Surreal (song)

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For the song by Erasure, see Loveboat (album).
"Surreal"
CD single cover.
Single by Ayumi Hamasaki
from the album Duty
Released 27 September 2000 (2000-09-27)
Format CD single, DVD single, VHS, 7" vinyl, digital download
Recorded Tokyo, Japan. 2000
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:22
Label Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan
Writer(s) Ayumi Hamasaki
Producer(s) Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki singles chronology
"Seasons"
(2000)
"Surreal"
(2000)
Audience
(2000)

"Surreal" is a song by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki from her third studio album Duty (2000). The song was released as the album's fourth single on 27 September 2000. It was written by Hamasaki and produced by Max Matsuura. The song is a alternative rock track, which features instrumentation of synthesizers, keyboards, electric guitars, and bass guitars.

"Surreal" received positive reviews from music critics, who commended the songs production and lyrical delivery. The song became her sixth number one on the Oricon Singles Chart, and also reached the top spot on the Japanese Count Down TV chart provided by TBS. A music video was shot for the single, showing Hamasaki walking on a beach front and witnessing a clone of her, similar to her character off Duty. Hamasaki has performed the song through live performances throughout Japan.

Background[edit]

Ayumi Hamasaki's track "Surreal" appeared on her third album, Duty (2000). She released two albums in 1999: A Song for ×× and Loveppears. Both sold over one million units in Japan and the first was certified million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ); the latter sold over two million and was certified double million.[A][1][2][3] A Song for xx was not well-received from most music critics, calling it "unassuming" and felt the music was "plain" and "cautious pop rock."[4] Loveppears transitioned to dance music and achieved better reviews.[5]

Hamasaki released three limited edition singles in 1999 and 2000: "Appears" (November 1999), "Kanariya" (December 1999) and "Fly High" (February 2000), all achieving a gold certification by RIAJ.[3][6][7][8] Hamasaki begun work on Duty and followed a similar musical concept like her first two albums.[9] She begun promotion with a single trilogy consisting of "Vogue" (April 2000), "Far Away" (May 2000) and "Seasons" (June 2000). The first two were certified double and platinum by the RIAJ.[10][11] The third single "Seasons" is Hamasaki's highest selling single, selling over 1.3 million units in Japan and is certified Million by RIAJ.[12]

Composition[edit]

"Surreal" was written by Hamasaki.[13] During the writing process of Duty, Hamasaki found it "unnatural" and was constantly "nervous".[14] Majority of the lyrics were about loneliness, chaos, confusion, and the burden of her responsibilities, aimed mostly towards her public image as an recording artist.[9] In contrast to "Surreal", the trilogy singles focused on hopelessness, a reflection of Hamasaki's disappointment that she had not expressed herself thoroughly in any of her previous lyrics.[9]

The song was recorded in mid-2000 in Tokyo, Japan.[13] Max Matsuura and Naoto Suzuki produced the track while Kazuhito Kikuchi composed it.[15] HΛL played the keyboard, while Naoya Akimoto played the bass and electric guitars.[15] "Surreal" is an alternative rock, which sound is similar to several tracks from Duty.[16][17] The lyrical content of "Surreal" incorporates the themes of madness and confusion.[18]

Release and promotion[edit]

"Surreal" was released on September 27, 2000 in CD format by Avex Trax as the fourth single from Duty.[15] The maxi single features an album and instrumental version of "Surreal", seven remixes of the album track "Duty" and a remix of "Seasons".[15] The cover sleeve, shot by Toru Kumozawa and Shinichi Hara, shows Hamasaki with a red love heart sticker on her face with the red-imprinted "Surreal" logo on her hair.[15] It is an outtake from the parent album's promotion shoot.[13] Hara has been Hamasaki's creative director for promotional work and began collaborating with her in 1998. His final work was directing the sleeve for Hamasaki's 2009 single "Sunrise/Sunset (Love Is All)".[19][20]

A DVD single and VHS was issued on December 13, 2000 by Avex Trax in Japan, with a full-frontal body image of Hamasaki that is similar to the artwork of Duty.[21][22] Both formats featured the music video of "Surreal" along with the television advertisement for Duty and the video making for "Surreal".[21][22] The accompanying music video was directed by Wataru Takeishi and featured Hamasaki walking along a beach front. With mysterious lighting hovering over several objects, she enters a jungle-like room to find a clone of herself. The clone is where he same outfit from the Duty photo shoot.[23]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

"Surreal" received favorable reception from contemporary music critics. Alexey Eremenko, who had written her extended biography at Allmusic, highlighted the song as an album and career stand out.[24] In an Amazon.com review, the editorial reviewer had commented on the tracks on Duty and praised the songs for embracing a "healing effect" that was absent on her two previous studio albums.[25] A reviewer from Geocities.jp singled out "Surreal", and other album tracks "Duty", "End of the World" and "Seasons" as highlights.[18] Morimasa from Nifty.com was positive towards the tracks "Surreal" and "Audience". He favored how the tracks were placed in the middle of the album, which he believed highlighted the musical and lyrical delivery.[26] Hamasaki hosted an online voting poll for fans to choose their favorite tracks to be featured on her Ayumi Hamasaki 15th Anniversary Tour Best Live Tour. As a result, "Surreal" were featured on the list.[27]

Commercial response[edit]

"Surreal" entered at number one on the Japanese Count Down TV Chart.[28] This became her fifth number one on that chart.[29] The song slipped to eight in its second week, and lasted seven weeks in the chart, her lowest spanning since "Fly High" which lasted six.[28][30] "Surreal" entered at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart in Japan, her fifth number one.[31] It lasted for seven weeks on the chart and is her seventeenth best selling single according to Oricon.[32] Release as a DVD single on December 13, 2000, "Surreal" reached at number three on the Oricon DVD Chart and lasted ten weeks in total.[33] It is her ninth best selling DVD and her third best selling single in DVD format; the other two are "Vogue/Far Away/Seasons" and "Voyage".[34] "Surreal" was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 400,000 units.[35] In the annual 2000 Count Down TV chart, "Surreal" was placed at number sixty-three.[36]

Live performances[edit]

Hamasaki has performed "Surreal" in all of her New Years countdown concerts up until the Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2006–2007 A, which became the songs last live performance at the countdown shows.[B]

"Surreal" has also been featured on several of Hamasaki's national and international tours that has spread throughout many Asian territories. The song had made its debut tour performance on Hamasaki's 2001 Ayumi Hamasaki Dome Tour 2001 A.[37] Ever since the songs debut performance, "Audience" has appeared on several of Hamasaki's arena tours including Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2002 A, 2002 Stadium Tour and 2005 My Story Tour. The song's last live performance was her 2014 Ayumi Hamasaki PREMIUM SHOWCASE: Feel the love, in which was supported by her 2014 studio album Colours.[C]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the single's liner notes.[15]

Song credits[edit]

Cover credits[edit]

  • Shinichi Hara – art direction
  • Shigeru Kasai – design
  • Toru Kumazawa – photographer
  • Koji Matsumoto – fashion director
  • Hiroyuki Ishii and Takako Mishima – stylist
  • CHIKA – hair assistant and make-up stylist
  • Kanako Miura – nail artist

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki.[15]

CD single
No. Title Length
1. "Surreal" (Original mix) 4:42
2. "Duty" (Eric Kupper Big Room mix) 3:54
3. "Seasons" (Bump & Flex Radio Edit) 3:41
4. "Duty" (Under Lounge Club mix) 5:54
5. "Duty" (Nicely Nice mix) 4:35
6. "Duty" (Steppin' Dub mix) 5:28
7. "Duty" (Sky Modulation mix) 8:30
8. "Duty" (Dub's Mellowtech 002 Remixed) 8:42
9. "Duty" (Genius Beat Remixed) 5:37
10. "Surreal" (Instrumental) 4:42
DVD
No. Title Length
1. "Surreal" (Music video) 4:56
2. "Duty" (TV commercial for album)  
3. "Surreal" (The Making of) 4:52

Charts, peaks and positions[edit]

Release history[edit]

List of release dates by region, including format details, and record label
Region Date Format Label Version
Japan September 17, 2000 Compact disc[15] Avex Trax Album and Single Version
Vinyl[38]
December 13, 2000 VHS[22]
DVD single[21]
N/A Digital download[39]
Worldwide[40][E]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A Song for ×× received a 3× Platinum certification for 1,200,000 copies, however the 3× Platinum threshold was redefined as 750,000 copies in 2003.
  2. ^ All New Years concert links are listed below; 2000–2001 A,[41] 2001-2002,[42] 2002-2003,[42] 2004-2005,[43] 2005-2006,[44] and 2006-2007.[45]
  3. ^ All arena tours appearances are listed below; Stadium Tour 2002,[46] Arena Tour 2006,[47] Tour of Secret,[48] and the final performance from Premium Showcase: Feel the Love.[49]
  4. ^ 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.[50]
  5. ^ When accessing different countries on the iTunes Store, replace the country acronym (for example, NZ) with the desired country acronym.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年3月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. March 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 474: 9. May 10, 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ "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 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年11月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. November 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 482: 9. January 22, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ Walters, Barry (March 5, 2002). "Turning (Japanese) Point". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Loveppears: Ayumi Hamasaki [CD]". HMV. March 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年2月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. March 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 485: 8. April 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 3, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年12月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. December 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 483: 8. February 22, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ a b c Author, Unknown (December 22, 2000). ""Review of Ayu's Year 2000 & M".". J-Point (in Japanese): 75. 
  10. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年5月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. May 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 488: 8. July 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年7月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. September 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 490: 8. September 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ a b c Duty (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2000. AVCD-11837. 
  14. ^ Tsuriya, Takako (May 2008). "Ayu 10th Year Career Anniversary". Cawaii (in Japanese): 15, 18. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Surreal (CD single liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. September 2000. AVCD-30175. 
  16. ^ Author, Unknown (March 22, 2015). Éͺꤢ¤ć¤ß "Duty' by Hamasaki, Ayumi". CDJournal. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  17. ^ Tsuriya, Takako (November 2007). "Side Face Story". Cawaii (in Japanese). 
  18. ^ a b "Music review site Source of the Music - Ayumi Hamasaki". Geocities.jp. Published by Yahoo! Music. April 16, 2015. 
  19. ^ A Song for xx (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 1998. AVCD-11691. 
  20. ^ Sunrise/Sunset (Love is All) (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2009. AVCD-31719. 
  21. ^ a b c Surreal (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. December 2000. AVBD-91037. 
  22. ^ a b c Surreal (VHS). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. December 2000. AVVD-90090. 
  23. ^ "浜崎あゆみ / SURREAL". YouTube. July 19, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  24. ^ Eremenko, Alexey (March 22, 2015). "Ayumi Hamasaki - Songs, Highlights, Awards and Credits". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ Unknown, Author (March 22, 2015). "Ayumi Hamasaki - Duty [Album] Amazon.com, MP3, Music and Albums". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  26. ^ "duty. Ayu - Duty". Nifty.com. Linked through as homepage2.nifty.com. April 16, 2015. 
  27. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (March 14, 2015). "ayumi hamasaki 15th Anniversary Tour A Best Live - avex". Avexnet.net. Retrieved May 14, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b c "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date for Surreal by Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. October 7, 2000. Archived from the original on June 26, 2006. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  29. ^ "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date - Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  30. ^ "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date for Fly High by Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. Archived from the original on June 26, 2006. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "Surreal - Ayumi Hamasaki - Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki CD Ranking Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki - SURREAL DVD - Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki DVD Ranking Oricon Music Style" (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  35. ^ a b "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2000年9月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. September 2000 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 492: 8. November 10, 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b "CDTV PowerWeb:! 2000 Annual List". Count Down TV. TBS. Archived from the original on 12 April 2006. 
  37. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki 2001 Dome Tour (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2001. AVBD-91077. 
  38. ^ Surreal (Vinyl). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. September 2000. 
  39. ^ "Surreal - EP by ayumi hamasaki". JP iTunes Store. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Surreal - EP by ayumi hamasaki". JP iTunes Store. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  41. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2000-2001 (CD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2001. AVBD-91060. 
  42. ^ a b Ayumi Hamasaki Complete Live Box Set (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2003. AVBS-75035. 
  43. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2004-2005 (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2005. AVBD-91270. 
  44. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2005-2006 (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2006. AVBD-91402. 
  45. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2006-2007 (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2007. AVBD-91558. 
  46. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki 2002 Stadium Tour (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2002. AVBD-91119. 
  47. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki 2006 Arena Tour (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2006. AVBD-91452~4. 
  48. ^ Ayumi Hamasaki Tour of Secret (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2007. AVBD-91536~7. 
  49. ^ Premium Showcase: Feel the Love (DVD). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2014. AVBD-92166. 
  50. ^ "The Record - August 2003 - Page 15" (PDF) (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 

External links[edit]