Suzuki Ami – Dolce [6th Studio Album]

February 15, 2008 at 8:38 pm (Suzuki Ami) (, )

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Suzki Ami’s 6th studio album, Dolce, was released on 02.06.08. This album is her second of the “Ami joins…” series as every track has her joining someone new to create a highly techno-influenced album. Along with this new sound came a more sexy image that compliments her new musical style. Songs like feel the beat (album version) and MUSIC really capture the essence of her techno experimentation. Other songs such as Bitter… and Stereo Love give some needed variety to the album. Only two songs were released before the album: FREE FREE / SUPER MUSIC MAKER and Potential Breakup Song.

FREE FREE, the opening track, finds Ami joining Nakata Yasutaka (capsule) for a synthesized techno track. The sounds of this song are a good representation of Ami’s new sound and image and are good for the opening track. In order to compliment the highly techno music, her vocals are highly synthesized and truthfully it’s not very appealing. They’re so synthesized, they don’t really even sound like her. There’s no real power behind them so the instrumentation quickly comes to the forefront. The sexiness that Ami is currently using in her image comes across especially through the moments where her breathing is heard. The song clocks in at a little over five minutes and because of the monotony of the song, it does drag on. Although her new sound really is clear in this opening song, it’s not particuarly captivating in any way.

Ami joins Sugiurumn for the second song, feel the beat (album version). The style of the song is somewhat similar to that of FREE FREE with lower-pictched vocals and a strong instrumental presence. Ami repeats “I feel the beat” repeatedly throughout the song, which adds a nice flavor to it and compliments the instrumentation. There really isn’t music lyrical variety and because of the low pitch of the vocals, the instrumentation once again comes to the forefront. Strangely enough it works in the song’s favor since the instrumental is a very hot techno beat with a more relaxed vibe than that of FREE FREE and works with the vocals better. This song should have been the opening track since it displays the new techno flavor and is a strong track at that.

The third song, Potential Breakup Song, has Ami joining Aly & AJ for this poppy track. Although it maintains a very similar flow to the original, the lyrical flow is so smooth, it gives the song its own flavor. The sexiness comes through as she whispers some of the lyrics during the hook and flows perfectly into the chorus. The chorus is easily the most addictive part of the song with stronger vocals and her softer vocals perfectly compliment the techno-influenced beat. Her English pronounciation is pretty good as she sings “this is a potential breakup song…” The guitar that plays a fair role in the instrumentation really brings out the instrumental but doesn’t overpower Ami’s vocals. Overall this is a very enjoyable listen and brings an interesting Japanese twist to an American song.

The album’s fourth song, Bitter…, finds Ami joining STUDIO APARTMENT in a smooth track with energy. A very mellow piano introduction introduces this song but after roughly half of a minute into the song, the instrumentation changes. Synthesizers come into play and give the song more of an uptempo feel while still maintaing the mellowness that. Ami’s vocals stay within the lower range during the verses and blend well with the music. The chorus sticks out to me more as her vocals show some more range and the catchiness factor increases. The chorus is repeated quite a few times just so in that regard, some might perceive it is somewhat monotonous but I don’t think it detracts from the overall feeling of the song until the end when two choruses could have been cut out. The song finishes on pure instrumentation and is an excellent way to end since it opened the song as well, creating a cyclical effect. Bitter… is one of the songs that stands out most on the album and is definitely worth the listen.

Ami joins RAM RIDER for SWEET DANCE, the fifth song on the album. The song opens up with some English in very hushed English vocals and introduces the overall feel of the song very well. Soon her slightly synthesized vocals come into play and and blend well with the mellow atmosphere of the techno beat. There is a very continuous flow throughout the entire song so the chorus doesn’t truly seperate itself from the verses in terms of instrumentation but the feel is established well. The instrumental sections of the song prove to be very enjoyable and show off the techno flare that Ami is capable of. This song is one of the album’s strong tracks with a relaxed sound but is still uptempo with a certain poppish element to it.

CAPTAIN FUNK joins Ami for The WeekeND. The instrumentation of the song is very catchy and is has a wonderful techno influenced sound. Ami repeats “it’s the weekend,” which gives the song a cute element but it’s slightly annoying because of the number of times it’s repeated. The overall atmosphere of the song is cute and her vocals reflect this perfectly using a lower register to go with the beat. The instrumental sections really brings the song’s strength to the forefront. It’s one of the album’s most addictive songs but it’s so long that it’s somewhat distracting. If it were cut to somewhere around four minutes, then the song would be perfect.

Ami joins Nakata Yasutaka (capsule) again for SUPER MUSIC MAKER. With a hot techno flare and a hidden sexiness hidden behind an electronic voice speaking in English, the song emerges as a stronger counterpart to FREE FREE. Like the first track, her vocals are highly distorted but in the context of the song, they work amazingly well. They don’t sound foreign and have some more power behind them. It’s a very enjoyable listen and is one of the strongest songs on the entire album.

Track number eight, MUSIC, has Ami joining RAM RIDER on a hot dance song. It opens up with a very “cool” techno instrumentation and then makes a jump into a second layer where Ami’s sings “music,” while extending the notes of “-ic.” The vocals are a bit simplistic in order to keep up with the instrumentation so it kind of falls to the background while the various nuances of the instrumentation come through. In fact, it is when the pure instrumentation sections come in that the creativity of the song is truly displayed. The second verse has alternating vocals from both singers and the distortedness of their vocals blend together very well. One problem that the song faces is that there is no real distinction between the verses and the choruses so it feels somewhat monotonous. However the instrumentation is brilliant and because it’s in the forefront, the catchiness comes through. The song ends similarly to how it opens with the word “music” repeated various times and finishes on a instrumental bang. Although it’s a bit simple in vocal presence, the instrumentation is so creative that the song is memorable.

Stereo Love, in which Ami joins Tomoe Shinohara, is the cute ninth song on the album. Opening up with a strong techno beat and a feminine sigh, it quickly blends into the true instrumentation. The vocals during the verses are pretty mellow and work well with the music. English phrases such as “happy as joy” really bring home the cuteness vibe the song exudes and this comes across even stronger during the chorus. The chorus opens up with “need and want your love” and from there continues a cute but addictive uptempo section. Her vocals come into a higher register and the rhythm following it has a very child-like cute feeling that works very well. To really end the song with the same atmosphere, Ami’s giggling brings the song to a close. Stereo Love stands out from the album by showing Ami’s cute side and is a wonderful part of the album.

アイノウタ, the tenth song on the album, has Ami joining ROCKETMAN featuring YOU THE ROCK for one of the most creative songs on the album. Using a hot dance beat and a summery sound, the collaboration is not one to be forgotten. What’s interesting about this song is that Ami’s only section of the song is the chorus, which emerges as the strongest part of the song as well. The verses are all raps from ROCKETMAN and still compliment the music. The contrast between their voices is actually what makes them stand strongly apart from each other. It’s a pretty short song but is definitely an enjoyable one as well. This is one of the strongest songs on the album for its catchiness and creativity.

Ami joins Hoff Dylan for 人はPOP, the eleventh song on the album. The song opens up very immediately with Dylan Hoff singing in a somewhat nasally voice. Truthfully, his voice is slightly reminiscent of Otsuka Ai and sounds slightly strange within the context of the song coming from him. The chorus is so basic and the word “pop” is repeated so often that it gets annoying really quickly. The biggest problem that the song faces is over-simplicity. The verses maintain a very basic rhythm that isn’t very catchy and the choruses are very monotonous. The instrumentation is simple as well but there are moments (during pure instrumentation sections) when there is something special hidden behind it. Overall this track is way too basic and monotnous to really catch on but it gets points for having a fun summer sound.

新しい日々is the semifinal track and features Ami joining YO-KING for a guitar driven midtempo song. The atmosphere of the song is very relaxing and has an end-of-summer feel that is perfect to close your eyes and listen to. The only problem is that Ami’s vocals get a little loud during the chorus and don’t mesh as well with the beat as they could have. The verses are more enjoyable as Ami sings in a lower key that creates a balance.The instrumental section is probably the strongest part of the song as without the vocals, the instrumental is able to truly be appreciated. Although the music is very enjoyable, the vocals get kind of annoying and at times seem to strong and deep and act in counterbalance to the music.

The final song on the album, if, is unique in that nobody joins Ami. As the solo song and first press bonus, it’s an okay way to end the album. In this poppish midtempo number, there is a cuteness element to it that fits perfectly with that almost fantasy-like atmosphere of the song. I can’t put my finger on it but there’s something holding this song back from being stellar. I would have preferred another song finish this album but it is by no means a bad song.

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For further promotion for the album, a PV for Bitter… was made. Overall the PV is very simple and consists of few scenes. One of the strongest parts of the video was the color contrast between the dreary rain and black she wore in the telephone booth to the bright pink dress she wore in other scenes. Although there could have been a little more excitement in the PV, the atmosphere perfectly matches that of the song and is very strong.

Album Ranking: A –

Ami’s sixth album is notable for showing off her new techno flare and a new sexier image to accompany that sound. The three strongest tracks on the album are as follows: feel the beat (album version), which is the perfect blend of mellowness and her techno flavor, Stereo Love, which shows off her cuter side in an amazing pop track and Bitter…, which shows that Ami can tie in a poppishness with a bittersweet ballad. The biggest problem that this album faces is the lack of overall cohesiveness. It does a wonderful job of flow between the early techno tracks but then the techno magic is lost in the later half of the album. If there was a larger balance then it could have made the album so much stronger.

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5 Comments

  1. _Jpoppo_ said,

    What a good review! *_* Compliments Amai Wana! ^^

  2. Selryam said,

    Okay, I’m really late here, but still…

    FINALLY~ I thought I was the only one who thought SUPER MUSIC MAKER was better than FREE FREE. @__@

    I thought this album was more Club, maybe House, influenced than Techno though, but it’s definitely a good one. A few of the tracks could’ve been stronger, but I thought the greater majority of it was great.

  3. amaiyume said,

    yeah SUPER MUSIC MAKER is muchhhhh better FREE FREE. Not that FREE FREE sucks or anything but it’s my least fav of her collabs wth Nakata thus far

    There were some really good ones here like Stereo Love, Ai no Uta and Potential Breakup song. I’m really looking forward to Supreme Show though 🙂
    It’ll be even better!!!

  4. Selryam said,

    Well, all the reviews so far (including mine) agree, so…

    I think you’ll be pleased with it. xD;;

  5. amaiyume said,

    I saw that you reviewed it! Really fast!!!
    I didn’t look at it so I don’t spoil anything but I will comment on your review when my copy arrives…in 2 weeks x_x

    That’s what I get for pre-ordering NEWS’ new album alongside Supreme Show

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