I Am... (Ayumi Hamasaki album)

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I Am...
Ayumi Hamasaki shown from the waist up, looking outward with her hands on her waist, wearing only foliage, with a dove resting on her left shoulder. In small text, "I Am..." is written on the left side.
Studio album by Ayumi Hamasaki
Released January 1, 2002 (2002-01-01)
Recorded 2000–2001
Genre Pop rock
Length 70:35
Label Avex Trax
Producer Max Matsuura, Ferry Corsten
Ayumi Hamasaki chronology
A Best
(2001)
I Am...
(2002)
Rainbow
(2002)
Singles from I Am...
  1. "M"
    Released: December 13, 2000
  2. "Evolution"
    Released: January 31, 2001
  3. "Never Ever"
    Released: March 7, 2001
  4. "Endless Sorrow"
    Released: May 16, 2001
  5. "Unite!"
    Released: July 11, 2001
  6. "Dearest"
    Released: September 27, 2001
  7. "A Song Is Born"
    Released: December 12, 2001
  8. "Daybreak"
    Released: March 6, 2002
  9. "Connected"
    Released: April 7, 2003 (Europe only)

I Am... is the fourth full-length studio album by Japanese pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki, released on January 1, 2002 in Japan. The album marked an evolution in Hamasaki's lyrical and musical style: Hamasaki began to move away from the themes of "loneliness and confusion" that had marked her previous albums and began to incorporate elements of rock music in her songs.

I Am... was a commercial success, both in Japan (selling over 2 million copies) and in other Asian countries. In Singapore, I Am... sold over 10,000 copies, unusual for a Japanese album.

Influence[edit]

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hamasaki had a "change of heart": although she had already been planning the album since early 2001, she dropped her original idea for the album after the attacks. Influenced by the events, Hamasaki departed from the themes of "loneliness and confusion" that had marked her previous releases and focused on more worldly themes, such as faith and peace.[1][2] The lyrics of "A Song Is Born," in particular, were directly influenced by the attacks. Hamasaki also revised the album artwork to fit in with her new themes: she portrayed herself on the album cover as a "peace muse," clad in vines and with a dove seated on her shoulder—with the dove representing peace. The liner notes also depicted Hamasaki thus, as did the television advertisement for the album.

The outlook inspired by the September 11 attacks extended beyond the album. Before I Am..., Hamasaki felt that she would not enter an Asian market; thus, she never performed outside Japan and did not use English in her lyrics. However, shortly after the release of the album, she performed at the 2002 MTV Asia Music Awards ceremony, her first performance held outside Japan.[3]

Composition and musical style[edit]

I Am... marked the beginning of Hamasaki's increased control over her music, as she began to compose herself, under the pseudonym "Crea".[4] The decision to compose her own songs came about when she was composing "M", the lead single of the album. None of the melodies composed by her staff fit her vision of the song, and she decided to compose herself. Finding that by composing herself, she produced songs closer to what she had in mind, she composed nearly all the songs on the album.

Many of the songs on the album shift keys; most shift to a relative key. "M" and "Still Alone" shift to the parallel key; "Evolution" and "Naturally" shift to the dominant and subdominant keys, respectively.[5] Hamasaki began to incorporate rock and electronica into her music.[4][6] The album uses a variety of instruments. "M" uses piano, strings, bells, and electric guitar; "A Song Is Born" used a synthesizer; and "Endless Sorrow" and "No More Words" used piano and orchestral strings.

The track "M" was also mistakenly called Maria, referring to the "Maria" in the song.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki. 

No. Title Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "I Am..."   Crea[Note 1] Tadashi Kikuchi + tasuku 5:31
2. "Opening Run"   CMJK CMJK 0:57
3. "Connected"   Ferry Corsten Corsten 3:19
4. "Unite!"   Crea HΛL 4:59
5. "Evolution"   Crea HΛL 4:40
6. "Naturally"   Crea CMJK 4:16
7. "Never Ever"   Crea Chokkaku 4:40
8. "Still Alone"   Crea CMJK 5:54
9. "Daybreak"   Crea, D.A.I, Junichi Matsuda Tasuku 4:48
10. "Taskinlude"   Tasuku Tasuku 4:26
11. "M"   Crea HΛL 4:26
12. "A Song Is Born"   Tetsuya Komuro Komuro 6:16
13. "Dearest"   Crea, D.A.I Naoto Suzuki 5:32
14. "No More Words"   Crea, D.A.I Suzuki, Tasuku 5:41
15. "Endless Sorrow" (Gone with the Wind ver.) Crea CMJK 5:12
16. "Flower Garden" (secret track) Crea, D.A.I   2:38

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Catalogue Number
Japan January 1, 2001 (2001-01-01) CD AVCD-17037
Taiwan
Hong Kong
China 2001
  • Initial pressing
CD AVTCD-95550
  • SCD-598
Cassette
December 25, 2005 (2005-12-25)
  • Second Press
CD

Charts[edit]

Oricon Chart (Japan)[7]
Release Chart Peak position First Week Sales Sales total Chart run
January 1, 2002 Oricon Daily Album Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Album Chart 1 1,751,360 2,308,112 25
Oricon Monthly Album Chart 1
Oricon Yearly Album Chart 2

Singles[edit]

Date Title Peak position Weeks Sales
December 13, 2000 "M" 1 18 weeks 1,319,070
January 31, 2001 "Evolution" 1 17 weeks 955,250
March 7, 2001 "Never Ever" 1 12 weeks 756,980
May 16, 2001 "Endless Sorrow" 1 11 weeks 768,510
July 11, 2001 "Unite!" 1 17 weeks 571,110
September 27, 2001 "Dearest" 1 16 weeks 750,420
December 12, 2001 "A Song Is Born" 1 10 weeks 441,410
March 6, 2002 "Daybreak (re-cut single)" 2 9 weeks 197,140
  • Total Single Sales: 5,759,890
  • Total Album and Single Sales: 8,068,002[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Crea is the pseudonym of Ayumi Hamasaki.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Empress of Pop". Time. March 25, 2002. p. 5. Retrieved February 2, 2008. [dead link]
  2. ^ Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "I have very clear ideas of what I want". Time. p. 1. Retrieved February 16, 2008. 
  3. ^ Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "The Many Faces of Ayu". Time. p. 7. Retrieved April 17, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "I have very clear ideas of what I want". Time. p. 2. Retrieved January 2, 2008. 
  5. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki - Piano Solo - New Piano Sounds Top 25. Volume 7. ISBN 978-4-89638-944-9
  6. ^ Kitazawa (April 8, 2008). "Hamasaki Ayumi against the Music". YesAsia. Retrieved May 13, 2008. 
  7. ^ "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.