Well, it’s been about ten years, but I’m finally obsessed with a new song by Ayumi Hamasaki again.

“WORDS” is a fresh song prepared by the Japanese goddess in celebration of her next homeland tour, Just the beginning 第2章 ~sacrifice~. ‘Sacrifice’ is without a doubt the only adjective for this tour; earlier this year, Ayumi confirmed that she would continue her role as a performer – despite going completely deaf. About her situation, Ayu shared in a moment of intimacy that:

The stage is where I belong. It’s the only place I really, truly exist. I don’t know anything else. There’s no point in worrying about what lies ahead. I will keep listening, even if I can’t hear. I will keep moving, evening if I can’t move. I’m not looking for sympathy or pity. I will hold my head high and keep going forward until my last breath.

While Ayumi‘s formula of a gentle opening comprised of dripping piano keys juxtaposed with a harsher pop-rock chorus is nothing groundbreaking (she’s been recycling it for about a decade now), the context of this single’s release reveals a whole new layer of heartbreaking tragedy to the ‘words’ of this song and the tears on its album art.

One listen to “WORDS” and you can hear that the dejecting lyrics (“‘I’ve become unafraid of mornings’ / I want to believe that someday the day will come I can say that”) come from that darkly sorrowful place inside of Ayu, the place which brought us her greatest work and some of the most harrowing, poetic lyrics to ever stab your heart. Perhaps that is where the title “WORDS” comes from…

There’s truly no artist as dedicated to her craft as Ayumi Hamasaki continues to be.



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