(Miss)understood

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Not to be confused with M!ssundaztood.
(Miss)understood
An up-close shot of Ayumi Hamasaki smiling and looking into the camera. On the lower left is a red heart.
Studio album by Ayumi Hamasaki
Released January 1, 2006 (2006-01-01) (Japan, Taiwan)
Recorded Prime Sound Studio Form (Tokyo, Japan)
Sony Music Studios (New York, USA)
Mixing and mastering studios: avex studio azabu, Bunkamura Studio, Hitokuchizaka Studio, Cresente Studio, Westside, Aobadai Studio, Sound City, Victor
Genre J-pop, R&B, pop rock, dance-pop, electronic dance
Length 66:32
Label Avex Trax
Producer Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki chronology
My Story
(2004)
(Miss)understood
(2006)
Secret
(2006)
Singles from (Miss)understood
  1. "Step You/Is This Love?"
    Released: April 20, 2005
  2. "Fairyland"
    Released: August 3, 2005
  3. "Heaven"
    Released: September 14, 2005
  4. "Bold & Delicious/Pride"
    Released: November 30, 2005

(Miss)understood is Ayumi Hamasaki's seventh full-length studio album produced by Max Matsuura. Its official release date was January 1, 2006, but started appearing in stores on December 28, 2005, the last Wednesday of the year. It was recognized by the RIAJ as one of The Best 10 Albums of the Year for 2006[1] and by the IFPI as number 4 on the list of top 10 selling albums in Japan of 2006.[2] According to the Oricon, it is the 8th best selling album of 2006 with sales of 877,433 copies sold[3]

Production[edit]

Background and themes[edit]

In 2005, after hearing demo tracks from band Sweetbox's then-upcoming album Addicted, Hamasaki "fell in love" with the songs and consequently asked Sweetbox's composer GEO if she could use some of the songs for her album. GEO agreed and gave Hamasaki permission to use "Bold & Delicious", "Pride", "Ladies Night", "In the Corner", "Every Step", and "Beautiful Girl". Hamasaki then set to work rewriting the lyrics and rearranging parts of songs.[4][5]

While My Story, Hamasaki's preceding album, contained mostly "autobiographical" lyrics and "musings about [her] past", (Miss)understood was a "strong message to send to all women": it was a kind of "girl's talk" to give "moral support" while at the same time reminding women that there would be times when they would "feel weak and low".[6] "Bold & Delicious" "scolded indecisive men", "Pride" expressed Hamasaki's appreciation of "women who do not give up easily", and "Ladies Night" was about female camaraderie. Other themes appeared as well: "Is This Love?" and "Heaven" were about love, and "Fairyland" was about "childhood memories".

Composition[edit]

Hamasaki took new directions on (miss)understood, as epitomized by the single "Bold & Delicious", a funk-influenced song that used a gospel-style chorus.

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(Miss)understood is more musically diverse than My Story; Hamasaki incorporated a variety of musical styles including R&B, rock, dance-pop and funk.[6] The album opens with "Bold & Delicious", a funk-infused dance track that utilises a gospel choir in the harmony. The song makes use of funk guitars. "Pride" is a ballad song that "sounded like it could be from a musical"; the arrangement of both songs were influenced by Hamasaki's trip to New York City to record the songs and film their respective music videos.[4] An organ Hamasaki heard while visiting a church inspired her to include the gospel choir in "Bold", while the musical The Phantom of the Opera influenced her arrangement of "Pride".[4] "Criminal", "Step You", "Alterna", and the titular "(Miss)understood" are all rock songs with prominent electric guitars, while "Heaven" is an "ethereal" piano-driven ballad.[7] As with "Bold & Delicious" and "Pride", other songs composed by GEO were rearranged; violins were added to the bridge of "Rainy Day", and a choir was added to the chorus of "Beautiful Day".

Extras[edit]

The initial pressings of the album included two photobooks—one for the CD version (entitled "Off My Day"), and another for the CD+DVD version (entitled "On My Way"). The DVD version included all PV's that were made for her 2005 releases (excluding "My Name's Women")—"Step You", "Is This Love?", "Fairyland", "Alterna", "Heaven", "Bold & Delicious" and "Pride", as well as an alternative PV for "Bold & Delicious" (called the "Side Story"). Two new PVs were also included—"Ladies Night" and "Rainy Day" made their debut on the disc. Behind-the-scenes clips for "Step You", "Is This Love?", "Fairyland", "Alterna", "Heaven" and "Pride" are featured as well. The song "Rainy Day" was used as the ending theme for the game "Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams".

Music Videos[edit]

There were music videos made for every single of the album, also in December 2005 she filmed two music videos For Ladies night And Rainy day.

The PV for Step You was directed by Tetsuo Inoue and the video featured Ayumi wearing different styles of outfits (signifying different parts of her image and personality). A man walks up to a music box-like contraption and as he activates the levers (shown as I, II, III, and IV) different miniature versions of Ayumi appear. As he activates the last lever, the contraption begins to short-circuit, and the four Ayumis turn into one.

The PV for Is This Love? was directed by Masashi Muto and it aired April 19, 2005, the music video features Ayumi singing emotionally in a hotel suite. As she passes by, objects begin to explode (i.e. a bowl of fruit, a fish tank, walls, etc.). The video ends as Ayumi looks at the hotel, in one piece with no sort chaos that happened earlier.

The PV of Fairyland was shot in Hawaii and is one of the most expensive music videos in the world, as well as being Japan's most expensive music video in terms of production costs. The PV cost 240 million Yen (2 million in U.S. dollars). The video was directed by Wataru Takeishi and it depicts Hamasaki with her companions (dance team) on a lush tropical island, with some scenes showing a timber house with a deck. Eventually, a fallen oil lamp causes the entire structure to burn. Images from earlier sequences showing the group having fun are interspersed through the burning of the house. The video ends with the camera moving away from Hamasaki singing solemnly as she watches the house burn.

The PV of Alterna was filmed in July 2005 and the video depicts Ayumi as an up-coming star who is chased by clowns.[1] The video also depicts her as a singing machine; this aspect of the music video (as well as the lyrics of "alterna") may be Hamasaki's response to either tabloid articles or to her record label's oppressive treatment of her at the time.

The PV for Heaven features Ayumi singing alone in a subway. As she does, ghosts frequently pass by her. Near the end of the video, the spirits leave Ayumi and board on a train (implying their departure to heaven). The video is done entirely in one shot and in black and white.

The music videos of Bold & Delicious, Pride were both filmed in New York and were both directed by Luis Hernandez.

In the video for Bold & Delicious, Hamasaki is featured with long wavy black hair, and wears a faux fur jacket with a light pink dress. She is seen standing on the back of a moving truck driving through areas of New York City, evoking the iconic 1993 Björk music video for her single Big Time Sensuality. Some shots feature "behind the scenes" material, showing footage of the truck driving around the city and film crew members.

The video for Pride features several long takes of Hamasaki in a black dress being prepared by assistants and make-up artists, and then walking through an on-location set prepared under a New York City bridge and in the rain.

The music video for Ladies Night features Ayumi wearing a pink and blue mini dress, and her legendary long blue leg muffs as she walks down a hotel hallway, trying to go into some of the rooms, and occasionally singing into a payphone. Scenes of different things happening in the rooms can be seen. In one room, a maid is mounted on a man and is whipping him. In another room, a woman dressed in a white 18th Century dress and white powdered wig is seen walking around her room, which is all white and has a large collection of butterflies. In the third room, a strange woman in a bulky black dress with a long braided black wig and face painted all in black (later revealed to be Ayumi herself) is seen dominating and whipping mannequins. The hotel room scenes have been compared by many to the 1995 indie film Four Rooms. In between the hotel room scenes there are other scenes of Ayumi dressed in a dictator's outfit and addressing an army of bald and pale women in an outdoor arena that resembles the Colosseum. The women all appear to have the same face and march along to Ayumi's singing during the song's middle eight.

The music video of Rainy Day features ayumi with short-black hair singing in her house looking at the window, then it shows her at a bus stop in a white wig, then a dog comes outta a short cut, In the last verse ayumi falls to the floor where she was at the window and the scene where Ayumi is waiting at the bus stop, the dog what she saw then disappears and rain starts to fall down and people with umbrellas come, in the end of the video, Ayumi who is at a bus stop then goes into a taxi and sees the dog from before.

Sales[edit]

In 2007, Avex reported that (Miss)understood sold 1,030,000 copies in Japan. (Miss)understood was certified million by RIAJ in sales and was recognized for having more than a million copies shipped to store.[8] On the Oricon Charts, (Miss)understood failed to break a million selling only a little under 900,000. The total sales number of the album's singles comes to a total of 1,122,107. The album sales and the single sales combined come to a grand sales revenue of 1,999,540 CDs sold.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki. 

CD
No. Title Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "Bold & Delicious"   Geo of Sweetbox CMJK 4:43
2. "Step You"   Kazuhiro Hara CMJK 4:28
3. "Ladies Night"   Geo of Sweetbox CMJK 4:32
4. "Is This Love?"   Miki Watanabe Hal 4:53
5. "(Miss)understood"   Tetsuya Yukumi Tasuku 4:04
6. "Alterna"   Shintaro Hagiwara, Sousaku Sasaki CMJK 5:30
7. "In The Corner"   Geo of Sweetbox Tasuku 3:24
8. "Tasking" (instrumental) Tasuku Tasuku 1:28
9. "Criminal"   Kazuhiro Hara Kazuhiro Hara 5:13
10. "Pride"   Geo of Sweetbox CMJK 4:10
11. "Will"   Crea, D.A.I[Note 1] tasuku 4:09
12. "Heaven"   Kazuhito Kikuchi Yuta Nakano, KZB 4:21
13. "Are You Wake Up?" (instrumental) CMJK CMJK 2:07
14. "Fairyland"   tasuku Hal 5:19
15. "Beautiful Day"   Geo of Sweetbox tasuku 4:36
16. "Rainy Day"   Geo of Sweetbox Yuta Nakano 4:02
Total length:
66:59
DVD
No. Title Length
1. "Step You (Video Clip)"   4:52
2. "Is This Love? (Video Clip)"   4:55
3. "Fairyland (Video Clip)"   5:30
4. "Alterna (Video Clip)"   5:42
5. "Heaven (Video Clip)"   4:31
6. "Bold & Delicious (Video Clip)"   5:09
7. "Pride (Video Clip)"   4:32
8. "Rainy Day (Video Clip)"   4:14
9. "Ladies Night (Video Clip)"   4:31
10. "Bold & Delicious: Side Story (Album Version)"    
11. "Step You (Making Clip)"   4:22
12. "Is This Love? (Making Clip)"   5:03
13. "Fairyland (Making Clip)"   5:19
14. "Alterna (Making Clip)"    
15. "Heaven (Making Clip)"    
16. "Pride (Making Clip)"   4:38

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Catalogue Number
Japan January 1, 2006 (2006-01-01) CD+DVD
  • Initial pressing limited edition:

Special Photobook On My Way (80P)

AVCD-17837/B
CD
  • Initial pressing limited edition:

Special Photobook Off My Way (80P)

Taiwan
Hong Kong
China April 19, 2006 (2006-04-19) CD+DVD
  • Initial pressing
  • Special Photobook On My Way (80P)
CD+DVD AVTCD-95881
CD
  • Initial pressing
  • Special Photobook Off My Way (80P)
CD AVTCD-95876CB
  • SCD-842

Charts[edit]

Release Chart Peak Position First Week Sales Sales Total Chart Run
January 1, 2006 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 653,830 877,500[3] 31 weeks
Oricon Monthly Albums Chart 1
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 8
  • Total Sales: 877,500 (Japan)
  • Total Sales: 1,030,000 (Avex)

Singles[edit]

Date Title Peak position Weeks Sales
April 20, 2005 "Step You/Is This Love?" 1 19 weeks 345,340
August 8, 2005 "Fairyland" 1 13 weeks 316,663
September 14, 2005 "Heaven" 1 14 weeks 327,771
November 30, 2005 "Bold & Delicious/Pride" 1 7 weeks 132,993
  • Total Single Sales: 1,121,690
  • Total Album and Single Sales: 1,999,123

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Crea is the pseudonym of Ayumi Hamasaki.

References[edit]

  • The liner notes for (Miss)understood (Japanese version). AVCD-17837/B
  1. ^ "The Recording Industry in Japan: 2007". Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Top 10 Albums of 2006". IFPI National Groups/Chart Companies. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "年間ヒットチャート特集『2006年 年間アルバムチャート大発表!』-ORICON STYLE ミュージック" (in Japanese). Oricon.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 
  4. ^ a b c Fuji, Miho (藤井美保) (January 5, 2006). "Ayumi Hamasaki: Bold & Delicious/Pride". Girlpop (in Japanese) 76 (462): pgs. 16–18. 
  5. ^ "History of Sweetbox" (in Japanese). Avex Trax. Archived from the original on 24 February 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2008. 
  6. ^ a b "Ayumi Hamasaki Special Interview". Sweet: pp 19–22. January 2006. 
  7. ^ Garcia, Cathy A (February 7, 2006). "Ayumi Hamasaki '(miss)understood'". The Korea Times. 
  8. ^ ゴールド等認定作品一覧 2006年1月 (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 21 December 2012.