We share the same last name but sadly (*sigh*…) we're not related…(u_u*) When I first heard that Ayu's latest album was going to be offered as a limited edition USB memory stick release (Jacket D), I totally had already missed out this limited release as it sold out quite quickly…or perhaps more accurately I was just too slow! >_<; It's such an amazing and new way to release an album…one of the most creative collectibles really!…and luckily Avex realized the demand far exceeded what they had originally produced so the record label began taking second chance pre-orders in two phases….the first pre-order deadline being March 3rd with an expected delivery date of April 7th…and a second second chance pre-order deadline was set for March 12th with an expected delivery date of April 21st. March 25th was actually the original release date but only fans who ordered by mid February received their USBs on that release date~. And while it was initially announced that Avex would only produce the exact amount to match pre-orders made….it appears to be still available and in stock at Cdjapan right now as of May 22nd. =) The only notable drawback would be the price which is a whopping 6800 yen! (・д・`*)!
The actual appearance of the USB's between these three release dates appear to be exactly the same with the one noted exception being the color of the first edition's casing being yellow….with the latter two coming in clear cases instead.
This is one of the most innovative ideas that I've seen, and not only does the USB contain her 14 song tracks…as 6 pvs and a digital form of the liner notes/booklet are also included~. Furthermore the USB also acts as a functioning storage device as 1.48 GB of free space appears in a separate area of the USB's memory. And if you're a clutch like me! :P…it's even MB proof as all of the Ayu files are file protected so they cannot be accidentally erased under any means. =)
The USB's impresive design is also very very *pretty* with Ayu's logo set upon the main section's heart shape, the wing acting as the connector's cap and also an included chain making it possible to be worn as a pendant~. The USB is also compatible with Windows XP…..Mac operating systems and Yes~! even Windows Vista! o(*´∀｀)o゛ Whew!…I have Vista so that was *lucky*!
This marks Ayu's 10th original album release so it's so so fitting for it to be presented in such an amazing and unique manner…especially considering her reaching this most landmark point of her career♪♪~.
All mp3s are in the highest quality at 320kbps ensuring the best sound quality….the videos are in an MPEG-4 format..but strangely I was unable to convert them to a DVD format or it's more likely me just not knowing what I'm doing :P…and the digital booklet photos are in the format PDF.
As with all Avex artist's pvs, Ayu's are always supported with impressive budgets…unique and often mesmerizing themes and of course throughout there's such a flair which only Ayu is capable of. Just watching the included 6 pvs from "NEXT LEVEL" reveals so much of why Ayu has such a large and loyal fan base following and how her very style is emulated by so many female fans in Japan~. While I don't own all of her albums…."NEXT LEVEL" is by far my most favorite to date and while Ayu's musical style continues to nurture and grow I just get a feeling that "NEXT LEVEL" represents somewhat of a plateau of everything she's accomplished to this point. The songwriting is incredible with each track truly moving the album along with much varied flavors and melodies that are most memorable and Ayu's vocals throughout are absolutely top notch as she's never sounded more powerful and confident with each note~. From the beautifully laced "Days"…to a most ferocious rockin' track in "Rule"…."NEXT LEVEL" gives long time fans so many different looks musically with so much between these lines reaching to the outer edges and beyond from what we've heard from Ayu to this point. And she's sooooooo *beautiful*!!!!! and stylish!!!!!! Just one look at the pv for "Rule" and I was in total awe! ………(゜∀゜)………。 Much like Amuro Namie, Ayu just gets the job done!
I would so love to be able to share the pvs as well….but I'm really thinking that they'd be taken down from YouTube if I uploaded them there as Avex is pretty strict in this sense. And with pvs providing so much for songs I'm truly sorry for not being able to embed them here and Ayu's are so vividly powerful…..gomen ne~ I just added a few screencaps below to accompany a few favorite♥ tracks~. On a final note, "NEXT LEVEL" is bookended so immaculately by opening with a bang with both the intro track "Bridge to the sky"..the ultra catchy "NEXT LEVEL" and the sensual "Sparkle"…..and then closing with a most profound note in her most beautiful "Days" (the pv brought tears to my eyes.. (´⌒｀。) ) and a stage inspired "Curtain call" for the finale~. Just so many amazing tracks in between and I can listen to this album over and over as I have been XD…."NEXT LEVEL" truly rocks!! ＼(^o^)／☆