actual A-sides.
As for the other new tracks, they’re only okay. count down and Last Links sounded like bad leftovers from GUILTY but meaning of Love was actually kind of pretty. The vocals were iffy but at least it’s better than You were… and Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~. I do like how the album closes with an extended version of RED LINE ~for TA~. After the chanting of Ayu’s minions, the song ends with acapella singing. Anything’s better than Curtain call, right?
An Ayu album isn’t complete without an interlude or two (or four). Luckily, there’s only a short intro track and two interludes, making this one of her longer albums as well. THE introduction was pointless but montage was pretty damn amazing. It’s so creepy and unsettling but the transition into Don’t look back was off. The last interlude is Jump! and I thought was really annoying. The only thing it accomplishes is switching gears from the dark rock tracks and ballads of the beginning of the album to more upbeat pop songs.
Overall, I was underwhelmed. Nothing really stood out besides the 4 promotional tracks (I had the same feeling with Koda Kumi’s UNIVERSE). I was surprised at how much slower paced stuff dominated Rock’n’Roll Circus, too. Upon further inspection, half of the album is composed of ballads or something similar. To add insult to injury, she clumps these slower songs together (tracks 3-6 specifically). I definitely enjoyed the upbeat songs like Microphone, Lady Dynamite, and Sexy little things more. Also, the album is sloppy at times and the interludes are oddly placed. For example, montage would have made a better opening track. The Ayu stans can crucify me for this but I thought NEXT LEVEL was better. At least she tried to be different on that album but on Rock’n’Roll Circus, we get treated with the same ol’ same ol’.
Pros: Ayu does what she does best…and Sexy little things is awesome. ♥
Cons: Too many ballads. The album is not that exciting after multiple listens.
BASICALLY…this album is kind of like GUILTY but weaker. ;D
1. THE introduction
3. count down
4. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~
6. Last Links
8. Don’t look back
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]
Note: My favorite tracks are highlighted in blue!