You were… / BALLAD is Hamasaki Ayumi’s 47th single and it was released on December 29th, 2009. It reached #1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and has sold 103,351 copies.
1. You were… (Original mix)
2. BALLAD (Original mix)♠♠
3. RED LINE ~for TA~ (Original mix)
4. You were… (Music Box mix -retake version-)
5. Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ (Orchestra version)♠
6. You were… (Original mix -Instrumental-)
7. BALLAD (Original mix -Instrumental-)
8. RED LINE ~for TA~ (Original mix -Instrumental-)
Going for the double a-side route again, this time Ayu decides to release two ballads. You were… is the winter ballad out of the two and I can’t stress enough how plain and unoriginal it sounds during the verses. I hear those same background sounds from JEWEL and the same winter chimes from Days. It’s not until the chorus that the song actually sounds original. Everything builds up to create a powerful instrumental, along with Ayu’s powerhouse vocals. The verses do get more interesting as the song goes on but by the time the song is finished, I’m entirely unimpressed. She really needs to change-up this “winter ballad” formula.
I much prefer BALLAD, which I consider the “New Years ballad”. Don’t let the name fool you though, while the song does sound simple at the beginning, it’s really a lot more original and different that You were… It has a few oriental instruments here and there, but it’s mostly piano and strings. The chorus is my favorite part since it’s so epic. After the second one, were treated to a soothing instrumental that shortly turns totally epic(reminded me of alan at certain moments).
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from RED LINE ~for TA~. Good thing I didn’t get my hopes up since it sounds like your typical Ayu b-side. A midtempo pop-rock song. I think the song tried too hard to make an awesome/catchy chorus and thus the verses are particularly boring. The chorus itself isn’t even that memorable, if anything, the instrumental is the most interesting part of the song.
The Music Box mix -retake version- You were… is of course a music box version of the original song. Ayu also recorded new vocals for the song, keeping her vocals calmer and not near as loud. I really only see the good in this song to hear Ayu’s vocals clearly without (much) background music.
Oh yeah! An Orchestra version if Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~ was all I could ask for~ Although it honestly isn’t too different from the original song(which already had a sweeping orchestra), it does simplify the song a bit, to the point where the harp is the only instrument during the verses. So this version isn’t as near as epic as the original but if you prefer a softer, gentler version with more focus on Ayu’s vocals, than this song is for you.
Honestly, neither of the a-sides were anything amazing and both focus too much on the chorus, so it’s really a matter of what type of Ayu ballad you prefer. If you’re a Days / Together When…(but not near as epic) type of person, than You were… is for you. If HEAVEN / forgiveness(but not near as epic) are more your style, than BALLAD might fulfill your needs.