Ayumi Hamasaki: ‘Secret’ – Album Review

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Released: November 29, 2006

Here’s the thing; I never liked Secret, the god-knows-what-number-album this is. I’ve always felt that this record was a waste of energy invested into mediorce J-pop numbers that basically seem like repeats from previous studio albums the beautiful Ms. Ayumi Hamasaki has done. Like gurl, what was happening back then? Lord I don’t know what it was, and I don’t think I wanna know! But nearly 10 years have approach since its release… so Liam, what do I still think about this record, with countless listens and re-visiting this package?

Well, if you want a miracle, forget that kiddies… cause gurls and boyz, I have the same opinion. The one issue I have about this record is the lack of progression OR direction. It just seems as Ayu-chan wanted to release the album for the fun of things, and delivered it as a complete mess (no shade y’all). Nearly half this record is completely forgettable, including “Until That Day…”, “1 LOVE”, “It Was”, “Momentum”, “Beautiful Fighters” and the titular number. I mean gurl, if half the record is pure crap and isn’t going anyway, I don’t know where the F it’s going! They just seem very repetitious through its production and sound, almost to the point where it seems like Ayu recycled it from years ago (gurl….. no.) And don’t get me started on the interlude’s as well, cause they aren’t dynamic as her previous entries (“everlasting dream”? “Opening Run”? “Starting Over”? THOSE WERE BANGERS)

That leaves the other half of the record, which to me, are live or die moments… but we’re gon’ start with the die moments, just cause I’m on a run here. For me, the single “Startin'” is a mixed bag; whilst I LIVE for the banging chorus, which is delivered with a stray of electric guitars and subtle synths, the verses aren’t really interesting and come off quite dated. Same goes to “Born to Be…”, which is a striving self-empowerment anthem that hits hard once it hits the chorus, but the rest of the song sounds like a typical drum-based empowerment number and doesn’t excite me much.

That only leaves me with like, three songs that are accessible (aka listenable)… THREE DAMN SONGS out of a 10+ album! The first is the piano ballad “Jewel”, which y’all may think is a typical J-pop Ayu ballad. But no… this is one great pop ballad! I love how the song is structure, particularly how it changes it’s key in certain areas, but her vocals are well-delivered and divine. The next is the euphoric dance number “Blue Bird”, which is another single from the record. I’ve always enjoyed her J-pop-infused dance moments, and this sparkling anthem doesn’t disappoint! And the final key highlight is “Kiss o Kill”, a funky yet blood-rushing rock number that honestly blows the rest of the record out of the water (and that’s the truth). It’s insanely catchy as F, the production is crisp, and is definitely one of her better cuts.

As a fan of Ayu’s music, and a bit of an enthusiasts with singers discography (yes I’m weird with that crap, but whatever…), I was quite disappointed in this record entirely. If anything, it’s just a filler album with a couple of great tracks while the rest of the songs float on the surface with no set direction or ideal message. The sound comes off quite dull and a little regressive, and the production isn’t as sharp as what her previous music was. A completely wasted opportunity.

Track list (Bold means best tracks):

  1. Not yet
  2. until that Day…
  3. Startin’
  4. 1 LOVE
  5. It was
  6. LABYRINTH
  7. JEWEL
  8. Momentum
  9. taskinst
  10. Born To Be…
  11. Beautiful Fighters
  12. Blue Bird
  13. kiss o’ kill ~Liam’s favourite~
  14. Secret

1.5

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