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First Review by woody elms

The cover of Ayumi Hamasaki’s 30th single, “forgiveness” depicts her as a winsome fairy, resplendent in a background of autumnal orange and green blossoms. So yes, Halloween is indeed in the air, and with it, the arrival of Ayu’s traditional year-end ballad, the crucial Holiday song that Avex hopes will rake in the big bucks. So how does “forgiveness” rate among past glories such as “Dearest” and “Voyage”? It’s a pretty song, with a gentle melody that slowly grows on you, as opposed to grabbing you right from the first listen. The biggest problem with this single is just how identical the arrangement and instrumentation is to that of “Voyage”, complete with the cheesy strings and syrupy orchestration. The song would have fared far better with a more spare arrangement, but it’s not without it’s inspired moments…the percussion and synth effects are quite unusual for this type of song. Also included on the maxi-single are two remixes, “Ourselves – Kentaro Takizawa Mix” and “Hanabi ~episode II~ - HAL’S MIX 2003”, neither of which are outstanding enough to make the single more consumer desirable. The “Ourselves” remix is a pleasant enough take on the funky number, with the addition of more trippy, almost drums and bass percussion. “HANABI II” ends up being more of a disappointment, first because it’s a better song, and second because we’ve come to expect such magic from HAL’s mixes. Here, however, a great rock ballad ends up being turned into more mushy dross that would have fit right into the “A Ballads” CD. In fact, it sounds a lot like that album’s reworking of “M”. So, overall, “forgiveness” is a nice enough song, but you’d be better off waiting until it appears on her next full length album, this maxi-single package just doesn’t offer enough to make it worth the extra money.

Rating: 6/10

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