Scans shared by Yoake @ AHS.
Hamasaki Ayumi wears Black and talks about Now.
AYU x S Cawaii! 29th Cover History
Just one more until the 30th cover!
It can be cool, it can be cute, black has many changeable expressions. However, in truth, it is a revealing color that exposes the inner heart of the person wearing it. In NEW ALBUM 「Party Queen」, Ayu lays her true multi-faceted self bare. She is sometimes so bright, sometimes so pure that it hurts, so totally honest yet complicated. This is what we’ve realized, that light can only shine when there is darkness.
Quote: “On top of chic mature black, marching boots and bowler hats…… Recently, I’m obsessed with this style, like the taste of a guy who works in a second-hand clothes shop in London ♪”
Quote: “The person I was then just “found” something which I “wanted to believe” in. That was what I wanted to think of, what I wanted to believe in. That “formless thing”—–.”
Your new album is titled 「Party Queen」. I’m not really good with parties, so let me ask what this title means to ayu?
“To summarize it, it’s about the image I have of myself in society.”
True. Lots of things have happened in this past year, so is this album saying “Come, come and get high~”?
“Work on this album began last year, so there wasn’t any plan saying that the album has to be released now at this specific point of time (laugh)”
Honestly, many of your lyrics resonate in my heart, but when I think about it, you don’t really have any happy love songs. Furthermore, when I listen to your works as a whole, you often expose the multi-faceted nature of humans, and the implication of that really hits me.
“That’s true. When I’ve completed a song and first listened to it, my first impression is “That’s scary”. I then try to see it objectively, and as time passes, I start to feel that “in the end, it’s still me”, so each song has its place in my heart. So even things which I try not to see come to the surface unconsciously. I guess that’s what happened. I didn’t have a concept, and it just turned out this way. In truth, I don’t wish for it to have turned out any other way.”
By the way, there seems to be many people who see the “road” in 「Return Road」 to be the same as the one in 「Virgin Road」, and draw a connection to your marriage and divorce. We as outsiders probably would not understand everything that has happened, and it is impossible to use our common opinion to explain an extraordinary life like ayu’s.
“I’ve never wished for others to understand me. I aim to get through to others, to make them believe in me, but everyone is free to feel whatever they want from my songs.”
Moving on to less serious topics, what really made me laugh was when you came back to Japan after your divorce announcement, you were dressed in a hooded top, sunglasses and mask… (scan is cut off)
“That’s true. I was surprised by that too. (laugh) Those who don’t know me would have thought that way. This album will probably garner the same kind of curiosity and interest, but by itself, this album is an answer from the person I am now. And though that wasn’t my initial intention, it has evolved to become just that.”
I see. That feels like total cynical honesty from you.
“The world nowadays is full of what is known as common sense, and people are judged based on whether they follow or deviate from this. However, I feel that I have never been part of this categorization right from the start. Whenever things happen, people will do their best to adapt, but I’m not like that, and I’ve probably been criticized for it too. However, I have always stood out because I don’t accept things, and I think I will continue to be like this in the future too… It’s just that, at that specific point in time, I thought that I had found something which I wanted to believe in, and so I believed. However, I cannot change the conclusion of things, and for some reason, the truth is that though I hate loneliness, I love it at the same time. Things like love and forever, I’ve always wanted to believe in these things, even when I was young, but a part of me just couldn’t believe. I believed and trusted too much at some point, but in the end, I managed to realize it. Realize that I could not believe. In the end, I am who I am, and that is what this album is trying to say. That’s why the listeners will feel as if I’ve laid myself bare.”
Quote: “By itself, this album is an answer from the person I am now, that is what it’s trying to say.”
In title track 「Party queen」, the last line was “No matter how many painful experiences come, we will never be defeated”.
“For me, this song sounds full of sorrow. On first listen, it sounds like a poppish, sparkly, bright song, but for me, it sounds really sad because the song is all sparkly because darkness is just standing and waiting at the edge. For example, even though the curtains on stage have been pulled shut, the dancers still continue dancing, full of enjoyment, while it seems comical and ridiculous to me… But I like it. Ahh~, I’m so dark! (laugh)”
Ahaha. And you haven’t even begun your tour yet. (laugh) But listening to the album as a whole, many of the lyrics are linked to each other.
“That’s right. I did it that way, and it seems really natural and logical to me.”
That aside, the bridging tracks this time are really unique too. After 「Return Road」, we get a bridging track with the bombastic beat similar to 「Shake It ♥」, and it feels a little strange.
“I like homosexuals? Even my friends who don’t think this way are surrounded by guys and girls who seem like homosexuals. (laugh) The “girls” that I sing about in that song carry just this nuance of including all the gay people as well. But there are some things which you won’t get unless you’re a girl, some places where you won’t go unless you’re a girl or a gay, some feelings of freedom you won’t feel unless you’re comfortable with all these concepts. This song was created on the day when I realized all of this. It’s as if you’ve been facing this guy all this while, then suddenly it all explodes in a bang to become this? (laugh)”
Ahaha. You’re so convincing! How about 「Letter」? The lyrics are being addressed to someone, but I get the feeling that the recipient is ayu herself.
“Really? It’s a strange combination, but I wrote this song and 「Return Road」 at the same time, on the plane headed to London. 「Letter」 was written after 「Return Road」, and I wonder what exactly was I thinking when I wrote it. Just what state of mind was I in?”
That’s just another sign of your multi-faceted self, and I’m sure everyone is like this too. That aside, this album feels like you’ve really given it all out, without holding back.
“I’m really extremely multi-faceted, aren’t I? There’s a me who has realized everything and is thus cold and cynical, then there’s a me who is really clueless and like a child. Sometimes, I feel as if my spirit has detached from my body and is watching from outside. In the past, I used to label them as “this is Hamasaki Ayumi, and this is the real ayu”, as if to assure myself that I am “a normal person” inside. But I’ve come to realize that that was the wrong thinking, and that “each one of me is fine, because they are all me”. However, creating this album made me afraid because I had to face the fact that all these me’s are in fact just one person. I wished and believed that someone other than myself would come to understand me better than I could myself, and accept me. But in the end, I found that I could not share myself with others. It’s not anybody’s fault, nor is it that things were not going well, it’s just that I could not change myself.”
So if you could change what is inside, you could change yourself?
“I thought that I could share myself. I knew that I needed to change to ensure the success (of my marriage), and so I thought that I could change, and wished to change. However, I could not.”
Are you still the same at this point of time?
“I really don’t know. I need more time to find out. But he did believe, in a good way, that I could change if I wanted to.”
His confidence made you want to change.
“Yes. For that, I am glad that we were married.”
What is marriage to you?
“Working together. Even though I understood that, it was really hard on me, because I work best alone. However, I believed that I could make things work with him.”
Is that the “this” you were referring to in the song 「call」, when you sang, “Just what should I call this?”
I’m so envious, just because you had it! (laugh) So before I self-destruct, let’s return to talk about the album. 「Eyes, Smoke, Magic」 and 「the next LOVE」 seem to have musical influences in them.
“I went to see lots of Broadway musicals when I was in London, and also went to dance school. I challenged myself to create choreography for 1 song every 3 days, and I made use of my knowledge of musicals in that too. I have never tried how my voice and songs would sound like in the genre, so during my stay in London, I ordered chorus member Timmy to create songs with requests like “I want a song that feels of this particular scene in this musical”. And so these 2 songs were created after nights of discussion and work. I managed to create these because I was in London, and because I had Timmy. The guy whom rumors call my new lover. (lol)”
Oh, so you do read the news. (laugh)
“I’m saying this here so there’ll be no misunderstandings, Timmy already has a boyfriend. Thanks to those tabloids, I’m now an obstacle in Timmy’s love life. (laugh)”
In the song 「tell me why」, the song starts off with “ore”, and I was wondering just who it’s supposed to be!
“Oh, I didn’t realize that. It’s just to get through to my listeners, and holds no special meaning.”
(Misa’s note: Ore (俺) is a crude form of referring to oneself, usually used only by men and only in casual conversation)
Which means, it’s a very down-to-earth and realistic song?
“That’s right. Hahaha”
Another realistic song, 「the next LOVE」, seems to require some explanation on your part… Anything you’d like to say?
“This basically applies to all the things I’ve been in love with. Somewhere in my heart, I’ve already given up on forever, knowing that I’ll never have it, but this just makes me want it more. Leading back to the subject of my multi-faceted self, I don’t think that “I’ll never fall in love, never marry again”. I can see myself getting married again someday, and I want to fall in love again and again. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. I don’t want a perfect love, just to give and receive lots of love from my partner. Good and bad things may happen along the way, but we’ll definitely learn from them. So it’s not right to hold each other back because we have been sad or hurt and don’t wish for that to repeat again… The two of us had truly existed at that time. I don’t wish to deny that fact, and now is the time when I want to continue to progress. I’m sure he feels the same way too.”
So the curtains did not fall, it’s just that another set has opened…
Oh yes, it’ll be your 30th cover for S Cawa the next time round. Remember the 30-day coordination we talked about last issue? What shall we do?
“Does everyone really want to see that? Since it’s for commemoration, let’s do a poll. Let me know all the things you’d like me to do, no matter how impossible they may seem. I’ll definitely choose one from the lot ♪”
“I’ll be waiting for names and contact numbers from your editing department!! (laugh)”
AYU x S Cawaii! 30th Cover History
A Guinness record for S Cawaii! !?
Commemorating ayu’s 30th cover history, never before achieved!
“Features I want ayu to do” Application Open
The next time ayu features on S Cawaii! will be her 30th time. Applications for the special project “features I want ayu to do” is now open! It’s a biiiiiiiig chance for you to choose the feature you want to see ayu do! Lucky draw prizes will also be given out to all who have sent in entries. Please refer to S Cawaii! website for more details.
Quote on facing page: “The truth is that though I hate loneliness, I love it at the same time. Things like love and forever, I’ve always wanted to believe in these things, even when I was young, but a part of me just couldn’t believe. I believed and trusted too much at some point, but in the end, I managed to realize it. Realize that I could not believe.”