A Best

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A Best
A dark, black-and-white up-close shot of Ayumi Hamasaki looking into the camera, with a teardrop trickling down one cheek.
Greatest hits album by Ayumi Hamasaki
Released March 28, 2001 (2001-03-28)
Recorded 1998–2000
Genre Pop
Length 01:76:00
Label Avex Trax
Producer Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki chronology
Duty
(2000)
A Best
(2001)
I Am...
(2002)

A Best is the first greatest hits album by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki, her first greatest under her contract with Japanese company Avex Trax. The album was released on March 28, 2001. The compilation is Hamasaki's only greatest hits release to have not feature a DVD disc, which has been accompanied for her 2007 compilation A Best 2 (for both black and white versions), her 2008 compilation A Complete: All Singles and her 2012 A Summer Best. The album contains her singles from 1998 to her 2000 single "M".

A Best enjoyed a large amount of commercial success; her label, Avex Trax, decided to release the compilation on the same day as Utada Hikaru's sophomore effort Distance to create direct competition between the two records. On the weekly chart, Distance debuted at number one with first-week sales of 3,002,720; A Best entered at number two, with sales of 2,874,870. The first-week sales of the two albums set records for the highest and second-highest one-week sales figures of all time, in Japan and in the world. With sales of over four million copies, A Best remains Hamasaki's highest seller and the sixth best-selling Japanese album of all time.

Background[edit]

Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki became hugely success within the Japanese pop scene. Her debut album, A Song for ×× (1999) peaked at number one on the Oricon Albums Chart and sold over one million units in Japan.[A][1][2] The album spawned five singles put performed moderately on the singles chart.[3] Hamasaki's second album Loveppears was released that same year and sold over two million units in Japan, and featured three number one singles; "Love: Destiny", "Boys & Girls" and "Kanariya". Both "Boys & Girls" and the album's EP A became her first two million selling singles in Japan, both certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ); the latter became her highest selling EP single in her career.[4][5]

The next year, Hamasaki released another studio album entitled Duty. The album resulted in being her highest selling studio album, selling over 2.9 million units in Japan and was certified triple platinum by RIAJ.[6] The album had spawn five singles, two of which went to number: "Seasons" and "Surreal".[3] "Seasons" became Hamasaki's highest selling single, with over 1.3 million units sold in Japan.[7] Hamasaki begun work on her fourth album I Am... and released the lead single "M", which sold over one million units in Japan.[8] However, Hamasaki's label announced that she would be releasing a greatest hits compilation that features a collection of fan favorite singles instead of all her singles.[9]

Material[edit]

A Best features three newly re-recorded tracks: "A Song for xx", "Trust" and "Depend on You".[10] The first track was not released as a single, while the latter two tracks failed to peak at number one in Japan.[3] However, there inclusion were based on their certification status, both achieving gold by RIAJ and the only two tracks from the parent album to achieve this.[11][12] The album does not feature Hamasaki's singles "Poker Face", "You" and "For My Dear...".[10]

A Best features all singles from her album Loveppears apart from the lead single "Whatever", "Kanariya".[10] Two tracks from her EP A failed to be featured, these being "Monochrome" and "Too Late".[10] "Boys & Girls" had be remastered by Naoto Suzuki, who had remastered all her work through since her debut.[10] The track "Who..." was not released as a single and featured at the end of the track list.[13] For her third album Duty, all singles apart from "Audience" had been featured on the album.[10] Hamasaki's label Avex Trax decided to incorporate her track "M" in the track list as the fifteenth track on the album.[10] The album had the opportunity to feature her tracks "Evolution" and "Never Ever", two songs released before the albums release but Avex rejected it.[10][14]

Release[edit]

After her album Duty sold 2.9 million units in Japan, Hamasaki had begun work on her next effort.[15] She release "M" in December 2000, one month after completing the promotion off Duty by releasing her single "Audience".[16] During the same period, one of Hamasaki's music rivals, Japanese-American singer and songwriter Hikaru Utada became widely success for many of her singles and her debut studio album First Love (1998) that spawned her two million hit "Automatic/Time Will Tell".[17] The album sold over ten million units worldwide, making it the best selling album in Japanese music history.[18] With both of them becoming large music factors in Japan's current music scene, Avex Trax decided to release the compilation on the same date Utada's second studio album Distance would be released.[9]

Hamasaki personally planned to release a greatest hits album after two more recorded studio albums when she released I Am...[9] After Avex had told Hamasaki about their plans, she refused to comprise the compilation.[9] This caused her first serious conflict between her and her label, resenting in releasing the album due to insufficient material.[9] Hamasaki publicty commented; "It was too early for release. My 'best album' was something I dreamt of doing my way, but one day the company (Avex) came to me and said "your best album has to be released on this month and on this day."[9] Due to the release, Hamasaki decided to take more control of her future material and asserted that she didn't want to be marketed as a "product" by Avex.[9]

A Best was released on March 28, 2001 as compact disc.[10] First pressings feature a cardboard slipcase that features the original artwork, while the jewelcase booklet features six different shots of Hamasaki's face, all looking in different directions.[10] Photographed and designed by Keita Haginiwa and Shinichi Hara, the shots were released randomly.[10] Shinichi has been Hamasaki's creative director for photoshoots, album and single sleeves, and began collaborating with her in 1998 with her on debut album. His final work was directing the sleeve for Hamasaki's 2009 single "Sunrise/Sunset (Love Is All)".[19][20]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

A Best received favorable reviews from most music critics. Yonemoto Hiromi from Yeah!! J-Pop! favoured the albums "quality" and praised the material on the album.[21] He commented that the album was the "centerpiece" of Hamasaki's sales success and concluded that the material is "memorable."[21] An editorial reviewer for Tower Records commended the albums quality and felt that while the album featured more "heart", he called the album "familiar" and filled with "Ayu charm."[22]

Commercial response[edit]

A Best was released in a very competitive week simultaneously with Utada's Distance, which topped the charts on the initial week of release with three million copies in its first week; A Best debuted at number two moving 2.8 million units.[23][24] However, the following week, A Best reached number one selling 510,160 copies.[25] By the end of the year, A Best had sold over 4.2 million units and became the second best-selling album of 2001, only surpassed by Hikaru's Distance.[26] The album has been certified quadruple platinum by RIAJ for shipments of four million units.[27]

Additionally, it is the second best-selling album of the noughties,[28] and the sixth highest-selling album of all time in Japan. Worldwide, A Best has sold over 6.9 million units and is Hamasaki's best selling effort to date.[9]

Track listing[edit]

Japanese version[edit]

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki. 

No. Title Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "A Song for ××" (new vocal and mix) Yasuhiko Hoshino Akimitsu Honma  
2. "Trust" (new vocal and mix) Takashi Kimura Akimitsu Honma, Takashi Kimura  
3. "Depend on You" (new vocal & mix) Kazuhito Kikuchi Akamitsu Honma, Takashi Morio  
4. "Love: Destiny"   Tsunku Shingo Kobayashi, Yasuaki Maejima  
5. "To Be"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
6. "Boys & Girls"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
7. "Trauma"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
8. "End Roll"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
9. "Appears"   Kazuhito Kikuchi HΛL  
10. "Fly High"   D.A.I HΛL  
11. "Vogue"   Kazuhito Kikuchi Naoto Suzuki, Kazuhito Kikuchi  
12. "Far Away"   Kazuhito Kikuchi, D.A.I HΛL  
13. "Seasons"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki  
14. "Surreal"   Kazuhito Kikuchi HΛL  
15. "M"   Crea Crea HΛL
16. "Who..."   Kazuhito Kikuchi Naoto Suzuki  

International version[edit]

A Best was later re-released in other countries outside Japan, including Singapore, the Philippines and Korea. The international version did not have new vocal mixes and had a slightly different cover art to the standard Japanese version.

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki. 

No. Title Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "A Song for ××"   Yasuhiko Hoshino Yasuhiko Hoshino  
2. "Trust"   Takashi Kimura Akimitsu Honma, Takashi Kimura  
3. "Depend on You"   Kazuhito Kikuchi Akamitsu Honma, Takashi Morio  
4. "Love: Destiny"   Tsunku Shingo Kobayashi, Yasuaki Maejima  
5. "To Be"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
6. "Boys & Girls"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
7. "Trauma"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
8. "End roll"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki, D.A.I  
9. "Appears"   Kazuhito Kikuchi HΛL  
10. "Fly High"   D.A.I HΛL  
11. "Vogue"   Kazuhito Kikuchi Naoto Suzuki, Kazuhito Kikuchi  
12. "Far Away"   Kazuhito Kikuchi, D.A.I HΛL  
13. "Seasons"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki  
14. "Surreal"   Kazuhito Kikuchi HΛL  
15. "M"     Crea HΛL
16. "Who..."   Kazuhito Kikuchi Naoto Suzuki  

Credits and personnel[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Catalogue Number
Japan March 28, 2001 (2001-03-28) CD AVCD-11950
Taiwan
Hong Kong
China 2001
  • Initial pressing
CD AVTCD-95461
  • SCD-555
Cassette
December 25, 2005 (2005-12-25)
  • Second Press
CD

Charts[edit]

Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)
Release Chart Peak position First Week Sales Sales total Chart run
March 28, 2001 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 2,874,870 4,301,353 52
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 2
  • Total Sales: 4,301,353 (Japan)

Featured singles[edit]

Date Title Peak position Chart Run Sales
August 5, 1998 "Trust" 9 10 weeks 181,820
December 9, 1998 "Depend on You" 6 8 weeks 131,460
April 14, 1999 Love: Destiny" 1 26 weeks 650,790
May 12, 1999 "To Be" 4 15 weeks 571,110
July 17, 1999 "Boys & Girls" 1 16 weeks 1,037,950
August 11, 1999 "A" 1 17 weeks 1,670,000
November 10, 1999 "Appears" 2 3 weeks 290,550
February 9, 2000 "Fly High" 3 4 weeks 299,540
April 26, 2000 "Vogue" 3 17 weeks 767,660
May 17, 2000 "Far Away"" 2 13 weeks 510,460
June 7, 2000 "Seasons"" 1 20 weeks 1,367,400
September 27, 2000 "Surreal" 1 10 weeks 417,210
December 13, 2000 "M" 1 17 weeks 1,319,070

Total Single Sales: 9,215,020

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A Song for ×× received a 3× Platinum certification for 1,200,000 copies, however the 3× Platinum threshold was redefined as 750,000 copies in 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年3月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. March 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 474: 9. May 10, 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年2月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. February 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 473: 9. April 10, 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c 浜崎あゆみのリリース一覧 [List of Ayumi Hamasaki's Releases]. Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年8月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. August 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 479: 9. October 10, 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 2, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年5月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. May 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 488: 8. July 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年12月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. December 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 495: 8. February 10, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年6月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. June 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 489: 8. August 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年12月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. December 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 495: 8. February 10, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h True, Chris. "Ayumi Hamasaki". Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2008. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k A Best (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2001. AVCD-11950. 
  11. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1998年9月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. September 1998 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 468: 9. November 10, 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 24, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年1月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. January 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 472: 9. March 10, 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ A Best (Track list). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2001. AVCD-11950. 
  14. ^ Evolution (CD singles liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2001. AVCD-30203. 
  15. ^ "I am… 浜崎あゆみのプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Oricon.co.jp. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  16. ^ Audience (CD single liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2000. AVCD-30184. 
  17. ^ http://www.musictvprogram.com/corner-ranking-single.html
  18. ^ 2010-3-24 22:42 (2010-03-24). "亚洲地区专辑销量最高的是多少张_百度知道". Zhidao.baidu.com. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  19. ^ A Song for xx (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 1998. AVCD-11691. 
  20. ^ Sunrise/Sunset (Love is All) (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-31719. 
  21. ^ a b Yonemoto Hiromi of Yeah!! J-Pop! (March 28, 2002). A Best (in Japanese). Yahoo! Japan. Archived from the original on August 24, 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  22. ^ Tower Records (March 28, 2002). A Best (in Japanese). Yahoo! Japan. Archived from the original on August 24, 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 
  23. ^ Oricon (9 April 2001). "Top Selling Albums". Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  24. ^ Oricon (April 2001). "Oricon Weekly Albums Chart". Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  25. ^ Oricon (16 April 2001). "Top Selling Albums". Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  26. ^ Oricon (2001). "Top Selling Albums". Retrieved 28 October 2012. 
  27. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2001年4月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. April 2001 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 499: 8. November 10, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  28. ^ Brasor, Philip (18 December 2009). "The noughties played it nice". The Japan Times. Retrieved 28 October 2012.