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First Review by Hiro

Ayumi second original album for the year 2002. You might think that's a fast release rate but actually if you look at the time between her other albums, she's been slowing down. It's understandable since she's been extremely busy with her tours. So how does this affect Ayumi's music quality. Well, apart from the style change and less music being composed by her, the quality is quite on par with her other albums. Also, Ayumi has incorporated English into her lyrics which to some may seem horrible. To me, this is OK but I don't think she should do it again.

The album starts off with a beautiful opening track called "Everlasting dream". It's a short intro track with a couple of lines from Ayumi. It very nicely establishes the dreamy theme of the album, a nice way to kick things off.

Next off we have the two tracks "WE WISH" and "Real me". These two songs are the ones that really will catch your attention either because they're so different from what Ayumi normally does or they're insanely catchy. "WE WISH" starts off like a nice power ballad but right after the intro were treated to some cheesy, generic pop beats. Aside from that annoying aspect, the song is perfectly fine. "Real me" sounds like another generic pop song at first listen. It also has the heaviest usage of English in the album. These things can be a turn off for her fans but if you actually give it a chance, I guarantee more than likely it will grow on you. I found the song to be overall slick and a nice refreshing song.

The next song, "Free & Easy" was one of the singles released earlier this year. It's a song of contrast and has a very nicely layered medieval fantasy feel to it further establishing the theme of the album.

Up next is are my two top picks for this album, "Heartplace" and "Over". Heartplace which clocks in at just over six minutes! This is my favourite track in this album. Not only does it rock but it has one hell of a chorus. Ayumi's vocal delivery adds greatly to this song making it very emotional without making it too over-dramatic. "Over" is a less intense song but an excellent emotional track as well. Ayumi's vocals are very soothing but cracks a little when she reaches for the high notes. This is perhaps due her many concerts but it doesn't take away too much from the song.

The next track is another ballad from "H", "HANABI". It has that same feel as "Over" but not quite as good. It's standard Ayumi ballad which means it's a good emotional piece but nothing else makes it a stand out track.

This is followed by another excellent intermission track, "taskinillusion". Again it has that same dreamy feel as "Everlasting dream" with airy vocals from Ayumi but less brighter instrumentation.

The next track, "everywhere nowhere" is an upbeat pop song. It starts off with some English lines from Ayumi immediately followed by a nice transition to the rest of the song. The chorus is catchy as usual. I really liked the composition and arrangement of this piece. Another upbeat track, "July 1st" from her big "H" single follows. The verses are mellow but it's contrasted by an energetic chorus.

Up next the beautifully haunting ballad, "Dolls". "Dolls" starts off with an eerie intro again that sounds like it came out of one of Squaresoft's RPGs. The rest of the song is just as beautifully lively. One of the stand-out tracks in the album. This is followed by "Neverending dream" which is just as eerie as the last track.

After that comes two stadard "end of the album songs". They are "Voyage" and "Close to you. Both songs are ballads. The former sounds like old-Ayumi while the latter has a holiday feel to it. Many fans liked both of these songs but I didn't find anything too appealing about the two. I found them average.

The last two songs are paired up on the same track and start immediately after the other. The first from the "H" single is called "independent", a fan favourite and a song which is either called "+" or "more than...". I'm not very sure but it doesn't matter anyways. Both songs are full of energy and leave you with a refreshed feeling after listening to them. A nice way to end the album.

"RAINBOW" will leave most with mixed feelings, some will be partially content or will need time to adjust to the style change or even feel betrayed after hearing the English lyrics but in a while you will either think the album was just good or it will begin to grow on you. As for me, I felt the same way about "duty" when if first heard it because after a somewhat drastic style change and the addition of English lyrics, I began to realize deep inside it's still Ayumi in one of her many reincarnations leaving me a content feeling. Afterall, what is more Ayu than to be forever changing but staying the same.

Rating: 8.5/10

Second Review by -OtakuAngel-

Rainbow is just that, an album that grew on me over time. Now, the style is

something similar to many past works, but the first time I let it run through I'll admit I was somewhat disappointed. However, after listening

through it more, her work really starts to grow on you. This album made it's

way into my rotation regularly and slowly became one of my Ayu favorites.

She did a great job with her lyrics and musical insight, and others such as

DAI helped the composition along. Highly reccomended to the Ayu fans, just

let it run through a few times :o)

Rating: 9/10

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