The promotional video for Ayumi Hamasaki’s new single “Startin'” has just been released and I have literally shed tears over it. OK, lie. I have not shed tears over it, that’s a complete exageration. But I was this. Close. Seriously. This PV was about as bad as “my name’s WOMEN” except instead of a leather whip, she’s sporting chaps and something very tight and very lycra. Children, close your eyes!
The only reason I’m so disturbed is because Ayumi never used to come out with PVs like this. At the beginning of her career, she was actually very demure and cutesy. She wore T-shirts and jeans or modest dresses. It seems as her career has been progressing and she continues losing popularity, she continues losing clothes, too. I think I’m going to have to call up Ms. Hamasaki and have a little talk with her and I think it will go something like this:
“Hamasaki-san? Hai, this is your longtime, bestest, ultimate number one fan. Remember when we first met? It was Spring of 2001 and you had just released your Duty a male, bourbon-guzzling, chain-smoking, friend of Marilyn Manson. Yes, I am still passionately in love with album. Oh yes, I remember these days like it was yesterday. The days when you were scolded for wearing a tight leopard costume that covered every inch of your body and crawling on the floor of a strategically placed gazebo. I was so innocent and impressionable back then, and I needed a female heroine to look up to; to imitate, to worship, from which to draw inspiration (there is just so much inspiration you can get from hide, but come on…I can finally admit he was most likely a crackhead and hello! He danced on stage with a dozen topless women on national television!). And Ayumi, I chose you. From that moment forward, I saved a ridiculous amount of pictures, printed them out, and pasted them all over my bedroom walls. I bought your concert videos, remix compilations, singles and albums. I defended your honor to unruly, immature middle school children who had more than their fair share of puberty left. For fuck’s sake, I was about two seconds and five tequila shots away from agreeing to sing one of your songs for a talent show!
As the years went by, my obsession continued and my loyalty remained true. You came out with singles like “Greatful days” and bitch, I still had your back. I even convinced myself that the cover of your album RAINBOW in which, as beautiful as you are, you insisted on wearing no clothes, was a very liberal use of the artistic license. Don’t get me wrong, there was always work of yours to be appreciated. You always did your part and composed the ample amount of screaming, angtsy rock songs and wonderful lyrics that I read and almost jumped in joy upon digesting because someone, someone! finally! could say all that I wanted to say in just the right words.
Then something happened. You chucked your artistic license in the garbage, flung caution to the wind, and used your status as Queen of Jpop for evil. I watched in awe as you impressed me almost to the point of tears, hearing and watching the PV for “is this LOVE?” and screaming, “Yes! Yes it is love! This is marvelous!” As the DVD on the single progressed, however, my awe turned to shock, then terror, then je ne sais quoi, I was so horrified. The male dancers, the leather outfit you were practically spilling out of, the suggestive struts and shimmies… I was aghast. As your fan base was losing interest to more popular singers/strippers like Koda Kumi and Namie Amuro (yes, I bought her album, as slutty as the lyrics were, as censored as her music video had to be, almost to the point where everything but the title was blurred out), you stooped to their level. I thought you, of all people, would never do that. Ayumi, honey, you were my hero! You led thousands of fans in a rendition of the “Trauma” dance during the DOME TOUR that made me dream of myself in your place and long to be a rock star myself. But darling, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep worshiping you if you insist on churning out singles that contain nothing short of smut.
Snap out of it. Because I fear the Ayumi Hamasaki of my youth has morphed into the Ayumi Hamasaki of my nightmares.”