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Seasons (Ayumi Hamasaki song)

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"Seasons"
A picture of Ayumi Hamasaki, holding a polaroid image of her single artwork for "Far Away".
Single by Ayumi Hamasaki
from the album Duty
Released June 7, 2000
Format
Recorded 2000
Genre J-pop
Length 4:21
Label Avex Trax
Writer(s) Ayumi Hamasaki
Producer(s) Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki singles chronology
"Far Away"
(2000)
"Seasons"
(2000)
"Surreal"
(2000)

"Seasons" (capitalized as "SEASONS") is a song recorded by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki for her third studio album, Duty (2000). It was written by Hamasaki, while production was handled by Max Matsuura. It premiered on June 7, 2000 as the third single from the album. The song is the final part of a trilogy from Duty; the other two singles being "Vogue" and "Far Away".

Musically, "Season" is a Japanese pop song. The lyrics highlights theme of the hopelessness, describing Hamasaki's future. Upon its release, the track garnered rave reviews from music critics, who praised Hamasaki's songwriting, the songs composition and selected it as an album and career stand out track. It also achieved success in Japan, peaking at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart and on the TBS Count Down TV chart. "Seasons" has sold over 1.367 million units in Japan, making it Hamasaki's best selling single.

The accompanying music video for "Seasons" was directed by Wataru Takeishi, and leads on from the videos of "Vogue" and "Far Away"; it features Hamasaki in a black gown in the middle of a post-apocalypse city. Both the music video and the song has appeared on several compilations by Hamasaki, including A Best (2001) and A Complete: All Singles (2008). For additional promotion, the song was featured on several concert tours by Hamasaki.

Background and release[edit]

"Seasons"" was recorded in 2000 at Nowadays Studios and Prime Sound Studios in Tokyo, Japan.[2] As part of the trilogy set with "Vogue" and "Far Away", "Seasons" highlights theme of hopelessness and predicts Hamasaki's future. With this, "Vogue" details Hamasaki's presence, whilst "Far Away" discusses her past.[3][4] Based on her song writing, she described her feelings after the writing all the tracks from Duty as "unnatural" and was constantly "nervous" for the final result.[5] A staff reviewer from Amazon Japan noticed that the trilogy set had a "healing effect" that was absent on Hamasaki's two previous studio albums.[6]

"Seasons" was written by Hamasaki, while production was handled by Japanese businessman and musician Max Matsuura.[2] The song was composed by long-term collaborators Dai Nagao, whilst arrangement was handled by Naoto Suzuki.[2] For the track's instrumentation, Suzuki played the keyboards, Naoki Hayashibe played the guitar, Takahiro Iida programmed and mixed the final composition, and Junko Hirotani provided background vocals.[2]

It was selected as the second single from Duty, and was released on June 7, 2000 by Avex Trax. The maxi CD of the single contains the original composition and its instrumental version, plus nine remixes.[7] As a single from the Duty trilogy, which included Hamasaki's singles "Vogue" and "Far Away", the singles were released as a DVD single and VHS. It included the three mini-music videos, alongside the making-of videos and a TV commercial.[8][9] The CD and digital cover sleeve have an image of Hamasaki holding a polaroid of the cover artwork for "Far Away". The song's title, "Seasons", is present on cover. The standalone CD cover was used as the digital EP cover for the iTunes Store and Amazon.com.[10]

Critical response[edit]

"Seasons" received favourable reviews from music critics. Alexey Eremenko, who had written her extended biography at AllMusic, highlighted the song as an album and career stand out track.[11] Morimosa from Nifty.com complimented Hamasaki's songwriting in the song.[3] A staff reviewer from Yahoo! GeoCities was positive towards the song, and selected it as one of the best tracks from the album.[12] Hamasaki hosted an online voting poll for fans to choose their favourite tracks to be featured on her Ayumi Hamasaki 15th Anniversary Tour Best Live Tour. As a result, "Seasons" was included on the list.[13] In early 2014, in honor of Hamasaki's sixteenth-year career milestone, Japanese website Goo.ne.jp hosted a poll for fans to rank their favourite songs by Hamasaki out of thirty positions; the poll was held in only twenty-four hours, and thousands submitted their votes.[1] As a result, "Seasons" was ranked at the top spot.[1] According to their separate review, the website commented on its win; "'Seasons' was an instant classic... Fans cite the song's heartfelt and resonating lyrics as some of her best."[1]

Commercial performance[edit]

In Japan, "Seasons" was a success on the Oricon Singles Chart. It debuted at the top spot of the chart, lasted for 21 weeks on the chart, and sold 1.367 million units by the end of 2000.[14][15] This is Hamasaki's best selling single; as of today, the song is Hamasaki's second best selling single according to Oricon Style.[16][A] The DVD single, released under the title of Vogue/Far Away/Seasons reached number one on the Oricon DVD Chart, spending seventeen weeks in the top fifty.[17] It is Hamasaki's second best selling DVD single, and her eighth best seller overall.[18] "Seasons" was certified million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of one million units.[19] In August 2014, the song was certified gold by RIAJ for digital sales of 100,000 units.[20] The single entered at number one on Japan's TBS Count Down TV Chart;[21] it stayed there for two consecutive weeks, and lasted 21 weeks in the chart.[21] It was placed at number seven on their Annual Count Down TV chart in 2000.[22]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video was directed by Wataru Takeishi.[23] Because the music video was part of the trilogy set with "Vogue" and "Far Away", only a portion of the song was shot for the video. As a result, the video for "Seasons" lasts for two minutes and 27 seconds.[23][24][25] Two outtake shots from the "Vogue" video were then used for the artworks of "Far Away" and "Seasons".[26][27] The music video was included on the DVD and VHS formats of "Seasons".[8][9] The music video also appeared on Hamasaki's DVD compilation box sets: A Clips Vol.2 (2002),[28] Complete Clip Box (2004),[29] A Clip Box 1998–2011 (2011),[30] and the bonus DVD version with A Complete: All Singles.[31]

Synopsis[edit]

The video opens with a cover of a photo album, superimposed with a scene of two children from the videos of "Vogue" and "Far Away". It then has a blurry image of Hamasaki in the post-apocalyptic city, which has now left behind a series of hills. As Hamasaki walks towards the camera, the photo album opens with the city before its destruction. Hamasaki stands in the middle of a grainy surface, with projectile flames coming from underneath the ground. As she sings, scenes from the "Vogue" and "Far Away" videos appear in the photo album. She walks through the hill surface, finding the photo album the two children left behind. She opens the book, and witnesses the "Vogue" video. The final scene has Hamasaki close the book, which its back cover is a title-less shot of the artwork to "Vogue".[23]

Live performances and other appearances[edit]

"Seasons" was included on several concert tours by Hamasaki, including her 2008 10th Anniversary Tour in Asia.

Hamasaki has performed "Seasons" on several concert tours throughout Asia. The song was performed on Hamasaki's 2000 concert in Japan, where it was included during the first segment. It was included on the live DVD, released on September 27, 2000.[32] It was performed on her 2000-2001 New Years countdown concert tour, where it was included during the last segment. It was included on the live DVD, released on June 20, 2001.[33] It was performed on her Dome Tour (2001), where it was included during the last segment. It was included on the live DVD, released on December 12, 2001.[34] It was performed on her Stadium tour (2002), where it was included as an encore track. It was included on the live DVD, released on January 29, 2003.[35]

It was performed on her A Museum tour (2004), where it was included as an encore track. It was included on the live DVD, released on February 25, 2004.[36] It was performed on her Tours of Secret concert tour (2007), where it was included as an encore track. It was included on the live DVD, released on March 12, 2008.[37] The song was performed on her Power of Music tour (2011) in Japan, where it was included in the trilogy segment with "Vogue" and "Far Away". It was included on the live DVD, released on March 21, 2012.[38] The song was performed on her 15th Anniversary tour (2013) in Japan, where it was included in the trilogy segment with "Vogue" and "Far Away". It was included on the live DVD, released on October 30, 2013.[39] The song has been included on three of her greatest hits compilations: A Best (2002),[40] A Complete: All Singles (2008),[41] and A Summer Best (2012).[42] The 2000 vol. 2 live performance was included on Hamasaki's live DVD compilation, A 50 Singles: Live Selection (2011), and the DVD edition of A Summer Best.[43][42]

"Seasons" has been remixed by several professional disc jockeys and producers, and has appeared on several remix albums by Hamasaki: the Hex Hector and Bump and Flex remix on ayu-mi-x III Non-Stop Mega Mix Version (2001) and Ayu-mi-x 4 + Selection Non-Stop Mega Mix Version (2002),[44] the A Eurobeat remix on Super Eurobeat Presents Ayu-ro Mix 2 (2001),[45] and the John O'Callaghan (musician) remix on Ayu-mi-x 7 Presents Ayu Trance 4 (2011).[46] The orchestral acoustic remix, and its instrumental version, was included on her third orchestral remix album, ayu-mi-x III Acoustic Orchestra Version (2001).[47]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the singles liner notes:[7]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Japan[7][8][9] June 7, 2000
Japan[10] 2008[C] Digital download Avex Entertainment Inc.
United States[52]
Australia[53]
New Zealand[54]
Canada[55]
United Kingdom[56]
Germany[57]
Ireland[58]
France[59]
Spain[60]
Taiwan[61]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to Hamasaki's profile on Oricon Style, her 1999 EP A is listed as her best selling single; "Seasons" is listed at second. However, because the single includes four original tracks, with an additional eight remixes, it is generally deemed an extended play. As a result, "Seasons", which is a sole single track from the maxi CD, is Hamasaki's best selling recognized single.[16][15]
  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 "Far Away" was released before then, the sales shipments were 200,000 units.[50]
  3. ^ There is currently insufficient evidence to determine what date Hamasaki's digital releases appeared on online retails. The closest source for iTunes Store evidence is at Jame World, whom confirmed Hamasaki's work was released worldwide on iTunes in September 2008.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Aramajapan Staff (2014). "What are Ayumi Hamasai's most popular songs?". goo.ne.jp; published by Aramajapan.com. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Duty (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-11837. 
  3. ^ a b Morimosa (September 27, 2000). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Duty". Nifty.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ Author, Unknown (December 22, 2000). ""Review of Ayu's Year 2000 & M".". J-Point (in Japanese): 75. 
  5. ^ Tsuriya, Takako (May 2008). "Ayu 10th Year Career Anniversary". Cawaii (in Japanese): 15, 18. 
  6. ^ Amazon Japan Staff (September 27, 2000). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Duty". Amazon Japan. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Seasons (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-30119. 
  8. ^ a b c Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Vogue/Far Away/Seasons (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVVD-91035. 
  9. ^ a b c Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Vogue/Far Away/Seasons (VHS). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVVD-90082. 
  10. ^ a b c "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Japan). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ Eremenko, Alexey (2013). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Songs, Highlights, Awards and Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ Yahoo! Geocites Staff (September 27, 2000). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Duty". Yahoo! GeoCities; powered by Yahoo! Music. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ Avex Trax Staff (March 14, 2015). "Ayumi Hamasaki 15th Anniversary Tour A Best Live". Ayumi Hamasaki's website. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c 浜崎あゆみのリリース一覧 [List of Ayumi Hamasaki's Releases]. Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c "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']. Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved May 21, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  16. ^ a b "Ayumi Hamasaki CD Ranking Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki – Vogue/Far Away/Seasons DVD – Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on April 29, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki DVD Ranking Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年6月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. June 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan. 489: 8. August 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b レコード協会調べ 7月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: July Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date for Seasons by Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. June 17, 2000. Archived from the original on June 20, 2006. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  22. ^ a b "CDTV PowerWeb:! 2000 Annual List". Count Down TV. TBS. Archived from the original on September 16, 2006. 
  23. ^ a b c Avex (June 30, 2015). "Seasons / 浜崎あゆみ". Avex Trax; published through YouTube. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  24. ^ Avex (June 30, 2015). "Vogue / 浜崎あゆみ". Avex Trax; published through YouTube. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  25. ^ Avex (June 30, 2015). "Far Away / 浜崎あゆみ". Avex Trax; published through YouTube. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  26. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Far Away (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-30118. 
  27. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Vogue (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-30108. 
  28. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2002). A Clips Vol.2 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVVD-90144. 
  29. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2004). Complete Clip Box Set (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVVD-90144. 
  30. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2011). A Clip Box 1998–2011 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVBD-91910~5. 
  31. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2008). A Complete: All Singles (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-23673~5/B. 
  32. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 Vol. 2 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91020. 
  33. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2000-2001 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. 
  34. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Ayumi Hamasaki Dome Tour 2001 A (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. 
  35. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2003). Ayumi Hamasaki Stadium Tour 2002 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. 
  36. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2004). A Museum: 30th Single Tour (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. 
  37. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2008). Asia Tour: Tours of Secret 2007 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91536~7. 
  38. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2012). Ayumi Hamasaki Power of Music 2011 A (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91935~6. 
  39. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2013). Ayumi Hamasaki 15th Anniversary Tour: A Best Live (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-92059~60. 
  40. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2002). A Best (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-11950. 
  41. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2002). A Complete: All Singles (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-23676~8. 
  42. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (2012). A Summer Best (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-38560-1. 
  43. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2011). A 50 Singles: Live Selection (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91860~1. 
  44. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). ayu-mi-x III Non-Stop Mega Mix Version (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-11930. 
  45. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Super Eurobeat Presents Ayu-ro Mix 2 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-17027. 
  46. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2011). Ayu-mi-x 7 Presents Ayu-ro Mix 4 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVJCD10477. 
  47. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). ayu-mi-x III Acoustic Orchestra Version (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-11928. 
  48. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Vogue Far Away Seasons (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91035. 
  49. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Seasons (Vinyl; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan, Rhythm Republic. RR12-88176. 
  50. ^ "The Record - August 2003 - Page 15" (PDF) (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  51. ^ "Avex Artists Available at US iTunes Store". Jame World. September 5, 2008. Retrieved April 1, 2016. 
  52. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (United States). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  53. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Australia). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  54. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (New Zealand). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  55. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Canada). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  56. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (United Kingdom). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  57. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Germany). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  58. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Ireland). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  59. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (France). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  60. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Spain). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  61. ^ "Seasons – EP – by Ayumi Hamasaki". iTunes Store (Taiwan). 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 

External links[edit]