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[Album Review] ayaka's "The beginning"

5yr ago   ·   Friday 10 Feb, 2012 - 08:19am UTC   ·   cowazaki   ·   1 upvote   ·   0 comments   ·   5,398 views
[Album Review] ayaka's
“I beg the sky, I want this voice delivered to that person.” ayaka (Sora yo Onegai)

‘Comeback’ - borrowing a term that may be overused in K-pop - is the best word I can use to describe Ayaka (stylized ayaka)’s recent return to the music scene. After going on hiatus for two years, this comeback was not only epic but highly-anticipated as well. Since debuting at the age of 18 in 2006, she has been performing very well. Her first album First Message went on to sell over one million copies in 2006. Her success continued to rise in the following years until she was diagnosed with Graves disease, which temporarily put a hold on her singing career at the end of 2009. Along with an announcement of her return last year, ayaka has since departed her record label (Warner Music Japan) and created an independent label A stAtion. Her new album The beginning was released on February 1, 2012 and has claimed first place on the daily and weekly Oricon charts. Some might assume that ayaka's comeback would be mediocre to above-average at best, ayaka's here to prove them very, very wrong.

Tracklist:
1. Hajimari no Toki (はじまりのとき)
2. Hello
3. Akai Sora (アカイソラ)
4. The beginning
5. HIKARI
6. Sora yo Onegai (空よお願い)
7. Tsunagaru Kokoro (繋がる心)
8. THIS IS THE TIME
9. Soko Made Arui te Iku yo (そこまで歩いていくよ)
10. Egao no Canvas (笑顔のキャンバス)
11. Magic Mind
12. Kimi e (キミへ)
13. Yasashii Ao (やさしい蒼)

Review:
The new album can be categorized as an indie release since it was produced by ayaka’s independent label. This comes as a relief to fans because it will open up more room for creativity for an artist. But even more so, each song in the album is mind-blowing class. Accompanied by ayaka’s powerful vocals, each song in this album has the quality to become an individual single (She sure didn’t waste any time writing songs during her down time!) Where do we start describing this wonderful album? How about the first song?

"Hajimari no Toki"
[ytid=kt9pyTj74Y4][yttitle]絢香 - はじまりのとき (Ayaka - Hajimari no Toki)[/yttitle][ytcontent]絢香 - はじまりのときAyaka - Hajimari no Toki (It means the new beginning)[/ytcontent]
*the reason live performance were chosen was to prove ayaka's gifted singing voice, and no, this CD quality singing was not lip-synced.

“Hajimari no Toki (はじまりのとき)” is a wonderful song to start The beginning. It is a slow ballad with lyrics that reflect a new start for ayaka in her singing career. Also, it might be some of her reflections on life during that time. The title roughly translates to “The Beginning Moment”. Several songs in the album also mention the time element; this seems to play quite an important role. “Hello”, a song used in a commercial, comes after “Hajimari no Toki”. “Hello” is a brilliant addition to the album as it is an upbeat and alternative rock song. Aside from “Hello”, there are three others songs (“The beginning”, “Soko Made Arui te Iku yo (そこまで歩いていくよ)” and “Yashashii Ao (やさしい蒼))” in the album that accompany different commercials. These three songs are, without a doubt, top of its class as well. What about the other songs in the album that don’t receive as much of the spotlight?

"Yasashii Ao"
[ytid=toxg7gjhWcM][yttitle]絢香 - やさしい蒼 (Ayaka - Yasashii Ao)[/yttitle][ytcontent]絢香 - やさしい蒼 (piano ver.)Ayaka - Yasashii Ao (It means a gentle, tender, warm, soft, mild or peaceful blue in the sky.)[/ytcontent]

I absolutely enjoy “Akai Sora (アカイソラ)”, “Sora yo Onegai (空よお願い)” and “Kimi e (キミへ)”. “Sora yo Onegai” must be pointed out because this song compliments ayaka’s voice amazingly well. This song is a very simple piano piece but she catches the emotion really well. The song title translates to “I Beg The Sky” and the song itself is quite sentimental but not to the point of teary sadness. Several of ayaka’s top selling songs were ballads such as “I believe”, “Mikazuki” and “Jewelry day” to name a few. While the more upbeat and cheerful songs were still very good, they didn’t make much of an impression. Yet, the songs of that very genre in this album were really good. These include “Magic Mind”, “ ”Tsunagaru Kokoro (繋がる心)” and previously mentioned “Hello”.

Rating: 5/5 ☆☆☆☆☆
(+) Entire album was written and composed by ayaka
(+) 13 full-length songs packed in an indie album
(+) Every song is so good, it can stand on its own as a single
(+) Thankfully after the hiatus, ayaka’s powerful style didn’t change
(+) 1 hour of flawless pure music pleasure

Sorry single guys, but ayaka married Hiro Mizushima back in 2009. Jokes aside, what more can be said about this album? Over 100,000 copies sold in the first week. It’s great. It’s really, really great. I will be able to sit down with you and go over each song in the album and tell you what I enjoyed. But for certain I won’t be able to tell you what I didn’t enjoy because there really isn’t any flaw. Each song in the album was written and composed with the highest quality in mind. You can hear that ayaka spent a lot of time composing these songs during her time off. The beginning is the album to start off 2012. This was the most anticipated return for sure and her voice has definitely delivered. Here I wish ayaka a wonderful year and a balance of rest and work!

This is a definite purchase: YesAsia, CDJapan.

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