Whatever (Ayumi Hamasaki song)

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Single by Ayumi Hamasaki
from the album Loveppears
Released February 10, 1999
February 28, 2001 (Re-release)
Format JPN CD Single
USA Digital download
Recorded 1998
Genre Dance, trance, house[1]
Length 5:31
Label Avex Trax
Writer(s) Ayumi Hamasaki (lyrics)
Kazuhito Kikuchi (music)
Producer(s) Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki singles chronology
"Depend on You"
"Love (Destiny)"
Alternative cover
Re-release cover

"Whatever" (stylized as "WHATEVER") is a song recorded by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki released as the lead single on February 10, 1999 from her second studio album Loveppears (1999). The song was written by Hamasaki herself, while Max Matsuura produced the track and Kazuhito Kikuchi handled the composition. With three versions of the song released, the single version of "Whatever" made an appearance on her 2008 greatest hits compilation album A Complete: All Singles.

Hamasaki released five singles in 1998, with each single gradually increased Hamasaki's popularity in Japan. However, music critics did not highly commend Hamasaki's musical direction. To tire the pop rock influence, "Whatever" and the rest of Loveppears transitioned towards dance music and house music. "Whatever" became Hamasaki's first single to feature an English phrase but did not conceive an English-language conversation, prominent towards songs on her 2002 studio album Rainbow.

"Whatever" received mixed reviews from most music critics. Many critics were divided towards the production values and some commended the lyrical and vocal delivery. Commercailly, the song peaked at number five on the Oricon Singles Chart, which made it her highest charting single until the follow-up single "Love (Destiny)" peaked at the top spot. An accompanying music video was shot for the single and features Hamasaki in a white baby-blue room where water falls, where she is sitting on a seat in a white suit. In the video, small intercut scenes of a boy in an angel costume is seen.


During mid-1990s, Ayumi Hamasaki had moved to Tokyo to pursue a modelling career through modelling agency SOS; they deemed her "too short" for modelling and started a small music venture through Sun Music, a musician agency.[2] She released an EP entitled Nothing from Nothing in 1995 on Nippon Columbia, but was dropped after the release failed to make an impact in Japan.[3] During her schooling years before and at Horikoshi High School, Hamasaki refused to study as she believed the subjects were at no use to her.[2] With no job or school attendance, Hamasaki spent much of her time shopping at Shibuya boutiques and dancing at Velfarre, an Avex-owned disco club.[4][2]

At Velfarre, she 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.[2] He persisted and succeeded in recruiting her for the Avex label in the following year.[2][5] Hamasaki started vocal training, but skipped most of her classes after finding her instructors to be too rigid and the classes dull.[2] 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.[2]

To start her music career, Hamasaki release "Poker Face". The song was not a major hit and failed to gain impact from the Japanese public, failing to peak inside the top ten. Then, the following single "You" perform higher than her previous but still didn't achieve success. The next singles "Trust" and "Depend on You", however, became more successful, peaking inside the top ten on Oricon and was certified gold by the RIAJ.[6][7] Her debut album A Song for xx was a huge success, selling over one million units in Japan and was certified Million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ).[8][9]


As with the rest of Loveppears, "Whatever" was produced by Japanese producer and manager Max Matsuura, with additional songwriting by Hamasaki and composition by Kazuhito Kikuchi.[10] Music arrangement was handled by Izumi Miyazaki, under the alias DMX.[10] It was recorded in three version; a single version, an album version and an alternative version which appeared on the mini-CD format of the single.[11] "Whatever" is Hamasaki's first musical transition from pop rock music to dance music.[12] When conducting the release of her first remix album Ayu-mi-x (1999), Hamasaki began moving beyond the pop-rock of A Song for ×× and began to incorporate different styles including trance, dance, and orchestra.[12] Dance music was prominent throughout her second studio album.[13] The song begins with a gentle keyboard melody, transitioning to a heavy dance beat provided by synthesizers and violin.[10]

The lyrical content includes the English word "Wow".[10] This became Hamasaki's first song to incorporate English language.[A] The language then featured on her song "Love: Since 1999" and her 2000 single "Audience".[14] However, "Love: Since 1999" was not written by Hamasaki and "Audience" also contained a singular phrase, and by using only "Wow", it does not count in using English-language conversation like she did in her 2002 album Rainbow.[15] Lyrical themes include of loneliness, chaos, confusion, and the burden of her responsibilities, aimed mostly towards her public image as an recording artist.[16] The lyrics also is directed through third person narrative; third person was a prominent feature throughout the rest of the album.[17][12]


A reviewer from Geocities.jp had awarded the parent album four stars out of five, and commended the songs "very high quality" and "innovative music." However, they did criticize Hamasaki's "thin" and "harsh" vocal delivery.[18] Morimasa from Nifty.com was positive towards the tracks "Whatever", "Love (Destiny)" and the EP single A. He commented that despite the "easily" written lyrics, he commended Hamasaki's emotional delivery in both the production and the lyrical content, favoring it as an album standout.[19] The song was among all tracks on A Complete: All Singles that were commended for its remastering quality, which was reviewed by a staff member of HMV.[20]

In Japan, the 8cm format debuted at number five on the Oricon Singles Chart and stayed in the chart for nine charting weeks.[21] The song became Hamasaki's highest charting single on Oricon, beating her 1998 single "Depend on You" which peaked at six.[22] In 2001, the re-release format charted at number twenty-eight and stayed in there for three weeks, tallying the charting weeks to twelve altogether.[23] "Whatever" was certified gold in April 1999 by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 200,000 units.[24][B] As of this date, it is her thirty-fifth and fifty-seventh best selling single in Japan, her lowest in both the Loveppears and format re-release era.[26][C]

Release and promotion[edit]

"Whatever" was released in Japan on February 10, 1999.[1] On February 28, 2001, Avex Trax decided to re-release all of Hamasaki's singles from her first two albums as standard compact discs, which included "Whatever".[23] The cover sleeve has Hamasaki in front of a blue backdrop with white clothes and wings on.[1] An alternative cover was shot for the single release but was re-issued.[27] The first pressing was released in Taiwan by Avex Trax Taiwan, making this Hamasaki's first single to be released outside of Japan.[28] In mid-1999, Avex Trax released an exclusive vinyl version, featuring an orange-tinted close-up of Hamasaki's face.[29] A standalone version was released digitally worldwide.[30]

The music video opens with the title phrase "Ayumi Hamasaki: Whatever".[31] It then it glitches to Hamasaki singing in white clothes in a room of waterfalls. Throughout the video, it features a girl with a white dread wig in an angel costume, as she walks curious in an abandoned and destroyed town, looking for any sign of life.[31] At the end, it shows Hamasaki in a similar white wig with a tear in her eye, as she is trapped in a cage with barbed wire.[31] Currently, the music video is not officially released on YouTube, but on Ayumi's official YouTube account, a small snippet of the song is featured on her profile.[31]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the singles's liner notes.[11]

Song credits[edit]

  • Ayumi Hamasaki - songwriting, vocals
  • Max Matsuura - production
  • Kazuhito Kikuchi - composer
  • Izumi Miyazaki - arrangement
  • Shigeru Kasai - design

Video and artwork credits[edit]

  • Kiyoshi Utsumi - art direction
  • Wataru Takeishi - director
  • Yoshiko Ishibashi - production manager
  • Tetsuji Nakamichi - assistant director
  • Tetsuya Kamoto - photographer
  • Koji Noguchi - lighting
  • Koji Matsumoto - stylist
  • Chu and Tamotsu - hair and make-up assistant

Track listing[edit]

  • 8cm single;
    (February 20, 1999)
  1. "Whatever" (version M) – 5:33
  2. "Whatever" (version J) – 4:30
  3. "Whatever" (version M – instrumental) – 5:33
  4. "Whatever" (version J – instrumental) – 4:30
  • Re-release 12cm single
    (February 28, 2001)
  1. "Whatever" (version M) – 5:33
  2. "Whatever" (version J) – 4:30
  3. "Whatever" (Ferry 'System F' Corsten vocal extended mix) – 6:31
  4. "Appears" (JP's SoundFactory mix) – 8:00
  5. "Immature" (D-Z Dual Lucifer mix) – 4:36
  6. "Whatever" (version M – instrumental) – 5:33
  7. "Whatever" (version J – instrumental) – 4:30

Charts, peaks and positions[edit]


  1. ^ The exclamation "Wow" is commonly used in the English-language and French-language. Technically, "Wow" is spoken and written in an English format and has been listed in the 1913 Webster Dictionary, so it proves that "Whatever" is her first song to use an English-language word.
  2. ^ The Recording Industry Association of Japan had changed their criteria in July 2003 for shipment and sales, meaning that "Gold" certifications are now 100,000 units and "Platinum" are 250,000 units. But since "Audience" was released before then, the sales shipments were 200,000 units.[25]
  3. ^ Thirty-fifth place is awarded to the original release, while the fifty-seventh place is awarded to the re-release format.


  1. ^ a b c "Ayumi Hamasaki - Whatever (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. 2001-02-28. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "Empress of Pop". Time. p. 3. Archived from the original on April 3, 2002. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ True, Chris. "Ayumi Hamasaki". Allmusic. Retrieved April 17, 2008. 
  4. ^ Shikano, Atsushi (February 20, 2001). "Interview with Ayumi Hamasaki". Rockin'on japan (in Japanese). 
  5. ^ Belfiore, Michael. "Ayumi Hamasaki Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved June 5, 2008. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "Siege Mentality". South China Morning Post (Hong Kong, China: SCMP Group). May 13, 2002. p. 1. 
  9. ^ "You Can't Top This". Straits Times (Singapore: Singapore Press Holdings). Reuters. November 25, 1999. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Ayumi Hamasaki - LOVEppears (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs.com. March 31, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2002. 
  11. ^ a b "Ayumi Hamasaki - WHATEVER (Mini CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. March 31, 2015. Retrieved February 1999.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  12. ^ a b c Walters, Barry (March 5, 2002). "Turning (Japanese) Point". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  13. ^ "HMV Review - LOVEppears by Ayumi Hamasaki". HMV. April 16, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2002. 
  14. ^ Duty (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2000. AVCD-11837. 
  15. ^ Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "Empress of Pop". Time. p. 4. Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2008. 
  16. ^ Author, Unknown (December 22, 2000). ""Review of Ayu's Year 2000 & M".". J-Point (in Japanese): 75. 
  17. ^ "Loveppears". Beatfreak (in Japanese) 142. November 1999. 
  18. ^ "Music review site Source of the Music - Ayumi Hamasaki". Geocities.jp. Published by Yahoo! Music. April 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ "love. Ayu - LOVEppears". Nifty.com. Linked through as homepage2.nifty.com. April 16, 2015. 
  20. ^ "A COMPLETE: SINGLES [3CD + DVD]". HMV.co.jp. April 16, 2015. 
  21. ^ a b "Ayumi Hamasaki - Release - ORICON MUSIC style". Oricon (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki - Release - ORICON MUSIC style". Oricon (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on June 9, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b c "Ayumi Hamasaki - Release - ORICON MUSIC style". Oricon (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "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. 
  25. ^ "The Record - August 2003 - Page 15" (PDF) (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki single sales ranking" 浜崎あゆみ売上ランキング シングル売上ランキング. Oricon. April 2, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki Gallery - Unreleased artwork". ayumi.primenova.com. March 2006. Retrieved 2015-04-16. 
  28. ^ Whatever (CD single). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 1999. AVJSG40010. 
  29. ^ Whatever (Vinyl). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 1999. AVJT-2365. 
  30. ^ "iTunes - Music - Ayumi Hamasaki". Phobos.apple.com. 1978-10-02. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  31. ^ a b c d ayu (2010-07-09). "浜崎あゆみ / WHATEVER". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 

External links[edit]