In five days (September 16, 2018) J-pop icon and music legend Namie Amuro will retire from the entertainment industry after an illustrious 25 year long career. A legend such as herself deserves to go out with fanfare, and I'm here to bring it to you. Over the next couple of days I will pay tribute to Ms. Amuro's work; it's only what she deserves. Join me as I rank Namie's 14 number one songs.
14. You Are The One (TK Presents Konetto)
Alright, this isn’t a solo Namie song but rather a charity single that she’s featured on. The song was produced and written by Komuro Tetsuya, a frequent collaborator of hers and another Jpop legend who packed it up in 2018. Still, it was a number one accredited to her. It’s a decent song but not better than the songs higher on this list. Listen here.
13. New Look 2008
This is her worst solo number one, I’m sorry. It’s not bad per se but it’s not really good either. New Look was a part of a triple A side single meaning that the physical single came with three songs on it. The single was actually titled “60s 70s 80s” and this song was to represent the 60s. It contains a sample of “Baby Love” by the Supremes if y’all aren’t trying to hear it. “New Look” gets washed by the other two songs on “60s 70s 80s”. Listen here.
12. I Have Never Seen 1998
This is a boring song that was lucky to come towards the end of her iconic mid to late 90s run. Listen here.
11. You’re My Sunshine 1996
This was her fourth solo single. It’s more of the same and her prior singles did the sound better. Listen here.
10. How to Be A Girl 1997
I like this song and every song from here on. This isn’t the greatest but I love the intro. Listen here.
9. Walk In The Park 1996
This slaps. Her whole discography is so good. However I find this song to be a bit long, otherwise it’d be higher on the list for sure. I actually used to put off listening to this song when I’d listen to her singles when I was younger; the title “Walk in the Park” makes me think it’d be a sentimental ballad and I hate those (although Namie has done a fair bit of those, including some on this list). It’s a dance track though, like most of her early singles. Listen here.
8. Rock Steady 2008
Another song from the “60s 70s 80s” single. This song samples the Aretha Franklin song of the same name. It’s more dynamic than “New Look” is but still relies heavily on the sample. It’s a nice little dance bop tho, so I can’t hate it. Listen here.
7. Dreaming I Was Dreaming 1997
Ma decided to switch it up for this single, from her usual Eurobeat singles and romantic ballads to a trip-hop bop. This was another single I use to skip because it sounds like it’d be a ballad. I guess technically it is, but production wise it’s more interesting than I thought it would be. Listen here.
6. Dr. 2009
“Dr.” was a part of the "Wild/Dr." double a-side released in 2009. It’s about falling in love with a time traveler. I don’t care what anyone says, this song was about the ninth doctor, I can’t be convinced otherwise, fuck a “Dr. Chronos”. This song has a jarring marching band/drill sergeant section in it so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s mine though, and I’m writing the list. Listen here.
5. What a Feeling 2008
The list was sooo hard to rank at this point. This is the third part of the “60s 70s 80s” single and sampled, you guessed it, “Flashdance...What a Feeling” by Oscar winner Irene Cara. “What a Feeling” is by far the best utilization of a sample on this single. It had the better video too. Unfortunately, it didn’t fare as well as “New Look” on charts that split the three songs up. Still, intellectuals know that is was the best song from that single. Listen here.
4. Wild 2009
The second half of the “Wild/Dr.” double a-side. This song slaps. It’s a good dance tune and it didn’t age at all. Namie was also serving looks in the video. This is one of her best singles period from the 21st century. I’m forever bitter that Namie left this off of “Finally” in place of “Dr.” which got a shitty rearrangement. The “‘Wild/Dr.” combo would be Namie’s last number one (unless she surprise releases a final single this week). Listen here.
3. Don’t Wanna Cry 1996
This shit hurt my ears when I first heard it. There’s a lot going on. The Eurobeat, the gospel choir, the R&B influence. But it all comes together for a unique and memorable song. I thought I’d never listen to this again, but now it’s one of my favorite songs by Ms. Amuro. A shit ton of others loved this song too single as it was the best selling single of 1996 and won her the “Grand Prix Award” at the Japan Record Awards (basically Japan’s version of Record of the Year at the Grammys). She remains the youngest artist to ever win it. Listen here.
2. Chase The Chance 1995
Namie’s early sound was heavily influenced by Eurobeat, hip-hop, and R&B. You hear all of that on Chase the Chance. The song was Namie’s first number one and was the tenth best selling song of 1995; it was released on December 4, 1995. This would make for a hit song in Japan or Korea even now. Listen here.
1. Can You Celebrate? 1997
This is a beautiful pop ballad. I especially love the intro because it reminds me of a Disney movie. This song is currently the best selling song by a female soloist in Japan and has been covered numerous times. You can feel her emotions through this song, and she seemed really happy with her life at this point. Listen here.