Loveppears

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Loveppears
Ayumi Hamasaki shown topless from the upper waist up, looking into the camera, with flowing brown hair covering her chest.
Studio album by Ayumi Hamasaki
Released November 10, 1999 (1999-11-10)
Recorded 1999
Genre Pop, rock, dance, house, electronic
Length 70:47 (Disc 1)
34:06 (Disc 2)
Label Avex Trax
Producer Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki chronology
A Song for ××
(1999)
Loveppears
(1999)
Duty
(2000)
Singles from Loveppears
  1. "Whatever"
    Released: February 10, 1999
  2. "To Be"
    Released: May 12, 1999
  3. "Boys & Girls"
    Released: July 14, 1999
  4. "A"
    Released: August 11, 1999
  5. "Appears"
    Released: November 10, 1999
  6. "Kanariya"
    Released: December 8, 1999
  7. "Fly High"
    Released: February 9, 2000
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
HMV 5/5 stars[1]

Loveppears (stylized as LOVEppears; sometimes written Love appears) is the second studio album by Japanese singer-songwriter Ayumi Hamasaki, released on 10 November, 1999 by Avex Trax. The album was released inside the same year as her debut studio album A Song for xx, which was released eleven months earlier. Following the trend of the time, remixes of the songs from Loveppears were released on a second disc. Sonically, the album is an electronic album that incorporates several house and pop influences that become popular in the 1990s. Loveppears received favorable reviews from most music critics, who likened the production and lyrical content.

"Loveppears" sold 1,201,870 copies in its debut week. Like Hamasaki's debut album, Loveppears also topped the Oricon and stayed on the charts for 64 weeks. Loveppears is the 39th best selling album in Japan of all time.[2] Seven singles were released from the album, with one of the singles "A" consisting four songs.

Background[edit]

Tying in the same time frame as A Song for xx, Hamasaki released her EP entitled Nothing from Nothing (1995) on December 1, 1995.[3] However, the EP failed to chart on the Oricon Charts and her talent agency and record label at the time, Nippon Columbia, decided to drop her due to the low impact of sales.[4] After this failure, Hamasaki took up acting and starred in B-movies such as Ladys Ladys!! Sōcho Saigo no Hi and television dramas such as Miseinen, which were poorly received by the public.[5] From August 1995 to March 1996, Hamasaki also co-hosted the SoundLink "magazine" Hōkago no Ōsama (After-school King) for the Nintendo Satellaview once a week with Shigeru Izumiya.[6][7] Growing dissatisfied with her job, Hamasaki quit acting and moved in with her mother, who had recently moved to Tokyo.

Hamasaki was introduced to her future producer, Max Matsuura, through a friend. After hearing Hamasaki sing karaoke, Matsuura offered her a recording deal, but Hamasaki suspected ulterior motives and turned the offer down.[5] He persisted and succeeded in recruiting her for the Avex label in the following year.[5][8] Hamasaki started vocal training, but skipped most of her classes after finding her instructors to be too rigid and the classes dull.[5] When she confessed this to Matsuura, he sent her to New York to train her vocals under another method. During her foreign sojourn, Hamasaki frequently corresponded with Matsuura and impressed him with her style of writing. On her return to Japan, he suggested that she try writing her own lyrics.[5][9]

After signing with Avex Trax, Hamasaki released her debut single "Poker Face" in April 1998.[10] After the release of the single, Hamasaki continued her success with the releases of five more singles, all successful, but failed to occupy a top three peak which Hamasaki had done since. Subsequently, A Song for xx was a commercial success, selling more than one million copies in Japan.[2] During the time frame, Hamasaki begun work on her second studio album which became Loveppears.

Composition[edit]

Musically, Loveppears is a dance album that incorporates several genres of electronic dance music.[11] When Hamasaki released her first remix album Ayu-mi-x (1999), she began to experiment with different musical styles in her singles as well, releasing dance tunes and ballads as well as remixes on the singles. After this experimentation, she decided (and continues) to incoporate different styles of trance, dance music and orchestral music.[12] This album marked the beginning of the collaboration between Hamasaki, Dai and Hal.

Like her previous album and the next effort Duty, Hamasaki wrote the lyrics all herself. The lyrical content still dealt with loneliness, many of them were written from a third-person perspective.[13] Some of the lyrics, for example "Boys and Girls" and "Love ~Refrain~" dealt with the conception of love and hate.

Although not billed as such, some of the singles on Loveppears were somehow edited for the album. "Love: Refrain" takes its melody from Hamasaki's single "Love:Destiny," but has different lyrics, whereas the song "Whatever" is an extended version of the "M" version of "Whatever" from the eponymous single. A hidden track, "Kanariya," is found at the end of the first disc. It is her first recut single (single released after its appearance on an album) to reach the number-one position on the Oricon charts.

Loveppears was characterized by dance tracks such as "Boys & Girls".

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The song "Who..." is a concert staple for Hamasaki, who ends most of her concerts with it. It was also featured in her first compilation album A Best, it was re-recorded and re-arranged for her second compilation album A Ballads and it was re-recorded again for her A Complete compilation album celebrating Hamasaki's 10th anniversary since her debut. The song "P.S II" is a follow-up to "Powder Snow" from Hamasaki's previous album A Song for ××. The song features a new arrangement and new lyrics. The remix of "Whatever" is an extended version of the "M" version of the song, which originally appeared on the "Whatever" CD single.

Titling and packaging[edit]

The artwork was shot by Toru Kumazawa and was shot in New York City and Los Angeles, California.[14] The cover features Hamasaki topless with her hair covering her breasts.[14] Several photos were taken while she was in the same location, which was at the top of a New York apartment. The booklet scan, however are all shot in black and white.[14] In some editions, the cover sleeve of Hamasaki was rotated clockwise and that once the booklet was open, it turns out to be Hamasaki's torso on the cover and her bottom-half on the back sleeve.[14] In an interview with the Japanese magazine Beatfreak, Hamasaki explained that the title has two meanings, the visual aspects of a relationship (appears) and how people see love.[15] Hamasaki explained;[15]

She also commented that her songs influenced the title off the album;[15]

Singles[edit]

The first single, "Whatever" was released in February 1999. It peaked at number five on the Oricon Singles Chart. The second single, "Love (Destiny)", became Hamasaki's first number one single and became her highest selling single at the time.[16] "To Be" was released as her third single from the studio album and peaked at number four on the Oricon Singles Chart.[17] The fourth single, "Boys & Girls" became Hamasaki's first single to sell over one million units in Japan and peaked at number one and started the trend on peaking at number one with the remaining of her future singles. In its first week of release on the Oricon, it ranked at number two as Ami Suzuki's "Be Together" debuted at the top spot with sales of over 300,000 copies.[18] The following week, however, it was able to top the charts.[19] Hamasaki's first maxi-single "A" peaked at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart and became her second single to exceed over one million units in Japan. The Recording Industry Association of Japan claimed that "A" is not a single but an album.[20] Featuring the album tracks "Monochrome", "Trauma", "End Roll" and "Too Late", as of today, "A" is Hamasaki's best single.[21]

Hamasaki released three limited-edition singles; "Appears", "Kanariya" and "Fly High". "Kanariya", the last single released by Hamasaki in 1990s, was the only single to have peaked at number one on the Japanese Oricon Chart, with "Appears" and "Fly High" both peaking at number two and three respectively.[22][23]

Commercial tie-ups and theme songs[edit]

"To Be", "Immature", "Trauma" and "Monochrome" were used in four commercials featuring Ayu herself for the JT Peach Water drinks. "Boys & Girls", "And then..." and "appears" were images songs in three commercials for AUBE cosmetics. "Too Late" was the musical theme for a commercial for HONDA Giorno CREA scooters. "Fly High" was used in TV ad for Lycos Japan.

Reception[edit]

Loveppears received favorable reviews from most music critics. HMV said "Eyes in Japan Ayumi Hamasaki nailed state to its exciting jacket "LOVEppears"! [...]Those songs that the 11 songs out of the total 16 songs CM tie-up, most of song that has to be heard. Lyrics of course all by an original person, I am thoroughly involved in Japanese. The Esoragoto not a reality Setsusetsu To sing in a cute voice she of the same generation girl of course, rare talent of owner that evoke."[1]

In its first week, Loveppears debuted at number one on the Oricon Albums Chart with one million units sold. The album stayed on the charts for 64 weeks, becoming Hamasaki's longest charting album on the charts. As of today, Loveppears has sold nearly three million copies and is the 39th best selling album in Japan, her second out of six albums to be best sellers.[24][2]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki. 

CD1
No. Title Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "Introduction"   HΛL HΛL 1:09
2. "Fly High"   D.A.I HΛL 4:07
3. "Trauma"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki,
D.A.I
4:17
4. "And Then"   Yasuhiko Hoshino Keisuke Kikuchi 4:14
5. "Immature" (Album Version) Kazuhito Kikuchi HΛL 4:44
6. "Boys & Girls"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki,
D.A.I
3:54
7. "To Be"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki,
D.A.I
5:18
8. "End Roll"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki,
D.A.I
4:49
9. "P.S II"   Hideaki Kuwabara Akimitsu Honma 4:48
10. "Whatever" ("Dub's 1999 Remix") Kazuhito Kikuchi Izumi "DMX" Miyazaki 7:20
11. "Too Late"   D.A.I Naoto Suzuki,
D.A.I
4:25
12. "Appears" (Album Version) Kazuhito Kikuchi HΛL 5:38
13. "Monochrome"   HΛL Naoto Suzuki,
D.A.I
4:21
14. "Interlude"   Naoto Suzuki Naoto Suzuki 0:55
15. "Love: Refrain" (reincarnation of the song Love: Destiny) Tsunku Naoto Suzuki 5:21
16. "Who..."   Kazuhito Kikuchi Naoto Suzuki 5:35
17. "Kanariya" (secret track) Yasuhiko Hoshino CPM-Marvin 3:52
CD2
No. Title Length
1. "Ayu's Euro Mega-Mix" (Y&Co. Mix) 9:48
2. "Ayu's House Mega-Mix" (N.S House Mix) 9:58
3. "A Song for ××" (Millennium Mix) 4:46
4. "Powder Snow" (Acoustic Orchestra Version) 5:03
5. "Friend II" (Make My Mad Mix) 4:31

Personnel[edit]

CD1[edit]

  1. "Introduction" - 1:09
    Keyboards: HAL
    Guitar: Naoyo Akimoto
    Programming: HAL
    Mixed by Dave Way
  2. "Fly High" – 4:06
    Keyboards: HAL
    Guitar: Naoyo Akimoto
    Programming: HAL
    Mixed by Dave Way
  3. "Trauma" – 4:17
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Jun Kajiwara
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Additional Programming: Tatsuhiko Fuyuno
    Mixed by Steve Churchyard
  4. "And Then" – 4:12
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Hidetoshi suzuki
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Additional Programming: Tatsuhiko Fuyuno
    Mixed by Dave Way
  5. "Immature [Album Version]" – 4:44
    Keyboards: HAL
    Guitar: Naoya Akimoto
    Programming: HAL
    Mixed by Dave Way
  6. "Boys & Girls" – 3:54
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Hidetoshi Suzuki
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Dave Ford
  7. "To Be" – 5:18
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Masayoshi Furukawa
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Dave Ford
  8. "End Roll" – 4:49
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Naoki Hayashibe
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Steve Churchyard
  9. "P.S II" – 4:48
    Keyboards: HAL
    Programming: HAL
    Mixed by Dave Way
  10. "Whatever" (Dub's 1999 Remix) – 7:20
    Programming: Izumi "DMX" Miyazaki
    Mixed by Izumi "DMX" Miyazaki
  11. "Too Late" – 4:24
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Hidetoshi Suzuki
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Additional Programming: Tatsuhiko Fuyuno
    Mixed by Dave Way
  12. "Appears [Album Version]" – 5:27
    Keyboards: HAL
    Guitar: Naoya Akimoto
    Programming: HAL
    Mixed by Dave Way
  13. "Monochrome" – 4:21
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Naoki Hayashibe
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Dave Way
  14. "Interlude" – 0:55
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Programming: Naoto Suzuki
    Mixed by Dave Way
  15. "Love: Refrain" – 5:20
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Naoki Hayashibe
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Dave Way
  16. "Who..." – 5:35
    Keyboards: Naoto Suzuki
    Guitar: Naoki Hayashibe
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Dave Way
  17. "Kanariya" - 3.52

CD2[edit]

  1. Ayu's Euro Mega-Mix (Y&Co. Mix) – 9:48
    Remixed by Akira "BOSS" Yokota & Tetsuya "REMOCON" Tamura
  2. Ayu's House Mega-Mix (N.S House Mix) – 9:58
    Remixed by Shoji Ueda
  3. A Song for ×× (Millennium Mix) – 4:46
    Piano: Akimitsu Honma
    Keyboards: Akimitsu Honma
    Guitar: Naoki Hayashibe
    Programming: Hiroshi Kitashiro
    Mixed by Dave Way
  4. Powder Snow (Acoustic Orchestra Version) – 5:03
    Keyboards: Akimitsu Honma
    Programming: Takahiro Iida
    Mixed by Atsushi Hattori
  5. Friend II (Make My Mad Mix) – 4:31
    Remixed by HAL

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Catalogue Number
Japan November 10, 1999 (1999-11-10) 2CD AVCD-11740
Taiwan
Hong Kong
China 2000
  • Initial pressing
CD AVTCD-95292
  • SCD-515
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
November 10, 1999 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 1,201,870 2,562,130 64
Oricon Monthly Albums Chart 1
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 15 (1999)
14 (2000)
  • Total Sales: 2,562,130 (Japan)

Singles[edit]

Date Title Peak Position Weeks Sales
1999-02-10 Whatever 5 9 weeks 189,610
1999-04-14 Love: Destiny 1 26 weeks 650,790
1999-05-12 To Be 4 15 weeks 324,500
1999-07-14 Boys & Girls 1 17 weeks 1,037,950
1999-08-11 A 1 18 weeks 1,670,000
1999-11-10 Appears (300,000 Limited Copies) 2 3 weeks 290,550
1999-12-08 Kanariya (300,000 Limited Copies) 1 6 weeks 289,200
2000-02-09 Fly High (300,000 limited Copies) 3 4 weeks 299,540
2001-02-28 Whatever (12 cm re-release) 28 3 weeks 28,430
Love: Destiny c/w Love: Since 1999 (duet with Tsunku) (12 cm re-release) 20 4 weeks 39,470
To Be (12 cm re-release) 26 3 weeks 29,070

Total Single Sales: 4,723,940

Total Album and Single Sales: 7,286,070

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b HMV review
  2. ^ a b c —歴代アルバムランキング
  3. ^ "AYUMI FEATURING DOHZI-T & DJ BASS「NOTHING FROM NOTHING」" (in Japanese). natalie. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  4. ^ True, Chris. "Ayumi Hamasaki". Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "Empress of Pop". Time. pp. Splash. Archived from the original on January 2, 2008. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  6. ^ スーパーファミコンアワー番組表8/1~8/31 ~スーパーファミコンアワー番組ガイド~. サテラビュー通信 (in Japanese) 2: 33–66. September 1995. 
  7. ^ スーパーファミコンアワー音声連動番組ガイド3/1→3/30. サテラビュー通信 (in Japanese) 10: 40–73. April 1996. 
  8. ^ Belfiore, Michael. "Ayumi Hamasaki Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved June 5, 2008. 
  9. ^ Wilce, Matt. "Big in Japan: Ayumi Hamasaki". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2008. 
  10. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Ayumi-Hamasaki-Poker-Face/master/91574
  11. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/loveppears-mw0000372208
  12. ^ Walters, Barry (March 5, 2002). "Turning (Japanese) Point". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Loveppears". Beatfreak (in Japanese) 142. November 1999. 
  14. ^ a b c d Ayumi Hamasaki, LOVEppears liner notes. November 1999.
  15. ^ a b c Ayumi Hamasaki interview. Beatfreak. November 1999. Translation in Japanese.
  16. ^ http://www.oricon.co.jp/music/release/d/46178/1/
  17. ^ http://www.oricon.co.jp/music/release/d/46184/1/
  18. ^ "Oricon Weekly Single Charts for the fourth week of July 1999" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  19. ^ "Oricon Weekly Single Charts for the first week of August 1999" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  20. ^ 年度別ミリオンセラー一覧 1999年 (in Japanese). RIAJ. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  21. ^ "Million-Selling Singles of 1999" (in Japanese). RIAJ. Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  22. ^ http://www.oricon.co.jp/music/release/d/45118/1/
  23. ^ http://www.oricon.co.jp/music/release/d/45120/1/
  24. ^ "You Can't Top This". Straits Times (Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings). Reuters. November 25, 1999.