released 27 september 2000

  1. starting over
  2. Duty
  3. vogue
  4. End of the World
  5. SCAR
  6. Far away
  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

LOVEppears · I am...