Sweet 19 Blues

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Sweet 19 Blues
Studio album by Namie Amuro
Released July 22, 1996
Recorded Artworks Studio, Baybridge Studio, Heart Beat Recording Studio, Image Recording Inc., Paradise Studio Komazawa, Prime-Mix Studio, Onkio Haus, Record Plant Studios, Sound Chamber, tk sequence 1102st, tk sequence 1103st, tk sequence 1104st, Woodstock Karuizawa Recording Studio
Genre Dance-pop, acid house, eurobeat
Length 66:46
Label Avex Trax
Producer Tetsuya Komuro, Cozy Kubo, Max Matsuura (executive producer)
Namie Amuro chronology
Dance Tracks Vol.1
(1995)
Sweet 19 Blues
(1996)
Concentration 20
(1997)
Singles from Sweet 19 Blues
  1. "Body Feels Exit"
    Released: October 25, 1995
  2. "Chase the Chance"
    Released: December 4, 1995
  3. "Don't Wanna Cry"
    Released: March 13, 1996
  4. "You're My Sunshine"
    Released: June 5, 1996
  5. "Sweet 19 Blues"
    Released: August 21, 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Ted Mills, Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[1]

Sweet 19 Blues is Namie Amuro's first original studio album under the avex trax label, her first with producer, Tetsuya Komuro, and her second album overall. The success of the album helped Amuro accomplish feats never realized by a solo female artist, and made her one of the most popular and successful Japanese artists of all time. Amuro along with her landmark album, changed the landscape of Japanese pop music influencing everything from music style to performance and even fashion. Some of the effects of this phenomenon can still be felt within today's Japanese music industry.

Context[edit]

Amuro had already a great success with the Supers Monkey's, the female group to which she belonged. The album Dance Tracks Vol.1 had sold over two million copies, her first four solo singles became million sellers and she was hugely popular at the time, so her album was heavily anticipated. Although Sweet 19 Blues is her second album, it is considered as her first studio album because her previous release, (with the Super Monkey's) was rather a remix album than an original album, including only three original songs.

Her previous material was mostly produced by Max Matsuura (who, in just a couple of years, would produce Ayumi Hamasaki), and her first solo single would marked the beginning of the collaboration between Namie and her producer Tetsuya Komuro, who would produce, write and arrange the majority of her music until her 18th single Say The Word in 2001. Ted Mills of AllMusic commended Amuro's "relative sophistication" as shocking, adding "the maturity shown here had a close correlation to Janet Jackson, who similarly shed her young image overnight."[2]

Singles[edit]

The album contains five singles, released between October 1995 and August 1996. They were very successful; four reached the million mark and all hit the top five on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart.

The first single from the album was the upbeat dance number Body Feels Exit, released only nine days after the Dance Tracks Vol.1 album. Her two previous singles, Taiyou no Season and Stop the music, featured the singer exclusively and the four others members were only credited as backup singers, so although Body Feels Exit can be considered as her third single, it marks her official solo debut. It opened at No. 3 with over 200,000 copies sold in its first week[3] and spent 4 consecutives weeks in the top 10.[4][5][6] The single also became the 70th best selling single of 1995 with over 500,000 units purchased that year.[7]

Chase the Chance, the second single, became her first number one and million selling single. It went straight to number one with opening sales similar to those of her previous single.[8] and spent 9 non-consecutive weeks inside the top 10.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] She also made her first appearance at the annual Kokaku Uta Gassen performing the song.

The album's third single, Don't Wanna Cry, helped her to win the "Grand Prix Award" from the 38th Annual Japan Record Awards. Today, she still remains the youngest artist awarded this prize. The single was a huge success, spending three non-consecutives weeks at No. 1 and reaching sales of over 1,5 million copies in Japan.[16] Don't Wanna Cry is her second most successful single after the ballad Can You Celebrate?. The 13th track of the album, Present, was a b-side to the single. It is not stated on the liner notes of the booklet, but the album version of the song is different from the version included on the Don't Wanna Cry single.[17]

You're My Sunshine, her 4th single, was also a big hit, spending two consecutive weeks at the top spot. The song is mix of dance and gospel and became one of her signature songs. It became her third consecutive number one and million selling single, debuting at No. 1 with over 430,000 units purchased.[18] You're my sunshine became the 13th best selling single at the end of the year.[19]

The final single, Sweet 19 Blues, was released as a recut single a month after the album due to popular demand. It did not achieve the success of her previous records but debut at No. 2 with over 100,000 copies sold in its first week and sold about 500,000 units,[20] a great feat for a post-album single.[21] This single also contains an extended version of the interlude Joy. The single version of the song is slightly different from the album version.

Others songs from the album I'll Jump, Private and Let's Do the Motion were not released in a physical format, but were also popular hits across Japan, as they were used as radio singles prior to the release of the album.

Commercial tie-ups and theme songs[edit]

Many songs of this album were used as themes songs for movies or dramas and commercials, or were simply used to promote the album itself.

Let's Do the Motion was a special avex commercial to promote the album.[22][23]

Private was the theme song of four ad campaigns for the Nissan cars.[24]

Body Feels Exit, the first single released from the album, was used in eight Taito X-55 TV ads as the image song.[25] Amuro appeared in some of the commercials.

Chase the Chance, the album's second single, was the theme song of the drama the The Chief, that was broadcast on Nihon TV.

Don't Wanna Cry was the CM song of two commercials for the DyDo Mistio Soft drinks. I'll Jump was also used in a commercial for the brand.[26] Amuro appeared herself in the two commercials promoting the brand.

You're my sunshine was the theme song of the three commercials for the Sea Breeze products. The first ad was promoting a sun lotion, the second a shampoo and the last a deodorant.[27] It was also used in commercial for the "Digital Dance Mix", a video game developed and published by Sega. Namie is the main character of the video game.[28]

Joy was used in a commercial for the Maxell UD2 as its image song.[29]

The title track, Sweet 19 Blues, was choose as theme song of the teenage Japanese movie That's Cunning!: Shijousaidai no Sakusen, which Namie starred in as the lead female role, and was available on the film's soundtrack.[30] The singer appeared at the movie premiere in Japan. The song was also used to promote the Namie Amuro World '96 home video.[31]

Album packaging[edit]

When released, the Japanese edition of the album was available in four different sleeves, which is unique to Amuro's albums .[32] The first three covers were limited 1,000,000 copies each. Subsequence copies with the fourth sleeve were the regular version.[33] The others editions of the album have a regular cover. Most pictures of the booklet are in black and white.

Sales[edit]

When the album was released, it debut at the top spot with nearly two millions units purchased in its opening week, which was the largest opening sales for a record at that time.

Sweet 19 Blues reached No. 1 in on the Oricon Album Chart with 1,921,850 copies sold, which is Namie's best first week sales for an album to date and 9th highest opening sales of all time in Japanese music history.[34] The album was also at No. 1 in its second week on stores, but with only over 300,000 units sold. It stayed in the top 10 for nine consecutive weeks and in the top 20 for twelve weeks, selling over 3.3 million units in Japan during its original chart run[35] Sweet 19 Blues is currently Namie's highest selling album and is the 104th million selling album in Japan.[36]

For a brief period in 1996, the album became the biggest selling album of Japanese music history[37] before being outsold by her own producer. Sweet 19 Blues ranked 2nd in 1996 Oricon Yearly Chart after globe (to which Tetsuya Komuro belongs).[38] This album ranks at 13th for total sales in Japanese music history[39] and 6th best selling album from a Female Solo Artist.

Sweet 19 Blues was the biggest selling album of all time album by a female artist in Japan until the release of First Love, Hikaru Utada's debut album, which is now the best selling album ever in the country.[40]

Track listing[edit]

The liner notes included in the album are not clear on who wrote what particular song. As it is presented in the CD booklet, all songs are attributed to Tetsuya Komuro, Cozy Kubo, Akio Togashi, Takahiro Maeda and Randy Waldman as it makes no other distinction otherwise.

CD
No. Title Lyrics Music Arranger(s) Length
1. "Watch Your Step!!"   Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen 0:04
2. "Motion"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
0:50
3. "Let's Do the Motion"   Tetsuya Komuro,
Takahiro Maeda
Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
4:07
4. "Private"   Tetsuya Komuro,
Takahiro Maeda
Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
5:36
5. "Interlude: Ocean way"   Tetsuya Komuro Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
1:05
6. "Don't Wanna Cry (Eighteen's Summer Mix)"   Tetsuya Komuro,
Takahiro Maeda
Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
5:40
7. "Rainy Dance"   Takahiro Maeda Cozy Kubo Cozy Kubo
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
3:32
8. "Chase the Chance (CC Mix)"   Tetsuya Komuro,
Takahiro Maeda
Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
3:42
9. "Interlude: Joy"   m.c.A・T Akio Togashi Akio Togashi
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
1:19
10. "I'll Jump"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
5:19
11. "Interlude: Scratch Voices"   Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen 0:04
12. "I Was a Fool"   Tetsuya Komuro,
Takahiro Maeda
Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
4:36
13. "Present"   Takahiro Maed Cozy Kubo Cozy Kubo
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
4:35
14. "Interlude: Don't Wanna Cry Symphonic Style"   Tetsuya Komuro Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
1:23
15. "You're My Sunshine (Hollywood Mix)"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Strings: Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
5:42
16. "Body Feels Exit (Latin House Mix)"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
8:51
17. "'77"   Cozy Kubo Cozy Kubo
Strings: Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
1:45
18. "Sweet 19 Blues"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Strings: Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
5:38
19. "...Soon Nineteen"   Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro Tetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Keith Cohen
1:52

Personnel[edit]

  • Namie Amuro – vocals, background vocals
  • m.c.A.T – vocals
  • Sheila E. – backing vocals, percussion
  • Joey Johnson – backing vocals
  • Lynn Mabry – background vocals
  • Ricky Nelson – background vocals
  • Tracey Whitney – background vocals
  • Valerie Williams – background vocals
  • Kinbara Chieko – strings
  • Cozy Kubo – keyboard, synthesizer
  • Tetsuya Komuro – backing vocals, keyboard, synthesizer
  • Kazuhiro Matsuo – guitar
  • Tatsuya Murayama – strings
  • Raphael Padilla – percussions
  • Michael Paulo – saxophone
  • Neil Stubenhaus – bass guitar
  • Michael Thompson – guitar

Production[edit]

  • Producers – Tetsuya Komuro, Cozy Kubo
  • Mixing – Keith "KC" Cohen
  • Vocal Direction – Akihiko Shimizu
  • Photography – Itaru Hirama
  • Art Direction – Tycoon Graphics

Charts[edit]

Album – Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Chart Peak Position First Week Sales Sales Total Chart Run
July 22, 1996 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 1,921,850 3,359,420 42 weeks
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 2 4,000,000

Singles – Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Single Peak Position Chart Run Sales
October 25, 1995 "Body Feels Exit" 3 19 weeks 881,640
December 4, 1995 "Chase the Chance" 1 20 weeks 1,361,710
March 13, 1996 "Don't Wanna Cry" 1 22 weeks 1,389,700
June 5, 1996 "You're My Sunshine" 1 12 weeks 1,098,520
August 21, 1996 "Sweet 19 Blues" 2 13 weeks 452,890

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ted Mills, Allmusic review
  2. ^ "Sweet 19 Blues - Namie Amuro - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Mills, Ted. Retrieved 07-03-14.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of November 6, 1995. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  4. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of November 13, 1995. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  5. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of November 20, 1995. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of November 27, 1995. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  7. ^ 1995 TOP 100: SINGLES[dead link]
  8. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of December 18, 1995. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  9. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of December 25, 1995. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  10. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of January 1, 1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  11. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of January 15, 1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  12. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of January 22, 1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  13. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of January 29, 1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  14. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of February 5, 1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  15. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of February 12,1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  16. ^ List of number one singles of 1996 in Japan. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  17. ^ Wiki theppn:SWEET 19 BLUES
  18. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of June 17, 1996. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  19. ^ 1996 TOP 100: SINGLES[dead link]
  20. ^ Sweet 19 Blues single informations. Members.tripod.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  21. ^ Sweet 19 blues single opening sales. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  22. ^ Sweet 19 Blues Special CM (LET'S DO THE MOTION)
  23. ^ Screencaps of Namie's avex CMs
  24. ^ Screencaps of Namie's Nissan CMs
  25. ^ Screencpas of Namie's Taito CMs
  26. ^ Screencaps of Namie's DyDo CMs
  27. ^ Screencaps of Namie's SEA BREEZE CMs[dead link]
  28. ^ Screencaps of Namie's Sega Saturn CM[dead link]
  29. ^ Screencaps of Namie's Maxell CMs
  30. ^ That's Cunning soundtrack chion.com, website about Amuro Namie (Movie section)
  31. ^ Amuro Namie World CM captures
  32. ^ SEB's JPOP AREA Namie Amuro Discography. Webcitation.org. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  33. ^ Namie Amuro Sweet 19 Blues CD Album chion.com, website about Amuro Namie (CD Section)
  34. ^ List of highest opening sales for an album in Japan. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  35. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1996年8月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. August 1996 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 443: 5. October 10, 1997. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  36. ^ List of million selling albums in Japan. Homepage1.nifty.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  37. ^ Japan's star puts new meaning into girltalk The London Independent, September 30, 1996 by Richard Lloyd Parry (findarticles.com)
  38. ^ List of best selling albums in 1996 in Japan[dead link]
  39. ^ List of best selling albums in Japan of all time. Musictvprogram.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
  40. ^ Hikki's page. Angelfire.com. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.