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Whatever (Ayumi Hamasaki song)

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"Whatever"
The picture has Ayumi Hamasaki wearing an Angel costume, with angel wings. She is pictured in front of a blue backdrop, alongside the text and her name superimposed on the image.
Original Mini CD version.
Single by Ayumi Hamasaki
from the album Loveppears
B-side "Whatever" (J version)
Released February 10, 1999 (1999-02-10)
Format
Recorded
Genre Dance-pop
Length 5:36
Label
Songwriter(s) Ayumi Hamasaki
Producer(s) Max Matsuura
Ayumi Hamasaki singles chronology
"Depend on You"
(1997)
"Whatever"
(1999)
"Love (Destiny)"
(1998)
"Depend on You"
(1997)
"Whatever"
(1998)
"Love (Destiny)"
(1998)

"Whatever" (capitalized as "WHATEVER") is a song recorded by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki for her second studio album, Loveppears (1999). It was written by Hamasaki, while production was handled by Max Matsuura. The track is Hamasaki's sixth single with Matsuura since her debut single in April 1998, "Poker Face". "Whatever" premiered on February 10, 1999 as the lead single from the album. It was re-released on February 28, 2001 as a CD single.

Musically, "Whatever" was described as a dance song, and is written in third person narrative. Upon its release, the track garnered mixed reviews from music critics. Critics praised Hamasaki's move from pop rock to dance music, but criticized her vocal delivery and song writing. It also achieved success in Japan, peaking at number five on the Japanese Oricon Singles Chart. The re-released single peaked at number 28 on the same chart. As of March 2016, "Whatever" has sold over 218,000 units in Japan alone and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ).

The accompanying music video for "Whatever" was shot in Tokyo; it features Hamasaki in a small white room with waterfalls, with inter cut scenes of an angel in the middle of a destroyed city. An alternative music video was shot for an alternative arrangement of the song; it features Hamasaki singing in front of a red backdrop. However, Avex scrapped it after they preferred the former version. For additional promotion, the song was featured on several concert tours and New Years live countdown shows by Hamasaki.

Background and composition[edit]

"Whatever" was written by Hamasaki, composed by Kazuhito Kikuchi, and produced by Max Matsuura.[1] Japanese composer Izumi Miyazaki was in charge of arranging the song, which included instrumentation of synthesizers, keyboards, and a drum machine.[1] It was one of three songs from the Loveppears album composed by Kikuchi.[1][2] The song was also the only song from Loveppears to be arranged by Miyazaki, and was his final collaboration with Hamasaki.[1]

"Whatever" was selected as the lead single from Loveppears and was released in Japan on February 10, 1999 by Avex Trax.[3] The Mini CD features: the original track, the instrumental version, and alternative versions (under the alias "J Version") of the former tracks.[3] A CD single was released on February 28, 2001 by Avex Trax in Japan, with a full-frontal body image of Hamasaki in front of a blue backdrop. She is wearing angel wings on her back, with Hamasaki's and the song's title superimposed on her.[4] The CD single features: the original version, the instrumental, the two alternative versions, one remix of "Whatever", one remix of "Appears", and one remix of "Immature".[4]

"Whatever" is a dance song that lasts five minutes and 36 seconds long.[3][5] An extended version appeared on the album, which lasts seven minutes and 20 seconds.[1] The song was noted for its musical similarities to other tracks from Loveppears, and is written in third person narrative.[5][6][7][8] It became Hamasaki's first single to have featured any English language, with the word "Wow" in its lyrics. However, it does not count in using English–language conversation like Hamasaki did in tracks from her 2002 album Rainbow.[9][10]

Critical response[edit]

"Whatever" received mixed reviews from most music critics. Alexey Eremenko, who had written her extended biography at AllMusic, highlighted the song as an album and career stand out track.[11] A reviewer from Yahoo! GeoCities criticized Hamasaki's "thin" and "harsh" vocal delivery, but went on to state that her music have "improved" from her debut album, A Song for ×× (1999).[12] Morimasa from Nifty.com highlighted it as one of the album's best tracks. He commented that despite the "easily" written lyrics for the sing, he commended Hamasaki's emotional delivery in both the production and her singing.[13] A reviewer from Amazon.co.jp was positive towards the track. The reviewer praised Miyazaki's arrangement of both the original version and the J version, and commended the song's composition and Hamasaki's "homoeopathic" delivery.[14] 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.[15] As a result, "Whatever" was ranked the lowest at thirty, with 13.6 percent of the votes.[15]

Commercial performance[edit]

In Japan, the Mini CD format entered at number five on the Oricon Singles Chart.[16] The Mini CD stayed in the top fifty for nine weeks, selling over 189,610 units,[17] and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 200,000 units.[18][A] The re-released CD single format entered at number twenty-eight on the chart, the highest entry of her re-released singles.[20] The CD single stayed in the top fifty for three weeks, tallying both the Mini CD and the CD single to twelve charting weeks.[20] The CD single sold an additional 27,560 units, combing both the Mini CD and the CD single sales to 217,170.[17] "Whatever" is her thirty-fifth and fifty-seventh best selling single in Japan, her lowest in both the Loveppears and format re-release era respectively.[21][B]

The Mini CD format entered at number five on the Japanese Count Down TV Chart, Hamasaki's highest charting single and first top ten at the time of February 1999.[22] The Mini CD slipped to number fifteen the next week, and lasted nine weeks inside the top 100.[23] "Whatever" was released twice as double A-side vinyl's with Hamasaki's single "Appears".[24][25][C] The second vinyl managed to reach ninety-six on the Japanese Count Down chart.[26][D] The re-released CD single format entered at number twenty-nine on the Count Down TV chart.[27] The CD single stayed in the chart for three weeks, tallying the total weeks to twelve.[23]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video was directed by Wataru Takeishi.[28] This is Takeishi's first video collaboration with Hamasaki since "Trust".[29] The overall appearance of the video was inspired by the cover sleeve of "Whatever", which also featured Hamasaki in an angel costume.[3][28] Several photoshoot out takes were considered to be released in the CD single, but Avex restricted this.[1][3] Because of this, only two photos of Hamasaki in the angel costume were distributed; one for the front cover, and one for the back.[3] The music video also appeared on Hamasaki's DVD compilation box sets: A Clips,[30] her self-titled video compilation (2000),[31] Complete Clip Box (2004),[32] A Clip Box 1998–2011 (2011),[33] and the bonus DVD version with A Complete: All Singles.[34]

Synopsis[edit]

The overall appearance of "Whatever" is based on the photo shoot of its cover sleeve. Hamasaki (pictured) in a room full of interior waterfalls, with an angel costume on.

The video opens with a bench chair inside a pale-blue room, surrounded by interior waterfalls. Glitches of Hamasaki appears, and she starts singing the song while seated.[28] The next scene features damaged–archive footage of a destroyed town, fenced in with barbed wires. A young boy, with pale white skin, blonde dreads, and angel wings, appears in the distance. Several scenes features the boy looking towards the camera, which then inter cuts to scenes with Hamasaki singing the song in the room.[28] The young boy wonders through the destroyed town, observing damaged homes and objects. The boy places his hands upon a dying tree, where he envisions the events of how the town became destroyed and dismantled.[28] These scenes include burning flowers, falling construction, and broken religious statues.[28] The second chorus has Hamasaki singing, and the song break shows the boy observing a blossoming flower which hasn't died. Smiling, he walks towards it, unbeknown that there is sharp barbed wire surrounding it. Scenes features Hamasaki singing, and shows brief inter cut scenes of barbed wire wrapped around the young boy. Struggling to become free from the wire, the young boy dies and leaves behind a large pile of angel feathers.[28] The final scene features Hamasaki wearing exactly the same outfit as the angel, trapped in a large bird cage, in the room the video started with. The video zooms out on the overall appearance of her.[28]

Alternative music video[edit]

An accompanying music video for an alternative version for "Whatever" (labelled the "J Version")[3] was also directed by Takeishi.[33] The J version, composed and arranged by Keisuke Kikuchi, was intended to be the lead single from Loveppears and use the M version as the b-side.[3][6] When Kikuchi and Miyazaki submitted their J and M versions of "Whatever" to the head offices of Avex, Matsuura favored Miyazaki's version over Kikuchi.[6] Kikuchi was disappointed of the verdict, but Avex went ahead in releasing the M version.[6] Because Takeishi had already shot and produced the music video for the J version of "Whatever", Takeishi had to re-shoot a new video for the M version.[6] The J Version was used in Valentine's Day commercials for 7-Eleven.[35]

The J version features Hamasaki singing the J version on a white platform in front of a silky red backdrop.[33] The entire full-length video has never been released, but a thirty-second snippet was used as the commercial video for "Whatever".[33] The J version has been included on her self-titled video compilation (2000),[31] Complete Clip Box (2004),[32] and its most recent appearance is on the A Clip Box 1998–2011 (2011).[33]

Live performances and other appearances[edit]

Hamasaki has performed "Whatever" on several concert tours and New Years countdown shows throughout Asia. The song has been included in one of Hamasaki's New Years countdown concerts, the 2004-2005 live tour.[36] The song has been included on several of Hamasaki's national and Asian concert tours. The song had made its debut tour performance on Hamasaki's 2001 Dome Tour and part two of the Dome Tour.[37][38] Since then, "Whatever" has been included on Hamasaki's Ayumi Hamasaki Stadium Tour 2002 A,[39] and its most recent inclusion was on her Premium Showcase: Feel the Love concert tour in 2014.[40] During Hamasaki's performance, she wears a metallic mini dress, and dances to back-up dancers wearing robotic outfits.[40] "Whatever" has been included on one greatest hits compilation, which is A Complete: All Singles (2008),[41]

"Whatever" has been remixed by several professional disc jockeys and producers, and has appeared on several remix albums by Hamasaki. This list is: the Laurent Newfield remix on Super Eurobeat Presents Ayu-ro Mix,[42] the FPM's Winter Bossa remix on Ayu-mi-x II Version JPN,[43] the Ferry Corsten remix on ayu-mi-x II Version US+EU,[44] and both appeared again on Hamasaki's remix compilation Ayu-mi-x II Version Non-Stop Mega Mix (2000).[45] The orchestral acoustic remix was included on her fifth orchestral remix album, Ayu-mi-x 7 Version Acoustic Orchestra (2011).[46]

Track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the singles liner notes;[3]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Japan[3] 10 February 1999 Mini CD Avex Trax
Taiwan[3] 5 March 1999 Avex Taiwan
Japan[25][48] 29 March 1999 Vinyl
  • Avex Trax
  • Rhythm Republic
29 March 2000 Vinyl ("Appears/Whatever")
  • Avex Trax
  • Rhythm Republic
Europe[49] Early 2000 Ferry Corsten Remix Vinyl Avex Trax
Japan[4] 28 February 2001
28 February 2016
CD single Avex Trax
Taiwan[50] 29 March 2001
29 March 2016
Avex Taiwan
Japan[51] 25 February 2004 Digital EP Avex Trax
Australia[52]
New Zealand[57]
Germany[58]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 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 "Whatever" was released before then, the sales shipments were 200,000 units.[19]
  2. ^ Thirty-fifth place is awarded to the original release, while the fifty-seventh place is awarded to the re-release format.
  3. ^ Despite both vinyl's being released under the title "Appears/Whatever", only the second vinyl features remixes of "Whatever". The first vinyl only features remixes of "Appears".
  4. ^ "Whatever" charted in conjunction with her single "Appears".
  5. ^ 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 "Surreal" was released before then, the sales shipments were 200,000 units.[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hamasaki, Ayumi (1999). Loveppears (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-11740/B. 
  2. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (1999). Appears (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-30064. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hamasaki, Ayumi (1999). Whatever (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVDD-20291. 
  4. ^ a b c d Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Whatever (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-30216. 
  5. ^ a b HMV Staff (January 9, 2002). "HMV Review - Loveppears by Ayumi Hamasaki". HMV (in Japanese). Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Loveppears". Beatfreak (in Japanese). 142. November 1999. 
  7. ^ Walters, Barry (March 5, 2002). "Turning (Japanese) Point". The Village Voice. Retrieved April 19, 2008. 
  8. ^ Author, Unknown (December 22, 2000). ""Review of Ayu's Year 2000 & M".". J-Point (in Japanese): 75. 
  9. ^ Takeuchi Cullen, Lisa (March 25, 2002). "Empress of Pop". Time. p. 4. Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2008. 
  10. ^ Duty (Album liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Avex Trax. 2000. AVCD-11837. 
  11. ^ Eremenko, Alexey (2013). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Songs, Highlights, Awards and Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ Yahoo! Geocites Staff (2012). "Music review site Source of the Music – Ayumi Hamasaki (Duty)". Yahoo! GeoCities; powered by Yahoo! Music. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ Morimosa (September 27, 2000). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Duty". Nifty.com. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  14. ^ Amazon Staff (2012). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Whatever [CD Single version]". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved December 24, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Aramajapan Staff (2014). "What are Ayumi Hamasai's most popular songs?". goo.ne.jp; published by Aramajapan.com. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c "Ayumi Hamasaki - Release - Oricon Music Style". Oricon (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on July 9, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b c d e "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)). 
  18. ^ a b "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 23 June 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Record - August 2003 - Page 15" (PDF) (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Ayumi Hamasaki - Release - Oricon Music Style". Oricon (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on June 3, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Ayumi Hamasaki single sales ranking" 浜崎あゆみ売上ランキング シングル売上ランキング. Oricon. April 2, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date for Whatever by Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. February 20, 1999. Archived from the original on June 21, 2006. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "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. 
  24. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Appears/Whatever (Double A-side Vinyl, Part 1; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. RR12-88149. 
  25. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Appears/Whatever (Double A-side Vinyl, Part 2; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. RR12-88152. 
  26. ^ a b "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date for Appears/Whatever by Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. February 5, 2000. Archived from the original on September 18, 2006. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "CDTV PowerWeb:! Ranking Date for Whatever (12cm) by Ayumi Hamasaki". Count Down TV (Bulletin) (in Japanese). TBS. March 24, 2003. Archived from the original on September 18, 2006. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h Avex (November 26, 2015). "Whatever (M Version) / 浜崎あゆみ". Avex Trax; published through YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  29. ^ Avex (November 26, 2015). "Trust / 浜崎あゆみ". Avex Trax; published through YouTube. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  30. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). A Clips (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVVD-90069. 
  31. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Ayumi Hamasaki (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVVD-90069. 
  32. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (2004). Complete Clip Box Set (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVVD-90144. 
  33. ^ a b c d e Hamasaki, Ayumi (2011). A Clip Box 1998–2011 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVBD-91910~5. 
  34. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2008). A Complete: All Singles (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-23673~5/B. 
  35. ^ CD Journal Staff (February 20, 1999). "Ayumi Hamasaki – Whatever [Out of Print]". CD Journal. Retrieved December 27, 2015. 
  36. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2005). Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2004–2005 (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91270. 
  37. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Ayumi Hamasaki 2001 Dome Tour (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91558. 
  38. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Ayumi Hamasaki 2001 Dome Tour (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91021. 
  39. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2002). Ayumi Hamasaki 2002 Stadium Tour (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-91558. 
  40. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (2014). Premium Showcase: Feel the Love (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVBD-92166. 
  41. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2002). A Complete: All Singles (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVCD-23676~8. 
  42. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Super Eurobeat Presents Ayu-ro Mix (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-11793. 
  43. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Ayu-mi-x II Version JPN (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-11798. 
  44. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Ayu-mi-x II Version US+EU (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-11797. 
  45. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2000). Ayu-mi-x II Version Non-Stop Mega Mix (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-11800. 
  46. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (2011). Ayu-mi-x 7 Version Acoustic Orchestra (Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax. AVCD-38297. 
  47. ^ Hamasaki, Ayumi (1999). Whatever (Mini CD; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Taiwan: Avex Taiwan. AVJSG40010. 
  48. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (1999). Whatever (Vinyl; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Japan: Avex Trax, Avex Taiwan. AVJT-2365. 
  49. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (1999). Whatever (Vinyl; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Europe: Avex Trax. N/A. 
  50. ^ a b Hamasaki, Ayumi (2001). Whatever (CD Single; Liner notes). Ayumi Hamasaki. Taiwan: Avex Taiwan. AVJSG40010. 
  51. ^ a b "Whatever – EP by Ayumi Hamasaki". JP iTunes Store. February 25, 2004. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  52. ^ a b "Whatever – EP by Ayumi Hamasaki". AU iTunes Store. February 25, 2004. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  53. ^ "Whatever (Version M; Music Video) – Music Video by Ayumi Hamasaki". US iTunes Store. February 25, 2004. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  54. ^ "The Record - August 2003 - Page 15" (PDF) (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  55. ^ "Japanese single certifications – Ayumi Hamasaki – Whatever" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  56. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Ayumi Hamasaki – Whatever" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  57. ^ "Whatever – EP by Ayumi Hamasaki". NZ iTunes Store. February 25, 2004. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 
  58. ^ "Whatever – EP by Ayumi Hamasaki". GE iTunes Store. February 25, 2004. Retrieved May 13, 2015. 

External links[edit]