I was getting tired of these endless Ayumi albums. Always so LONG, so many 5-minute tracks … so I was very happy to see that Memorial Address was up next. Memorial Address is an mini-album, unusual for Ayumi, but I guess there wasn’t enough time for a whole album to be recorded and still keep up her momentum of one album released per year. So we get a relatively tight eight-track EP. Was it tight enough?
09 Angel’s song – A rather grand introduction, but then we get into a lighthearted and energetic pop song. The video was pretty ridiculous I think, she turns into a werewolf to foil a bank robbery. The energy is really fast and fun, and the chorus has plenty of punch. It’s good just to have some fun instead of the rather serious feel “Rainbow” had to it sometimes.
08 Greatful days – She knows that’s not how you spell grateful, right? The fun pop sound continues, and this has the same energy that the more upbeat moments of her previous albums had. The chorus is really catchy as always, even if it’s a bit simplistic. She brought a crocodile to a party in the video, not sure that’s a wise decision, but the others are riding motorbikes indoors, so what do I know? Musically this reminds me of her earlier “July 1st” song. Is it just me?
07 Because of you – A bit more sombre now, even though it’s still a pretty energetic track. Her experiments in rockier-sounding instrumentation continues, but mostly kept to the choruses while we have some nice but subdued verses. It’s got a good feeling to it generally, but I’m not totally sold on it, sounds more like the chorus is suited to a commercial, but the song itself doesn’t have a lot left to give.
07 Ourselves – More rocky pop music now, with a creepy video where she gets abducted by some people wearing creepy Ayumi masks. Musically it has some weird memory of turn-of-the-century RnB, like Rodney Jerkins or something. At least in the verses it sounds like that, but the choruses have a strange melody, more like a rapid-fire single note ‘melody’. Still, it’s not that bad, just doesn’t quite stand out in the same way the first two tracks did.
09 Hanabi ~Episode II~ – A really lovely ballad now, but still with some lite-rock moments and simmering synths propping it up. Certainly a lot better than the first episode of Hanabi. The video was really effective too, she’s really giving it some emotion, breaking down in tears on a bleak-looking beach, while a curtain of sparks falls behind her. It’s a pretty subtle song, I like every part of it individually. The aquatic synthy verses, the OTT emotional choruses, just really fit together nicely.
08 No way to say – Another mid-tempo track, very uplifting production though. There’s a certainly style to this you don’t get in western pop songs, I guess it’s something technical that I don’t understand, like the chord structure or something. It feels like a good song to listen to on a rainy summer day (which it is now). I was never too keen on it before, but it’s really grown on me during the latest round of listening. It doesn’t really come to a satisfying conclusion really, but I can’t hold that against it.
07 Forgiveness – I must say I always thought it was a bit of a dull song when I first got the Ayumi video collection 8 years ago. I mean it was very pretty, loads of fairies and so on, but it didn’t really stand out. On this album it’s actually quite a nice unique little track. Very quiet piano-led intro, blossoming into a pretty gorgeous orchestral track. The choruses aren’t much to write home about, a bit one-note for me, but overall it’s quite sweet.
07 Memorial Address – The only track that didn’t get a video from this mini-album, so I’m a little less familiar with it than the rest. Another piano-led intro, but it’s got quite a rapid pace to the vocal. I like the tone of her voice, it’s different to normal somehow, like her breathing has changed or something. It tinkles away for a little while before crashing into a pretty full-on rock track. The melody still fits this new sound quite well, but it’s a bit of a disjoint track. I’ve never been a big fan of Ayumi’s rockier moments so I’m not totally into this, but it’s alright.
So that wasn’t too painful, only 8 tracks and 40 minutes. It’s got a bit of everything, some power pop, ballads, rock, and yet it doesn’t sound too much like a thrown-together collection of anything. Can’t say I got too invested in it, even its greatest moments don’t quite sit alongside her most amazing songs. Still, I needed an easy album for a change, and I’m looking forward to the next one, “My Story”, which is probably when my interest and Ayumi-love reached its peak, so I hope it aged well!!
Keepers for the iPod: Angel’s song, Greatful days, Hanabi, No way to say