I used to form my opinions on Ayu albums the first time I heard them; surely my first impression was all I needed, and I’d never do something as silly as change my mind, right? Yeah, right. In Secret’s case, I initially found it to be nothing special past a couple of tracks I really liked, and it soon became one of those albums that drifted to the bottom of my library.
What changed was watching Ayu’s Secret tour. Watching the performances made it a lot easier to identify the great tracks on the album, as well as recognize the album for what it is: a polished album from a talented, established musician.
Secret may be shorter than Ayu’s previous two albums, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up in quality. The singles provide the range one has come to expect from an Ayu album at this point, but the rest of the tracks are, in a word, fantastic. The tracks I’ve highlighted as personal favorites are what make the album for me, but the rest are just as good.
I feel, too, that Secret marks another turning point in Ayu’s career. Certainly her sales have changed after this point, although the shifting market has influenced that to a degree. But my perception of Ayu has always been pre-Secret and post-Secret. I discovered Ayu in the spring of 2007, following this album’s release, and my involvement in her fandom has always been marked by that. I do think that her sound began to change at this point, as well.