I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Ayumi Hamasaki -- Boys & Girls

Last night, I wrote about an early single by Namie Amuro(安室奈美恵)that served to be one of the first new songs that I had heard since arriving back in Japan in late 1994, so of course, there was plenty of nostalgia juice to be had.

Well, then I figured that it was time to once again cover another super J-Pop diva that came a few years down the pike following the Amuro boom. A new generation of female aidoru courtesy of Morning Musume(モーニング娘。)was on the cusp of hitting it really big and J-R&B was also starting to make inroads. But on the pop front, Ayumi Hamasaki(浜崎あゆみ)was about to explode on the charts.

Not being an Ayu fan for the most part, I still couldn't help remembering this song (though I had to look up the title), "Boys & Girls" since it was a frequent visitor on the music shows for several months. This was Hamasaki's 9th single from July 1999, and although I did say in past Ayu articles that I gravitated more to her ballads, I have to admit that the uptempo "Boys & Girls" does have a catchy beat.

For me, I've seen the career of Ayumi Hamasaki separated into 2 parts. There is the far shorter earlier part when Ayu was finding her sea legs with that short hair, and then the later part when the hits were simply rolling in like boulders from an avalanche with the singer-lyricist tressed in those golden locks. "Boys & Girls" is the song that represented the early years.

The song was the second No. 1 for her, following "Love~Destiny" which had come out earlier in the year in April. As with that ballad, Hamasaki took care of the lyrics while D.A.I. provided the melody. And it stayed at the top spot for 3 consecutive weeks, going Triple Platinum and selling over a million copies. It just missed out on being one of the Top 10 Oricon singles of the year by finishing 1999 at No. 11, but it did earn Best Song honours for the first time for her at the Japan Record Awards, and it punched her ticket for her first appearance on the Kohaku Utagassen.

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