Release Date: June 10, 2015
- Time Has Come
- Golden Touch
- B Who I Want 2 B feat. Hatsune Miku
- Every Woman
- Space Invader
_genic is Namie Amuro’s 12th studio album and third bilingual release. The sound is comprised of mostly electronic dance music with 1980’s influences. In addition, there is a touch of 1990’s R&B that has been prevalent on her past albums.
For this album Amuro enlisted the assistance of foreign producers such as SeventyEight, Sophie, David Guetta and Zedd. The latter two should be familiar to anyone who listens to current Top 40 radio so that should give you a bit of an indication of what to expect from _genic.
Amuro’s previous singles Tsuki and Brighter Day and their associated b-sides are not included on this album. In a odd move there were no pre-release singles from this album but the unofficial lead singles are Golden Touch and Anything.
Some may remember a news item about Amuro moving to Los Angeles start a career in America after signing a distribution with Warner Music Group. Well it appears that rumor was unfounded and her move to L.A. was to facilitate an improvement in her English for this album.
There are ten full English songs on _genic so she must have been confident in her abilities to pull them off. Anyone who has heard Amuro attempt to sing in English previously probably knows she’s fairly incomprehensible, even to those who can decipher syllables through a thick Japanese accent.
With that said she has improved. At least to my ears I couldn’t find a trace of an accent or rewinding back to find out what she was saying. So I would say that time spent in Los Angeles has paid off.
What about _genic as a whole? Well if you are a dance music lover this is going to be something you’re going to gravitate to immediately. The majority of the album is all about killing your speakers with high-energy beats. And not the weird kind like on Past < Future, but the very radio friendly kind.
I did find the collaboration with Hatsune Miku to be a little strange. The song certainly felt like I should probably have had my PS VITA in hand hitting various combinations of buttons while listening to it. I can see it appealing to fans of vocaloid music mostly.
There is only one slow song on this album and it’s the previously mentioned Anything. When listening to it I could not help but hear TLC’s Unpretty in my head instead. Perhaps that’s just me.
The final track is a collaboration with David Guetta called What I Did For Love. It gives Amuro a chance to show off her English skills over an acoustic piano intro before the beats kick in. That should give you native English speakers an opportunity to gauge her skill level if you so wish.
Overall this should please many Amuro fans immensely. All of you are converted so there’s no point in even recommending this album; you already have all 3 versions.
So what about the rest of you? Well one has to admire that Amuro is able to continue to re-invent herself and stay relevant without becoming a parody and that she’s also willing to keep up with the times unlike some of her stagnant contemporaries who seem complacent with not evolving.
Those of you who are on the fence or think that Amuro is past her prime should give this a listen. It may change your mind. If it doesn’t, at least you’ll have heard a pretty damn good album.