[Special] Top 30 Amuro Namie Songs 10~1

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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.

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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.

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08. I Will [LOVE ENHANCED♥single collection2002

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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[Special] Top 30 Amuro Namie Songs 20~11

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20. Contrail [FEEL] 2013
There is something about this song that I just absolutely love. Most of my favourite Namie songs are when she pulls away from the uptempo material and does something powerful and uplifting. Contrail is just such a beautiful tune and that chorus just blasts off in a way that makes it too difficult to ignore and not get sucked into.

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19. NEW LOOK [BEST FICTION] 2008
Bringing back the class of the 60’s, NEW LOOK is a great tune that really embodies the essence of that time. It’s simple and is executed in a way that just not goes in-your-face, but is still effortlessly catchy. The references to people and things from that time associated with fashion helps keep the song fun.

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18. ALL FOR YOU [Queen of Hip-Pop] 2004

Namie is one of the few artists who I think can not only pull off uptempo tunes, but also stunning ballads. ALL FOR YOU was one of the first songs I had heard from her and it remains one of my favourites. That stunning chorus melody really brings up the emotions and Namie’s delivery is made for it.

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17. Body Feels EXIT [SWEET 19 BLUES] 1995
Considered her debut solo single despite releasing a few songs under her name with the SUPER MONKEYS, Body Feels EXIT is a monster of a tune. In classic Komuro style, the song has an intensity to it that just builds and lets go at the right time. Namie’s vocals are definitely screechy, but she still works the song to the maximum.

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16. WANT ME, WANT ME [Queen of Hip-Pop] 2005
Easily one of Namie’s more sexual tunes, WANT ME, WANT ME is a cool departure from her usual material as it has a heavier reggaeton sound with an interesting touch of sitar. Every part of this song is strong and it really lacks very little. It feels like the song constantly keeps me on my feet and never lets up.

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15. Heaven [FEEL] 2013
One of the few album tracks on my list, Heaven is the highlight from her 2013 album, FEEL. Working with Emyli and Zedd, this is one of her strongest dance-focused tunes with its pulsating beat and soaring vocals. It just brings a more joyous sound and is the type of song that would really get people jumping. It also has that international touch being fully in English.

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14. Hero [Finally] 2016
Namie’s biggest hit in recent years comes from the opening theme to NHK’s broadcast of the 2016 Summer Olympics. Hero starts off slow, but really gets that energy going once the chorus comes stomping in. While it is a pop song at its core, dance music elements begin to flourish by the second verse. It’s an uplifting and empowering tune that brings that feeling of being courageous.

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13. Hide & Seek [Play] 2007
When someone opens Play, Hide & Seek begins the album. What makes it so awesome is that attitude. The dance, R&B and hip-hop elements all tied into one is a fun combination and the editing of the vocals for the verses is a clever and interesting touch that works perfectly in this marching-band inspired tune.

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12. I HAVE NEVER SEEN [GENIUS 2000] 1998
It seems a lot of fans give this song some flack for not being as strong as some of her other earlier material. The thing that draws me to I HAVE NEVER SEEN is just how emotional sounding it is to me. It has a sense of sadness to it that just wasn’t seen in the singles released before this one. It can be a bit messy at times, but it has a strength to it.

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11. GIRL TALK [Queen of Hip-Pop] 2004
One of the first songs that I had heard from Namie was this slinky and cute R&B tune. Even after thirteen years, I’ve continued to come back to this one. It’s the type of song that goes down so easily because it feels so airy and light. The rapid beat, sparkling synths and floating background vocals just works so well with that catchy melody. I also love Namie’s adlibs at the end.

[Special] Top 30 Amuro Namie Songs 30~21

In light of Amuro Namie’s recent retirement (officially on September 16, 2018), I wanted to pay homage to some of my favourite songs from her as she was one of my favourite artists.

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30. CAN’T SLEEP, CAN’T EAT, I’M SICK [Play] 2006
Although I had already listened to Namie before this song, this was the one that really hooked me onto her music. There are definitely songs I’ve grown to love more than this one, but it’s still as much fun now as it was back when it was released. It’s totally mid-2000s with its blaring brass instruments, sensual background vocals and funky attitude.

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29. Sexy Girl [BEST FICTION] 2008
Used as a promotional song for Namie’s third best compilation, Sexy Girl gets a bit overshadowed by a lot of other songs in her discography. With that said, I absolutely adore this song with its heavy beat and catchy melody. There is a certain punch that the music brings that always makes me want to come back to it.

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28. RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE [GENIUS 2000] 1999

This single was released on the day that Namie’s mother was murdered, so it is also a bit of a haunting tune. Still, it is one of her most beautiful and inspiring songs. It has that signature Komuro Tetsuya sound, but Namie commands that chorus. It’s uplifting and has a great contrast of soft and strong to it that isn’t seen in many of her other songs.

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27. Hello [Play] 2007
Although it was used as a promotional single, when Play was released I found Hello to be one of the weaker songs on a great album. However, it has stood the test of time as I go back to it every year. It isn’t an in-your-face R&B track, but has a sensuality to it that is just as intoxicating. That chorus is so fun.

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26. Hope [Finally] 2017
Namie has had tie-ins with anime shows since the 90’s. However, Hope is certainly her last one with its connection to the mega-hit One Piece. Hope lives up to its name with its calmer verses, building confidence in the pre-chorus and eventually exploding with uplifting energy in the chorus. It’s one of her strongest songs in recent years.

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25. WILD [PAST < FUTURE] 2009
WILD was the first single released after her best-selling compilation, BEST FICTION. It takes some of the R&B elements from that time period and fuses it with a slick dance beat. The melody isn’t particularly powerful, but its clever hooks really sink in after some time.

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24. TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinjite~ (TRY ME~私を信じて~) [My Voice] 1995
The oldest Namie song on my list. TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinjite~ was actually released while she was in the group SUPER MONKEYS, although she was the lead singer at this time. It’s a big change from her later music with its 90’s Eurobeat sound and soaring energy. The youthfulness of her voice is also present here.

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23. CAN YOU CELEBRATE? [Concentration 20] 1997
Namie’s biggest hit and the best-selling single by a female artist comes from this stunning pop/gospel ballad. It’s definitely not her best ballad, but there is a charm to it that still holds together. The different transitions, emotional delivery and powerful arrangement really helps it soar by its end.

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22. BLACK DIAMOND (with DOUBLE) [Checkmate!] 2008
In 2008, Namie decided to work with the Queen of J-R&B, DOUBLE, for the latter’s best collaboration album. What was released was a funky R&B/pop song that remains one of my favourite collaborations between two artists. Each artist gets a verse that eventually flows right into the sleek chorus. The girls sound sexy and confident.

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21. SWEET 19 BLUES [SWEET 19 BLUES] 1996
One of Namie’s earlier signature tracks. SWEET 19 BLUES is an emotional tune that brings a bit of gospel, new jack swing and pop into one. It’s not the type of song that will grab your attention on the first listen, but it has a great nostalgia to it that really captures the sound of the mid-90’s in Japan.

[Album] Amuro Namie – Concentration 20

Concentration 20 is the second album released by Amuro Namie. The album includes three singles, one of which became her biggest hit and is still the biggest selling female pop single of all time in Japan. The album was also a big hit, peaking at #1 and selling over 1.9 million copies.

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Released: July 24, 1997
1. Concentration 20 (make you alright)
2. B w/z you
3. Close your eyes, Close to you
4. Me love peace!!
5. No Communication
6. a walk in the park (album mix)
7. To-day
8. Storm
9. Whisper
10. CAN YOU CELEBRATE? (album mix)
11. I know…
12. How to be a Girl

The album opens with the title track. Concentration 20 (make you alright) already shows such a big difference from her first album’s more new jack swing vibe as it brings in some industrial rock sounds. The music is pretty cool, but the whole song isn’t my type of style. It’s not particularly catchy and Amuro sounds particularly bored. Just not my kind of song, although I do like elements in the music. B w/z you keeps up the rock sound with the music, but the vocal arrangement is definitely something more in line with her first album. It is a pretty laid back ballad and while it isn’t that memorable, it does have a charm to it. I do like how everything comes together and the subtle guitar in the background helps to bring some edge. Close your eyes, Close to you opens in such a strange and frightening way that it really surprised me when the song transitioned into a pulsating dance tune. It’s a weird combination of dance and rock. When the singing starts, it sounds pretty cool and Amuro’s monotonous vocals surprisingly work nicely here. The chorus is a bit strange as it mostly comprises of some speaking parts. It’s certainly different. Me love peace!! plays up on sounds again by bringing a bit of reggae into it. The verses are laid back, but that chorus is quite intense and not particularly catchy. I feel like Amuro is just yelling her way through the chorus and her tone doesn’t quite lend itself well to this song. The music is pretty nice sounding though. No Communication has a lighthearted pop/rock vibe to it. This song is a bit of a mess though as the song transitions into different parts constantly and each part isn’t that memorable. I don’t quite know where the chorus is. Just sounds like a very 90’s pop/rock album filler. a walk in the park is the album’s first single and it is by far the strongest song up to this point. It keeps the dance sound of her older singles and brings a bit of rock edge to things. I actually find the verses to be more entertaining than the chorus because they are cooler and Amuro sounds great. The chorus is nice and catchy, but it is a bit too bright and brings an odd transition. To-day starts off in an eerie way and I quite like it. It slows things down a bit and brings a bit of funk to the album with its deep bass and electronic touches. I quite enjoy the gentleness of this song and it brings a nice contrast to the more experimental rock sound of the album. It’s not the catchiest, but it is definitely a needed addition. Storm is a really interesting tune and I don’t quite know how to describe it. It definitely has a heavier R&B/hip-hop edge to it with its heavy beat and rapping. With that said, I don’t quite think the vocal arrangement really fits the rest of the song. Amuro’s voice is too bright for this song. There are some cool musical moments though like the piano solo and touches of synths. Whisper is definitely the album’s pulsating dance tune and I’m happy for it to come in. It’s definitely experimental, but it reminds me of material from her first album. I quite like the music as it has some 90’s house elements tied in with a bit of rock. I wish the chorus was more memorable as it isn’t really catchy and becomes overshadowed by the vocally edited portions of the song that come up right after. Still a decent tune. CAN YOU CELEBRATE? is the monster hit of the album. The second single and Amuro’s biggest hit, this tune slows things down and we are given a pretty emotional pop/gospel ballad. It starts off in a gentle way, but I love how the music becomes fuller as it progresses and Amuro’s vocals get stronger and stronger. The melody is definitely one of the best on album and it’s really memorable and the type that is easy to sing along to. This is definitely the album’s strongest song. I know… is an interlude that clocks in at over three minutes long. I think this would have been better right at the start of the album instead of the beginning as it really summarizes the type of songs on here as it is also very experimental. The album ends with the final single, How to be a Girl. It’s definitely the one of the most “rock” of the songs on here, but it still does a cool job of bringing in some dance elements. I like the verses because Amuro’s voice is run through a vocoder and it really fits the song nicely. The chorus is pretty catchy though, but I don’t think it makes as strong of an entrance as I would like. This is probably the weakest of the singles, but it’s still a solid tune. I think it would have worked better earlier in album though.

Overall: The thing with this album is that it is really experimental compared to her debut and it is pretty cool to listen to at some parts. I quite like that it tried to do so many different things, however, the problem was that sometimes it didn’t really hit the mark. There were few songs that really caught my attention immediately and I felt like the melodies could have been stronger on the whole (except CAN YOU CELEBRATE?). It’s still a pretty cool album though.

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[Album] Amuro Namie – SWEET 19 BLUES

Amuro Namie debuted well over 20 years ago and she still has a strong influence on Japanese music today. Her music was initially geared towards dance music, although there were also some different genres thrown about and her image was that of a rebellious teen. SWEET 19 BLUES was her debut album and was (and still is), one of the highest selling albums in Japan with over 3,300,000 copies sold. There were five singles released from the album.

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Released: July 22, 1996
1. watch your step!!
2. motion
3. LET’s DO THE MOTION
4. PRIVATE
5. Interlude ~ Ocean way
6. Don’t wanna cry (Eighteen’s Summer Mix)
7. Rainy DANCE
8. Chase the Chance (CC Mix)
9. Interlude ~ Joy
10. I’LL JUMP
11. Interlude ~ Scratch Voices
12. i was a fool
13. present
14. Interlude ~ Don’t wanna cry Symphonic Style
15. You’re My Sunshine (Hollywood Mix)
16. Body Feels EXIT (Latin House Mix)
17. ’77~
18. SWEET 19 BLUES
19. …soon nineteen

So this is a long album, but a large portion of the songs are just interludes. watch your step!! is basically Amuro saying the song title. Done. motion is a bit longer of an intro and features some haunting organ playing and footsteps. It’s pretty cool, especially once the background vocals come in. LET’S DO THE MOTION is the first full song. It follows the interlude with its dark sound. The song is very early 90’s with its New Jack Swing sound. I love this style and it reminds me of early Janet Jackson with its powerful beats and background vocals. I never appreciated this song before, but I really enjoy it now and I love the more chant-like delivery of the verses and the gospel-like chorus. It’s fun. I don’t think I like PRIVATE as much, but I do like aspects to it. I really enjoy the cool synth refrain in the background tied with the blending of vocals. I don’t think the melody is as strong and Amuro’s vocals are definitely much more nasally in this one than the last song. There is a part where Amuro raps and I really think she does a good job with it. The whole early 90’s vibe of the song works with this part really well. It’s funky. Interlude ~ Ocean’s way is a grand interlude with its orchestral sound. It’s quite beautiful. However, the transition into Don’t wanna cry (Eighteen’s Summer Mix) is just a little bit odd since we are brought to an upbeat dance/pop tune. Out of her earlier singles, this one is one of my favourites, although I do prefer the original mix a bit more. The thing I can appreciate a lot is that the music has some awesome twists and quirks that really give it some energy and the different transitions in the song are pretty abrupt, but keep the song exciting. The melody is also quite enjoyable. Rainy DANCE is the first slower tune, although its more of a midtempo R&B tune. I really like the beat to the song, but I do find the melody a little hard to take in. It takes a little while to get to the chorus, which is quite nice, but the verses are quite unpredictable and a bit too complicated. There are some really cool parts of the song though. Certainly the strongest song on the album is Chase the Chance (CC Mix). The original was already fire and this mix is also great. This song is probably the most aggressive with its powerful music and intense vocal delivery. I do find Amuro’s voice to be a bit grating at times, but I really love how she raps in this song as well. It really builds up the energy in the verses before we get to more melodic parts. The chorus is also very catchy and I always find myself singing along. Interlude ~ Joy is bit more hip-hop than the last one. It features Amuro spelling out her name before we get into this really weird high-pitched singing and some rapping. Not a favourite. I’LL JUMP first reminds me a bit of PRIVATE, but with a much stronger dance sound to it. We are volleyed into some repetitive background vocal chanting before this weird yodeling comes in. The song is totally New Jack Swing though and I love it. The verses are a bit forgettable, but I really enjoy the energetic chorus. It’s a bit more repetitive than most of the other songs on the album, but it was well-crafted. I just wish we could Amuro sing more in the chorus. It’s still fun. Interlude ~ Scratch Voices is really short and just has Amuro speaking. i was a fool slows things down with something a bit more jazzy than the other songs. It still has that signature 90’s style, but I love the added brass instruments and sexy beat. Like some of the other songs, this one has a bit of rapping in it by Amuro during the verses. The choruses are a bit more empty and feature mainly background vocals. I like the music here, but I feel the melody could be a bit better. It’s not bad. present continues this slower sound of the last song and even includes a wicked saxophone solo. However, this is probably my least favourite song on the album. The melody is really dragged out and Amuro sounds quite whiny while singing. I don’t think it’s very memorable and actually feels a lot messier in its delivery. It sometimes feels the music doesn’t match the voice arrangement. Interlude ~ Don’t wanna cry Symphonic Style is a really cool idea with its more orchestral sound. However, I feel it sounds like it is coming out a bit distorted, so it’s a little weird. You’re my sunshine (Hollywood Mix) was one of the singles released prior to the album and the Hollywood Mix plays on the more positive vibe of the song by bringing in some strong brass elements as well as dance. My main gripe with this mix is that it takes over a minute to actually get to any singing. This has always been my least favourite of the singles because I do find the chorus a little bothersome to get through with the high-pitched vocals and repetition. With that said, I really like how the music works here and it gives it a more summery sound. It’s fun, but just a bit too long for its own good. Probably the most disappointing thing from the album is the Body Feels EXIT (Latin House Mix). I love the fact that they turned the song into a Latin-styled tune, but this is just too damn long. It’s over 8 minutes long. The original is actually one of my favourite Amuro songs, but they killed this song with the repetition. It sounds more like some extensive remix which just kills the momentum of the album. How unfortunate. ’77~ has a really nice relaxing beat and some cool strings to go along with it. I feel like if this was a full song, it would be gorgeous. SWEET 19 BLUES is probably the highlight of the album as it is the gorgeous gospel title track. There are still the New Jack Swing elements, but we are definitely slowing things down and I love things build up into the chorus. Amuro sounds really nice in this song, although she does screech it up a bit around the ending. I love the gospel inclusion that pops in around the second half of the song. It’s just an overall charming tune and fits perfectly with the album. …soon nineteen is a bit weird with its strange organ sound and Amuro singing SWEET 19 BLUES in an odd way. I think it’s an interesting closer though.

Overall: If this album included the original of Body Feels EXIT, it would have a higher score. I was pleasantly surprised with this album though. I remember when I first listened to it years ago, I actively disliked it because it sounded incredibly outdated. It still is, but I’ve grown to appreciate the sound and my love of New Jack Swing has definitely allowed me to enjoy more of these songs. It’s a fun album and there were some cool ideas. I really wish the singles were the original mixes, but for the most part, they were still decent and there were some strong album tracks.

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