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  "In the beginning, I was searching for myself in my music. My music was for me. I didn't have the mental room to be conscious of the listener; I wrote to save myself.”

Ayumi Hamasaki (often stylized as 'ayumi hamasaki', Japanese: 浜崎あゆみ), often known as Ayu, is a Japanese singer-songwriter who has been dubbed the Empress of Pop because of her popularity and widespread influence in Japan and throughout Eastern Asia. She is known for her tight control over her artistry and ever-evolving appearance in addition to the numerous domestic records she holds. She is the best selling female and solo act in the history of Japanese music, and has earned the most #1 singles both consecutively and overall.

Albums:

  • Nothing from Nothing (1995; pre-Avex album)
  • A Song for XX (1999)
  • LOVEppears (1999)
  • Duty (2000)
  • I am… (2002)
  • RAINBOW (2002)
  • Memorial address (2003; mini-album)
  • MY STORY (2004)
  • (miss)understood (2006)
  • Secret (2006)
  • GUILTY (2008)
  • NEXT LEVEL (2009)
  • Rock’n’Roll Circus (2010)
  • Love songs (2010)
  • FIVE (2011; mini-album)
  • Party Queen (2012)

Tropes

  • All Just a Dream: “Sweet Season”, subverted in “ourselves” in that we think it’s all a dream, but then—#*@&!!
  • Animated Music Video: “Connected”
  • Answer Song: Several to her own songs: "HANABI ~episode II~" to "HANABI", "FRIEND II" to "FRIEND", and "Virgin Road" to "A Song for XX", "P.S. II" to "Powder Snow".
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: From the "Sexy little things" video, when a giant woman breaks through the wall.
  • Audience Participation Song: Many songs have "Para Para" dances, which are taught beforehand. These would be "Trauma", "independent", "MY ALL", "RED LINE -For TA-" and "Sweet Season". To a lesser extent, songs like "UNITE!" and "AUDIENCE" count. The audience is also expected to respond during the very 'call & response' songs, "evolution" and "Boys & Girls".
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Some might consider "Eyes, Smoke, Magic" from her album "Party Queen" to be this. In fact, the duo of "the next LOVE" and Eyes, Smoke, Magic is quite the BLAM not only for the album, but for her career.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: In the "ourselves" video, stalkers with masks of her face hide in the back seat of her car.
  • Dress Rehearsal Video: “decision”
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: "Last Angel", "Mirrorcle World"
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    • In "GREEN", a song that seems to be about homosexuality (though one can never be too sure, with Hamasaki's artistically ambiguous lyrics), the video features a story of unrequited love between Hamasaki and her female dancer Midori.
    • If one interprets the "BALLAD" performance from Arena Tour 2010 - a Romeo & Juliet-esque theatrical performance - in a certain way, it could easily be implied that Midori's place in the Love Dodecahedron is the one in love with Hamasaki.
  • Excited Episode Title: Count how many of her song titles are in ALLCAPS.
  • Eye Scream: The "Brillante" PV, especially hinted at in the end, with Ayu weeping Tears of Blood .
  • Fille Fatalons: Like a lot of other J-Pop idols, Ayumi had very long nails from some of her earliest major performances and continued to cultivate the look.
  • Godiva Hair: The LOVEppears cover, which provides the current image for the trope.
  • Gratuitous English: Pops up occasionally, such as the chorus of "Real me". Other than that, she is a fairly decent English speaker, as can be seen in this interview.
  • Great Balls of Fire: Are featured in many of her life performances.
  • Greatest Hits Album: A BEST and A BEST 2.
    • A COMPLETE ~ALL SINGLES~ could count as well.
  • Grief Song: "untitled ~for her~" was written to a close friend of Hamasaki’s who died in 2007. The upcoming album that year, GUILTY, was dedicated to her. "Memorial address" was, as rumor has it, written for her father who left when Hamasaki was around three years of age.
  • Handicapped Badass: She's completely deaf in one ear.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: In the "GAME" PV.
  • Hidden Track: "kanariya" comes after "Who…", "Memorial address" after "part of Me", and "flower garden" after "Endless Sorrow ~gone with the wind version~"
  • Hitler Cam: We get this shot in her music video for “Ladies Night” features her dressed as a dictator or military leader, addressing a crowd of clones.
  • Hitless Hit Album: The five singles from A Song for XX were average/mediocre sellers… and then the album itself sold almost 1.5 million.
  • Japanese Pop Music: One of the key leaders of the industry.
  • Jump Scare: The ending of the "ourselves" PV, and the ending of the "ladies night" PV.
  • Let's Duet: She and Urata Naota on the song "Dream ON", along with all her duets on her show Ayuready?.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • Many of her happy-sounding songs. Whatever you were expecting from a song called "Trauma", this wasn’t it. It comes complete with little hand motions!
    • "HONEY" is probably the biggest offender here. Her most bubblegum-pop song in existence, with pretty unhappy lyrics - at least in the verses.
  • Lyrics Video Mismatch: "ANGEL’S SONG".
  • Medley: In several concerts she has created a medley of "SURREAL"-"evolution"-"SURREAL".
  • Motor Mouth: Try to sing "evolution" without getting tongue-tied. I dare you.
  • Music At Sporting Events: "Born to be…" was the official song of the Japanese teams in the 2006 winter Olympics.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Quite a few.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: "HANABI", "You were…(Music Box Mix)".
  • Older Than They Look: She’s in her 30’s, but she can still be mistaken for a teenager to the unwary eye.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune:
    • "Marionette", and see its companion "Marionette –prelude-". Then go hide under your bed.
    • Furthered by the production of an actual spinning music box with the "Marionette" Ayupan from Asia Tour 2008, which plays a 35 second ominous music box tune.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: She has a very wide range of styles, but some examples stick out like a sore thumb, most notably the rousing gospel-inspired "Bold & Delicious".
    • She's also done electro music quite a few times as well.
    • Her 2012 album "Party queen" featured two songs heavily inspired by Broadway musicals, with hints of cabaret and old-fashioned jazz.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • "A Song for XX “030213 Session #II”", "Ladies Night ~another night~", the ballad intro to "evolution", "Endless Sorrow –gone with the wind ver.-" and her multitude of acoustic and orchestral rearrangements.
    • The 10th Anniversary Versions of "Depend on you", "LOVE~Destiny~", "Who…", "TO BE", and "YOU".
    • Many of HAL’s versions of her songs can be considered rearrangements instead of remixes.
    • "Sunrise" and "Sunset ~LOVE is ALL~".
  • Signature Song: Traditional examples include "evolution", "SURREAL", "Dearest", "M", etc.
  • Talky Bookends: Her “Startin’” video begins and ends with two friends continuing a conversation. This is played for humor, as the video is a parody of multiple pop music influences and artists.
  • The Oner: The music videos for “HEAVEN”, “Curtain call”, and “Daybreak”.
  • Translated Cover Version: She used compositions and some arrangements from Sweetbox for "Ladies Night", "Bold & Delicious", "Pride", "rainy day"/"Every Step", "Beautiful Day"/"Beautiful Girl", and "In the Corner". While Hamasaki’s lyrics aren’t exact translations, some of the songs deal with similar themes as the English versions.
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