Album covers: Ayumi Hamasaki - Trouble

Ayumi Hamasaki - Trouble | Random J Pop

I'm not gonna lie. J-Pop is so dead and desolate right now, that I'm low key looking forward to Ayumi Hamasaki's new album. Just's something. Namie is a wrap. And I'm already kinda over Hatsukoi. But of course, I'm not expecting Ayumi's new shit to come close to Hikaru or Namie's best. Or even their worst, which is still better than Ayu's on her best day.

Ayu's new album will be an EP, and it's titled Trouble. We could all speculate what this title could be referring to. Her career, her hearing, her love life. All in trouble. And from the looks of the album covers, her creative team is in some trouble too, because...

Ayumi Hamasaki - Trouble | Random J Pop
Regular edition | CD (Version A)

Ayumi Hamasaki - Trouble | Random J Pop
Regular edition | CD (Version B)

Ayumi Hamasaki - Trouble | Random J Pop
Special edition | CD + DVD / Blu-ray

Who on earth chose that typography? And why is the CD + DVD / Blu ray edition cover a Calvin Klein commercial with an unnatural looking embrace and blatant titty grab? Knowing Ayu, this is probably the new man in her life, who she's already engaged to and will split from before the EP even drops.

Ayumi Hamasaki is only releasing an EP because Avex aren't willing to just pump collateral into an LP for her how they used to. They're like 'PROVE YO'SELF WITH THESE EP'S BITCH!' But going the EP route may be a good look for Ayu. She could make it a thing and reclaim some sort of throne as owning that space, if she starts taking it seriously. She's always touring, and EP's would give her new material to mix-up her set-lists, without the laborious process of having to create a whole new production around a full length album. Something, again, her label and management are probably like 'PFFFT! PROVE IT'S WORTH THE INVESTMENT' before she can even do it anyway.

I've never been a huge fan of Ayu's music. But the dip in quality was still noticeable to me. She just isn't able to produce captivating full lengths that hold attention any more.

Colors was one of her shortest album to date at the time of its release, coming in at just 10 tracks; the brevity of which was appreciated, but it was still a mess. M(a)de in Japan followed suit at just 10 tracks. But it still overstayed its welcome, because all of the songs sounded too similar. Both albums would have worked much better as tight, 5 track EP's.

Trouble releases on August 15th. OH LOOK. That's the same day that Perfume are releasing their new album too!