Suzuki Ami’s 7th studio album, entitled Supreme Show, was released on 11.12.08. In order to celebrate her 10th anniversary and her recent work with Nakata Yasutaka, Supreme Show was produced entirely by him. It also comes as her 2nd album of the year (as DOLCE was released in January). Both singles: ONE and can’t stop the DISCO (as well as their respective B-sides) as well as a new mix of previous song SUPER MUSIC MAKER were included on this album. The first track, TEN, was used in a Honda Cars CM.
TEN opens up the album on a strong note. The song is quite simple lyrically speaking but that simplicity in conjuction with the addictive instrumentation makes for a catchy opening number. Opening the song is a fun and cool electropop instrumental that takes the listener into a whole other world and soon the striking part of the music comes in, the piano. Having the piano run through really sets this song apart from various other Nakata songs and it makes this song a standout number on Supreme Show. Getting back to the lyrics, during the verses, it is generally a list of things that Ami can relate to such as “daydream,” “setback” and “lonely.” The chorus stands out as her vocals stand out and show that Ami edge as she sings “dream a happy dream, which way shall we take?” and the final line is so perfectly apt for this song as she chants “transcend the TEN.” TEN really introduces the listener to the genius production of Nakata and the unmistakable flavor of Ami. Although the vocals are heavily distorted, it works very nicely with the music to make TEN an electropop paradise.
The second song on the album, can’t stop the DISCO, is a maginificent sleek electropop wonderland. The song was perfect when it was released as a single and it sounds wonderful on Supreme Show. The song takes off with a mysterious and cool instrumental that takes the listener on a ride and straight into the first verse. The verses are the strongest part of the song as they give off that cool vibe that only Ami can bring. English phrases such as “feel my heart” and particularly “love tactics,” give the verses that special edge. Transitioning smoothly into the hook, the vocals become a little more strong as she holds her notes with flawless ease. The hook really does a good job of connecting the cool verses to the lighter chorus. Ami brings a fun atmosphere for the chorus as she sings primarily in English with phrases like “time trip, time slip” and “No! None of your tricks!” making the listener stand up and notice. The song finishes with more of that dreamy instrumentation that just sounds so great and makes a perfect transition into the next song. can’t stop the DISCO is a perfect Nakata and Ami match and it stands out strongly on the album.
Much like the transition on the single, cimb up to the top follows can’t stop the DISCO perfectly. This song is one of the funnest songs on the album as she sings in all English and it almost sounds like shouting but it works well in the context of the song. Opening the song is a cool instrumental with the sounds of a woman moaning here and there, fueling that sexual atmosphere that makes the song have a little more edge. The English phrases are a little nonsensical at times like “whoop it up, blow one’s top” “what is you up to? out of control!” but they only enhance the song’s fun atmosphere. Similar to some of Nakata produced B-sides (i.e. feel the beat or edge by Perfume), the emphasis is really on the music here since the actual singing is only of the chorus. Luckily the music is so addictive that the times just flies by. There are certain points when the music becomes dark and aggressive and others when the music is light and fun, which makes for a very strong song as the transition between them is flawless. climb up to the top is a great song, one definitely worth checking out.
Up next is SUPER MUSIC MAKER (SA’08S/A mix), which was also released on the previous single. climb up to the top perfectly flows into this song just like on the single. Since its release on the can’t stop the DISCO single, it hasn’t lost of any of its magic. That opening instrumental really grabs the listener in and prepares them for the amazingness to come. Soon Ami comes in cutely saying “yeah! hey you, yeah!” and then the first verse follows. Her vocals here really match the laid-back element of the music and keep the listener intrigued for what is to follow. The chorus is easily the most addictive part of the song as the music becomes more diverse and the “hey you!” line really pops and catches the listener’s ear. This new version of SUPER MUSIC MAKER definitely finds its home on Supreme Show and is another product of the perfect team of Ami and Nakata.
Mysterious is home to a dark and almost creepy atmosphere that makes it one of the best songs on the album. That spooky instrumental begins the song and there is almost a video-game like element to it that really makes it extremely enticing. Ami comes in on the first verse with sleek vocals that support the music strongly, showing off that cool flare. Following each couplet is a couple English lines such as “dance dance dance dance follow me, back step next step give me a beat.” It appears many times throughout the song but it’s so catchy that the listener won’t mind. One line separates the verses and the chorus, beginning with “grab a chance” and it is at this moment that the instrumentation rises high to build up for what is next. The chorus is fantastic, primarily for the drawn-out “mysterious” that Ami sings, separated by that repeated “dance” line. Following the chorus is a small pure instrumental section that takes a listener on a ride through this mysterious world, perfectly representing the song’s meaning. Without a doubt, Mysterious is a knockout on Supreme Show and one of the best Ami and Nakata creations for its infectious instrumentation and cool sexy edge.
Picking up the energy and the mood is the next song, change my life. The instrumentation takes off and instantly the listener feels that lightness. On the verses, Ami gives a very good vocal performance as the distortion on her vocals perfectly fits with the music. The chorus actually is very memorable, primarily for the interesting twinkling world of the instrumentation. Ami’s vocals are pretty good here too, though they could have been a little stronger. English phrases such as “change my heart” and “up to date” do a nice job of popping and catching the listener’s ear. The pure instrumental section is great and has a certain warm feeling about it that just works within the context of this song. It’s a good song and although it may not be one of the most interesting offerings on the album, it’s worth a listen.
It wasn’t the smartest idea to place the next track, LOVE MAIL, right after change my life since they are a little too similar in sound to be next to each other. Similar instrumentation opens this song up but there is something unmistakably different about it, which is hard to describe. On the verses, Ami gives some good vocals again, nicely supported by the instrumentation. Generally it’s the music that makes this song a good listen and there are certain sections of the song (such as right before the chorus), which sparkle in the listener’s ear. The chorus is nice but having Ami constantly reach higher to sing becomes a little much for the song and doesn’t sound as strong as she did on the previous song. One interesting point about this song though is that on the first verse, she sings with a certain rapidity that sounds so fresh and gives the song a nice little edge.
Although A token of love didn’t strike me when it was released as a single on the ONE single, it has shined more considerably since then. The opening instrumentation catches the listener as it’s almost like they are entering another world as it shifts from being light to agressive to a cool. After some vocalizations from Ami, the first verse and there’s somewhat of a cute feeling to it as Ami sings along to the sleek instrumental. The chorus is what makes this song stand out with all English lyrics, she sings phrases such as “make a happy” and “you and me.” When she sings the title of the song, the music also has a momentary change that makes for one perfect split second that is still noticeable to the listener. Closing the song is a fantastic instrumental that takes on more aggressive qualities. A Token of love finds a nice niche on this album and actually sounds better here in the context of the album than its release as a B-side.
TRUE is definitely an album gem as Nakata takes a more relaxing approach with the synth leading Ami through the song. Ami effortlessly follows, showing off her vocal prowess and coolness. The opening instrumentation immediately makes the listener want to follow as it opens the doors to a new world. On the verses, Ami manages to slickly hold her notes and staying in the lower tone allows her to keep that cool edge that she is so good at keeping. The chorus stands out as Ami gives a little more vocally and the music doesn’t have to do anything but remain strong (which it manages to do no problem). This song is truly one to remember and it is a wonderful addition to Supreme Show.
Our last track is flower, an electropop ballad of sorts, which Ami brings to magical life. There is such an immediate draw to this song once the instrumentation begins the song so that the listener cannot escape. She holds her notes wonderfully and there is a layer of aggressive instrumentation that runs through the lighter and more fragile level, perfect for forming unforgettable music. On the chorus, Ami reaches higher but here it works so perfectly with the beauty of the music that the listener could just sleep into a dream while listening. She sings “come into flower,” enticing the listener to hear even more. flower is fantastic and it’s the perfect way to slow things down while still keeping the listener addicted.
Ironically ONE is the album’s last track. It was such a strong song when released as a single and it still maintains that perfect edge. The song begins with Ami singing the hook, probably the most addictive part of the entire song. She sings “number one” over an absolutely fantastic instrumental that catches the listener’s attention. The last line of the hook is the most memorable line of the entire song as she holds the last note with strength. On the verses, there is a very relaxing feeling as Ami’s vocals remain in the lower pitch and they really work with the certain dark spacey atmosphere about the instrumentation. If you listen closely, you can hear her saying “smile and music and this world” at certain moments of pure instrumentation and it’s a very nice touch that adds flavor to the song. Closing the song is addictive music, that makes for the perfect finish for this album. ONE is one of Ami’s best songs to date and certainly an album jewel.
Album Ranking: A
Supreme Show definitely shows the true power of the Ami and Nakata team. All the songs from the singles (ONE, A token of love, can’t stop the DISCO and climb up to the top) sound fantastic here, maintaning their strength from single release. As for the new tracks, Mysterious reigns top jewel with TEN, TRUE and flower closing following. The album provides many different sounds, all of which show Ami’s versatility and appeal, making Supreme Show an album to remember.