Ayumi Hamasaki’s “Startin’”

Ayumi Hamasaki / Startin’ / Born To Be… / March 08, 2006
01. Startin’ / 02. Born To Be… / 03. teens -acoustic version-

I’m not sure what genre Ayumi Hamasaki is trying to represent any longer. I’m not even sure she knows. In fact, I think she’s unsure of a lot right now. And by unsure, I mean deaf and by a lot, I mean what music she’s choosing. Since Hamasaki is no longer writing her own music, instead opting to just write the lyrics, I’m not really sure what she’s thinking when she picks the songs anymore (and for Chrissakes, no more Sweetbox, please!). Don’t get me wrong, inconsistency, chaos, lack of organization, and anarchy all have their fine points; just not altogether on one disc.

“Startin'” is a fine example of pop music with all the workings: it’s upbeat, catchy, and energetic, not to mention the dancing, bike cruising, and hip swinging that goes on during the promotional video. So yeah, alright, I admit I like it. But what is going on in “Born To Be…”? A whole lot, let me tell you. A whole lot of what the fuck. It’s like Olympic fight song meets 80s wrestling character music meets I’m trying out my new multiple vocal layer sound machine, you like? Granted, it was used in promotion with some sort of sports program, but that only accounts for about 5.2% of its artistic license. So in the context of it being some sort of athlete motivator, it does its job but as track number two and a lone song out in the great big world, it doesn’t stand a chance.

The third song is another different genre, this time an acoustic version of a TRF song “teens,” which Hamasaki also sang for a cover album, except with full instrumentation. I’ve never been a fan of TRF so I can’t really say I like the song. It’s slow, there’s some piano, Ayumi sings it…I don’t know what to tell you except it has no lasting value.

Conclusion? Not the best Hamasaki single by far. Good, solid premiere track, utterly lacking c/w tracks. Cover art is skanky. Promotional videos that accompany the CD+DVD version are useless and stagnating. The good news? We can put this whole sordid affair behind us in June 2006 when she releases the next single!

Official Site
Buy Startin’