Next Level (Ayumi Hamasaki album)

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Next Level
A picture of a woman wearing a latex costume, surrounded by colorful props and walls.
Standard CD and digital cover
Studio album by Ayumi Hamasaki
Released March 25, 2009
Recorded 2009
Genre Electronic music
Length 51:45
Language Japanese
Label Avex Trax
Producer Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki chronology
A Complete: All Singles
(2008)A Complete: All Singles2008
Next Level
(2009)
Rock 'n' Roll Circus
(2010)Rock 'n' Roll Circus2010
Singles from Feel
  1. "Days"/"Green"
    Released: December 17, 2008
  2. "Rule"/"Sparkle"
    Released: February 25, 2009

Next Level (stylized as NEXT LEVEL) is the tenth studio album by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki. It was released through Avex Trax on March 25, 2009 in five physical formats, and for digital consumption. The album was solely produced by Avex Trax owner Max Matsuura, whereas the album's content were written by Hamasaki herself. Additionally, it marks a return for several composers that helped construct her previous records, including Dai Nagao, CMJK, Kazuhiro Hara, HΛL, amongst others. Stylistically, Next Level is a departure from her previous albums, focusing on electronic music with elements of rock and dance.

Next Level received generally favorable reviews from music critics. Majority of the reviews praised Hamasaki's new direction, and praised the production of most of the tracks. However, minor criticism was aimed towards the lyrics and its themes. Commercially, the album was a success in Japan, peaking at number one on the Oricon Albums Chart and Billboard Hot Albums Sales Chart. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 500,000 units, and sold over 380,000 copies in total. The album experienced success in other Asian territories, charting in Taiwan respectively.

In order to promote the album, Hamasaki released two A-side singles. "Days" and "Green" premiered on December 18, 2008 to commercial success in Japan. The following year, she released "Rule" and "Sparkle", which experienced strong sales in the region as well. Two album inclusions—the title track and "Curtain Call"—both received music videos, and managed to chart on the Japan Hot 100. Furthermore, Hamasaki promoted the album's material on her 2009 Next Level tour, which included dates throughout Japan; a live DVD with the same name was distributed the following year.

Background and production[edit]

"The "Next Level" is not an aim, or a destination, but is always what you are, right now."

—Ayumi Hamasaki commenting about the foundation of Next Level.[1]

In 2008, Hamasaki commemorated her 10th career anniversary by promoting two projects: the first was her career retrospect compilation, A Complete: All Singles.[2] Not long after, she conducted her first concert tour outside of Japan, holding shows in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.[3] While she was on tour, Hamasaki begun writing songs for her upcoming studio album. After the tour was complete, she spent most of her time composing various demos in Hawaii, alongside various musicians and composers including Dai Nagao, CMJK, Kazuhiro Hara, HΛL, amongst others. This marks a return for these collaborators, having composed majority of her work on previous albums.[4] Recording sessions for Next Level started once Hamasaki return to Japan, having been assisted by John Paterno, Satoshi Sasamoto, Yuichi Nagayama, and frequent collaborator Koji Morimoto.[4] The content was recorded at Avex Studios, Prime Sound Studios, LAB Recordings, and Azabu Studios in Shibuya, Tokyo; Hamasaki had also stayed in London, England to record vocals with Dom Morley and Phill Brown.[4] According to the singer, most of the songs were completed in one-to-two takes; she told an interviewer from ViVi Magazine that "I used to have a bad habit of recording my songs before totally memorizing the lyrics and melodies... But this time, a lot of tracks were successfully recorded after only two attempts!"[5] After the album's material was complete, it was mastered by Shigeo Miyamoto.[4] Additionally, the album was solely produced by Avex Trax owner Max Matsuura, becoming their 10th studio collaboration since her debut.[6]

Composition and music[edit]

All the lyrics on Next Level were written by Hamasaki herself.[4] Her intentions for the record was to write about "current issues" rather than anything from the past, which would have found to "lose sensibilities of hopes and wishes...".[5] Moreover, a writer from the Japanese magazine ViVi believed the titling of Next Level reflected the major theme of the album, which is determination and the "stepping stones" of building a better "future".[5] She admitted to S Cawaii magazine that these concepts had been on her mind since her debut, but never got around to creating an album inspired by the theme. Additionally, she also viewed the theme as her ability in "not stopping" as a musician.[1] Stylistically, Next Level was noted by music critics as a departure from her previous records. Adam Greenberg from AllMusic felt the album took an "interesting line" from her previous releases, describing its sound as a "thick, somewhat wild release of dance tracks infused with a healthy dose of technology."[7] However, Japanese magazine CD Journal felt the album was divided by "aggressive" and "chaotic" dance tracks, and "hard edge rock" music.[8]

It opens with two club-driven tracks: an interlude titled "Bridge to the Sky", and the promotional titular song.[8] "Disco-munication" is the second interlude on the album, blending "sophisticated" electric guitars with electronic music.[8] "Energize" is another electronic track, and is one of the only numbers on the album that include English phases ("Put your hands up together, keep your heads up forever, let me sing forever,").[8][4] The fifth track "Sparkle" was noted as a club song with an electronic arrangement, similar to the follow-up song "Rollin'". Both tracks feature autotune and vocoder pro-tools, a first for Hamasaki.[8][9] The album's sixth track, "Green", shows a departure from the album's earlier electronic style; it focuses more on older traditional Japanese sound, alongside instrumentation of electric guitars and drums.[10] The album's third interlude, "Load of the Shugyo", was described as an "atmospheric" number with heavy rock instruments in its composition.[8] Rock music is then influenced on the following tracks "Identity"—a song that discusses about self-confidence—the single "Rule", and the tune "Love 'n' Hate", which talks about the effects of lust.[8] The album's fourth and final interlude "Pieces of Seven" was noted for its "atmospheric" sounds of an ocean, until the second half of the track diverges into a harder rock style.[8] "Days" is the album's first pop ballad, and is described as a love song.[10] It closes with the ballad "Curtain Call", which features a choir and piano riffs throughout its composition.[4]

Release[edit]

The USB flash drive of Next Level, which was custom-designed by Hamasaki herself.[11]

Next Level was released through Avex Trax on March 25, 2009 in five physical formats, and for digital consumption.[4][12] The first three formats—a standard compact disc, a CD and DVD bundle, and double CD and DVD edition—includes the 13-tracks on the first disc. The CD and DVD bundle features the visuals and making-of-videos of "Days", "Green", "Rule", "Sparkle", "Next Level" and "Curtain Call".[13][14] The double CD edition, which also came with the DVD, came with a second disc, including 16 live tracks that were performed on her annual Premium Countdown show that happened on New Years Eve in 2008.[14] A special USB flash drive was custom designed by Hamasaki, featuring all the album's content alongside a PDF-file of the album's booklet, and an extra file space of 2-gigabyte. The release of the USB made Hamasaki the first Asian artist, and one of the world's first artists to publish their album on that format.[11] Hamasaki explained about the USB release; "As the way we listen to music changes from day to day, I looked at things from the listener's perspective and decided to sell it this way."[15] A special Playbutton set was released two years later in Japan only, featuring all 13 songs.[16]

First-press versions came with coloured jewelcases; the standard CD was printed in green, the double album and DVD featured a blue colour, and the CD and DVD bundle were printed in a pink tone.[4][13][14] The album's photography was taken by Kazuyoshi Shimomura, which featured Hamasaki in a bright room filled with technicolor props and objects; the singer wears a bright latex outfit.[4] Because Hamasaki believed the album focused on lighter themes, she wanted to envision the entire album as somewhat "bright", which resulted in the shootings with Shimomura.[5] The booklet and photo shoot were designed by Tomokazu Suzuki, and the design was based on modern technology.[4]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[7]
CD Journal (positive)[8]
Hot Express (positive)[17]

Next Level received positive reviews from music critics. Adam Greenberg from AllMusic awarded the album with three-and-a-half stars out of five, praising the record's dance and electronic styles. He said that "As it progresses, the beats and rhythm tracks begin to take over, placing Hamasaki herself into a much deeper, thicker set of sounds custom-built to emphasize her stronger points and combine for an outstanding dance set." He concluded that Hamasaki continues to "evolve" her music, and exemplified the "experimentation" of Next Level as one of her strongest releases.[7] A review from Japanese magazine CD Journal complimented the album's rock tones, and said the result was more convincing than before. The review also praised Hamasaki's vocals on several songs, and commended the record's production style.[8] Despite his questions regarding the album's themes and songwriting, Tetsuo Hiraga from Hot Express contrasted the album's "hope[ful]" appeal to her previous records, which all dealt with "loneliness". This was particularly commended by Hiraga, who felt it was a lot more "encouraging" than anything she had done before.[17]

Commercially, the album was a success in Asia. Next Level debuted at number one on the daily and weekly Oricon Albums Chart in Japan, opening with 240,810 copies.[18][19] This became Hamasaki's ninth number one studio album, and also became the highest first-week sales for a solo female artist that year.[20] It descended to number two on the weekly chart for a second run, shifting 50,271 units.[21] In total, Next Level lasted four weeks in the top ten, and stay in the top 300 chart for 30 weeks.[20] Additionally, it was ranked the 16th best-selling album of 2009 with 377,872 copies sold in Japan.[22] Next Level entered the Billboard Top Albums Sales Chart at the top spot, her third album to do so.[23] It slipped to number two in its second charting week, and stayed in the top ten for four weeks.[24][25] It lasted 11 weeks in the top 100 chart, with a final charting position at 76.[26] Next Level was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 500,000 units.[27] To date, Feel has sold 379,989 copies in Japan alone.[28]

Singles[edit]

Next Level spawned two physical singles and two promotional recordings. "Days" and "Green" were released as the first two A-side singles off the album, distributed on December 18, 2008 in Japan.[29] Additionally, the singles were promoted through her 10th career anniversary, which resulted in her adding a re-recording of her 1998 single "To Be" into the track list.[29] The singles were a commercial success, debuting at the top of the Oricon Singles Chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 100,000 physical units.[30] A single music video for both songs were released on YouTube.[31][32] The second set of A-side singles were "Rule" and "Sparkle", which were both released together on February 25, 2009.[33] Like the first singles, "Rule" and "Sparkle" were commercial successes in Japan, debuting at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart, and was certified gold by RIAJ.[34] Music videos for the two tracks were released on YouTube, and the physical editions of the single.[31][35][36]

Individually, each track experienced success in sales in the region. While "Green" sold over 100,000 digital copies, "Days" shifted more than 750,000 digital units in both digital and ringtone formats.[37][38] Moreover, "Rule" was certified Platinum for digital sales of 250,000 copies in January 2014.[39] Two other album tracks were released as promotional recordings: the titular song and "Curtain Call". The former track reached number 89 on the Japan Hot 100 chart, published by Billboard.[40] Additionally, it appeared on the RIAJ Monthly Ringtones charts at number 16, and also peaked at number 23 on the RIAJ Digital Track Chart.[41][42] A music video premiered on her YouTube channel, and also appeared on physical editions of the album.[43] The song was certified Gold in November 2016 for digital sales of 100,000 copies.[44] Lastly, "Curtain Call" reached number 89 on the Digital Track Chart, and a visual appeared on her YouTube channel.[41][45]

Promotion and live performances[edit]

Throughout the album's campaign, Hamasaki promoted several songs through various products and advertisements. "Days" was used as the theme song for NTT Communications in Japan, whereas "Green" promoted the Panasonic Lumix FX-37 digital camera, and Avex Group's Mu-mo services.[46] Moreover, "Rule" was used as the official theme song to the Japanese release of the film Dragonball Evolution, and for Mu-mo. "Sparkle" was added as the commercial tune for Honda's Zest Spark line.[47] After the album was release, the title track and "Curtain Call" were promoted alongside two products; "Next Level" was used as the commercial tie-in for Panasonic's Lumix FX-40 model camera, and the latter contributed for the commercial of Music.Jp.[8]

Hamasai announced her Next Level tour in May 2009.[1] The dates were confirmed via a flyer given out with the purchases of Next Level, enclosed in the album's booklet.[4] A total of 32 shows in different cities were scheduled in Japan, spanning from August 11 at the Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, and finishing on August 22 at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo.[48] A live album and DVD were recorded at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, featuring a total of 25 songs, spanning across two discs. A bonus disc included footage of interlude movies, and break moments between each songs.[48] Titled Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A: Next Level, the formats were a success in Japan; it reached number two on the Oricon DVD chart, and was ranked at number 17 and 35 on the Oricon Music DVD chart, and overall DVD chart of the year.[49][50]

Legal issues[edit]

On May 21, 2009, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department were investigating a publicity event held in April for the album. According to their officials, Hamasaki made unexpected appearances in Shibuya to promote the release of her new book and Next Level, but failed to obtain the necessary permits for the event.[51] The event happened on April 7, in front of the 109 Building in Shibuya.[51] Approximately 8,000 people gathered to see Hamasaki, resulting in temporarily blocked roads. Before her appearance at 109, she also paid unexpected visits to record stores, going from store to store by car while fans followed her on foot, which led to chaotic conditions in the streets.[51] Because of this, buses and other modes of transport were subjected to traffic delays.[51] Because a permit was never obtained, authorities stated they plan to send the matter to the prosecutor's office for Hamasaki and her manager to be questioned.[52]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki.

CD / digital download[4][12]
No. Title Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "Bridge to the Sky" Yuta Nakano Nakano 1:43
2. "Next Level" D.A.I HΛL 4:30
3. "Disco-munication" (instrumental) CMJK CMJK 1:32
4. "Energize" Nakano CMJK 4:31
5. "Sparkle" Kazuhiro Hara CMJK 4:30
6. "Rollin'" Nakano CMJK 5:04
7. "Green" Tetsuya Yukumi Tasuku 4:49
8. "Load of the Shugyo" (instrumental) CMJK CMJK 1:32
9. "Identity" Nakano Nakano 4:19
10. "Rule" Miki Watanabe HΛL 4:06
11. "Love 'n' Hate" Nakano Nakano 3:51
12. "Pieces of Seven" (instrumental) HΛL HΛL 2:31
13. "Days" Kunio Tago HΛL 5:03
14. "Curtain Call" Hara Nakano 3:44

Formats[edit]

  • Standard CD — 13 songs on one disc.[4]
  • Digital download — 13 songs made available on digital stores.[12]
  • CD and DVD — 13 songs on one disc, and a second disc including 12 visuals; six music videos, and six making-of videos.[13]
  • Double CD and DVD — 13 songs on one disc, and 16 live songs recorded from her Premium Countdown 2008–2009 concert tour. A third disc includes 12 visuals; six music videos, and six making-of videos.[14]
  • USB flash drive — 13 songs on a USB flash drive, loaded as a MP3 file. It includes 12 visuals; six music videos, and six making-of videos, alongside a PDF file of the album's booklet. The USB also includes an extra 2GB of free space.[11]
  • Playbutton — 13 songs on a Playbutton device, which requires earphones to connect to the music.[16]

Through Japanese retail store CD Japan, a lucky draw was hosted for 202 random customers. Special winners would win different products such as pillows, travel pouch, leisure seat, pass case, large posters and tissue boxes. Winners were announced randomly and would be awarded different prizes.[53]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Next Level.[4]

  • Ayumi Hamasaki – lead vocals, background vocals, song writing
  • Max Matsuura – producer
  • CMJK – composer, arranger, mixing
  • Yuta Nakano – composer, arranger
  • Tetsuya Yukumi – composer
  • Dai Nagao – composer
  • Takehito Shimizu – guitar
  • Tasuku – arranger, guitar, programming
  • Kazuhiro Hara – composer
  • Hana Nishimura – composer
  • Hal – arranger, mixing, composer
  • Hikari – arranger
  • Sharlotte Gibson – background vocals
  • Stephanie Alexandra – background vocals
  • Miki Watanabe – composer
  • Fumiko Ishimori – background vocals
  • Hiroko Nohara – background vocals
  • Katsura Ohtsuka – background vocals
  • Silica Nakajima – background vocals
  • Kiku – guitar
  • Chiharu Mikizuki – bass guitar
  • Tom Tamada – drums
  • Josh Freese – drums (on "Identity")
  • Junko Kitasaka – bass guitar
  • Junko Hirotani – backing vocals
  • Kenji Suzuki – guitar
  • Gen Ittetsu – string arrangements
  • Mayuko Maruyama – programmer
  • Hidetomo Yoneda – A&R
  • Takuma Noriage – art director
  • Josh Gudwin – engineer
  • Ryan Kennedy – engineer
  • Seiji Itabashi – engineer
  • Shigeo Miyamoto – mastered by
  • Koji Morimoto – mixing, recorded by
  • Yuichi Nagayama – mixing, recorded by
  • Yuta Nakano – mixing
  • Kazuyoshi Shimomura – photography
  • Masayuki Kamo – assistant photography
  • John Paterno – recorded by
  • Satoshi Sasamoto – recorded by
  • Yuichi Nagayama – recorded by
  • Avex Trax – Hamasaki's record label
  • Avex Entertainment Inc. – Hamasaki's distribution label
  • S.M. Entertainment – Hamasaki's distribution label

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Japan (RIAJ) 2× Platinum[27] 379,989[28]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Japan[4][12][13][14][11][16] March 25, 2009
Avex Trax
United States[54] Digital download Avex Entertainment
Australia[55]
New Zealand[56]
Canada[57]
United Kingdom[58]
Germany[59]
Ireland[60]
France[61]
Spain[62]
Taiwan[63][64] March 27, 2009 2CD and DVD Avex Taiwan
South Korea[65] CD and DVD SM Entertainment
Hong Kong[66][67] April 3, 2009
  • CD and DVD
  • 2CD and DVD
Avex Taiwan

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Life Emotion: Hamasaki Ayumi, On to the Next Level". S Cawaii Magazine: 25–28. May 2009. 
  2. ^ A Complete: All Singles (CD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2008. AVCD-23676~8. 
  3. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki Asia Tour 2008 (10th Anniversary) Live in Taipei (Live DVD). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AVBD-91592. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Next Level (CD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-23859. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Ayu in Hawaii". ViVi Magazine: 5–11. May 2009. 
  6. ^ A Song for xx (CD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 1999. AVCD-11691. 
  7. ^ a b c Greenberg, Adam (March 25, 2009). "Next Level – Ayumi Hamasaki". AllMusic. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Hamasaki Ayumi / Next Level [2CD + DVD]". CD Journal (in Japanese). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  9. ^ Saito, Takuro (February 25, 2009). "Review list of Rule / Sparkle by Ayumi Hamasaki" (in Japanese). Hot Express. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  10. ^ a b Hiraga, Tetsuo (December 18, 2009). "Review list of Days / Green by Ayumi Hamasaki" (in Japanese). Hot Express. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  11. ^ a b c d Next Level (USB Flash Drive Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-23860. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on iTunes" (in Japanese). iTunes Store. March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Next Level (CD and DVD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-23858/B. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Next Level (CD and DVD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-23857/B. 
  15. ^ "Ayu takes digital music to the "Next Level"". Toyko Graph. February 13, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  16. ^ a b c Next Level (Playbutton Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AQZD-50677. 
  17. ^ a b Hiraga, Tetsuo (March 25, 2009). "Review list of Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki" (in Japanese). Hot Express. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  18. ^ a b "TVXQ's Secret Code on Oricon Charts". AllKPop.com. March 25, 2009. Archived from the original on December 11, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b "Oricon Weekly CD Album Rankings" (in Japanese). Oricon News. April 6, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "Next Level – Ayumi Hamasaki" (in Japanese). Oricon news. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
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  22. ^ a b "Oricon Yearly CD Album Rankings" (in Japanese). Oricon News. December 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  23. ^ a b "Japan Billboard Top Albums Sales Chart". Billboard (in Japanese). April 6, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Japan Billboard Top Albums Sales Chart". Billboard (in Japanese). April 13, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  25. ^ "Japan Billboard Top Albums Sales Chart". Billboard (in Japanese). April 20, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  26. ^ "Japan Billboard Top Albums Sales Chart". Billboard (in Japanese). June 15, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  27. ^ a b "ゴールドディスク認定" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). March 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  28. ^ a b "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" [Oricon Ranking Information Service 'You Big Tree'] (in Japanese). Oricon News. Retrieved May 21, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  29. ^ a b Days/Green (CD single). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2008. AVCD-31583. 
  30. ^ "ゴールドディスク認定" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). November 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  31. ^ a b "Days / 浜崎あゆみ". YouTube. November 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  32. ^ "Green / 浜崎あゆみ". YouTube. November 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  33. ^ Rule/Sparkle (CD single). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-31607. 
  34. ^ "ゴールドディスク認定" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). March 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  35. ^ "Rule / 浜崎あゆみ". YouTube. November 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  36. ^ "Sparkle / 浜崎あゆみ". YouTube. November 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  37. ^ "ゴールドディスク認定 (Digital sales)" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). October 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  38. ^ "ゴールドディスク認定 (Digital sales)" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). March 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  39. ^ "ゴールドディスク認定 (Digital sales)" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). January 2014. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  40. ^ "Japan Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. April 6, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  41. ^ a b "レコード協会調べ 2月度有料音楽配信チャート(「着うた(R)」)" [Record Association report: February paid digital music chart (ringtones)] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. March 20, 2009. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  42. ^ "レコード協会調べ 2009年04月01日~2009年04月07日 <略称:レコ協チャート(「着うたフル(R)」)>" [Record Association report: 2009.04.01~2009.04.07 <abb. Reco-kyō Chart 'Chaku-uta Full'>] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. April 10, 2009. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Next Level / 浜崎あゆみ". YouTube. November 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  44. ^ "ゴールドディスク認定 (Digital sales)" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). November 2016. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  45. ^ "Curtain Call / 浜崎あゆみ". YouTube. November 10, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  46. ^ "Hamasaki Ayumi / Days/Green [CD]". CD Journal (in Japanese). December 18, 2008. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  47. ^ "Hamasaki Ayumi / Rule/Sparkle [CD]". CD Journal (in Japanese). February 25, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  48. ^ a b Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A: Next Level (Live DVD). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2010. AVBD-91786. 
  49. ^ "Oricon Yearly Music DVD Chart" (in Japanese). Oricon News. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  50. ^ "Oricon Yearly Overall DVD Chart" (in Japanese). Oricon News. Retrieved January 8, 2018. 
  51. ^ a b c d Toonleap (June 10, 2009). "Ayumi Hamasaki is in trouble with the police!". Cartoon Leap. Archived from the original on May 13, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  52. ^ Daily JP Staff (June 10, 2009). "Ayu also listening? The event was unauthorized ..." Daily JP. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2016. 
  53. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki "Next Level" Lucky Drawing!" (in Japanese). CD Japan. March 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  54. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (United States). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  55. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (Australia). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  56. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (New Zealand). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  57. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (Canada). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  58. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (United Kingdom). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  59. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (Germany). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  60. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (Ireland). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  61. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (France). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  62. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (Spain). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  63. ^ "Next Level by Ayumi Hamasaki on Apple Music". iTunes Store (Taiwan). March 25, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2018. 
  64. ^ Next Level (2CD and DVD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Taiwan. 2009. AVJCD10380/B. 
  65. ^ Next Level (CD and DVD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. SM Entertainment. 2009. SMJTCD299/B. 
  66. ^ Next Level (CD and DVD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AAJCD20041D. 
  67. ^ Next Level (2CD and DVD Album). Hamasaki, Ayumi. Avex Trax. 2009. AAJCD20039/0D. 

External links[edit]