Make the Connection Complete
Respect the Power of Love
Leavin’ for Las Vegas
Something ’bout the Kiss
I Have Never Seen
Still in Love
Mi Corazon (Te’ Amour)
You are the One (feat. Imajin)
Things I Collected
Next to You
Give It a Try
The album starts off with the intro Make the Connection Complete. A computerized beat that plays like static and this guy with a vocodered to death voice.
The next track on the album is the tiring Love 2000. This could have been a good track, because its not a bad song, its just really exhausting. The beat is kind a plain and airy, I heard mostly the drums, which wasn’t a problem, but they were played in a way that seemed to compete with Namie’s vocals and the whole combination just made it a bit annoying. Namie’s vocal performance was decent, but I just didn’t care for it. A somewhat catchy song to start the album on, but I think they should have shaved off some minutes, its just too long and messy.
The next track on the album is Respect the Power of Love. The album really starts with this and this song reminds me a lot of ‘can you celebrate?’ This isn’t a song I would go for, so I’m actually quite surprised that I like it. The arrangement is very fitting, the whole pop and gospel thing mixed together was very neat and I really loved how the piano took the song out. Namie’s vocals were immature sounding, because she strained quite a lot, mostly during the chorus, but she pulled this off and its hardly noticeable really. This is a nice track, I really enjoyed the chorus. ‘RESPECT!, respect the power of love!’
The next track is the laid-back Leavin’ for Las Vegas. This is the album’s first full blown rnb track and though its jarring to go from the previous track to this, the transition was actually quite smooth. The arrangement is very hip-hop, I mean it sounds like the beat you’d hear when an rapper collaborates with an rnb singer. Its consistent and makes me think of faceless people in a dark club blowing smoke into the air. Namie’s vocals were quite different in this track as to where she sounded almost monotonous and bored (like she was saying the words to the beat, instead of actually singing them), but it played to the songs advantage. This is a very interesting song and so underrated its amazing.
The next track on the album is the mid-tempo Something ’bout the Kiss. This is another straight-laced rnb track and one of my favorite oldschool Namie songs. Its pretty much like a more upbeat version of the previous, as to where Namie and the arrangement sounds pretty laid-back, but not in a way that would suggest she was bored or disinterested. There was also a sort of edge and confidence in her vocal performance that I liked. I however did not like her rapping, I want to scour it from my brain and forget I ever heard it.
The next track on the album is the cross between down and mid-tempo I Have Never Seen. This is a pretty good song, but it is also one of those songs I have never really cared for. The arrangement has a lot going for it, that definitely keeps it interesting, but I must note how memorable it is, because of the catchy-ness of it. I liked Namie’s vocal performance as well, it was pretty fluid, but her vocals are of course very immature and its quite glaring during the end when she really seemed to get into the track. The hook and chorus’ are the highlights.
The next track on the album is the nice Still in Love. This is definitely a party song, I just really got that vibe, because the whole atmosphere of the song seems pretty fun. The arrangement is pretty catchy, I just like how it makes me think of hanging with an intimate gathering of friends and just having a good time. I also kept thinking of the colors red and beige for reason. Namie’s vocals were love, I mean the verses aren’t all that stand-out, but I just really like how smooth and laid-back she sounds during the chorus, which really makes you want to get up and dance. This song also really reflects the title, because I did get such a ‘still in love’ vibe from it, it also screams melancholy as well.
The next track on the album is the Spanish-y Mi Corazon (Te’ Amour). There’s always one, huh? The arrangement is very typical, kind a bland and sparse in the beginning, but it did manage to come together towards the end, giving off an interesting and rather exotic sound. Namie’s vocals were strain city at the start and that made me think I wasn’t going to like this track, then came the chorus. This song is pretty all right.
The next track on the album is the down-tempo You are the One (feat. Imajin). I like this song, I really do. The arrangement is pretty low key, it just plays smoothly and nice on the ears. Namie’s vocal performance was pretty good, it seemed like she was really feeling what she was saying, because there was a lot of emotion in her vocals. Imajin sounds just like that guy who was singing with Utada in all those songs on her first English album Precious, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re one in the same. I thought he overdid it a bit, but he meshed well with Namie and the whole flow of the song. I got a light Gospel vibe from this track as well, its very touching.
The next track on the album is the dull Kiss-And-Ride. I listened to this song twice and both times it bored me to a near stupor, well it would have had I not been surfing the internet at the same time. The arrangement is very lukewarm and gives you the impression of being not high, but stoned. Namie’s vocals were pretty sparse and when I did hear her sing talking, she sounded so detached and uninterested I’m wondering why she even bothered. I’d listen to this song only if I’m anxious to take a nap and this song will ensure that I do, otherwise its just way too stale.
The next track on the album keeps the pace slow with Things I Collected. I was very surprised with this track the first time I heard it, I guess it stems from the fact that its so soft. The arrangement is light in the rnb and rather pretty, a nice, slow and tinkly listen. Namie’s vocal performance was calm, she sounded almost peaceful and really in love. This is one of those songs that don’t really stand out and fades into the background, but it offers a nice listen, definitely.
The next track on the album is the rather annoying Next to You. The pace is bumped up to about mid-tempo, which is fine, but why is this song such a mess? I mean it started out OK, I actually kind a like the chorus since it gives me this urge to want to move around, but that’s where it ends. The arrangement is just filler and sounds like a group of friends got together and started making sounds off everyday objects. Namie’s vocals take a nose dive in this, because they sound so immature and haphazard as if she decided to break into random song and make it up as she went along. This track is all over the place and I can’t be bothered with it.
The next track on the album is Asking Why. This song is very similar to the last track, but for some reason it just sticks more. I like the piano arrangement, I don’t know, it doesn’t do much, but it just sounds clever to me, especially with the way in which Namie’s vocals mesh with it. I guess that’s why I like this song, despite it being a tad bit on the annoying side, most notably when Namie decided to unnecessarily get into the song instead of keeping the pace neutral. This is a decent track, I definitely like the air of exasperation, or maybe its just me?
The last full track on the album is the wistful Give It a Try. I immediately thought of ‘can you celebrate?’ and the Cyndi Lauper version of ‘true colors’ when this came on. This is a nice little down-tempo track that I’ve never really paid attention to. I like how genuine Namie’s vocal performance is, it made her voice breaking off towards the end seem real. I like the message this song conveys as well, even though she’s clearly talking about a relationship, I like the whole ‘just give it a try’ thing, makes the song sound really positive and inspiring.
The last track on the album is the outro Log Off. It consists of the piano and these whooshing wind noises… yup.
Rating: ** stars
Namie Amuro’s third album Genuis 2000 was certainly better than her previous album Concentration 20. We also got our first taste of her future rnb (hip-pop) career. I’ve never really paid attention to this album, I tend to ignore all albums that come before Break the rules so yeah, the only songs on this album I cared for were ‘leaving las vegas’ and ‘something bout the kiss’ though at the moment I’m in love with ‘still in love’ and ‘things i collected’. This was a pretty interesting album and it has a bit of variety on it as where it gives us her old sound with songs like ‘respect the power of love’ and ‘i have never seen’ but mixes it up a bit with ‘mi corazon’ and ‘you are the one’ and lets not forget the two songs that sound old and new at the same time, ‘asking why’ and ‘give it a try’. I’m glad Namie took a new direction with her music after this, because though I liked that whole Gospel-pop flare thing she had going on, I wouldn’t love her half as much if she hadn’t evolved. This is a good album for all those Namie nostalgic fans, it gives us a bit of the old with a bit of the new and some other stuff as well; I definitely recommend this early album over Concentration 20 and most assuredly Sweet Nineteen Blues.