Don't Stop Ai

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Don't Stop Ai
A grey-scale close-up shot of Ai smiling and looking up to her right. Her hair is tinted a pastel pink colour, and she is wearing a chunky chain around her neck, tinted slightly golden. In front of the picture are the words "DON'TSTOPA.I." written diagonally in pink, in a scratchy etching-like font.
CD only edition album cover
Studio album by Ai
Released December 5, 2007 (2007-12-05)
(see release history)
Recorded 2006–2007; Prime Sound Studio Form, Meguro, Tokyo; TamStar Studio, Shibuya, Tokyo; Real & Beats Studio, Tokyo; Peninsula Studio, Tokyo; Crescente Studio, Setagaya, Tokyo; Tomita Lab Studio, Tokyo; instrumental recording at Jayjay Productions Studio, New York City; Murlyn Studios, Stockholm; 2face, Tokyo
Genre R&B, hip-hop, pop, pop rock
Length 55:04
Language Japanese, English
Label Unviersal Sigma
Producer Yuki Arai, Kaz Koike, Naoshi Fujikura
Ai chronology
Live Ai
Don't Stop Ai
Viva Ai
Singles from Don't Stop Ai
  1. "Brand New Day"
    Released: June 13, 2007 (2007-06-13)
  2. "I'll Remember You"
    Released: July 18, 2007 (2007-07-18)
  3. "One"
    Released: November 7, 2007 (2007-11-07)
  4. "Taisetsu na Mono"
    Released: June 4, 2008 (2008-06-04)

Don't Stop Ai (stylized as DON'T STOP A.I.) is the sixth studio album by Japanese R&B musician Ai, released on December 5, 2007.[1] It featured two successful singles, the mid tempo R&B song "I'll Remember You" and the ballad "Taisetsu na Mono," both of which were certified gold by the RIAJ.[2][3]

The album is the first of Ai's to extensively collaborate with Japanese musicians, and her first to work closely with Scandinavian producers.

Background and development[edit]

The final concert for Ai's tour of her previous album, What's Goin' On Ai, was held at the Nippon Budokan stadium, the first time Ai performed at the venue.[4] The Budokan recording was released as Ai's first live album, Live Ai, in March 2007. In 2007, Ai performed at several Japanese summer rock festivals, including FM802 Meet the World Beat, Rock in Japan Festival, Voices of Heart II, AP Bank Fes and Monster Bash.[5][6]

Ai released three singles before the release of the album, beginning with the double A-side single "I'll Remember You/Brand New Day" in July ("Brand New Day" was originally released digitally in June 2007). "I'll Remember You" fared well, becoming certified gold twice by the RIAJ.[2][7]

A month prior to the album's release, "One" was released as the theme song for the second series of the drama Team Medical Dragon. Ai's 2006 single "Believe" was used as the first season's theme song, and was extremely successful. However, "One" did not mirror "Believe"'s success.

Writing and production[edit]

The first digital single released from the album was an upbeat pop-R&B tune.

The midtempo track "I'll Remember You" was produced by Danish producer Jonas Jeberg.

Released six months after the album, "Taisetsu na Mono" was a digital hit, being certified gold by the RIAJ.

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Ai started making the album after she had finished her What's Goin' On Ai tour in December 2006. Because she had just finished touring, Ai felt the strong energy from performing live, and was more conscious as to which songs would sound good performed live, compared to when creating her previous albums.[8] Ai chose "Brand New Day" as the first song to be reelased from the album (a song she thought was "fun" and "non-serious"), to contrast the serious message songs on her previous album, What's Goin' On Ai (2006).[9]

The album features an almost completely new set of producers. The one exception is T. Kura, who worked on the songs "Don't Stop" and "It's Show Time!!!." Ai worked with Japanese composer The Company on three songs, "Butterfly," "The Answer" and the single "Taisetsu na Mono." The team who worked together on the drama single "One," arranger Keiichi Tomita and composer Toshiaki Matsumoto, were the same pair who created R&B singer Misia's 2000 hit ballad "Everything."[10] One other Japanese producer worked on the album, Bach Logic, who produced the original version of "Get Up."

For the first time, Ai worked with European songwriters. Danish producer Jonas Jeberg wrote and produced both songs on the album's first single, "I'll Remember You/Brand New Day," while Swedish producers Fredrik "Fredro" Ödesjö and Mats Berntoft produced "Feel So Good." Ai also collaborated with three American R&B/hip-hop producers: Ty Fyffe on "Ima," Troy Taylor on "My Sweet Home" and Darryl "Da Rulah" Farmer on "Move."

The album was primarily recorded at Prime Sound Studio Form and TamStar Studio Tokyo, with additional recording at Real & Beats Studio, Peninsula Studio, Crescente Studio and Tomita Lab Studio, all in Tokyo. Several songs' instrumentals were recorded overseas, at Jayjay Productions Studio, New York City and Murlyn Studios, Stockholm.

Unlike her previous studio album, What's Goin' On Ai (2006), where Ai collaborated with four overseas musicians, Ai collaborated with five Japanese musicians. On the song "Butterfly," Ai worked with three other female vocalists, rapper Anty the Kunoichi, rock musician Anna Tsuchiya and reggae artist Pushim. This was the first time for Ai to work with any of these musicians. Ai was friends with all three musicians, first meeting Anty the Kunoichi when she performed at a club in Nagoya, and first meeting Tsuchiya on the set of the 2006 film Memories of Matsuko, where both artists made cameo appearances.[11][12] Ai was later featured on Tsuchiya's single "Crazy World" the next year. On the song "Get Up," Ai collaborated with half-brother hip-hop MCs Sphere of Influence and Zeebra. Ai had collaborated with Sphere of Influence in 2002 on his single "Luv Ya," and with Zeebra twice before ("Golden Mic (Remix)" in 2003 and "Do What U Gotta Do" in 2006).

"Don't Stop" samples the melody of the song "Hush" written by Joe South, originally performed by Billy Joe Royal, made famous by Deep Purple in the 1960s. "Brand New Day" is a track based on the same music as American High School Musical singer Corbin Bleu's song "Marchin'" from his debut album Another Side. The song was released on Bleu's album one month before Ai's full length digital release of "Brand New Day," but one month after the ringtone release of Ai's version. The song "The Answer" was originally made for Team Medical Dragon's season two theme song, however the drama producers were looking for a "peaceful" song for the theme song instead. "One" was created by Ai after hearing the creators' decision.[13] In "I Remember You," Ai tried to write lyrics to remember the people who encouragedd her to become a singer. She did not write the song with love in mind.[14]

Promotion and concerts[edit]

The four singles released from the album all received major tie-ups. "Brand New Day" was the Japan Airlines JAL+One World television commercial song, and "I'll Remember You" was used in headphone company Audio-Technica's 2007 campaign.[15] The song was also featured in commercials for digital download provider commercials.[15]

"One" was the theme song to the second season of Team Medical Dragon, for which Ai's "Believe" (2006) served as the theme song in the initial series.[15] "Taisetsu na Mono" was used in a 2008 campaign for Chartis Insurance, which cheered on athletes at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.[16] It also was used as the theme song for the American drama series Heroes in Japan.[15]

Ai debuted her single "I'll Remember You" live at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards Japan on May 26, 2007.[17] Ai also performed at the Live Earth charity concert on July 7, 2007, performing seven songs including "I'll Remember You" and "Brand New Day."[18] She performed a free concert outside of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building on December 22, 2007, as a part of the Beijing Olympics promotion campaign.[19]

Beginning February 2008, Ai toured the album extensively across Japan, performing 32 concerts at 28 venues on her Don't Stop Ai Japan Tour 2008. The tour ended on May 27 and May 28, with two performances at the Nippon Budokan.[20] The final concert was released to DVD on November 26, 2008.[21]

Ai appeared on music TV shows Music Station on June 6, 2008, and Bokura no Ongaku on June 13, 2008, performing "Taisetsu na Mono."[22][23]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Listen Japan (favorable)[24]
What's In? (favorable)[25]

Listen Japan's Morio Mori called the album splended and impressive, and felt it was a signature album of Ai's. He was impressed by the colalboration track "Butterfly," calling it a "current day "Lady Marmalade.""[24]

What's In? reviewers called "Brand New Day" an "awesome uptempo number" that brought images of marching, with the song's "tight beats and Ai's powerful vocals."[26] They praised the single "Taisetsu na Mono," calling the vocals "warm" and the chorus work "profound."[27] Tetsuo Hiraga of Hot Express felt that the lyrics of "One" were "deep, kind and straight forward."[28] CDJournal reviewers described "Brand New Day" as having "funky and fat beats."[29]

Ai won one award for the videos from the album, and was nominated twice. She won the Best Buzz Asia - Japan award at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards Japan for "I'll Remember You," which was aso nominated for the best R&B video award. "Brand New Day" was nominated for Best Female Video at the 2008 Space Shower Music Video Awards.

Chart performance[edit]

The album debuted at number four in Japan with 45,000 copies sold, underneath B'z, Kazumasa Oda and Yui Aragaki.[30] It was not as much of a long seller album as Ai's previous works, spending only two weeks in the top 20, and 12 weeks in the top 300.[30] The album was certified gold by the RIAJ for 100,000 physical copies shipped to stores in its month of release.[31] As of 2012, this album is Ai's fifth most successful release, and fourth most successful original album.[31]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "Intro"     T. Kura T. Kura 1:46
2. "Don't Stop"   Ai, Joe South T. Kura, Ai, J. South   3:46
3. "It's Show Time!!!"   Ai T. Kura, Ai   4:40
4. "Interlude"     The Company The Company 1:01
5. "Butterfly" (featuring Anty the Kunoichi, Anna Tsuchiya, Pushim) Ai, Anty the Kunoichi, A. Tsuchiya, Pushim Ai, Anty the Kunoichi, A. Tsuchiya, Masanori Mine, Pushim, The Company   4:22
6. "One"   Ai Toshiaki Matsumoto Keiichi Tomita 5:03
7. "I'll Remember You"   Ai, Jonas Jeberg, Anders Bagge, Sylvia Bennett-Smith, Marc Smith J. Jeberg, Ai   3:57
8. "Feel So Good"   Ai Fredrik Odesjo, Mats Berntoft, Ai Fredro, Mats Berntoft 3:14
9. "Move"   Ai Ai Darryl “Darulah" Farmer 3:09
10. "My Sweet Home"   Ai Ai Troy Talor 3:31
11. "Ima" (イマ "Now") Ai Ty Fyffe, Ai Ty Fyffe 3:57
12. "The Answer"   Ai The Company, Ai   4:07
13. "Taisetsu na Mono" (大切なもの "Important Things") Ai The Company, Ai   5:15
14. "Get Up (Remix)" (featuring Sphere of Influence, Zeebra) Ai, Sphere of Influence, Zeebra Bach Logic, Ai   4:08
15. "Brand New Day"   Ai, J. Jeberg, Simon Brenting, Damon Sharp, Greg Lawson J. Jeberg, Ai   3:04
Total length:


Personnel details were sourced from Don't Stop Ai's liner notes booklet.[32]


Performance credits

Visuals and imagery

Technical and production

Chart rankings[edit]

Chart (2007) Peak
Japan Oricon weekly albums[33] 4

Sales and certifications[edit]

Chart Amount
Oricon physical sales[30] 108,000
RIAJ physical shipping certification[31] Gold (100,000+)

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Distributing Label Catalogue codes
Japan December 5, 2007 (2007-12-05)[1] CD, CD+DVD, digital download Universal Music Japan UPCI-1075, UPCI-9024
Taiwan December 7, 2007 (2007-12-07)[34] CD Universal Music Taiwan 028387-6
Japan December 22, 2007 (2007-12-22)[35] Rental CD Universal Music Japan UPCI-1075
South Korea March 20, 2008 (2008-03-20)[36] CD Universal Music Korea 2359856


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  3. ^ "レコード協会調べ 9月度有料音楽配信認定" [Record Association Investigation: September Digital Music Download Certifications]. RIAJ (in Japanese). October 20, 2011. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
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  11. ^ ""土屋アンナ×AI"、コラボ・シングルを発表!" ["Anna Tsuchiya x Ai," releasing a collabo single!]. CDJournal (in Japanese). April 21, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
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  18. ^ "LIVE EARTH追加発表&生中継決定" [Live Earth ticket announcement and live feed decision]. Natalie (in Japanese). May 29, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  19. ^ "AIがフリーライブでトップアスリートを応援" [Ai, supports top athletes with free live]. Natalie (in Japanese). November 28, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  20. ^ "AI 6thアルバム&大規模ホールツアー" [Ai, 6th album & large scale hall tour]. Natalie (in Japanese). October 18, 2007. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  21. ^ "AI、貴重映像&インタビュー満載のライブDVD発売" [Ai, live DVD release, filled with precious footage & interviews]. Natalie (in Japanese). November 14, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  22. ^ "「Mステ」にJYONGRI、MINMIらが出演" [Jyongri, Minmi, etc at M-Ste!]. Natalie (in Japanese). June 2, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
  23. ^ "噂の2人、土屋アンナ×AIが「僕らの音楽」で共演" [Talked about pair, Anna Tsuchiya and Ai appear at Bokura no Ongaku]. Natalie (in Japanese). June 2, 2008. Retrieved September 8, 2012. 
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