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Concentration 20 is the third studio album by Japanese singer Namie Amuro, released July 24, 1997 by Avex Trax. The album's genre is a fusion of styles including pop, dance and rock. Unlike Amuro's previous effort, Sweet 19 Blues, which primarily had lyrics written by Tetsuya Komuro, Concentration 20's lyrics were mostly written by Marc Panther. Komuro did, however, compose and arrange most of the album's songs and wrote the lyrics to three of them.

Concentration 20
Concentration 20.png
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 24, 1997
Studio
Genre
Length56:17
Language
LabelAvex Trax
ProducerTetsuya Komuro
Namie Amuro chronology
Original Tracks Vol.1
(1996)
Concentration 20
(1997)
181920
(1998)
Singles from Concentration 20
  1. "A Walk in the Park"
    Released: November 27, 1996
  2. "Can You Celebrate?"
    Released: February 19, 1997
  3. "How to Be a Girl"
    Released: May 21, 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3.5/5 stars[1]

After Amuro's 1996 album Sweet 19 Blues sold in excess of three million copies in Japan and for a brief period was even the best-selling Japanese album of all time, recording for a follow-up album began. Much of the recording of Concentration 20 was done in the United States, primarily in Los Angeles, California.

"A Walk in the Park" was released as the album's lead single on November 27, 1996. It was very successful, becoming Amuro's fourth number one single and fourth million-seller. The second single, "Can You Celebrate?", was released on February 19, 1997. Used as the theme song for the TV drama Virgin Road, it was an unprecedented commercial success: It sold over 2.7 million physical copies and remains the best-selling physical single by a female soloist in Japanese history. It charted for forty-nine weeks and was certified double Million by the RIAJ, her first and only single to receive such a certification. A re-release for Christmas 1997 sold over 400,000 copies itself. The rock-infused third single, "How to Be a Girl", reached number one and sold over 770,000 copies.

Concentration 20 received mixed reviews from critics. The songs and production were praised, though some critics dismissed Amuro's limited vocal range and Komuro's backing vocals. Nonetheless, it was a big commercial success. The album entered the Oricon albums chart at number one with first-week sales of 824,980 copies. It charted for 28 weeks, and was the seventh best-selling album of the year, selling nearly two million copies. Combined with the sales of its singles, Concentration 20 has sold around 4.5 million copies.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Two months earlier, Amuro had been touring Japan on the Namie Amuro tour 1997 A Walk in the Park. Her previous album, Sweet 19 Blues became the biggest selling album of all time when it was released.

The same month that the album was released, Amuro toured Japan's four domes in support of it. A few months after the tour, she would announce her pregnancy and pending maternity leave.

StyleEdit

The album embodies an array of styles including pop, rock and even some reggae. Unlike her previous album which was heavy on the pseudo-R&B side, this album was practically void of it. Concentration 20 took on a more electronic style similar to that of her producer's group, globe. Some argue that the album isn't really a reflection of Amuro, but just goes to demonstrate the talent of Tetsuya Komuro.

Opening the album is the industrial rock influenced, "Concentration 20 (make you alright)." The song was unlike anything she had previously released and really embodies the diversity within this project. "Me Love Peace!!" was Amuro's first attempt at reggae style music. She would not attempt a similar style again until Queen of Hip-Pop (2005) was released featuring some songs in dancehall and reggaeton fashion. Two of the singles from the album, "A Walk in the Park" and "Can You Celebrate?" appear on the album subtly remixed. Perhaps the one song that does demonstrate how much of this album was Komuro is "I Know..." The song is an instrumental track performed solely by him.

SinglesEdit

The singles from this album were very successful, two were million sellers and they reached the top spot of the charts.

A Walk in the ParkEdit

Released four months after the massive success of her first studio album Sweet 19 Blues, it became her fourth number one and million selling single. The single spent 7 weeks into the top 5 and 8 weeks in Top 10 totally.[2][3][4][5][6][7] She performed the song at the Japan Cable Awards in December 1996 and at the Japan Gold Disc Awards in February 1997. A Walk in the Park was the 13th best selling single of the year 1997.

Can You Celebrate?Edit

Amuro began the year 1997 with her defining single and biggest success to date. The song, a gospel influenced ballad, was released as the second single from the album. It opened at the top spot with over 800,000 copies sold in its first week,[8] the highest first week sales for a single at that time and the 8th highest opening sales of all times for a single in Japan.[9] It spent two consecutive weeks at #1,7 weeks in the top 5 and 8 weeks in Top 10 totally. It was charted for 40 weeks.[10] Can You Celebrate? was the biggest selling single of 1997 [11] and is the 14th best selling single in Japanese music history [12] with sales of over 2.5 millions copies.[13] A remix single of the song was also released to commemorate Namie's wedding with Sam and was also successful with about 500,000 units sold. In December 1997, the song helped her to win the Best Single Award at the 39th Japan Record Awards.

How to Be a GirlEdit

The third and last single from the album was released in May 1997. How to Be a Girl is Namie's first attempt at rock music. The single still managed to be a commercial success, spending two consecutive weeks at #1 and selling over 770,000 copies, included over 300,000 copies purchased in its opening week.[14] How to Be a Girl was also the 23rd best selling single of 1997.

Tie-ups and theme songsEdit

"A Walk in the Park" and "Can You Celebrate?" were both theme songs for Maxell UD commercials and "Whisper" was used as the background music for the Maxell MD74 commercial.[15]

"Can You Celebrate?" was also the theme song of the Japanese dorama Virgin Road.

"How to Be a Girl" was used as background music in four commercials for Sea Breeze products. The first CM was promoting a sun lotion, the second a shampoo, the third a deodorant and the last a moisturizer.[16]

"No Communication" was used as background music in a commercial for the DyDo Mistio drinks.[17]

Commercial performanceEdit

Concentration 20 debut at #1 with 824,980 copies sold (Namie's 3rd best first week sales for an album). It was again at the top spot in its 2nd week with 362,440 copies sold. The album stayed in the top 10 for 7 weeks and in the top 20 for 9 weeks. It sold over 1.9 million copies during its chart run and more than 2 million copies in total.[18]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLyricsMusicArranger(s)Length
1."Concentration 20 (make you alright)"MARCTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:07
2."B w/z You"MARCTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:03
3."Close Your Eyes, Close to You"MARCTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:50
4."Me Love Peace!!"MARCTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:29
5."No Communication"MARCTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:14
6."A Walk in the Park"Tetsuya KomuroTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:50
7."To-day"MARCCozy KuboCozy Kubo
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:41
8."Storm"m.c.A.TAkio TogashiAkio Togashi
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
3:07
9."Whisper"MARCTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
5:08
10."Can You Celebrate?"Tetsuya KomuroTetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Strings: Randy Waldman
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
6:15
11."I Know..."Tetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro3:09
12."How to Be a Girl"Tetsuya Komuro,
MARC
Tetsuya KomuroTetsuya Komuro
Mix Engineer: Eddie Delena
4:24

PersonnelEdit

ProductionEdit

  • Producers - Tetsuya Komuro
  • Mixing - Eddie Delena
  • Vocal Direction - Tetsuya Komuro, Kenji Sano
  • Photography - Itaru Hirama
  • Art Direction - Tycoon Graphics

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of December 9th, 1996
  3. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of December 16th, 1996
  4. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of December 23rd, 1996
  5. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of December 30th, 1996
  6. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of January 13th, 1997
  7. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of January 20th, 1997
  8. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of February 3rd, 1997
  9. ^ Opening Singles Sales: Oricon TOP 116
  10. ^ Number one singles of 1997 musictvprogram.com
  11. ^ Oricon TOP 100: Albums and Singles
  12. ^ List of best selling singles of all times in Japan (Oricon TOP 242)
  13. ^ Can You Celebrate single informations
  14. ^ Oricon Weekly Singles Chart of June 2nd, 1997
  15. ^ Screencaps of Namie's maxell CMs Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Screencaps of Namie's SEA BREEZE CMs Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Screencpas of Namie's DyDo CMs Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1997年8月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. August 1997 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese). Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan. 456: 9. October 10, 1997. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 28, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2014.

ChartsEdit

Album - Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Chart Peak Position First Week Sales Sales Total Chart Run
24 July 1997 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1
Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1 824,980 1,929,860 28
Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 7

See alsoEdit