Hamasaki Ayumi – Rule / Sparkle

Rule / Sparkle is Hamasaki Ayumi’s 45th single and it was released on February 25th, 2009. It reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and has sold 130,816 copies.


CD Type A Tracklist
1. Rule
2. Sparkle♠♠
3. Days (8-bits of tears YMCK remix)
4. Days (Acoustic Orchestra version)
5. Rule (80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix)
6. Rule (Remo-con “tech dance” remix)
7. Rule (Original mix -Instrumental-)
8. Sparkle (Original mix -Instrumental-)

CD Type B Tracklist
1. Rule
2. Sparkle
3. GREEN (CMJK Spring Storm mix)
4. GREEN (Acoustic Orchestra version)
5. Rule (80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix)
6. Rule (Remo-con “tech dance” remix)
7. Rule (Original mix -Instrumental-)
8. Sparkle (Original mix -Instrumental-)

I don’t recall Ayu doing a song as near as rocky as Rule. It’s INTENSE. The instrumental consists of drums, a gritty, hardcore electric guitar and any other typical rock instruments. Ayu vocals also match the music as she sings in a much more fiercer fashion while keeping her strong singing in tact. The verses were interesting as Ayu’s vocals get muffled and slowly turn normal by the time the chorus arrives. A great song, although it takes a while to get into.

Sparkle on the other hand is a lot more of my taste. It’s Ayu electropop! Well, sort of. Think of an Ayu song with a strong synth line(STRONG), thumping beats and just a kickass arrangement. I really do enjoy how spontaneous this song is and how it just blasts into the chorus. Definitely enjoyed this a-side better. The fiercer Ayu wins.

Both of her prior a-sides get remixes. I’ll begin with the Days remixes:

  • The 8-bits of tears YMCK remix is definitely interesting. When I saw the name YMCK in there, I was kind of anxious to see how a ballad could be made into an 8-bit song. I must say though, that the group definitely pulled it off as they manipulated Ayu’s voice to match that fantastic new instrumental perfectly.
  • I’m a huge Ayumi Acoustic Orchestra stan so when I finally see them return, I more than gasm’d. The Acoustic Orchestra Version of Days is just better than the original since it loses that “winter ballad” stereotype and instead transforms it into a gentle, soothing sweeping ballad.

The GREEN might be even more interesting than the former:

  • The CMJK Spring Storm mix of the song would have, in my opinion, sounded better in her album rather than the original song. It’s an electronic spin on the song with random electric guitar. It’s actually not entirely bad.
  • Of course, the Acoustic Orchestra Version blew away the original song as well. The song is a lot more classy and elegant with the new instrumental, though not as epic as it used to be.

Rule also had its pair of remixes:

  • The 80kidz’s “No More Rule” mix begins by sounding really unnecessary and just layering a ton of synth to an already full instrumental. By the time the chorus arrives, the song is a complete mess of layered synth, vocals and Ayu’s repetition of the word “rule”. I’ll pass.
  • Let’s just say that in the Remo-con “tech dance” remix, the actual song doesn’t begin until about three minutes is. By that time, I’ve already skipped the song and its unnecessary repetition of synth and beats for that long of a time.

While the a-sides were completely different from anything she has done recently, it really turned up questions as to how her album would sound. The return of various remixes was welcome, especially the Acoustic Orchestra Versions, although the Rule remixes should just be ignored entirely.

Overall Rating



About Abraham

J-Pop devotee, Hello! Project ace, graphic designer, blogger, gamer, dancer, prince and day dreamer. Founded Sora to Kujira.
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One Response to Hamasaki Ayumi – Rule / Sparkle

  1. Pingback: Hamasaki Ayumi – NEXT LEVEL « Sora to Kujira

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