I love when Ayumi Hamasaki sings piano ballads. Not since “teddy bear” have I heard such a heartfelt, open and sincere song that upon reading the lyrics, shattered my heart into a million sticky pieces that I could never glue back together. This song is that amazing.
One of the most beloved talents Hamasaki has (besides the music, of course) is that every set of lyrics she writes is beautifully and brilliantly composed with the soul of a true poet. Each song is an honest and open look at the failures and sometimes, victories, of the human being. The feelings, thoughts, and emotions that reside deep within us all but usually hide away because seriousness and sharing of our most hidden, yet heartfelt thoughts, are simply unwelcome in today’s age. And so it takes someone like Hamasaki to expose those thoughts, a place where we can go to feel we are not alone, that someone understands. When she wrote she was born alone and would go on living alone, we felt her pain. She brazenly admitted that if the world were split between winners and losers, she’d rather be a loser. She openly proclaimed that at times she has suffered deep wounds, yet at times, she has been the one to close her eyes and turn away, and advised that it’s the darkness in our hearts that prevents us from living as we wish.
However, with the release of (miss)understood, some of her work started to become very familiar sounding. Though none of her lyrics seemed out rightly recycled, it’s only natural that a sudden leveling off of creativity may develop on a seventh album. But when I heard this song for the first time, I felt the same sense I felt when I listened to “Memorial address” for the first time three years ago. That piano bit entered and before the guitars and drums kicked in, it was one of the sweetest moments because I listened and I felt someone understand. When I read the lyrics, it just made sense with everything that was going on at that time in my life. It was almost unbelievable how much those lyrics summed up what was going on. Just like that.
“JEWEL” gave me that same feeling. It is one of the most beautiful works of poetry Hamasaki has created yet. Maybe it’s true. Maybe there is some corner of this city, where there are still things left that aren’t smudged. I don’t know. But when someone tells me that there are places to go and that I should go because there is something beautiful out there, then maybe it is true. Maybe there are yet undiscovered jewels in this city.
Ayumi Hamasaki / Secret / November 29, 2006
Hamasaki‘s new album will be released in Japan on November 29th and features “JEWEL” and singles “Startin’,” “Born To Be…,” and “BLUE BIRD.”