[News] 『A BALLADS 2』on sale 2021.04.08 [II] - Page 2 - Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai
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  #21  
Old 21st February 2021, 08:16 PM
jean-baptiste jean-baptiste is offline
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I like it! Was hoping there'd be a play on the twin/ayu-with-herself concept of the first A BALLADS but I think it still compliments the original album art nicely.
  #22  
Old 21st February 2021, 08:41 PM
pedronekoi pedronekoi is offline
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Well...
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Ayu concerts I've been to:

ARENA TOUR 2015 A Cirque de Minuit ~Mayonaka no Circus~ @ Saitama Super Arena 2015.04.11/12
ARENA TOUR 2018 ~POWER of MUSIC 20th Anniversary~ @ Saitama Super Arena 2018.04.07
Tokyo Rainbow Pride @ Yoyogi Park 2018.05.06
a-nation' 2018 @ Ajinomoto Stadium 2018.08.26
LIVE TOUR -TROUBLE- 2018-2019 A @ Nakano Sunplaza 2019.02.06
ayumi hamasaki 21st anniversary -POWER of A^3- @ Saitama Super Arena 2019.04.07
  #23  
Old 21st February 2021, 09:16 PM
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Personally I have no problem with this being completely different from A BALLADS I mean, they are two different products, I don't remember people being mad when she releseaded A BEST 2 and she wasn't crying in either cover lol

I'll admit the lenses bug me out, I miss her natural eyes, but still it's a nice shot, no pinkish and looks like there's actual background behind her, maybe another cover could show her full body in a different pose like in MY STORY that would be cool! The DVD/BR content it's not really exciting tbh but there are about 20 tracks left to be announced so who knows, maybe there are some surprises but if not, I'm still pretty excited for Pray for You and the potential PV
  #24  
Old 21st February 2021, 09:34 PM
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I understand people wanting and expecting more from her as we used to get a new album every year and this release is boring release BUT... people are a bit responsible for their own disappointment on this release as it has been advertised since the beginning as the greatest hits with remastered tracks. Even if they called it ''A Ballads 2'' the description they gave us was exactly ''A Summer Best ~Winter Version~''.

Now for the cover... well, this is how she looks now, she is a Diva in her 40's who had a lot of plastic surgery, but she still looks stunning in my opinion. When she was younger and in her prime, she could try edgy stuff and break trends, but in the past years, we all witnessed that every time she tried to get out of the mold she has been conceived, she gets bad press and harsh critique. I am pretty sure if she had tried to re-create the Original A Ballad concept where she poses caressing herself, the Japanese would have called her too old to do that and it backfired her. This covers looks pretty much like all those aging Japanese singers who release greatest hits (Classic and elegant beauty shots) And I think her team knows that it is what the Japanese people want to see of her now.

So, yeah, they could have re-recorded the songs, make new arrangements, include unreleased concerts, but it was never intended that way. people created hope and dreams and got upset because they realized they are not the reality.
  #25  
Old 21st February 2021, 09:36 PM
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I love the cover! If only it was for selling color lenses and not for an album
  #26  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:10 PM
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This reminds me of TROUBLE covers somehow. The CD versions were beauty shots or sort of but the TeamAyu one shows the "TROUBLE" theme with Max grabbing her boobs. Maybe she's reserving the "real" concept or "pose" for the TA edition.

I don't know... I have the impression this cover was rushed because of the negative feedback she received about the contents in the DVD. I think I'm going for the 2CD+DVD just because of the sleeve.
  #27  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Odinson View Post
Personally I have no problem with this being completely different from A BALLADS I mean, they are two different products, I don't remember people being mad when she releseaded A BEST 2 and she wasn't crying in either cover lol

I'll admit the lenses bug me out, I miss her natural eyes, but still it's a nice shot, no pinkish and looks like there's actual background behind her, maybe another cover could show her full body in a different pose like in MY STORY that would be cool! The DVD/BR content it's not really exciting tbh but there are about 20 tracks left to be announced so who knows, maybe there are some surprises but if not, I'm still pretty excited for Pray for You and the potential PV
Unless she took these pics like 8 months ago, i don't think that's happening..She's pregnant, remember? Unless they do a clever cover up, i don't think that's gonna happen

Oddly enough, i'm probably the only one who doesn't have an issue with her using contact lenses in a lot of the shots.
  #28  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by artcika View Post
Unless she took these pics like 8 months ago, i don't think that's happening..She's pregnant, remember? Unless they do a clever cover up, i don't think that's gonna happen

Oddly enough, i'm probably the only one who doesn't have an issue with her using contact lenses in a lot of the shots.
I believe this cover is from june or july 2020
  #29  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:16 PM
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^well then maybe we'll get something other than a close-up on her face.

I have to say though, one thing i've been loving from her for the past few years is the lack of heavy eye-make-up. The whole gyaru look was really getting old and creepy. She's such a natural beauty. Although i see the 2008-2010 lips coming back...
  #30  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:20 PM
pedronekoi pedronekoi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.graziano View Post
I believe this cover is from june or july 2020
True. probably from around this time: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBS0dy1hegc/
__________________
Ayu concerts I've been to:

ARENA TOUR 2015 A Cirque de Minuit ~Mayonaka no Circus~ @ Saitama Super Arena 2015.04.11/12
ARENA TOUR 2018 ~POWER of MUSIC 20th Anniversary~ @ Saitama Super Arena 2018.04.07
Tokyo Rainbow Pride @ Yoyogi Park 2018.05.06
a-nation' 2018 @ Ajinomoto Stadium 2018.08.26
LIVE TOUR -TROUBLE- 2018-2019 A @ Nakano Sunplaza 2019.02.06
ayumi hamasaki 21st anniversary -POWER of A^3- @ Saitama Super Arena 2019.04.07
  #31  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AyuCanada View Post
I understand people wanting and expecting more from her as we used to get a new album every year and this release is boring release BUT... people are a bit responsible for their own disappointment on this release as it has been advertised since the beginning as the greatest hits with remastered tracks. Even if they called it ''A Ballads 2'' the description they gave us was exactly ''A Summer Best ~Winter Version~''.

Now for the cover... well, this is how she looks now, she is a Diva in her 40's who had a lot of plastic surgery, but she still looks stunning in my opinion. When she was younger and in her prime, she could try edgy stuff and break trends, but in the past years, we all witnessed that every time she tried to get out of the mold she has been conceived, she gets bad press and harsh critique. I am pretty sure if she had tried to re-create the Original A Ballad concept where she poses caressing herself, the Japanese would have called her too old to do that and it backfired her. This covers looks pretty much like all those aging Japanese singers who release greatest hits (Classic and elegant beauty shots) And I think her team knows that it is what the Japanese people want to see of her now.

So, yeah, they could have re-recorded the songs, make new arrangements, include unreleased concerts, but it was never intended that way. people created hope and dreams and got upset because they realized they are not the reality.
THANK YOU!

As for me, I didn't had any hopes. Ayu told us, we'll get a compilation album called A BALLADS 2. Arranged with 30 tracks in total. I wasn't expecting much. I just hoped for my faves songs. So 9 of 10 were really good tracks. Can't wait for the other tracks.
And for the cover, I don't really thought about it. Why? Because with her pregnant belly ayu wouldn't shoot a whole body shoot. I was expecting a beauty shoot like this. The colours are perfect. Most of the fans are forgetting, that ayu grew up. She isn't in her 20s anymore where she could do things like A BALLADS. She's a grown up woman after all. She is a mother of 2 (maybe baby #2 is there maybe not). And she's not Kumi to try crazy things.
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  #32  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedronekoi View Post
True. probably from around this time: https://www.instagram.com/p/CBS0dy1hegc/
Yes. This is the exactly same hair plus avex would not hire the same photographer 2 times in a row to make a shooting. It's the same guy that photographed the Ohia No Ki cover.

I did some research and he worked with Namie for a very long time.

And avex is keeping the budget to their K-Pop acts and SnowMan. Maybe Urata's and Nissy comebacks.
  #33  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:36 PM
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^^ you two nailed thinking like Japanese lol

Ayu has left the "I care what people say" train long ago, plus she hasn't had any interest from general public for YEARS now, otherwise she wouldn't have done stuff that she did. I don't think the "image" is the problem here, i mean it just makes sense to do something simple, cuz it's easy, plus majority of them don't even get printed nowadays. To add to that just because she hit 40, doesn't mean she can't have creative covers anymore. You can be mature and still do it cleverly. Just because she "grew up" doesn't mean she needs to get borring. Do people forget her dancing like a sex kitten on stage like a year or two ago? Being a mom doesn't kill the fact that you are a woman and can have a classy sex appeal...She doesn't need to be Kumi (although i don't know what's wrong with her being the way she is and being a mom), she's doing pretty well being a mature woman and having a pretty healthy and nicely portrayed sex appeal where it works.
I personally didn't even think about the whole twin thing for this, i forgot about it, but it can be done in SO many ways to play tribute to the original cover if she wanted to do it.
My point is it's all just speculation why she doesn't do things that we think she could do, it's just putting our own perspective and thinking on her. We are never going to. For all we know it could just be Avex saving up on money due to the whole virus thing and not wanting to do anything flashy that's not gonna pay off later, or just putting money into other stuff instead.

Last edited by BlackSilence; 21st February 2021 at 10:43 PM.
  #34  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:41 PM
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^ I agree and I won't be surprised at all if this cover revealed is for the standard 2CD version targeting the japanese public overall to buy her compilation.

I have a feeling we can have better poses since we have 4 more covers to go and that this was shoot probably from june 2020.

The Namie "photographer" thing got me triggered though... Maybe japanese public liked what he did with Namie's?

Last edited by j.graziano; 21st February 2021 at 10:46 PM.
  #35  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:47 PM
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That photographer did the whole Twin thing for one of the Namie's magazine shots from years ago. I checked his instagram, when i saw the post from ayu, and it was on there. It's actually one of my favourite magazine shots of hers. But i only saw a couple of post featuring Namie on there....The guy seems to have a lot of beauty shots, and magazine stuff, or so it looks from what he's got on instagram, so i'm not surprised by the cover image. It's clean and polished - ready for the magazine cover. These sort of photos are a staple in Japan's music visuals as well as magazine covers.
  #36  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan Odinson View Post
Personally I have no problem with this being completely different from A BALLADS I mean, they are two different products, I don't remember people being mad when she releseaded A BEST 2 and she wasn't crying in either cover lol
But both A BEST and A BEST 2 had the same "concept", a strong portrait. If you look at both of them together, it makes sense.

As I said earlier, I wasn't expecting the twins concept happening, but the picture itself isn't that interesting imo. It looks like it's in between poses, with no concept besides a pretty picture. She can do good with pretty picture and cool concept, like Zutto's cover, but oh well.

She also could had the "twins" idea using mirrors, it looked very nice on A BEST 2, and it would look less like she's recreating the original, but instead a nod to it.
  #37  
Old 21st February 2021, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artcika View Post
That photographer did the whole Twin thing for one of the Namie's magazine shots from years ago. I checked his instagram, when i saw the post from ayu, and it was on there. It's actually one of my favourite magazine shots of hers. But i only saw a couple of post featuring Namie on there....The guy seems to have a lot of beauty shots, and magazine stuff, or so it looks from what he's got on instagram, so i'm not surprised by the cover image. It's clean and polished - ready for the magazine cover. These sort of photos are a staple in Japan's music visuals as well as magazine covers.
^ That's the list of works he did with Namie. The beauty magazine concept is clear enough already. We just need to figure it out now if ayu is going be edgy on this even if it is a little bit but to me it is pretty clear that avex want to advertise it as "beauty" product even being a music product.

To me, personally this translates as general public and not much fans.

Ayu imagery nowadays is pretty much attached to brands and even cosmetics if we take a deeper look at her instagram.

CDs
Grotesque (2014)
TSUKI (2014)

Magazines
SCawaii! (December 2007)
SCawaii! (April 2008)
GLAMOROUS (September 2008)
GLAMOROUS (January 2010)
Sweet (January 2010)
ViVi (January 2010)
Sweet (August 2010)
Sweet (April 2011)
GLAMOROUS (May 2011)
Sweet (August 2011)
Sweet (September 2011)
SCawaii! (December 2011)
GISELe (January 2011)
Sweet (April 2012)
GISELe (July 2012)
Sweet July 2012)
mina (August 2012)
Steady (August 2012)
Jelly (September 2012)
Sweet (December 2012)
Sweet (June 2013)
InRed (July 2013)
mina (July 2013)
SCawaii! (July 2013)
Sweet (July 2013)
GISELe (August 2013)
Numéro Tokyo (August 2013)
Steady (August 2013)
with (September 2013)
Sweet (February 2014)
SCawaii! (March 2014)
InRed (July 2014)
SCawaii! (July 2014)
Steady (July 2014)
Sweet (July 2014)
GISELe (August 2014)
Otona MUSE (January 2015)
Gina (March 2015)
SCawaii! (March 2015)
Sweet (March 2015)
Gina (July 2015)
InRed (July 2015)
Steady (July 2015)
Sweet (July 2015)
Steady (July 2016)
Sweet (July 2016)
andGIRL (August 2016)
andGIRL (August 2018)
Steady (September 2018)
Sweet (October 2018)

Advertising campaigns
KOSÉ ESPRIQUE (mid-summer 2012)
KOSÉ ESPRIQUE (mid-autumn 2012)
KOSÉ OLEO D’OR (Summer 2015)
  #38  
Old 21st February 2021, 11:03 PM
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OMG, covers for BALLADS 2 look amazing :O
  #39  
Old 21st February 2021, 11:05 PM
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hidekirby hidekirby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artcika View Post
To add to that just because she hit 40, doesn't mean she can't have creative covers anymore. You can be mature and still do it cleverly. Just because she "grew up" doesn't mean she needs to get borring. Do people forget her dancing like a sex kitten on stage like a year or two ago? Being a mom doesn't kill the fact that you are a woman and can have a classy sex appeal...She doesn't need to be Kumi (although i don't know what's wrong with her being the way she is and being a mom), she's doing pretty well being a mature woman and having a pretty healthy and nicely portrayed sex appeal where it works.
I personally didn't even think about the whole twin thing for this, i forgot about it, but it can be done in SO many ways to play tribute to the original cover if she wanted to do it.
I was going to say the very same thing.
Being a grown up and a mother should never be an excuse to not be creative (sexy or whatever). You don't have to stuck to a particular mold because you're a mother. Are dads also expected to stuck to a mold?
This is just the way she is for some time now and it's hard to accept. The flame is gone (or her team is gone haha...).
As regards the cover she doesn't have to recreate the original cover at all (I would personally find it a bit awkward), just come up with... SOMETHING! (as @kaled kalil I also thought about the mirrors. There is so many possibilities! An infinity! You don't have to be an engineer to come up with just an idea. And there she is looking dead, lips half closed on a couch trying not to snooze haha).
This plus the lack of new stuff to chew on is quite... I don't know how to put it. Another release, another "ok next *yawn*". And as I read on the previous post I believe this is really the thing that's hurting her career the most. She's living on her fanbase for some time now. And this kind of lazy release won't hold their attention for too long. She can still release music because there is still demand.
I don't expect her to do an album a year and 5 singles. Even right now with the release pattern I could be happy if those were really good ones. Or at least if I could feel commitment and creativity. Nothing is worse than safety and the lack of creativity for an artistic career to me. Above all when it's been that long.

So... "ok next"...

Last edited by hidekirby; 21st February 2021 at 11:37 PM.
  #40  
Old 21st February 2021, 11:09 PM
Chibi-Chan Chibi-Chan is offline
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Originally Posted by Evan Odinson View Post
Personally I have no problem with this being completely different from A BALLADS I mean, they are two different products, I don't remember people being mad when she releseaded A BEST 2 and she wasn't crying in either cover lol
No, people weren't mad - for the simple fact that A BEST 2 is THE example of how you pay tribute to your own work. The original A BEST was a black and white shot of her face, for A BEST 2 we got a coloured shot of her face in a very similar way, but this time with a WHITE and a BLACK background. Therefore, the whole concept of A BEST 2 -BLACK- and A BEST 2 -WHITE- revolved around the original concept of A BEST and took a very clever twist with the BLACK and WHITE versions. No one wanted her to cry on the cover, because she was being creative and played with the original concept without simply recreating its most iconic aspect - the tear. She gave A BEST 2 its own identity, while being true to its predecessor.
So no, people weren't mad, on the contrary. But we are disappointed this time because we know that she can do so much better.
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