Girish Mahajan

Duty (album)

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Length  51:45
Artist  Ayumi Hamasaki
Producer  Max Matsuura
Genre  Rock music
Duty (2000)  A Best (2001)
Release date  27 September 2000
Label  Avex Trax
Duty (album) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenthumbe
Released  September 27, 2000 (2000-09-27)
Similar  Ayumi Hamasaki albums, J-pop albums

Ayumi hamasaki duty album preview with full album download


Duty is the third studio album by Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki. It was released on September 27, 2000 by Avex Trax. Duty is Hamasaki's first studio album inside the 2000 decade, and her third consecutive studio album to be fully produced by Japanese musician and businessman Max Matsuura. The album's composing and arrangement was handled by several music collaborators, such as Ken Harada, Kazuhito Kikuchi, Dai Nagao, HΛL, among many others. Hamasaki contributed to the album as the primary and background vocalist, and songwriter to every song. Three different formats were released to promote the album: a standalone CD, a limited edition Playbutton, and a digital download. The cover sleeve has Hamasaki wearing a leopard-print cat-suit.

Contents

Upon the album's release, it was met with favourable reviews from music critics. Critics highlight individual songs as stand out tracks, and found the album a memorable effort within the Japanese pop genre. Duty became Hamasaki's third studio album to reach the top spot on Japan's Oricon Albums Chart. The album has sold over three million units in Japan, making this her best selling studio album as of today. Five singles were released from the album. Two of the singles, "Seasons" and "Surreal", topped Japan's Oricon Singles Chart, while the former sold over 1.3 million units in Japan. Hamasaki promoted the album through her 2000 self-titled concert tour.

Ayumi hamasaki duty piano version


Background and composition

Duty is Hamasaki's first studio album inside the 2000 decade, and her third consecutive studio album to be fully produced by Japanese musician and businessman Max Matsuura. For the album, Hamasaki's record label Avex Trax hired several Japanese musicians, Ken Harada, Kazuhito Kikuchi, Dai Nagao, HΛL, among many others to work on the album. Those producers are just some of whom worked with Hamasaki on her second studio album, the predecessor Loveppears (1999). Duty is also Hamasaki's third consecutive album to be composed, arranged, and produced by Japanese producers and composers. For the album, she contributed as the main and background vocalist, and became her third studio album to feature songs written by her. Three songs on the album; the trilogy set "Vogue", "Far Away", and "Seasons", focus on the theme of hopelessness, a reflection of Hamasaki's disappointment that she had not expressed herself thoroughly in any of her previous lyrics and a sense of shame of her public image. Likewise, many of the songs she wrote for the album involved feelings of loneliness, chaos, confusion, and the burden of her responsibilities. She described her feelings after the song writing was done as "unnatural" and was constantly "nervous" for the finished result.

The album is a J-pop and rock album with numerous musical elements of Latin pop and dance. According to Takako Tsuriya from Cawaii magazine, much of the musical style was "darker" than Loveppears. Likewise, the magazine labelled it a "rock"-influenced album with only one dance song, "Audience". "Audience" is also Hamasaki's second self-written song to incorporate an English word. The album opens with the house-influenced "Starting Over", which is an instrumental track. "Vogue" was influenced by the musical element of Latin pop.

"Vogue", alongside "Far Away", and "Seasons" are all written about three different time frames; "Vogue" discusses Hamasaki's presence, "Far Away" details her past, and "Seasons" talks about her future. The title track, "Scar", "End of the World", and "Surreal" were referenced by a staff reviewer at Yahoo! GeoCities as "dark" rock songs with "mad[ness]" lyrics. "Teddy Bear" is a piano-only ballad track that discusses Hamasaki's nostalgia. "Key (Eternal Key)" is a midtempo pop rock song with several guitar riffs. The album's closer is "Girlish", a "warm" pop rock song.

Release and packaging

Duty was released on September 27, 2000 by Avex Trax in three different formats. It was also released on the same day as her single "Surreal". The stand-alone CD featured the sixteen tracks in a jewel case, with first press editions including a obi. A limited edition Playbutton, which is a headphone-insert device, featured the sixteen tracks. The final format is the digital release, which was released in Japan at the time. In September 2008, the album, alongside several other albums and singles released by her, were released digitally on iTunes Store and Amazon.com. The album artwork was photographed by Toru Kumazawa, and features Hamasaki in a leopard-print cat-suit. She is standing in between two elastic poles, similar to a cage or jail cell. The art direction and designing was handled by Shinichi Hara and Shigeru Kasai from RICE, and leopard print was printed throughout the booklet. An out take of the album cover was used as the cover sleeve for the CD single and DVD/VHS release of "Surreal".

Critical response

Duty received positive reviews from most music critics. Kiyoshiga Ebihara from Amazon Japan was very positive in his review. Ebihara commended Hamasaki's song writing, where he stated that it was projected by her variety of "emotions"; he labelled this the "Ayu color". He commended how the material went "deeper" and called it one of the best Japanese albums within the 2000s decade. A staff reviewer from CD Journal was positive in their review. In comparison to Hamasaki's second album, Loveppears, the reviewer praised her application of "poetic" lyrics and clearer vocals. A staff reviewer from Yahoo! GeoCities was very positive in his review, awarding the album eight stars out of ten. The reviewer complimented the albums divided themes; the first half being "crazy" while the second half was "gentle". At the Annual 2001 Japan Gold Disc Awards, Hamasaki won Domestic Artist of the Year, Duty was awarded Pop Album of the Year and the single "Seasons" was awarded Song of the Year.

Commercial performance

In Japan, Duty debuted at number the top spot on the Oricon Albums Chart with over 1.6 million units sold in its first week of sales. This became Hamasaki's highest first week sales for an album, until it was surpassed by her 2001 greatest hits compilation A Best with 2.874 million units in its first week of sales. Duty stayed at number one for a second week, with 339,810 units sold in its second week of sales. It stayed at number one for a third week, with 205,180 units sold in its third week of sales. It stayed at number one for a fourth week, with 116,970 units sold in its fourth week of sales. The album slipped to number three in its fifth week, selling 94,640 units in its fifth week of sales.

The album fell outside the top 10 on December 4, 2000, the albums ninth week, selling 30,760 units. The album fell out the top 20 the following week, and sold 2.63 million units on December 4. By the time of Oricon's Annual album's list, Duty ranked at number two. The following year, it was ranked at number 77 with an additional 300,870 units sold. The album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of three million units in Japan. The album charted for 27 weeks in total, and has sold over 2.9 million units in Japan and over 3.3 million units worldwide, making this Hamasaki's best selling studio album both domestically and internationally. It is also the sixth best selling album in Japan for the 2000s decade.

Promotion

Several tracks from Duty were released on remixed compilations during 2000 and 2001. The first was her February 2001 non-stop remix album ayu-mi-x III Non-Stop Mega Mix Version. It peaked at number six and was certified platinum by RIAJ. The second album from the series was Ayu-mi-x III Acoustic Orchestra Version, an orchestral version of Duty. It reached four and was certified platinum by RIAJ. Two Eurobeat albums were released on 27 September 2001 to promote Duty: Super Eurobeat Presents Ayu-ro Mix 2 and Cyber Trance Presents Ayu Trance. They peaked at number three and four and were certified platinum by RIAJ, respectively.

To promote Duty, Hamasaki performed on several tours and concert shows; the first was her Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 Vol. 1. She promoted the album on her Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 Vol. 2, Ayumi Hamasaki Stadium Tour 2002 A and Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2003–2004 A, and her music videos for "Vogue", "Far Away", "Seasons", "Surreal" and other album promotional footage were featured on her 2004 video box set Ayumi Hamasaki Complete Clip Box A. Her dome tours in Japan attributed to her being one of few "top-drawer" Japanese artists to hold a concert at the Tokyo Dome.

Singles

"Vogue" was released as the albums lead single on April 24, 2000. The song is the first part of the Duty trilogy singles. Upon its release, the track garnered positive reviews from music critics, who praised the composition and Hamasaki's song writing. It also achieved success in Japan, peaking at number three on the Oricon Singles Chart and four on the TBS Count Down TV chart. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of 800,000 units. "Vogue" has sold over 767,000 units in Japan, as of today. The accompanying music video for "Vogue" was directed by Wataru Takeishi; it features two children in a post-apocalypse city, reading a book that has video imagery of Hamasaki in a cherry blossom field.

"Far Away" was released as the albums second single on May 17, 2000. The song is the second part of the Duty trilogy singles. Upon its release, the track garnered positive reviews from music critics, who praised Hamasaki's song writing and selected it as an album and career stand out track. It also achieved success in Japan, peaking at number two on the Oricon Singles Chart and on the TBS Count Down TV chart. The song was certified platinum by RIAJ for shipments of 400,000 units. "Far Away" has sold over 510,000 units in Japan, as of today. The accompanying music video for "Far Away" was directed by Takeishi, and leads on from the video of "Vogue"; it features two children in a post-apocalypse city, reading a book that has video imagery of Hamasaki in a cherry blossom field. Hamasaki then appears in the post-apocalypse city.

"Seasons was released as the albums third single on June 7, 2000. The song is the third and final part of the Duty trilogy singles. Upon its release, the track garnered positive reviews from music critics, who praised Hamasaki's song writing, 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 this Hamasaki's best selling single as of today. "Seasons" was certified million by RIAJ for shipments of one million units. In August 2014, the song was certified gold by RIAJ for digital sales of 100,000 units. The accompanying music video for "Seasons" was directed by 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.

"Surreal" was released as the albums fourth single on September 27, 2000. Upon its release, the song received positive reviews from most music critics. Majority of the critics commended the song writing and musical delivery, and highlighted 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. The song was certified platinum by RIAJ for shipments of 400,000 units. The song has sold over 417,000 units in Japan, as of today. The accompanying music video for "Surreal" was directed by Takeishi; it features Hamasaki wondering a beach and jungle, finding a cat-like clone of herself.

"Audience" was released as the albums fifth and final single on November 1, 2000. Upon its release, the song received positive reviews from most music critics. Majority of the critics highlighted it as an album and career stand out track. It also achieved success in Japan, peaking at number two on the Oricon Singles Chart and three on the TBS Count Down TV chart. The song was certified gold by RIAJ for shipments of 200,000 units. The song has sold over 293,000 units in Japan, as of today.

Other charted releases

The DVD single for the trilogy singles, released under the title of Vogue/Far Away/Seasons reached at number one on the Oricon DVD Chart, spending seventeen weeks in the top fifty. It is Hamasaki's second best selling DVD single, and her eighth best seller overall. Despite not charting in Japan, album track "Teddy Bear" was certified gold by RIAJ for digital sales of 100,000 units.

Track listing

All lyrics written by Ayumi Hamasaki.

Songs

1starting over1:37
2Duty5:16
3vogue4:29

References

Duty (album) Wikipedia


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