Duty

released 27 september 2000

  1. starting over
  2. Duty
  3. vogue
  4. End of the World
  5. SCAR
  6. Far away
  7. SURREAL
  8. AUDIENCE
  9. SEASONS
  10. teddy bear
  11. Key ~eternal tie ver.~
  12. girlish

Duty’s claim to fame is that it was released the same day as SURREAL and her first concert DVD; Ayu became the first musician to top all three major Japanese charts at the same time. As an album, it’s a fitting follow-up to LOVEppears. I find the two very similar musically; unlike the shift between A Song for ×× and LOVEppears, Duty flows well from the previous album.

The tracks that stand out the most on Duty are "vogue," "Far away," and "SEASONS:" the trilogy. Released in succession as singles and having a connected PV, they steal most of the spotlight from the other tracks on the album. The same goes for the other singles on the album; they seem to drown out most of the other tracks. It lacks an overall cohesion, so even though the individual tracks are great, the overall effect is diminished.

I have come to appreciate Duty more in recent years, but it’s something that’s taken a long time. Honestly, this is just one of those albums that took time and effort to like. If I don’t focus and really listen to every song instead of letting them fade into the background, it’s easy not to notice the finer details of this album be lost on me. I do think this album is great, probably the best of Ayu’s early career; it’s much better than the previous two albums. But it’s very much outshined by her later work, especially by her very next album.

Rating: 3/5

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