Namie Amuro – _genic Review

Namie-Amuro-_genic-Cover

Release Date: June 10, 2015

Track Listing

  1. Photogenic
  2. Time Has Come
  3. Golden Touch
  4. Birthday
  5. It
  6. Scream
  7. Fashionista
  8. Fly
  9. B Who I Want 2 B feat. Hatsune Miku
  10. Stranger
  11. Every Woman
  12. Space Invader
  13. Anything

Review

_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, a touch of 1990’s R&B has been prevalent in 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 an 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 to start a career in America after signing a distribution with Warner Music Group. Well, it appears that the rumour 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 pulling 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 rewind 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. Most of the album is 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 have had my PS VITA in hand, hitting various 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: 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 recommending this album; you already have all 3 versions.

So what about the rest of you? Well, one has to admire that Amuro can 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. You’ll have heard a pretty damn good album if it doesn’t.

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Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.