2004 Ai

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2004 Ai
A mid-shot of Ai against a white background, where she smiles, wearing long hair and blue tinted glasses. She is not noticeably wearing clothes, however the lower half of her body is covered by a boombox. "2004 A.I." is hand-written in front of the image in white, in a graffiti-style font.
Studio album by Ai
Released June 16, 2004 (2004-06-16)
(see release history)
Recorded 2004; Prime Sound Studio Form, Meguro, Tokyo; Studio Fine, Higashi-Azabu, Tokyo; Universoul, Shibuya, Tokyo; HiBrite Studio, Tokyo; On Air Azabu, Minato, Tokyo; Magnet Studio, Tokyo; Sony Music Studios, Minato, Tokyo
Genre R&B, hip-hop
Length 54:38
Language Japanese
Label Universal Sigma
Producer Ai, Yuki Arai, Kaz Koike, Toshiharu Kojima, Shinki Miura, Akira Terabayashi
Ai chronology
Rhythm and Babe
(2004)
2004 Ai
(2004)
Flashback to Ai
(2004)
Singles from 2004 Ai
  1. "After the Rain"
    Released: March 3, 2004 (2004-03-03)
  2. "EO"
    Released: May 12, 2004 (2004-05-12)
  3. "Watch Out! (featuring Afra, Tucker)"
    Released: August 4, 2004 (2004-08-04)

2004 Ai (stylized as 2004 A.I.) is the third studio album by Japanese R&B musician Ai, released on June 16, 2004.[1] 2004 Ai was her first top 10 album, as well as her first album to be certified by the RIAJ.

Background[edit]

The album was her second to be released under Universal Music Japan. While she was initially signed to the DefJam Japan sub-label for Original Ai, this album was her first to be released after her switch to the Universal Sigma sub-label. Original Ai was a commercial success compared to her debut under BMG Japan, My Name Is Ai, selling 20 times her debut album's amount and peaking at number 15 on Oricon's albums chart.[2]

Two singles were released prior to the album, "After the Rain" and "EO," both of which were top 30 hits.[2] "EO" was her highest charting single to date, reaching number 23.[2]

Writing and production[edit]

Billed as Ai's first "love song," "After the Rain" was the first single from the album.

The upbeat R&B track "EO" was the highest ranking single from the album, reaching number 23.

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The majority of the album was produced by R&B producers 813 (DJ Yutaka and Shingo. S), 2Soul, Daisuke Imai, T. Kura and Michico. Ai had worked with 813 and Michico on Original Ai, on the songs "Summer Time" and "Girls' Talk" respectively. "Dreaming of You" was a collaboration with Danish music production duo Great Dane, i.e. Carsten Lindberg and Joachim Svare, with new Japanese lyrics written by Ai. Ai had previously worked with the pair on her single "Thank U."

Ai collaborated with several musicians on the album, most notably beat-boxer Afra and rapper Tucker on the single "Watch Out!" She also collaborated with 1970s guitarist Char, who arranged the song "Breathe." The collaboration occurred because Ai happened to be childhood friends with Char's son,[3] vocalist Jesse from the rock band Rize. The pair later collaborated vocally on Char's DVD single "No Generation Gap" (2004), which was featured on Ai's album Feat. Ai. Ai also collaborated with reggae artist Boy-Ken on "Angel." Boy-Ken released an alternative version of "Angel" on his album Everythin' Is Everythin' (2004). The interlude "L'Haleine des Cordes" is a classical piece arranged by game music composer Shirō Sagisu.

Promotion and concerts[edit]

The album received several minor commercial tie-ups. "After the Rain" was used as the Fuji TV music show Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ's January to April 2004 ending theme song. "EO" was use as the TV Tokyo music show Japan Countdown's May 2004 ending theme song.[4] "Watch Out!" was used in TV commercials for the PlayStation game True Crime: Streets of LA.[4]

An English version of the song "Alive" was used as an insert song for the South Korean drama Delightful Girl Choon-Hyang.

Ai supported the album with two tours, the 15 date 2004 Ai Club Tour between May and August 2004, and the 10 date 2004 Ai Japan Tour in September and October 2004.[5] Ai also performed at the 2004 MTV Buzz Asia Concert in Seoul, South Korea, as well as the Taipei Music Festival to promote the album.[5] Footage from the Taiwan concert, the club tour and the concert tour were compiled to create Ai's first live DVD, Machigainai.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The reviewers at CDJournal felt the album had a lot more personality than Original Ai. (2003) They felt the album's sound did not show the "frailty" of other popular R&B acts, and noted the album's "strong beats" and the lyrics from a female viewpoint. "After the Rain" was called "bewitching," and that the song's "sticky with emotion melody wraps the song in a mellow atmosphere." The reviewers felt that Ai's "pressingly questioning" rap in "Watch Out!" showed a high level of technique.[7][8][9]

The music videos were well received at music awards shows. At the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, "After the Rain" was nominated for the Best Buzz Asia - Japan award. Ai also received two nominations at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, best R&B video for "EO," and best collaboration for "Watch Out." In 2005 at the Space Shower Music Video Awards, she won the best female video award for "Watch Out."

Chart performance[edit]

The album debuted at number three in Japan, selling 36,000 copies.[2] It became a long charting album, selling three times its first week total (113,000) over 17 weeks.[2] At the time, this was Ai's most successful release, and it became her first release to receive a certification by the RIAJ (gold).[10] As of 2012, it remains her fourth most commercially successful album in Japan.[2]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "Intro"     2Soul 1:01
2. "EO"   Ai 2Soul 4:00
3. "After the Rain"   Ai T. Kura, Michico, Ai 5:01
4. "100%"   Ai T. Kura, Michico, Ai 3:36
5. "L'Haleine des Cordes (Interlude)" ([Fr]: "The Breath of the Strings")   Shirō Sagisu 0:54
6. "Breathe"   Ai Char 4:41
7. "Mugen" (無限 "Infinite") Ai, Daisuke Imai Ai, D. Imai 4:09
8. "Say Yes, Say No"   Ai 2Soul 4:21
9. "Alive"   Ai, Shoko Fujibayashi 2Soul 4:37
10. "Angel" (featuring Boy-Ken), (エンジェル Enjeru) Ai, Boy-Ken Ai, 813 4:28
11. "I'm Sorry"   Ai, D. Imai Ai, D. Imai 4:21
12. "Watch Out!" (featuring Afra, Tucker) Ai Ai, Afra, Tucker 3:58
13. "Ongaku Kiite" (オンガクキイテ "Listen to the Music")   813 0:59
14. "Listen 2 da Music"   Ai Ai, 813 3:47
15. "Dreaming of You"   Ai C. Lindberg, J. Svare 4:33
Total length:
54:38

Personnel[edit]

Personnel details were sourced from 2004 Ai's liner notes booklet.[11]

Managerial

Performance credits

Visuals and imagery

Technical and production

Chart rankings[edit]

Chart (2004) Peak
position
Japan Oricon weekly albums[12] 3

Sales and certifications[edit]

Chart Amount
Oricon physical sales[2] 113,000
RIAJ physical shipping certification[10] Gold (100,000+)

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Distributing Label Catalogue codes
Japan June 16, 2004 (2004-06-16)[1] CD Universal Music Japan UICJ-1020
July 3, 2004 (2004-07-03)[13] Rental CD
Taiwan July 7, 2004 (2004-07-07)[14] CD Universal Music Taiwan 982270-4
South Korea July 21, 2004 (2004-07-21)[15] CD Universal Music Korea
Japan December 5, 2012 (2012-12-05)[16] SHM-CD Universal Music Japan UPCY-9323

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "[CD] 2004 A.I. / AI". Neowing (in Japanese). Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" [Oricon Ranking Information Service "You Big Tree"]. Oricon. Retrieved August 20, 2012.  (subscription only)
  3. ^ "Official Interview". Masaharu Yoshioka. Universal. May 17, 2004. Archived from the original on September 23, 2004. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "AI - タイアップ" [Ai - tie-ups]. CDJournal. Retrieved August 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "News". Universal. Archived from the original on September 15, 2004. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "[DVD] MACHIGAINAI / AI". Neowing (in Japanese). Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "AI / 2004 A.I." (in Japanese). CDJournal. 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ "AI / After the Rain" (in Japanese). CDJournal. 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ "AI / WATCH OUT! feat.AFRA+TUCKER [CD+DVD] [限定]" (in Japanese). CDJournal. 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "ゴールド等認定作品一覧 2004年07月" [Works Receiving Certifications List (Gold, etc) (July 2004)]. RIAJ (in Japanese). August 10, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ 2004 Ai (Media notes) (in Japanese). Ai. Tokyo, Japan: Universal Music Japan. 2004. 
  12. ^ "2004 A.I. AI" (in Japanese). Oricon. 2004. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  13. ^ "2004 A.I./Ai" (in Japanese). Tsutaya. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  14. ^ "AI / 2004 A.I. (亞洲特典盤)" (in Chinese). books.com.tw. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  15. ^ "AI (아이) - 2004 A.I." (in Korean). Yes24. Retrieved August 20, 2012. 
  16. ^ "[CD] 2004 A.I. [SHM-CD] [期間限定生産]". Neowing (in Japanese). Retrieved August 22, 2012.