Ironic Clown


Utada – This Is The One

Utada - This Is The One

Tracklist:
1. One And On
2. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI
3. Apple And Cinnamon
4. Taking My Money Back
5. This Is The One (Crying Like A Child)
6. Automatic Part II
7. Dirty Desire
8. Poppin’
9. Come Back To Me
10. Me Muero

This Is The One is Utada’s second English album (third including her Cubic U album), however overall it is her 8th album. It was released on the 14th of March, 2009 in Japan. In America it was released digitally on the 24th of March, 2009 and physically on the 12th of May, 2009. This Is The One reached third on the Oricon charts with debut sales of 77, 832. In the States it did not perform as well, managing to reach 178 on the Billboard 200, however despite this it did have high digital sales reaching number nineteen on the iTunes charts.

Five years and three albums later Utada Hikaru releases her second English album under the family name of Utada. The half decent opening of On And On gives us a taste of the Americanised lyrics splattered throughout the album. Arrangements throughout are relatively straight-forward especially for Utada, whose previous English album Exodus is known for its experimental edge. Interesting arrangements can be seen in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence – FYI, which is a remake of the Ryuichi Sakamoto’s instrumental song MerryChristmas Mr Lawrence, Taking My Money Back, Dirty Desire, Poppin’ and Me Meuro which when translated into Spanish means “I’m dying”. Although being Utada’s least experimental album we do see a new, previously unseen side of Hikki. Dirty Desire shows a sexy and naughty side which is rarely seen with many Japanese artists.Suggestive lines can be heard throughout the song such as “When I’m alone at night, I sit and fantasise” and “I’ve gotta make you mine, can you feel my dirty desire, dirty desire…?” Poppin’ shows a partying and clubbing side of Hikki with the lines “I wanna see the bottles poppin’” and the hilarious line “oops did I turn you on?” Me Meuro shows a suicidal side of Hikki with the lines “Now and then I’m suicidal” which will have her diehard fans worried.

This Is The One also shows a more sensual side of Utada with the beautiful R&B ballads; Apple And Cinnamon, This Is The One (Crying Like A Child) and the lead single Come Back To Me. All these ballads showcase a different and deeper side of Utada, which is seen in earlier albums, however never in previous English albums. Apple And Cinnemon is a song about what could have been, if Utada and her ex were still together. This Is The One (Crying Like A Child), which is easily the best song on the album, is a heart breaking ballad, with simple acoustic and R&B elements. With sentimental lines such as “How could I ever love another? How could you say you don’t remember? God knows I’d give anything for just one more night together. Today I miss you more than ever. How could you say you don’t remember, this ones for the happy days, I’ll be wishing you forever.” It’s pretty hard not to like this song. However the mood is quickly killed by the following song Automatic Part II which had fans wrongfully excited. When it comes to music Utada releases songs that sound fresh and loveable, however Automatic Part II rebels this trend, being one of Hikki’s most annoying and unlikable songs.With recycled pop beats and robotic like vocals, its an automatic reaction to instantly dislike this song. However it does have on catchy line: “Hello my name is Utada like dadadada” In Taking My Money Back Utada stands up for herself and is strong; “Now I finally see, that you were using me and I’m taking my money, my money, my money back.”

Tracks are thoughtfully placed, however without an interlude, there is a big jump in atmosphere, especially between This Is The One (Crying Like A Child) and Automatic Part II. The majority of the album sounds fresh and is likable and in my honest opinion is a lot better quality than a lot of the other leading American R&B artists.

So the big question. Is this really the one? Well yes and no. This album is not the one if you are looking for Hikki’s experimental style found in previous albums. However it is the one if you are looking for a feel good American pop record, with quite good, yet at times strange lyrics. After all Utada stated in an interview that all she wanted to do is create a good American style pop record and I respect her for that.

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 Hits:

 Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence – FYI | Apple And Cinnamon | Taking My Money Back | This Is The One (Crying Like A Child) | Dirty Desire | Poppin’ | Come Back To Me | Me Muero

So-so:
On And One

Misses:
Automatic Part II
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 Overall Rating:4.5 Stars4½ Stars

 

Joshua



Utada – Come Back To Me
January 8, 2009, 6:19 am
Filed under: Utada, Utada Hikaru | Tags: , , , , ,

Okay everyone, be prepared to see Hikki in a way that you’ve never seen her before. Her English single (and although not officially released) is out today… and it’s a moment I have been waiting for, it’s been almost nine months and we haven’t heard anything from Hikki, but despite my doubts Utada has been working hard creating a new album, which is expected to be out 24th of March in America and the 4th of March on Japan.

come-back-to-me

Tracklist:
1. Come Back To Me

Come Back to Me starts off with brief, but energetic piano solo – Utada’s deep breathy voice follows soon after, from the first note she hits you can instantly notice that her voice sounds the same as her “Japanese voice”. It is deeper, more emotional and more soothing than a hot chocolate in the middle of winter. Utada has clearly aimed this single for an American audience, as the arrangement and beats sounds like mainstream R&B found on American radio stations. This means that this is more likely to be a hit in the US, as it does not sound as foreign or as obscure as her debut English album Exodus (excluding Easy Breezy and Let Me Give Me Your Love). The lyrics depict Utada cheating on her lover and then asking for a second chance. Utada sings these lyrics with emotion and pain. The lyrics do sound American, but they are above average (maybe not for Utada) for an American audience. At some points they are very clever (“I wish I could Photoshop all our bad memories, because the flashbacks won’t leave me alone“). This song reminds me of something that Mariah Carey would sing, because her voice sounds very similar to hers, and that’s a good thing for an American audience because Mariah Carey is one of America’s biggest exports. So all in all – Does this have the potential to be a hit in the US? I certainly think so, Utada really has captured the American vibe in her music – and whether American’s think the same? As Hikki sings, only time will tell.

Rating4.5 Stars4½ stars



Ne-Yo Feat. Utada – Do You
May 10, 2008, 8:34 am
Filed under: Utada | Tags: , , ,

Ne-Yo Feat. Utada - Do You

Tracklist:
1. Do You (feat. Utada)

Well what can I say? This song has absolutely blown me away. Utada’s voice sounds so different and so much smoother, calm and she sounds more vocally relaxed. This song is very different from Utada’s other songs, her voice is very different, and man its good! Hopefully her upcoming English album will be like this. Ne-Yo on the other hand, meh, he was average, Utada clearly steals the show. I love her vocals in this song that I listened to it over 50 times in the first day! The lyrics are deep and meaningful, as are most of Utada’s songs, but these lyrics are bittersweet, and overall amazing! Utada has done it again, and well as for you Ne-Yo, I guess you’re okay too.

Rating
4.5 Stars4½ stars



Utada – Exodus
April 12, 2008, 12:10 pm
Filed under: Utada | Tags: , , , , , ,

Utada - Exodus

Tracklist:
1. Opening
2. Devil Inside
3. Exodus ‘04
4. The Workout
5. Easy Breezy
6. Tippy Toe
7. Hotel Lobby
8. Animato
9. Crossover Interlude
10. Kremlin Dusk
11. You Make Me Want to Be a Man
12. Wonder ‘Bout
13. Let Me Give You My Love
14. About Me

This is Utada’s 1st well known English album (second if you count her Cubic U album). It reached 1 on the Oricon weekly charts and 6 on the Oricon weekly charts. In the US, however it was not as sucessful only managing to climb to 160 on the Billboard Top 200.

Opening is great start to this fantastic album, and meaningful lyrics saying, she doesn’t want to change genres for different languages, but just wants to sing. Interesting instruments kind of make it interesting, but very effective.

Devil Inside is one of the best songs on the album, very catchy with deep lyrics saying just because you’re Asian you can join the American music industry (”you’re too busy reading labels, your missing all the action underneath my table.”) Fantastic beat, got a dark feel to it, but very effective, one of her best songs to date.

Exodus ‘04 is slow R ‘n’ B type song, co-produced by Timbland, but he doesn’t really matter. It’s Utada that makes the song amazing. Good vocals, with deep meaning – just like most of her songs have. In this song she is talking about leaving the Japanese music industry.

The Workout is such a good dance song! One of her best songs on the album, the lyrics are pretty average, but the beat is phenomenal! Great special effects added to make you feel like you’re on the dance floor!

Easy Breezy is a cutesy song, but the lyrics and beat are pretty average. This is one of her most American songs. It was her first single from the album, but even though it was I don’t reckon it was one of the strongest songs from the album.

Tippy Toe is a funky song with a good beat. Overall this song is a great song; some of the lyrics are a bit “out there” for Utada, but an effective, American type song. One of her best songs on the album.

Hotel Lobby starts with a long introduction, but once that finishes you’ll begin to realise how Utada is different from American artists, it’s all in the lyrics, which are deep, and very meaningful, which is what, makes Utada’s music so good.

Animato is Utada’s fist song she wrote for this album, she wrote it while she was in hospital, and was the only song she didn’t get professionally translated, so it must have a deep meaning to it. It has a great beat and amazing – and at times quirky – lyrics. For example “I need someone who’s true, some one who does the laundry too.” It is a good strong song.

Crossover Interlude has the same lyrics as the Opening, just with a different beat. I prefer this song more then the opening, it has a good, strong beat.
Kremlin Dusk is amazing. Utada’s most experimental song to date. Lyrics that will blow you away, instruments that will make you feel funny on the inside, but inspired. About halfway through the piece a crescendo rips through the music creating an amazing atmosphere, that will leave you awestruck.

You Make Me Want To Be A Man… erm…umm… interesting name, but the best song on the album, and possibly her best song to date. This song has a very deep meaning to it. In this song Utada is trying to convey that she thinks her husband is keeping secrets and she doesn’t understand his mind. In Japan men have a higher class so she thought, “damn why couldn’t for a day be one of his male friends to understand what’s going on.” This song is full of signs – in the PV it shows Utada next to a snake which is most probably the devil in a snake form. Surprisingly the PV is filmed by her husband. A fantastic song with a great, oriental beats, that only ceases to amaze, some might not like this song, but to me it’s the best song on the album.

Wonder ’bout is another cute song by Utada, about a previous relationship that she keeps thinking about. Strong, repetitive beat, which gives a nice feel to the music. This song has a really good chorus, which brings meaning into the song. Another good song by Utada.

Let Me Give You My Love in my opinion Utada’s worst song to date. The lyrics are pointless and don’t suit Utada, probably because they were written with help by Timbland. Nonetheless it’s listenable and has a nice beat.

About Me is a quieter, acoustic song. Very meaningful, about her fiancé proposing without knowing the full truth about her, and Utada trying to be good soul mate. A great ending to the album. A nice peaceful song to wind down on.

Utada has done it again! Exodus is very different from Utada’s previous albums, but just as good if not better! Utada has made a great change and while we miss her old stuff, it isn’t too sad because this album is enough to suffice anyone. Utada has truly spoilt us.

Rating5 Stars5 stars

Utada - Exodus Promo Pic