Ayumi Hamasaki – Rainbow – Review

Ayumi Hamasaki

Rainbow (Avex Trax)
by Michael McCarthy

Rainbow is the fifth studio album of original material by Japan’s Ayumi Hamasaki and it’s nothing short of dazzling with its variety of sounds and textures. A true pop odyssey if ever there was one. It opens with a seductive instrumental called “Everlasting Dream,” but fans of her previous album, I am…, will surely be pleased by the second track, “We Wish,” which finds Ayumi’s always-beautiful voice intertwined with lots of heavy metal-style guitars. The following track, “Real Me,” has a heavy r&b beat, yet the songs are equally detailed and somehow fit together perfectly. Likewise, the following track is a breathtaking epic ballad called “Free & Easy” and it doesn’t sound out of place at all. How many artists can go from heavy-metal style guitar solos to a funky r&b beat to a ballad and still produce a coherent album that doesn’t merely sound like a collection of singles? (This is the album Victoria Beckham apparently thought she was making!) One of the many reasons why Ayumi is one of the most popular pop divas in the world.