Hamasaki Ayumi’s “NEXT LEVEL” on USB~

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・`*)!

Hamasaki Ayumi's "NEXT LEVEL" 10th album release on USB can be ordered here at Cdjapan.

"NEXT LEVEL" is also available as a standard CD release..Jacket A w/DVD & bonus CD containing 14 live tracks can be ordered here at Cdjapan.

"NEXT LEVEL" jacket B w/DVD can be ordered here at Cdjapan.

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^)/☆

Days
Hamasaki Ayumi

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GREEN
Hamasaki Ayumi

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Rule
Hamasaki Ayumi

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Sparkle
Hamasaki Ayumi

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NEXT LEVEL
Hamasaki Ayumi

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Curtain call
Hamasaki Ayumi

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About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
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8 Responses to Hamasaki Ayumi’s “NEXT LEVEL” on USB~

  1. LazyMan1 says:

    That is a good idea on Avex's part since most people use there pc's or laptops to listen to music nowadays. Ayu is such a talent Im glad she still around and going strong. It seems in todays music world artists dont have the long longevity in thier carreer anymore but Ayu has and it is evident in the great music she releases so ill be cheering her on to keep up the great work. d(-_-)b

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  2. Hmm….I'm not too sure what 'classic piper' may be but I'm happy that you liked it~. =)

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  3. That's so true~…and it's really such an imaginative and unique way to present an album. It's a really cute USB and for a little while silly me was wondering where the connection port was until I realized that the wing portion serves as the cap. XD After I read about Ayu losing hearing in one ear I really wondered if she'd be able to continue recording and performing live..(;´□`). So happy that this hasn't stopped her at all and she sounds as great as ever~!! ( ̄▽ ̄) She definitely has longevity and her creativity and charisma have really garnered her such a large and faithful fan base. I'm so impressed with "NEXT LEVEL!!" as it's totally my favorite album by her! =)

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  4. anninjapan says:

    oh you are Hamasaki? are you from Okinawa?
    I hope to visit Hawaii one day, if you have time, pls show me around ne 😉

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  5. Some of my family ties are, however I was born here….lol not very exciting I know! XD Hawaii is beautiful and I'm sure you'd love our weather here…well as long as it's not too humid like during our summers. But year round it's really comfortable although I do prefer the slight chilliness of winter time…no where near as to what cold is like most everywhere else but I love when we reach the low 60's to high 50's. =) Hmm…I would really be the worst tour guide! I'm still capable of getting lost while driving to particular parts of the island that I'm not familiar with. XD

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  6. James says:

    Now this is awesome~! I've always thought it would be cool if music was released like this (… along with an actual CD release …) It's already in MP3 format and to have the PVs easily accessible is nice ^-^ And wow! Those PVs look rather good, even from the screencaps 😀 I'd seen this advertised on YesAsia but never clicked into it .__.

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  7. When I first saw it at Cdjapan I had the same thoughts as you~….it's so innovative and yes very convenient!! The only drawback would be the price although it is a very *pretty* USB pendant~. Ohhh I wish I could share the pvs too but the files are too large to upload here to VOX with their 50 MB limit and I just know that YouTube would have it removed by Avex for sure. :/ I've had both Amuro Namie and Tackey & Tsubasa pvs removed from there so I'm not trying again for sure!! (;´□`) The pv and song "DAYS" I know you'd just love for sure! It's a really pretty song♪♪~…and really this entire album is so well written and performed by Ayu and I really think it's her best album to date. =)

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