[Article] Finnish J-culture magazine JapanPop reviews Party Queen - Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai
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  #1  
Old 13th July 2012, 03:31 PM
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Finnish J-culture magazine JapanPop reviews Party Queen

Finnish J-culture magazine JapanPop reviewed Party Queen in the issue 04/2012.

[scan of the article]

Here's translation for you guys :3

Quote:
Ayumi Hamasaki - Party Queen
By Maritta Kela
Translation by Eewyi

Ayumi Hamasaki's 13th studio album Party Queen was released on 21st of March 2012. Interestingly though, it didn't have any psychical single tie-ins. Only the last track of the album, how beautiful you are got a digital single release about one month before the actual album. It was also used as a theme song for drama Saigo kara nibanme no koi. The actual album was released afterwards, as a several different versions, which is typical in Japan.

Without having any big scale knowledge of the artists previous works, the album starts as expected. The first tracks, Paty queen which the album is named after, NaNaNa and Shake It ♥ invite the listener to party, and they have this certain club feeling in them. The most catchy of the three is NaNaNa, which would get you on the dancefloor more than once.
Shake It ♥ on the other hand is a bit more rockish, and it begins noticeably different theme in the album, followed by interlude taskebab. Its melody is a mashup between previous upbeat songs and the songs yet to come.

The middle part of the album begins with call, which is a enjoyable pop rock song. It's easy to like and nice to jam along.
The pop rock theme is continued with Letter, though having more melancholical lyrics, and reminds me takes the same road. Reminds me includes more unleashing of negative energy, and lalala harmonization is repeated.

Return Road is speculated to be a sequel to song Virgin Road and taken its story from singer's actual experiences and relationship problems. It's by no doubt one of the songs to be remembered from this album.
Tell me why as a song is already more mellow and has a forgiving tone.

The second interlude of the album a cup of tea transits the listener to yet another theme, lasting two songs. Broadway theme presented by Hamasaki comes in mind when listening to the next LOVE, and it has almost jazzy sounds. Eyes, Smoke, Magic sounds like a bizarre circus show instead.
Serenade in A minor interlude has a melancholical tone, having musical-like sound.
How beautiful you are is one of the greatest songs in the album, a tedious ballad, which gives album beautiful ending.

At first listen, it's difficult to notice a clear link and story between the songs, but at second listen they connect to each other way better already.
A young woman comes to mind, which at first, parties at the peak of her fame, then taken to her relationship problems, and at last finding herself again, being grateful.
Hamasaki's eccentric pronounciation might confuse listeners. Also, the overusing of all kinds of special effects might sting the ear.

3 out of 5
Well, what do you think? I find this review quite good actually. It seems that she has really listened to the album more than once, even looked at the lyrics. Also, I find it admirable how she has done so much, even though she is unfamiliar with ayu's music.
It also gives a perspective what first time listener might think of her. It seems that ballads are really admired by many.

I found it funny how she said that call is nice to jam to, as it doesn't have that kind of lyrics XD
It's also nice that she actually realized that this is a conceptual album. That was the point.

Oh, and it's interesting how she couldn't link the songs at first listen. 'Cause the same thing happened to me too, when listening to PQ the first time.

Oh, and she commented about ayu's pronounciation! It surely is kinda eccentric, but I personally like it. Does ayu speak with some kind of dialect by the way? Because I've wondered that time to time too.

I find it kinda odd though how she gave "only" 3 out of 5, because she didn't seem to particularly say anything negative about it? But it's still good though!

I hope my translation was understandable, please say if something feels off ^__^~

This magazine has also rewieved Rock'n'roll Circus [it's not this precise though, way shorter too] and made an article [heavily sourcing from her interwiev with TIME magazine in 2001, so it's not really recent, although made in 2009] of ayu before. I can scan and translate those later as well if you want to~
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Last edited by Eewyi; 14th July 2012 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 13th July 2012, 04:52 PM
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hmmm....I really like this review...she really did listen to the album...which I'm glad...when I got the album, I didn't know the songs were connected to each other..but after listen for a couple of times (and also reading the lyrics too), I found out the album flow beautifully..Thank you Eewyi for posting the review~~
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Old 13th July 2012, 06:18 PM
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That's cool. Thanks for sharing this and translating
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Old 13th July 2012, 06:36 PM
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cool, and nice review!
Maybe its a translation thing or maybe its just the focusing of one track at a time about the concept thing...
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Old 14th July 2012, 03:08 AM
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I love the review...thanks for sharing
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Old 14th July 2012, 07:14 AM
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the person merely described the album.. not much of a review imo.. but thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th July 2012, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alternarist View Post
the person merely described the album.. not much of a review imo.. but thanks for sharing!
Well, this is not a music magazine specially [reviews are usually half the size this is, taking two pages] so taking that into account, this is quite nice in my opinion :3
Also, I'm happy they review and write about Jpop once in a while, 70% it's all about Jrock, since it's way more popular genre here
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Old 14th July 2012, 11:15 AM
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^ I think alternatist means that the writer described the songs as for what they are and didn't share his/her own opinions about the songs. Well, at least - that's how I read alternatists comment and why I agree. But I always like to read positive things about Party Queen, because I used to believe there are mostly negative reviews about this album and that's sad 'cause it's a nice album. One last thing, try to put your own opinion out of the article. There is nothing wrong about it, but personally: it disturbs me from reading. Thank you very much for sharing!
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Old 14th July 2012, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xLuna&1LOVE View Post
^ I think alternatist means that the writer described the songs as for what they are and didn't share his/her own opinions about the songs. Well, at least - that's how I read alternatists comment and why I agree. But I always like to read positive things about Party Queen, because I used to believe there are mostly negative reviews about this album and that's sad 'cause it's a nice album. One last thing, try to put your own opinion out of the article. There is nothing wrong about it, but personally: it disturbs me from reading. Thank you very much for sharing!
Ah, well, I guess she didn't really have any deep opinion about them, at least what I understood, this seemed to be her first time listening to her?

Yes, I was ready to face something like "Oh no, now they of course hate PQ" :,D Since this magazine usually reviews [sadly] Jrockers, especially visual kei. But although the CD came out "only" as "good" it seemed that she still enjoyed it.

I find it interesting that she made notice about ayu's pronounciation. I haven't seen that commented often.

Oh, sorry about that ^__^; I removed those parts now!
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Old 14th July 2012, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for the translation! It seems, overall, quite a positive review; although the rating at the end probably just represents that the album didn't leave much of an impression on the reviewer, despite the songs not being that bad. Pretty realistic.
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Old 14th July 2012, 05:33 PM
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Well it's good they reviewd ayu then...since visual kei is a bit different, though there's nothing wrong with that lol I like it.
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Old 14th July 2012, 06:01 PM
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This magazine has also done review for Utada's HEART STATION back in 2008. They at least know how to write song titles in right form and all that, lol. Usually Finnish Japan culture magazines doesn't really care about that spelling and it annoys me. XD

I noticed some grammar mistakes in your translation, Eewyi. Otherwise this was done very well. I'd like to hear that Rock'n'Roll Circus review too. I don't think I've seen that one. At least I got no memory of seeing it. o.O
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Old 14th July 2012, 06:11 PM
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Like others have said, he only described the songs and did not explain why did he give 3/5, no opinion in the review whatsoever.
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Old 14th July 2012, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewelbox View Post
Like others have said, he only described the songs and did not explain why did he give 3/5, no opinion in the review whatsoever.
Mutta kiitos kun jaoit tämän!
Thanks!
I guess there wasn't time/space to do that, as it seems the reviews are kept quite short typically.
And of, it's she ; D
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Old 14th July 2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eewyi View Post
I guess there wasn't time/space to do that, as it seems the reviews are kept quite short typically.
And of, it's she ; D
I didn't read the name oops I wasn't sure so I just typed He because I'm lazy ^^
But yea, it's quite ok for a short review
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Old 14th July 2012, 08:25 PM
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Negative aspects of the album:

Quote:
At first listen, it's difficult to notice a clear link and story between the songs, but at second listen they connect to each other way better already.
A young woman comes to mind, which at first, parties at the peak of her fame, then taken to her relationship problems, and at last finding herself again, being grateful.
Hamasaki's eccentric pronounciation might confuse listeners. Also, the overusing of all kinds of special effects might sting the ear.
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Old 19th July 2012, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for sharing! I hate reviewers though...lol never pay any attention to them. I let my mind decide for me.
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Old 30th July 2012, 10:04 AM
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it deserves a 4 out of 5 AT LEAST.
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