Music, Music Review

Ayumi Hamasaki: ‘A Complete: All Singles’ – Album Review


Released: November 8, 2008 (Avex Trax)

I’m a bit of a random guy when it comes to iTunes, scrolling through the charts to see what’s hot and not. You know, a typical week for me haha. As I scroll through, I somehow always see Ms. Ayumi Hamasaki. Even though she has yet to release another studio album (her first year she has not release a studio album, thank god…), she still there. And it always seems to be her greatest hits package A Complete: All Singles. So I decided to take the time out to review the album in great depth because, whether you like her or not, it’s a inciting retrospect of J-Pop realness.

A Complete: All Singles has just celebrated its 11th year anniversary which, if you consider J-Pop’s renowned festivity with anniversaries, is summin’ big. The album boasts some of the greatest J-Pop tracks ever over a 3-disc affair, all untouched and in their original form. We get the gentle innocence of her early career (“Poker Face”, “You” and “Depend on You”), her divergence into some solid 1990s-influenced club cuts (“Whatever”, “Fly High”, and “Audience”), interesting phases and musical elements she had experimented in her career (industrial elements of “Monochrome” and “Surreal”, Latin flavours of “Vogue”, oriental essences of “Ourselves” or electronic goodness in “Appears”), and a large array of harrowing yet completely vulnerable J-Pop classics (“Love: Destiny”, “Seasons”, “M”, “Voyage”, “Moments” and “Heaven”).

All of these songs brought something fresh and inspiring to the Japanese market, both musically and lyrically—the latter a complete YES from me. Ayu-chan has always had a way of delivering some incredible ballads and stories, eventually coming to life with the work she produces. Unfortunately, her later career hasn’t had anything particularly noteworthy like her experimentation (or dancing days) during the 2000s, and it’s a shame that it looks like her flame is slightly dying out. Hopefully she is able to compile another compilation with YONKS of discs to commemorate how influential she has been in the Japanese market. But until that day comes, consider A Complete: All Singles. Because there is nothing better than a collection so refined and well-encapsulated like this… Trust me, you’ll probably fall into the rabbit hole like myself haha.

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. poker face
  2. YOU
  3. Trust
  4. For My Dear…
  5. Depend on you
  6. WHATEVER *Liam’s favourite*
  8. To be
  9. Boys & Girls
  10. monochrome
  11. appears
  12. kanariya
  13. Fly high
  14. vogue
  15. Far away

  3. AUDIENCE *Liam’s favourite*
  4. M
  5. evolution
  7. Endless sorrow
  8. UNITE!
  9. Dearest
  10. Daybreak
  11. Free & Easy
  12. independent
  13. Voyage
  14. ourselves
  15. forgiveness

  1. No way to say
  2. Moments
  5. STEP you
  6. fairyland
  7. HEAVEN *Liam’s favourite*
  8. Bold & Delicious
  9. Startin’
  11. glitter
  12. talkin’ 2 myself
  13. Mirrorcle World
  14. Who… (10th Anniversary Version)



2 thoughts on “Ayumi Hamasaki: ‘A Complete: All Singles’ – Album Review”

  1. I just read this review of you aaaand I’m genuinely surprised that there is no “Duty”??? Where the hell is “Duty” in that long-ass tracklist? Was “Duty” not released as a single or what?


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