Avex Trax
Release date
12 Mar 2003
Running length
14 tracks
Running time


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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 RAINBOW 0:41 11,030
2 appears (HAL'S Progress) 5:56 706
3 Key (eternal tie ver.) 3:14 363
4 YOU (northern breeze) 5:03 589
5 TO BE (2003 ReBirth Mix) 5:18 976
6 HANABI 4:52 19,522
7 M (HAL'S Progress) 5:23 631
8 Dearest 5:31 40,008
9 Dolls 5:54 11,298
10 SEASONS (2003 ReBirth Mix) 4:20 952
11 Voyage 5:08 22,536
12 A Song for XX (030213 Session #2) 5:51 424
13 Who... (Across the Universe) 5:36 453
14 sotsugyou shashin 6:53 1,957

About this album

A BALLADS is a ballad compilation album by Ayumi Hamasaki released on March 12, 2003. The initial pressings of the album had four different covers. As of 2007, A Ballads surpassed the million mark with 1,041,000 copies sold.

RAINBOW” is the title track to her previous album RAINBOW, but was not included on the album. As a promotion for both albums, the purchasers of the initial pressings of Rainbow were given a password to a website, where they could download part of instrumental version of the song, and submit their own lyrics. Over 100,000 people accessed the website. The tracklistings of initial pressings of the album Rainbow had track 00 that said “Rainbow”, but the song was not included on the album, and was scheduled to be released as a single after participation ended.

Both “appears” and “M” were dramatically remixed by HAL to fit in with the ballad image of the album.

YOU”, “A Song for ××” were rearranged and resung for this album and added rocky and acoustic feel to the songs. These songs display the change in Hamasaki’s voice since her debut.

TO BE” and “SEASONS” were only minimally changed for the album with heavier percussions.

Who… “Across the Universe” was resung for the album and as suggested by Hamasaki herself, it was made to have a ‘warmer’ feel than the original track.

The final track, “卒業写真” (Sotsugyou sashin) was originally by 松任谷由実 (Yumi Matsutōya), and is the only cover that Ayumi Hamasaki has done to this date on an album.

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  • Shorty5

    I really like this album, mainly cos of RAINBOW <3, but all the re-recordings and remixed songs make it totally worth it. Plus it has the oddity of 卒業写真 being on it, the only official Ayu song where the title is in Kanji!

    22 Apr 2014 Reply
  • UpOnThe101

    One of the most enjoyable compilations I've ever heard. Worth buying just for Rainbow.

    27 Jun 2013 Reply
  • melissasoup

    I wish she'd release another compilation like this, regardless of theme. A BALLADS has all sorts of rearrangements and re-recordings. A SUMMER BEST should've been handled this way IMO.

    3 Apr 2013 Reply
  • esmelove

    @ohsolucky I agree 100%. Her singing is so much more enjoyable with minimal background music.

    1 Jul 2012 Reply
  • ohsolucky

    She should just release ballad albums, her ballads are always great & some of her best work.

    27 Oct 2010 Reply
  • bENi_bOi

    I love this album. It was the first album I ever bought and heard from her. If it wasn't for this, I don't think I'd be as big a Ayu fan as I am now!

    5 Sep 2010 Reply
  • lovesayu

    this vs of ASFXX is magic! *.* <3 this cd ç_ç so sweet and pure

    12 Oct 2009 Reply
  • GaLv_

    Wrong tags... but still a great album, I like the version of YOU

    7 Aug 2009 Reply
  • nanona

    \/ true

    29 Jun 2009 Reply
  • tyrique12

    I just realised this album features her best vocals. Before was squeaky and just downright weird and After was ayu getting older and eventually deaf. Oh well

    25 Jun 2009 Reply
  • nanona

    love this =/

    27 Mar 2009 Reply
  • tyrique12

    Rainbow, To Be (2003 Rebirth mix), HANABI, A Song for XX (030213 Session #2) & sotsugyou shashin are all amazing!

    27 Jan 2009 Reply
  • shiroineko

    A Song for XX (030213 Session #2) is mind-blowing :)

    16 Aug 2008 Reply

    The cover is so pretty ♥♥♥

    24 May 2008 Reply
  • Rozzen


    14 Jan 2008 Reply
  • Rozzen

    spoilers ayu is a dyke

    14 Jan 2008 Reply
  • StayDarkBoi

    I love this CD, is it wrong to find the image very HAWT~~

    8 Apr 2007 Reply
  • jose_X

    this cd ROCKSSS

    17 Aug 2006 Reply
  • All 26 shouts

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