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
I Am...
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 by Avex Trax. The album marked an evolution in Hamasaki's lyrical and musical style: Hamasaki, who wrote all the lyrics on I Am... as with her previous albums, 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. Unlike her previous albums, Hamasaki also acted as one of the composers on I Am..., composing twelve of its sixteen songs under the pen name "Crea".

Moved by the September 11, 2001 attacks, Hamasaki sought to write less introspectively than she had on previous effort Duty, and incorporate lyrics that were more for all people than simply herself. This is apparent in songs such as "Unite!" and "A Song Is Born".

I Am... was promoted with the release of eight singles, and one international single. Lead single "M" topped the charts in Japan and sold over a million copies; it also won "Song of the Year" at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. "M" is considered one of Hamasaki's signature songs, and was the first song of her career that she composed herself. Hamasaki also composed second single "Evolution"; it too peaked at number one and was a million seller. Third single "Never Ever" also found success, peaking at number one and selling over 750,000 copies. Of the next six singles, five would peak at number one, with the final single, "Daybreak", reaching number two.

I Am... experienced commercial success. It debuted atop the Oricon with first-week sales of over 1.7 million copies; it would go on to sell nearly 2.5 million copies in its 25-week chart run. Her first international release, it was successful across Asia: in Singapore, I Am... sold over 10,000 copies, unusual for a Japanese album. I Am... has sold over 8 million albums and singles worldwide.


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

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Catalogue Number
Japan January 1, 2002 (2002-01-01) CD AVCD-17037
Hong Kong
China 2002
  • Initial pressing
CD AVTCD-95550
  • SCD-598
December 25, 2005 (2005-12-25)
  • Second Press


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


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]


  1. ^ Crea is the pseudonym of Ayumi Hamasaki.


  1. ^ "Empress of Pop". Time. March 25, 2002. p. 5. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2008. 
  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.