New Namie Amuro album – ‘Play’
Posted by redracer on July 10, 2007
Released on the 27th June, this is the latest album release from Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵), and her 7th solo album, which is remarkable considering her 12 year music career. However she has taken 2 stretches of 2-3 years off, for various personal reasons.
Namie is one of the longer surviving current Japanese female singers, and also along with hitomi, one of the biggest trend-setting fashion icon. She was born in 1977 in Okinawa (a great breeding ground for Japanese singers!!), and her mother is half Italian. At the age of 14, she was chosen as a student of the Okinawa Actor’s School to be part of a 5 girl group called ‘Super Monkeys’. Their first release was in 1992, and whilst reasonably successful, subsequent releases were not as successful and several member changes ensured. By 1994 she had become the leader of the group and the name had changed to ‘Namie Amuro with Super Monkeys’ with the other members nearly relegated to just backup dancers. She then decided to becoame a solo artist, and the rest of the members became the group ‘MAX’, which did achieve reasonable success in their own right.
Namie’s first single ‘Body Feels EXIT’ reached #3, and the next 3 singles were all million sellers. Her first album ‘Sweet 19 Blues’ in 1996 sold an unprecedented 3 million copies, and Namie was a household name in Japan. With legendary producer Tetsuya Komuro on board, subsequent albums & singles all reached the top of the charts, and Japanese teenage girls in droves copied her signature tanned skinned, tattoos, dyed hair, miniskirts and boots. In 1997, she announced she was pregnant to and had married SAM from TRF, and they had a baby boy in 1998. In 1999, tragedy struck when her mentally unstable brother-in-law murdered her mother – he then commited suicide. Whilst a number of singles were released during this period, her next album was not until 2000, and her music now was changing more to an R&B sound from the previous straight pop dance style. In 2001, she divorced her husband, who received parental rights to their son, and also separated from Tetsuya Komuro, so another break ensured before her next album release in 2003.
With a career that has had more ups & down than most artists, 2005 was a better year for her, with the release of the album ‘Queen of Hip-pop’ which reached #2, and regaining custody of her son. Since then she has been more high profile again with this latest album being her first #1 album for 7 years. As of the 9th July, it has stayed at #1 for 2 weeks, and sold over 340,000 copies. In support of this album, a gruelling 4½ month tour has been announced which extends from the 8th August to the 25th December, covering 38 different venues !!!
As with her more recent releases, the songs on this album has a smooth unoffensive R&B/Hip-hop sound, with the video clips always featuring a lot of dancers. Namie doesn’t usually write the lyrics or music to most of her songs – on this album they are all credited to the mysterious Nao’ymt or Michico.
The track listing is …
- Hide & Seek
- Full Moon
- CAN’T SLEEP, CAN’T EAT, I’M SICK
- It’s all about you
- FUNKY TOWN
- Step With It
- Should I Love Him?
- Top Secret
- Violet Sauce (Spicy)
- Baby Don’t Cry
- Pink Key
The album contains the singles released since the last album ‘Queen of Hip-pop’ – ‘Violet Sauce’, ‘CAN’T SLEEP, CAN’T EAT, I’M SICK ‘, ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ & ‘Funky Town’, but doesn’t also include the B-sides, like some artists do. So there are actually 8 new songs, which is good value 🙂
This is the first time she has also released a DVD version of an album, and as usual it has a different cover (this time with her in a blue ‘Police’ uniform, with the front wide open) – it contains …
- Hide & Seek (PV)
- CAN’T SLEEP, CAN’T EAT, I’M SICK (PV)
- FUNKY TOWN (PV)
- Hello (PV)
- Baby Don’t Cry (PV)
- Amuro Namie x The World of GOLDEN EGGS SPECIAL MOVIE
Her web site, if you want to find out more info, is http://www.avexnet.or.jp/amuro/
Conclusion: If you like R&B and/or Hip-hop styles of music, then I don’t think you would be disappointed with this album – she also does a fine ballad. However I was a little disappointed with the presentation of this release – the pictures you see here are all that are in the album, other than the text of the song lyrics etc. Namie is very sexy & young-looking for her age, and some more pictures would have been acceptable, particularly after teasing us with the whips & uniforms 😆