At the end of August, a special collaboration between Namie Amuro, Gucci and Vogue Japan was announced (GUCCI x VOGUE JAPAN x Namie Amuro). This was in conjunction with Amuro’s spread in the upcoming Vogue Japan October issue, and included a number of promotional videos (some of which were posted on her official channel here). A preview of a new song, “Ballerina”, was heard and subsequently released digitally on the 6th October 2013. Alongside Ballerina, “Neonlight Lipstick” was released via Rekochoku on the 9th October 2013. This song was used in a Kose Esprique TV CM. This is just a short post to review the two songs, and have a look at the Ballerina PV that was released! *a few images below the cut.
I’ll talk about Neonlight Lipstick first. There was a lot of hype when the first teaser was released, but it left fans feeling a little deflated due to there being uncertainty as to (if ever) we’d ever see a full, high-quality version of the song. Thankfully, we did! And a lot sooner than expected. This song is… heavy. It’s produced by the same person (Steven Lee) that worked on Supernatural Love on her “FEEL” album; there are definitely licks of that sound here. It begins with a pounding dance beat, stunted electronic synth and a clattering drum machine. The lyrics are sung fast and hard (almost, almost like a rap), with the exception of the bridge before the chorus which is probably my favourite part. One of the things I’m really feeling are the peppering of Japanese lyrics in between the aggresive English lines – not that her English is bad by any means, I just adore how Namie works Japanese on her tongue. This is a really vivd and intense song that can seem a bit “much” on first listen, but after a few loops it would have fit perfectly on FEEL and is a dominant, fun song in it’s own right.
As for the cover, Namie looks beautiful and celestial as always. I like the over-the-shoulder clothing and wavy hair – it resembles a fantasy scene or something from a fairytale. All in all, not a great deal to fault here. Rekochoku information (and to purchase), is here!
So, Ballerina has a PV – which I’ll discuss below. It’s quite a short track (2:54), but it’s really great. Obviously in conjunction with fashion house Gucci, there’s a lot of focus on style and the clothing/accessories Namie is wearing. Ballerina is quite different in terms of Namie’s recent repertoire, but if this is any indication of the shape of things to come, I’m excited. If I had one word to sum up this song, it would be “sophisticated”. It’s a dance track at it’s core, but has a lot of elements that separate it from the conventional – or to be more precise, the Namie-type of conventional. For example, the arrangement. It doesn’t follow a straightforward structure: more of an organised chaos. The introduction is very cool and collected, but it soon erupts into a convoluted (but excellent) mishmash of electronica. There are glitches, house synth, something that sounds vaguely like vamped up 16 bit music – it’s all here. In the midst of this, Namie’s delivery is so icy: not enough so that she sounds distant or detached, there’s feeling in her voice. There’s no climax or big finish (but these aren’t necessary), and in the background toward the end you can hear her say calmly: “Posture, Extension, Magnificence, Attention”. It’s a nice touch.
The PV is rather representative of the song, it’s very chic and well-produced. It does look like an extended promotion for fashion, but it works well as a PV. There are no dance scenes unfortunately, but we do get a good look at Namie’s wardrobe – she looks amazing – and the use of effects thankfully manages to avoid the “tacky” label. There’s a lot of glitching which gives a rather creepy, mechanical feel, but essentially it’s a visual feast. Some of my favourite shots (god, I apologise):
Sorry about this little mini-post, but I’ve wanted to give talking about a PV alongside a song a try, and this seemed like a good place to start! I’ll tag on some quick ratings:
Neonlight Lipstick – 8.7 / 10
Ballerina – 9.3 / 10