Released: June 10, 2015
Nearly 20 years ago, Japan’s resilient Queen of Pop Namie Amuro dabbed her fingers into the Western market sound, offering some slick acid jazz and dance tunes. But feeling she was in the wrong direction and sound, she moved onto the R&B market, molding a signature sound for years that finally delivered on her album Play. But she left that all behind her, because in recent years, she has been carving out her name in the EDM realm. Though it was particularly solid and pretty satisfying, only Feel had shown a powerful force that she needed to delivery correctly. But with Genic, her 12th studio album, Namie Amuro has finally provided her most essential and ample album yet.
Not since Play has Namie sounded full of confidence and power, re-asserting her position as one of the top performers to ever grace Japanese pop music. But Genic offers something different; the songs recycle past styles she has experimented with, and has polished them to full-term pop tunes. Take “Photogenic” for example; it takes the riffs from her Style album, with a small splash of Sweet 19 Blues, and forms it into a catchy funky disco song. The album’s rockier tunes; the rhythmic “Time Has Come”, and the stylishly polished “Fly”, both take notes from her Play and Past < Future efforts, and molds them into pop confectionary. Not only are they the best tracks on the album, but they are pretty epic.
“Fashionista” sounds like a semi-cheerleading funk tune that takes a few pointers from Past < Future, Play and Queen of Hip-Pop. But what’s thrilling is the dubstep breaks that offer a more modern switch to it, while hot rave tracks “Stranger” and “Screams” easily sound like they were influenced by Feel and Uncontrolled. With the rest of the album, Namie literally recycles nearly all her albums into this entry to make it more modern and influenced. But there are some tracks that could have been either replaced by previous non-album singles or b-side tracks; the danceable “Every Woman” and “It” are really good, but doesn’t particularly do anything exciting or fitting for the album. “Anything” is also pretty good, but as the only ballad track, it’s slightly subpar.
As the quality of Genic is really extreme, Namie’s English language is used in nearly every song here. All the songs are using English language, whiles there a minor Japanese mentions here. Whilst it’s a good/risky decision, her English has never been quite comprehensible; tracks like “Scream”, “B Who I Want 2 “ featuring Hatsune Miku (which is the strangest addition here), and “Every Woman” shows her pronunciation flaws, and come sometimes hinder the songs overall delivery. But overall, nearly every about Genic is essential, and the elements are combine effortlessly and powerfully.
Overall, Genic is probably, if not maybe, the best Namie Amuro album when it comes to full-rounded production, vocal delivery, and composition. It offers nearly everything a Namie song and album would, but this entry shows off her extreme capabilities and top 40 appeal. [[On a more personal level, it’s my favorite Namie Amuro album, my favorite Japanese SINGER album (not Japanese album yet unfortunately), and is probably my top 5 favorite albums ever.]]
Track list (Bold means best tracks)
- Time Has Come ~Liam’s favorite~
- Golden Touch
- Fly ~Liam’s favorite~
- B Who I Want 2 B (feat. Hatsune Miku)
- Every Woman
- Space Invader
- What I Did For Love (feat. David Guetta)