10. No [Queen of Hip-Pop] 2005
Easily one of Namie’s best tunes, No was used as the closer to her studio album, Queen of Hip-Pop and it definitely embodies that hip-pop essence with its stomping beat. The verses are sexy, while the chorus is a blast of power with Namie persuading listeners to get their body moving. It is one track I still consistently listen to even today.
09. What A Feeling [BEST FICTION] 2008
When 60s 70s 80s came out, What A Feeling was definitely the track I most connected with. The 80’s portion of the single, this tune takes a sample from the classic song, “Flashdance…. What a Feeling”, updating its sound into a more contemporary one while still paying homage to its brilliance. It’s energizing and one of Namie’s most intoxicating dance tunes.
08. I Will [LOVE ENHANCED♥single collection] 2002
I adore many of Namie’s ballads and I Will is one of her most beautiful. While it gets a bit forgotten as it was during the “lower” point of her career, it’s just such a stunning tune with its focus on strings. The slow build-up into the chorus and that eventual sparkling of synths gets me every time. It’s definitely a predecessor to her later full-fledged pop ballads.
07. Chase the Chance [SWEET 19 BLUES] 1995
Easily her best song from the 90’s, Chase the Chance is one of her biggest hits and it shows. It’s an exhilarating display of dance with new jack swing elements. It might not have the catchiest melody, but there is a charm in its energy that just really takes me in. That and it’s so fun to hear young Namie rap.
06. Dr. [PAST<FUTURE] 2009
The thing with Dr. is that it stands out from the rest of Namie’s usual style of music. I didn’t get the appeal of this song until much later on as its unorthodox structure didn’t latch me on until I paid more attention to it. With its futuristic style tied in with some chanting and dance elements, Dr. is a worthwhile journey to explore.
05. Love Story [Uncontrolled] 2011
Love Story comes off as a bit of a cheesy pop/R&B song and while it is essentially one on first listen, its charms slowly and surely begin to unfold with each listen. That emotionally driven chorus brings one of Namie’s most charming melodies, easy to get down while also truly genuine.
04. Come [Style] 2003
Come is what I find the predecessor to Dr., a sultry, euphoric electropop song with some touches of R&B. While not as animated as that tune, Come retains its elegance in a darker and more sensual way. The music doesn’t really change that much throughout the song, but it’s Namie’s delivery that really elevates it to its eventual final push in the end.
03. Baby Don’t Cry [Play] 2007
Simple and sweet is what I think of Baby Don’t Cry. This mid-tempo pop tune was one of Namie’s biggest hits in the 2000’s and it’s no wonder why. Its simple clap beats, swirling synths and catchy hooks keeps the song bouncing along while also providing Namie with those perfect moments to inject that stay-by-your-side emotion.
02. Fight Together [Uncontrolled] 2011
This was the favourite of mine for a long time and only recently lost its throne. With that said, Fight Together is no slouch. Used as a theme to One Piece, what I love most about this song is just its positive energy. Its melody is constantly jumping, which works perfectly with the quirky music. My favourite part is the bridge where things slow down a bit before blasting off again.
01. Finally [Finally] 2017
I was actually surprised that I placed this at first, but I think it is a fitting spot. Finally is one of the last new songs we will get from Namie and its a touching finish to her 25 year career. This piano ballad is an emotional roller coaster that has Namie singing about getting to a point where she can start a new chapter of her life and the hope that it brings. That final line of “Finally, I can stop dreaming…” is just so bittersweet because she has achieved everything she has wanted in this stage of her life. Absolutely stunning.