Namie Amuro: ‘Style’ – Album Review

style_namie_amuro_album_cover_art

Released: December 10, 2003

Having molded her new signature R&B style, Japanese pop star Namie Amuro threw in her J-Pop roots and focused on a more Western approach with American producer Dallas Austin. This resulted in Style, the tingling R&B entry with a stronger element of Hip-hop and dance music. You can tell by miles that Style shows Namie at her most comfortable state, and her most lush. Opening with a Bhangra inspired “Namie Style”, and telling every person out there that “this is her new style”, it explores an exciting mix of modern hip-hop (“Put Em’ Up”), minimal R&B tunes in “Indy Lady”, and some old school entries with “Gimme More” and “Wishing On the Same Star”. There are some songs that, whilst they are pretty good, aren’t that particularly exciting; the timid “Don’t Lie to Me”, the experimental slapper “Lovebite”, and simple “Fish”.

But whilst that’s in the past, the single selection from Style is finally satisfying. “So Crazy” could have been easily covered by a Westerner, and became a huge hit. It’s catchy, the hooks are solid, and the pace is slick and groovy. “Shine More” is like the sister to the former track; it’s just as catchy, but throws in a bit of attitude are majestic elements that could sound like a single from Pink’s Take Me Home album. But there are two major highlights here; the ethereal pop tune “Four Seasons” that showcases a special rhythm and Namie’s diverse vocal performance, whilst “Come” (a cover performed by Australian singer Sophie Monk) is not only the best track here, but easily one of her biggest steps in terms of musical change and deliveries. Such a perfect song.

This is the Namie Amuro that the fans didn’t particularly enjoy, only managing to shift over 250,000 units in Japan, her lowest sales to date. This sucks because this album is actually one of her best records in her entire career; it show’s her determination to not be pigeonholed as an artist, and showcase that Japanese artists don’t have to follow a certain J-pop trend to stay relevant or top 40 Oricon worthy. To any J-pop fan that likes a bit of sass and change, Style is certainly the one for you.

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. Namie’s Style
  2. Indy lady
  3. Put Em’ Up ~Liam’s favorite~
  4. SO CRAZY
  5. Don’t Lie to Me
  6. LOVEBITE
  7. Four Seasons
  8. Fish
  9. gimme gimme
  10. As Good As
  11. shine more
  12. Come
  13. Wishing On the Same Star

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