Some faithful readers might have noticed that I completely bypassed doing a review of Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest single glitter which was released back in July (but I did mention it!). This is because despite the fact that Hamasaki is still one of the few artists I genuinely anticipate new releases from on a consistent basis, glitter was almost epic in its mediocrity. Despite its huge promotion and accompanying mini movies filmed in Hong Kong and starring famous actor Shawn Yue, “glitter” bordered on the very thin line known as dull and the accompanying track “fated” almost teetered straight into insipid.
However, now that Hamasaki’s schedule seems to be a bit clearer (first Asia Tour is over, relationship with boyfriend of several years kaput), she finally has time to focus on the musical aspect of her career, more specifically, the singles which she once released on a practically bi-seasonal basis. Although talkin’ 2 myself (which features a c/w track entitled “delicious”) isn’t set to be released until September 19, the title track has already been leaked in low quality. And without sounding too much like an overzealous fan-girl, I will attempt to coherently illustrate the sheer awesomeness of this song.
“talkin’ 2 myself” is a return to the rock roots that Hamasaki planted beginning with third album Duty and continued to flourish with in I am… and even RAINBOW. Unfortunately, the poppier songs had begun to take over once again, leaving original tracks laced with one or two “is this LOVE?”’s among the more synth-like tracks (with a trail of somewhat lackluster albums in its wake). However, I guarantee this song will take you back to “evolution” and “UNITE!” era Hamasaki in a heartbeat (it helps that Hshe has, for some reason, cut and styled her hair to the exact same haircut she sported back in ‘01 during the DOME TOUR and the beginning of her outrageous fame). Yes, the guitars are a bit generic (umm, Dir en grey’s “DRAIN AWAY” anyone?) but the song has so many waves, it’s hard not to dismiss the generic and embrace the unique play between the electric synth quality of the track and the organic orchestral tones.
On a final note, the lyrics bear suspicious resemblance to Hamasaki’s earlier work as well: nothing says “evolution” like “We must go on making our own decisions” and the self-flagellation of “If you should have the feeling of being unfulfilled / That’s something you brought upon yourself.” Good to see you again Ayu, we missed you.
Ayumi Hamasaki / talkin’ 2 myself / September 19, 2007