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  #501  
Old 4th May 2019, 02:20 PM
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And yet she topped the Yahoo poll about the most representative singer of the Heisei era. I know people could vote multiple times and it wasn't only japanese people but still, she got 78,751, representing 49,8% of votes. The japanese press might have something against her but it seems that japanese people remember her.

Back on the tour subject, I agree with you orbitalaspect on many things except this one :
Quote:
"I'm going on the road again! Performing all the same songs I performed the last FIVE times I went on tour."
Actually, she has managed to sing a lot of different songs during all of these tours. There is someone on the forum who made a list of all the different songs she has performed during her tours (+a-nation) since CDL 2016-2017 and there are plenty of them, it was impressive to see. If this person sees my post feel free to post this list again here. Sure, there are some songs that she sings too often and it makes us feel like it's always the same (for instance Bold & Delicious needs to die, she's sung this one too many times now) but it's not really the case.
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  #502  
Old 4th May 2019, 02:27 PM
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Yeah, I sadly have to agree.
In the last Heisei poll I saw, made by one of the big newspaper companies, they randomly asked about 5000 Japanese people and Ayu didn't even pop up (Namie Amuro won).
Granted she's in most the others I've seen, but you guys talking about it reminded me of that.
And I've also seen several articles about her losing her own identity as an artist and more and more copying other artists like Namie Amuro and Koda Kumi.

I've also skipped through the Numero Tokyo interview now and one answer struck me.
She was asked what's the most important thing for her regarding her 20th Anniversary and she answered "the pride for the brand Ayumi Hamasaki".
Couldn't help but chuckle a bit about that answer.
Sure, if you look at those 20 years as a whole her career is absolutely amazing and she achieved what nobody else achieved. A legend!
But looking at the past few years I can't help but feel this answer is a bit of a mocking.
Even though she does acknowledge the achievements as well as the mistakes in the sentence after that, and that the brand does not consist of her alone, I do feel like she and her team lost the connection to the industry as well as the audience in recent years to handle "the brand Ayumi Hamasaki".
That answer makes it sound like she does rely on her past instead of moving forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by attractive nausea View Post

Actually, she has managed to sing a lot of different songs during all of these tours. There is someone on the forum who made a list of all the different songs she has performed during her tours (+a-nation) since CDL 2016-2017 and there are plenty of them, it was impressive to see. If this person sees my post feel free to post this list again here. Sure, there are some songs that she sings too often and it makes us feel like it's always the same (for instance Bold & Delicious needs to die, she's sung this one too many times now) but it's not really the case.
I guess that really shows one of the main problems - objectively she's giving a lot and is not lazy at all with touring, but subjectively people are coming out of her concerts and feel like they've seen the same again?
Simply changing the songs probably is not enough if you're constantly touring without new releases.
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Last edited by Corvina; 4th May 2019 at 02:58 PM.
  #503  
Old 4th May 2019, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corvina View Post
Yeah, I sadly have to agree.
In the last Heisei poll I saw, made by one of the big newspaper companies, they randomly asked about 5000 Japanese people and Ayu didn't even pop up (Namie Amuro won).
Granted she's in most the others I've seen, but you guys talking about it reminded me of that.
And I've also seen several articles about her losing her own identity as an artist and more and more copying other artists like Namie Amuro and Koda Kumi.

I've also skipped through the Numero Tokyo interview now and one answer struck me.
She was asked what's the most important thing for her regarding her 20th Anniversary and she answered "the pride for the brand Ayumi Hamasaki".
Couldn't help but chuckle a bit about that answer.
Sure, if you look at those 20 years as a whole her career is absolutely amazing and she achieved what nobody else achieved. A legend!
But looking at the past few years I can't help but feel this answer is a bit of a mocking.
Even though she does acknowledge the achievements as well as the mistakes in the sentence after that, I do feel like she and her team lost the connection to the industry as well as the audience in recent years to handle "the brand Ayumi Hamasaki".
That answer makes it sound like she does rely on her past instead of moving forward.



I guess that really shows one of the main problems - objectively she's giving a lot and is not lazy at all with touring, but subjectively people are coming out of her concerts and feel like they've seen the same again?
Simply changing the songs probably is not enough if you're constantly touring.
Except I think ayumi has changed more than the songs. But nothing (no new prop, now new routine, no new stage) is enough for Ayu. If she had set lower expectations or expectations for a different style of tour, she wouldn't have this issue right now. She's done a lot. There isnt much she can do on tour that would be revolutionary in her touring career. And anything else would just be considered being influenced by or copying someone else which is also a "problem" now even though not as many cared in the past.

I think ayu is in an unfortunate place right now. And I dont think there is much she can do that would gain public adoration. She lost that over a decade ago and even before that it continued to decline every year while she was supposedly "being the true ayumi hamasaki" as her fans might say. She can keep going musically, but it will have to be because she is truly inspired as there is nothing else to gain.

Ayumi doesnt do anything dramatically terrible. As I've discussed before I think, people blow things out of proportion because of who she is, and the negative narrative surrounding her career just builds over time. She was already very hated by many when I became a fan in 2007-2008. I didnt even like her at first because some toxic western Utada Hikaru fans I was (well technically still am) apart of and others (including ayu fans tbh) made it seem cool to shit on her as this joke of the jpop industry. And that was in 2007 lol.

Also when other artists do things that may not garner great pr, the narrative around it is completely different. Ayumi doesnt have that positive support from the media or wider community at all. It's easier to tear her down. Also lots of revisionist history.

Some artists may not do anything remotely as impressive as ayumi, utada, etc but it doesnt really matter because they never deal with this kind of negative scrutiny and although fans or the public may not admit it, their expectations for those other artists is different.

Also on Namie...love her. She retired at a perfect time and deserves the attention she is getting for her body of work. So I think its obvious why most heisei era discussion would be around her right now. She also (like Kumi) have always made the most mainstream appealing styles of music and do things that are on trend, more like western pop artists (but better tbh lol). I think that really still works now especially and more so than ayu copying anyone, I think she is trying this (in terms of style and tour setup)...obviously not the music...aside from Colours...which was not good.

I would love ayu to release music but only if it is interesting an inspired. Unfortunately I havent enjoyed as much from any of our jpop legends besides Utada recently, as much as I respect them. So I'm not in a rush to hear trouble part 2. I would prefer things like Love songs and Party Queen, which work well conceptually and provide great songs. But the former was deemed boring and the latter...well we all know how the fanbase responded. For this reason, I'm not sure how positively fans would respond to what im looking for from ayu personally.

Note: this turned into a long post of a lot of my recent thoughts lol, this is not necessarily all in response to you Corvina but just this general discussion
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  #504  
Old 4th May 2019, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attractive nausea View Post
And yet she topped the Yahoo poll about the most representative singer of the Heisei era. I know people could vote multiple times and it wasn't only japanese people but still, she got 78,751, representing 49,8% of votes. The japanese press might have something against her but it seems that japanese people remember her.

Back on the tour subject, I agree with you orbitalaspect on many things except this one :

Actually, she has managed to sing a lot of different songs during all of these tours. There is someone on the forum who made a list of all the different songs she has performed during her tours (+a-nation) since CDL 2016-2017 and there are plenty of them, it was impressive to see. If this person sees my post feel free to post this list again here. Sure, there are some songs that she sings too often and it makes us feel like it's always the same (for instance Bold & Delicious needs to die, she's sung this one too many times now) but it's not really the case.
Yes, she has sung over 100 different songs since the start of the celebration for her 20th anniversary. List by Andrenekoi (and Party_King):


01. A Song for ××
02. Depend on you
03. poker face
04. YOU

05. appears
06. Boys & Girls
07. Fly high
08. kanariya
09. TO BE
10. Trauma
11. Who...

12. AUDIENCE
13. ever free
14. SEASONS
15. SURREAL
16. Duty

17. A Song is born
18. Dearest
19. evolution
20. I am...
21. M
22. NEVER EVER
23. UNITE!

24. +
25. everywhere nowhere
26. Free & Easy
27. HANABI
28. independent
29. July 1st
30. Voyage
31. WE WISH

32. ANGEL'S SONG
33. Because of you
34. forgiveness
35. Greatful days
36. Memorial address
37. No way to say
38. ourselves

39. GAME
40. HONEY
41. Humming 7/4
42. INSPIRE
43. Moments
44. my name's WOMEN
45. walking proud

46. alterna
47. Bold & Delicious
48. fairyland
49. STEP you
50. Pride
51. Ladies Night
52. HEAVEN

53. 1 LOVE
54. Beautiful Fighters
55. BLUE BIRD
56. Born To Be...
57. kiss o' kill
58. Startin'

59. Part of Me

60. talkin' 2 myself
61. Together When...
62. MY ALL

63. Mirrorcle World

64. EnergizE
65. Curtain call
66. Days
67. NEXT LEVEL
68. Sparkle
69. rollin'

70. Lady Dynamite
71. Microphone
72. Sunrise ~ LOVE is ALL~

73. Last angel
74. Love Song
75. SEVEN DAYS WAR
76. Virgin Road

77. Dream ON (Special Guest: Urata Naoya)

78. ANother song (Special Guest: Urata Naoya)
79. progress
80. beloved
81. BRILLANTE

82. how beautifu you are
83. Shake It ♥
84. NaNaNa

85. You & Me

86. Ivy
87. SAKURA

88. Feel the love
89. Lelio
90. Merry-go-round
91. XOXO
92. NOW & 4EVA

93. Last minute
94. Movin' on without you
95. The Show Must Go On
96. Walk
97. WARNING

98. FLOWER
99. Mad World
100. Many Classic Moments
101. Summer Love
102. Survivor
103. TODAY

104. æternal
105. The way I am
106. W
107. We are the QUEENS
108. WORDS

(109. Diary by miccie)
  #505  
Old 4th May 2019, 03:44 PM
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There has been a massive disconnect between Ayumi and her optics as Hamasaki Ayumi for years. I'm not sure what happened, but after 2010 things just started becoming "messy" with her. It's frustrating, because you never saw a slippage in optics or with Namie and Kumi.

In some ways, I actually understand why things started unraveling. To be that person....that ICON, must have been suffocating. I watched an appearance she did in 2002, and it is like 2 completely different people. Some people are willing to play the part and always be "on" in public. I think maybe she just got tired of it and wanted to just be Ayumi again. That said, there have been numerous self-inflected wounds that she herself has caused. On the other hand, there have been some unfair narratives that were hung around her neck too.

I've noticed that there is indeed a growing distance between her and the fans. There isn't much fan engagement and a general lack of awareness in terms of seeing the indifference and resentment starting to brew.

Last edited by lovethatkuu&ayu; 4th May 2019 at 03:52 PM.
  #506  
Old 4th May 2019, 04:05 PM
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I’ve never come out of her concert and thought that it was the same. Sure I wasn’t a big fan of PoM2018, but not once for the past 7 years have I gone out of the arena/hall and thought how the concert was the same as the ones I have seen already. The moment the concerts are over I cannot wait for the next year to come so I could go again and there are some songs that I just can’t get enough of live and don’t really mind her doing them often.
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  #507  
Old 4th May 2019, 05:09 PM
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The expectation around her being different is actually very true... Namie was considered thr stronger performer between the both and she most likely just did the same thing over and over again, even if the choreography kept changing.

The international jpop fandom isn't very keen of surprises either... I mean, if the "surprise" is a cute outfit or a haircut they are in, but even if people complaing a lot about the "signature Ayumi sound", every time she actually tried something new was when she got the most shit. And I believe the same can be said about Hikki considering the reception stuff like Exodus got.

When I read criticism from the Japanese public it's more stuff related to either age and being uncool or not behaving properly because she is too "western" or dating foreigners. Rarely it's a conplaint about her body of work.
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  #508  
Old 4th May 2019, 05:53 PM
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^ Also both Amuro and Utada had failed marriages. Utada was also married to a foreigner yet there was really not much fuss about it. Her first husband was significantly older than her as well and she has also worked with him professionally. The point is whatever ayu does seems to be blown out of proportion and I think the negative publicity actually put the nail to her career as a commercially successful jpop act. Albeit some of the negative publicity was probably spawned from the poor publicity stunts her team tried to pull...
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  #509  
Old 4th May 2019, 06:15 PM
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^Namie's career almost ended due to her failed marriage and it took her several years to recover her image. A lot of thr comments I read about Ayu over the internet nowadays also aren't THAT different from what I read about Namie back in 2002-04.

Utada, on the other site, I believe it has more to do with how she puts herself to the public. Ayu is a personality and her public image was always a strong selling point to her, while Hikki is more a sound than a person in a sense and so her personal life doesn't matter as much.
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  #510  
Old 4th May 2019, 06:49 PM
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I think saying "the concerts are all the same" is something only people who went to every single one of them are allowed to say. After all, they are meant to be seen live. And I really don't think that most of these people would say that.

I can see where we (we in this forum) come from, as most of us only purchase the footage. I wasn't impressed by any whole setlist in the past few years and I stopped watching the concert with big attention, but if I would get the chance, I would never not go to see it live. The DVDs are just bonus. If you compare that to western standards, your rarely get as much concert footage as in Japan. I recently listend to a few Beyonce live albums - and they are basically all the same too.
  #511  
Old 4th May 2019, 08:58 PM
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Ayu is a has-been. Let's not deny that. She's like 80% deaf now. Her vocals are shaky. Even on good nights she gets out of tune and screams sometimes. She can't go on a podium without dancers supporting her. So let's be realistic. Honestly these days every time she announces anything I'm happy it's not that she's completely deaf now, literally can't perform anymore, and has called it quits.

If one day she releases one more song that becomes a massive hit and puts her back in the spotlight for 3 months, great. But I wouldn't bet on hitting the jackpot.

And she's already got one hell of a legacy. She could pretty much just shoot darts at the wall to decide what songs to sing at the next tour (maybe that is how she comes up with a setlist). There's not a lot of singers who could do this. And I actually don't think she repeats herself that much. The problem is of all songs she have, she chooses to repeat Bold & delicious and Movin' on without you...
  #512  
Old 5th May 2019, 12:44 AM
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Calling her a has-been for the reasons listed seems a little harsh, no? I don’t think a has-been would be someone who just headlined two nights at one of the largest arenas(Saitama Super Area) in the world, and even sold out the second night. We’ve talked about why she might need an assist from her dancers on high positions, and while her recent vocals may or may not have something to do with her being 80% deaf, the fact she still is able to perform and sell out arenas and halls as a headlining act is clear there’s still a fan base in Japan that allows her to do as such. Mariah Carey, by comparison, doesn’t even do headlining tours, and recently has reduced to just an opening act for bigger acts, when she used to be one of the biggest pop singers... not sure what you’d call that, but Ayu has definitely not reduced to that.

Even Madonna needs some assistance from her dancers in her older age and even turns to auto-tune or vocoder effects heavily in her more recent music/tours, but that doesn’t make her a has-been.

Last edited by Norrel; 5th May 2019 at 05:30 AM.
  #513  
Old 5th May 2019, 03:04 AM
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For someone who has been around for as long as Ayu with no time off, her career is at a very good place tbh. The large majority of her peers aren't touring as much or grabbing as much media attention.
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  #514  
Old 5th May 2019, 08:15 AM
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so this thread gonna be like 5 pages of tour relevant info and 50 pages on why-ayu-not-popular-anymore ???

btw, anyone found vid on this tour for opening or "In The Corner" performance? i still can't imagine how "In The Corner" became a opener, izzit with stick dance again?
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  #515  
Old 5th May 2019, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norrel View Post
Calling her a has-been for the reasons listed seems a little harsh, no? I don’t think a has-been would be someone who just headlined two nights at one of the largest arenas(Saitama Super Area) in the world, and even sold out the second night.
Maximum capacity of Saitama Super Arena (37000) is given that using stadium mode. The fact is she was using main arena mode and closed the 3rd and 4th levels, where its capacity is just about 12000, and the tickets weren't sold out after 1 week the public sale started.
  #516  
Old 5th May 2019, 09:51 AM
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Despite your concerns, the way some of you talk about her makes it hard to believe sometimes that you're her fans tbh

I don't know. As an international fan, I'm craving for new music since that is the only new proper content I can enjoy or the only way I can connect with her. If I were a Japanese fan maybe I would be happy that after all the years in arenas I get to see her closer in smaller shows. Also, when Ayu is performing there's still that fire in her eyes that she hasn't lost despite all the medical or technical issues. It's something she genuinely seems to enjoy doing, not something she does just to earn money.

And about the lack of new music. Yeah, i want a new album SO bad but for me worst thing would be if she started to stop writing her songs and just purchased some demos to release yearly albums and milk the fans. Right now, if she hasn't found anything new to say or she just lacks the inspiration, I will respect her decision and wait for the time she decides it's right. She's been overworked af for almost 20 years doing all these tours, releases, promos etc I can perfectly understand why she would now want to slow down for a bit

And honestly, I prefer this Ayu way better to the end of 2010/2011/2012 Ayu. Yeah, we got new music, we got different tours etc but the way she handled her relationship at that time was painful to watch. I don't wanna get too much into it, but that's when I almost left the fandom for good. I feel like now she' come to terms with who she is and with what the state of her career is and honestly, i think she has handled things way more gracefully than what I had thought

One last thing, it amazes me that people complain about the songs being the same all the time when she's probably one of the singers with the most varied setlist. If she was any other artist we would be having ALL of her biggest hits in the setlist every damn time, but instead we have a lot of b-sides, not so popular songs and fan favourites in every tour (appart from the couple of hits, but tbh if I go to an Ayu concert and she doesn't do evolution or B&G I would be disappointed)
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  #517  
Old 5th May 2019, 12:49 PM
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  #518  
Old 5th May 2019, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mirrorcle Monster View Post
Also, when Ayu is performing there's still that fire in her eyes that she hasn't lost despite all the medical or technical issues. It's something she genuinely seems to enjoy doing
I was really struck by her saying that the stage is the only place she really, truly exists.

Every day she's hit by "Is she retiring?" "Wow she's fat," "It's painful to think about her," "She doesn't sell," "Nobody likes her," "She's a has-been," from both fans and detractors. Her body is in some pain from the knee and ear. It wouldn't surprise me if she goes on stage to do what brings her joy in that circumstance.
  #519  
Old 5th May 2019, 03:17 PM
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There's no shame in admitting that Ayu's out of her prime. Avril Lavigne is a has been. Katy Perry is a has been. We all age, run into struggles in life, fall sick, fall out of love, embarrass ourselves, and that's okay. Paul McCartney was 70 when he sang at the London Olympics. His voice was shaky, and people were proud to be fans.

I'm saying we shouldn't be holding her to the standards that we used to when she was 25. She's 40yo, 80% deaf, with vocal and balancing problems. Let's be realistic with the expectations. And it's not like she owes anybody anything at this point. Her legacy's insane already.

I was 15yo when I first heard her. Back then I didn't even have the money to see a local concert by a B-list artist, and now I'm finally making enough money to casually travel to Japan. I had seen her recent year performances online and I was sweating her vocals when I walked in, but I just had to go pay my respects. I tried to make conversation with the girl sitting next to me who also came alone (early 20s, probably a student, didn't look rich), but her English was pretty bad and my Japanese was worse. Finally I said "you must like her very much" and she took 3 seconds to remember how to say "yes". A few seats over there was this girl who came wearing an orthopedic cast around her swollen foot. Her friends had to support her when she went to the bathroom. During the concert I looked around at the crowd and saw a very old couple (60-70ish) a few rows behind me. The woman looked tired standing for that long, but everybody was standing so if you sit down you really couldn't see anything. It really impressed me how some of her fans went out of their ways to see her. I can't imagine standing for 2 hours on a broken foot or when I'm 70yo. No wonder she always gets emotional at songs like My All. Maybe she sees all this as well and it really is just her fans that keep her going.

What I'm trying to say here is that there's huge diversity among her fans, and none of us can speak for everyone. Some people want new songs, some just want to see her once in their lifetimes, some goes to see her every time she's in town... I do believe that Ayu's doing the best she could, and I'm not saying stop complaining. Just because we're fans doesn't mean we can't be critical. But let's be realistic with the expectations. She's probably literally unable to cater to everybody at the same time now.
  #520  
Old 5th May 2019, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ddggcw View Post
I do believe that Ayu's doing the best she could, and I'm not saying stop complaining. Just because we're fans doesn't mean we can't be critical. But let's be realistic with the expectations. She's probably literally unable to cater to everybody at the same time now.
Perfect summary of what I think, thank you for that!

I don't mind the critics here about her voice or lack of innovation / too much touring without new releases. I understand some are disappointed because they want to see her doing stuff she used to do back in her prime when she was in her 20s or 30s, or because other artists in their 40s or 50s are doing them... (I myself was a huge fan of her "numbers", always checking her Oricon pages every release to see if she grabbed another #1 with +200k sales)

But that was then and this is now (End roll lyrics), she's in her 40s, she doesn't have anything to prove anymore to anyone, and she seems happy about it, just be happy for whatever she does.

Ayu wrote "All good things must come to an end" in her latest TA message, so let's support her while we can and give her some break. Go girl, be happy!
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