Hamasaki Ayumi – talkin’ 2 myself [42nd Single]

January 6, 2008 at 9:11 am (Hamasaki Ayumi)

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Hamasaki Ayumi’s 42nd single, entitled talkin’ 2 myself, was released on 09.19.07. Both the title track and the B-side for the single received tie-ins. talkin’ 2 myself was used as the Panasonic’s Lumix FX33 CM song while the B-side, decision, was used as the music.jp TV CM song.

The single opens up with talkin’ 2 myself, an explosive rock track with powerful lyrics. The theme of the song is “creation following destruction” and the lyrics speak to it perfectly. The arrangment of the song is simple using the small hooks to create a bridge between the more “bubbling” verses and the “explosive” choruses. The vocals also support this arrangment as Ayumi uses a lower tone during the verses and brings out more power during the choruses. This style gives the chorus a spotlight, where it belongs. I personally enjoy the instrumental section very much and the beautiful flow right into the chorus, with more hushed vocals. Following the “hushed chorus” is the regular chorus, creating a climax effect and more spotlight to the powerful chorus. This song is definitely one of Ayumi’s best rock efforts and deserves to be rewarded.

The B-side, entitled decision, is definitely A-side material. This song is a powerful rock ballad centering around the notion of self-acceptance. The song opens up with pure instrumentation; the opening sounds are that of a ballad and then they blare into a powerful rock song. There is a smooth transition between the two different sounds, establishing the tone of the song very well. Then the song returns closer to the opening sounds as the first verse opens. Ayumi’s vocals are quite crisp on this one, blending with the beat. The same transition is brought in as it melts into the hook. The chorus of the song is strong with the final line of each chorus holding some lingering feeling of strength. Ayu’s vocals during the third verse also show power, adding to the powerful rock atmosphere. The song ends a bit strangely as Ayumi ad-libs. While her vocals are nice, the ending wasn’t what I thought it would be. However the song is great overall and shows Ayu’s still got it.

The third track on the single is entitled fated [Orchestra Version]. It took me a while to grow into the original version of the song but one thing I did like from the start in the original was that the music really supported the atmosphere created by the lyrics. In this new version, I find that the orchestrated instrumental takes away from the emotion of the song. However the instrumental alone is pretty, but that doesn’t do much for the song here. It was a nice return back to the orchestrated experimentation expressed in MY STORY CLASSICAL but this version doesn’t capture the emotion of the original version and the emotion is the song’s strongest point.

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Although this is a traditional single (with A-Side and B-Side), both songs received PVs. The PV for talkin’ 2 myself is very powerful and does an amazing job of keeping with the lyrics. Centering around the theme of “creation after destruction,” the PV captures the true intensity of the lyrical atmosphere. The children in the PV suggest a loss of innocence and it was a nice touch using the rain as a point of climax in the song. I personally liked the little choreographed scene with her dancers during the sole instrumental section and it was a great way to introduce the rain into the video. This PV sported Ayu’s new haircut and that added to the atmosphere of the PV. The PV for decision fell a little flat of my expectations since it’s of Ayu and her crew just rocking out and singing the song. The lighting of the PV is a nice touch but other than that, there really isn’t much to say except that it could have been stronger.

Single Ranking: A +

Both talkin’ 2 myself and decision are powerful rock songs, each with different musical approaches and lyrical approaches. While talkin’ 2 myself uses the theme of “creation after destruction” alongside a “hook-bridge” to draw attention to the chorus, decision uses a smooth mix of strong rock and ballad with the theme of “self-acceptance.” The PV for talkin’ 2 myself was great although the PV for decision was a little lacking but both songs display different rock styles that Ayumi uses to her advantage.

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