The time I idolized Ayumi Hamasaki the strongest was, perhaps ironically, the most stressful in her career. In an interview that was broadcast some years later, she talked of the chaos surrounding that time and unwillingness to release a best collection under the insistance of her record company, Avex. At that time, her career was really taking off and she felt the release of a best collection was a sign that her time was almost over (surprisingly, she put up zero fight against releasing the A BALLADS collection several years later). At the same time, Avex was setting up a competition with her “rival”, pop star Hikaru Utada by releasing the collection on the same day as Utada’s new album Distance.
At the very end of December, Team Ayu leaked the information that Hamasaki would be releasing another best collection at the end of this month. I honestly did not see this coming, but I wonder if Hamasaki’s willingness to release it says something, regardless of her adamantly proclaiming her workaholic status and plans for a full Asia tour in the Spring in a recent CNN interview. In other breaking news, histoy really does repeat itself, as Utada will be releasing her new single, Flavor Of Life on the same day. Interesting…
The collection will come in four (yes, four, are you really surprised?) variants, A BEST 2 -BLACK- and A BEST 2 -WHITE-, with either CD or CD+DVD versions for both. The -BLACK- version features slower-paced songs like “Dearest” and “walking proud” along with a brand-new track (the catchy incentive) “part of Me” along with all accompanying PVs and a new PV for “part of Me.” The second DVD will contain backstage footage of Hamasaki’s annual COUNDTOWN LIVE for 2006-2007. The -WHITE- version features Hamasaki’s faster-paced tunes such as “evolution” and “ourselves” (although really, this theory makes no sense as there are ballads and loud pop/rock tracks on both). The incentive for the -WHITE- is the second DVD, the only place you’ll be able to purchase the actual COUNTDOWN LIVE 2006-2007 concert footage. Happy spending.
Ayumi Hamasaki / A BEST 2 -BLACK/WHITE- / February 28, 2007