Earlier this summer, J-Pop Empress Ayumi Hamasaki released her first new single in nearly four years. Ohia no Ki was a sentimental ballad similar to those that helped forge her decade-long career. But I'm much more interested in its successor, the electronic-meets-rock Dreamed A Dream. This song also represents a kind of comeback and stands as one of two summer singles produced by the "retired" talent Tetsuya Komuro. After Komuro left the industry in January 2018, it seemed like Komuro's position as "J-Pop's Most Successful Producer" was one for the history books that should never be expanded.
However, days after releasing a (fantastic) song with girl group Nogizaka46, Komuro worked with Hamasaki to come up with a sampler of so many of their legendary sounds. Dreamed A Dream combines their idiosyncratic vocals with a dramatic instrumental that pulsates with dynamic energy shifts. It's not something we haven't heard before in J-Pop, but it's always satisfying to hear artists return to a style in which they excel.
The instrumental of Dreamed A Dream is a crowded beast that transitions from staccato electro riffs to pulsating, symphonic bombast and guitar shredder interludes. My favorite work, produced by Komuro, successfully takes this more-is-more approach and uses it to work out certain musical moments. The dream is full of climaxes, from its breakneck chorus to its pounding breakdowns. Hamasaki attacks the track with more panache than expected, and her vocals envelop the melody with convincing ferocity. The song takes time (its audio version is almost a minute longer than the music video) and lingers on choruses to provide hypnotic structure. But with Hamasaki and Komuro at the helm, I'm more than ready to let them pamper you.
Keywords: Ayumi Hamasaki, J-Pop, Jpop, Rating 8, Rating, Tetsuya Komuro. Bookmark the permalink.