Ayumi Hamasaki - XOXO

Ayumi Hamasaki - XOXO | Random J Pop

When word got out that Ayumi Hamasaki had worked with RedOne of Lady Gaga fame, I shook my head at all of the possible train wreckages which would ensue from this unholy union, because RedOne's productions have been falling off at about the same rate as Ayu's career in recent years and both of them have developed this warped idea of what 'hot dance' music should sound like. But it would seem that their mutual understanding of falling off and having delivered trash for pop over the past 2 years sparked the magic between them in the studio, because "XOXO" is one of the best dance tracks Ayu has put out in ever.

Ayu sings the most amount of Engrish she's ever sung on a song and she sounds super bad (can I get an Amen for Ayu's Tomorrow = Tomowoah), the production is hot and the entire thing feels familiar without sounding outdated or like a carbon copy of another song RedOne had produced for somebody else. The whole thing just feels right. Ayu has tried to do pop / dance records for the longest time and she's never hit as sweet a spot over the past 4 years as she has with this. I don't understand why Ayu released those Para para paradise rejects "Merry-go-round" and "Feel the love" as singles when she had a song this good which does what both of those pieces of shits tried to do, only much, MUCH better. The lack of a bridge or middle-8 which features an additional verse, a key change or a breakdown is a shame; as it would have rounded the song out completely. But as it stands, this is a great song.

"XOXO" could have ended up being utterly terrible, sounded like the awful pieces of shit RedOne has been sticking to J.Lo and also featured Pitbull, but it's good to the point where it sets a standard as to what Ayu's club tracks should be sounding more like.

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