Party Queen

Posted by Suteisi ♥ at 8:51 AM
Ayumi Hamasaki is back. And she's back "as your Party Queen". Or so she says.

Her lastest album, her 13th album, in 13 years (yes, lucky 13!) is pushing boundaries I don't think she's ever pushed before.

CD+DVD cover

CD only cover

CD+2DVD cover

Party Queen tracklist

01.Party queen
03.Shake It♥
07.reminds me
08.Return Road
09.Tell me why
10.a cup of tea
11.the next LOVE
12.Eyes, Smoke, Magic
13.Serenade in A minor
14.how beautiful you are

How beautiful you are was released as a digital single in February, but I hadn't paid much attention to it since I knew it was going to be on the album.

My 1st thought on the covers: Not good. My dislike for the covers has nothing to do with the fact that she's in lingerie, posing on all, hugging a shoe or looking like a drunk. My dislike from them comes from the fact that they just look bad. I never liked Ayu with short hair, and this is even worse. Her jaw and chin on the CD+DVD cover look abnormal and the background? What's with that lamp?. The "13th album" sticker on the bar code looks tacky.

It's pretty bad when the only things I like about these covers are her nails and the leopard print.

Disappointed, yes, surprised, no. I had high hopes for this cover, but that's my own fault for expecting too much out of it. I loved her previous albums' covers so much that I just thought they would keep on being beautiful. Yet I don't find any of these covers to be beautiful.

Ayu took a lot of heat when they were released, so much that she felt the need to explain the meaning of the covers on Twitter. She said they are meant to look like gossip/tabloid magazine covers. They are meant to represent her as a "sad" Party Queen, as someone that even though she is always surrounded by staff and friends, she is always lonely no matter what.

I'm sorry but if you have to explain the concept of your covers, to me that just means that it was poorly executed.

Mind you, I don't love her any less for it, after the FAIL of mini-album FIVE, I think Party Queen brings "old Ayu" back.

Even though the physical copy of the album is set to be released only on March 21st, it was made available for purchase and download on iTunes Japan yesterday.

I had a good 1st listen to the album yesterday afternoon, and had a 2nd go at it later in the evening. My 1st thought: Wow! I didn't expect to like it so much, especially since I disliked FIVE very much and didn't care for Rock'n'Roll Circus.

Party Queen has a very good flow to it, it seems everything was well thought and executed (on the contrary to the covers).

Party queen to taskebab has a dance-rock feel to it which is what I wanted most from Ayu. She had been writing so many slow-medium ballad songs for the last year that I wanted none of them on this album. NaNaNa shocked me the most, when I think of someone singing "Nanana", I think of a pop-happy song. But no, Ayu's NaNaNa feels like raw rock, with an electronic edge to it. The only word I find that describes it best is intense.

call to a cup of tea is the soft and sad part of the album. The lyrics to call clearly refer to the relationship she had with ex-husband Mannie and how their relationship was viewed by everyone on the outside, her fans, the media, etc. Return Road refers to her divorce. It really is true when they say that heartbroken songs are often the best in terms of lyrics. Listening and reading through these songs, I really felt for her.

the next LOVE and Eyes, Smoke, Magic have jazz feels to them. Something new and very different for Ayu. Eyes, Smoke, Magic made me think of burlesque, I hope she applies the concept to her Arena Tour this year.

Serenade in a Minor didn't leave any lasting impressions on me.

How beautiful you are is one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a long time. I'm kicking myself a bit, for not paying attention to it sooner than this. I had it on repeat for a good hour last night. "You don't know, you don't know... How beautiful you are..." really describe the song as a whole. There is also a meaningful music video attached to it, I would recommend you have a look/listen. It's well worth it, especially on one of those days where you're feeling down.

Over all, I love this album! The cover disappointed me, and I will probably end up replacing them with another fake cover in my iTunes. But this is the 1st album since NEXT LEVEL (in 2009) that I can say I'm able to listen from beginning to end without skipping a single song.

Good job Ayu! And welcome back~

What do you think of Party Queen? The covers? The songs? The music videos?



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