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.

_______________ 

 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
_______________

 Overall Rating:4.5 Stars4½ Stars

 

Joshua

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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



Hikki Albums
May 31, 2008, 8:09 am
Filed under: Miscellaneous, Utada Hikaru | Tags: , ,

Hikki Cd's

I’m really excited today because I bought another Hikki album; HEART STATION!!! I bought it at Shinseido in Chatswood, for a great price, they even gave me a discount! It was a total success. I prefer to buy albums rather than to download them, as it gives credit to the artist! This means I now own three Utada Hikaru items, Exdous, HEART STATION and Utada Hikaru in Budokan. Thanks to Shinseido, keep up the great imports! :D



Utada Hikaru – Heart Station (Album)

HEARTSTATION

Tracklist:
1. Fight The Blues
2. Heart Station
3. Beautiful World
4. Flavor of Life [Ballad Version]
5. Stay Gold
6. Kiss & Cry
7. Gentle Beast Interlude
8. Celebrate
9. Prisoner of Love
10. Take 5
11. Boku wa Kuma
12. Niji-Iro Bus
13. Flavor of Life [Bonus Track]

This is Utada Hikaru’s 5th Japanese studio album. This album has been a great success, selling almost half a million copies in the first week, and reaching #1 on the Oricon weekly charts.

The opening to Fight the Blues is one of the best openings to an album, I’ve ever heard. The crisp strings create a calm atmosphere. Hikki’s vocals are at their best, they’re smooth and powerful. I mean what more could you ask for? I knew from the opening of this song, that this was going to be a fantastic album.

Now we move onto Hikki’s most recent single before the release of Heart Station and coincidently, the song’s called “Heart Station.” This song has a strong synthesized feel to it, which makes it sound like a futuristic song. ThisHEARTSTATION - Utada Hikaru Scan song, while it has very powerful lyrics, it sounds relaxed and calm. The only bad thing is that it gets quite repetitive towards the end.

What a beautiful start to one of the best albums. Beautiful World has the same feel to “Heart Station,” with powerful lyrics, synthesized beats, and a relaxed feel. But, despite the songs name, this song isn’t really all that beautiful, for Hikki it’s not one of the best songs, but I still love this song.

Arigatou, Hikki for the Flavor of Life [Ballad Version]. The opening line is so powerful that I got lost in the music even before the first verse. With its bittersweet lyrics, and powerful vocals, it’s easy to see why this is one of her most popular tracks. I think the Ballad Version was more appropriate then the Original Version on this album, as it creates a greater emotional appeal.

Stay Gold opens with a strong piano line, and after about 10 seconds Utada’s relaxed vocals enters this amazing song. This is one of the best songs on the albums. Quite simply this song is gold!

The strong brass opening of Kiss & Cry is inspiring, and then it moves into some strong bass and percussion beats, which are really catchy. The lyrics are pretty cute, and… interesting – “Mother on a diet” for example. This song won’t fail to impress.

HEARTSTATION scanGentle Beast Interlude is Hikki’s most interesting and experimental interlude to date. With Arabian beats, and excerpts from “Heart Station’ added throughout. I think the “Gentle Beast” in the song title is referring to Hikki’s beloved teddy bear – Kuma Chan, but I could be wrong.

The transition between Gentle Beast Interlude and Celebrate is smooth and very effective. This song reminds me of One Night Magic on her pervious album Ultra Blue. The English vocals placed strategically throughout the song, creates a nice touch, they are strong and meaning full. I love the line – “Just enjoy the art of life” and “I love the way you make me feel.” This is the type of song I can image being played in a nightclub.

Ah, here we are the best song on the album. Every aspect of Prisoner of Love is fantastic and inspiring. This beautiful ballad has meaningful lyrics throughout the entire song. This mellow song is heartfelt and emotional. Along with Keep Tryin’ this is probably Hikki’s best song to date.

Experimental pop beats are what opens the most controversial song on the album – Take 5. This song is about death. These somewhat scary beats carry after the lyrics throughout the entire song. This song is unique and different from Hikki’s normal style both musically and lyrically. This song is very impressing, and one of the best songs on the album.

This children’s song by the name of Boku wa Kuma, meaning “I am a bear”, isHEARTSTATION scan once again referring to Utada’s bear named “Kuma Chan.” This song has a simple constant beat and, it is short, but adds a cute touch to the album.

I love the beat of Niji-Iro Bus This fun song about striving for your dreams is plain fun and very entertaining. The English throughout the song is very thoughtful with phrases such as “Everybody feels the same.” This is a great song to wind down, and finish the official album track-listing on a happy note.

Flavor of Life pretty much sounds the same as the ballad version, but with less emotion, but the strong synthesized beats make up for that. Just like the ballad version the lyrics are inspiring and amazing.

Like all of Utada Hikaru’s albums, this album is amazing. Possibly her best album to date, but that’s a hard thing to deicide since all of her albums are the best! Compared to Ultra Blue, this album seems a lot more laidback. Hikki’s smooth vocals are at their best. All the songs have very nice and unique arrangements. Hikki has made this album a joy to listen too!

Rating
5 Stars
5 stars



Utada Hikaru – Prisoner of Love

 

Utada Hikaru - Prisoner of Love

 

Tracklist:
1. Prisoner of Love
2. Prisoner of Love -Quiet Version-
3.Prisoner of Love (Original Karaoke)
4. Prisoner of Love -Quiet Version-(Original Karaoke)

This is Utada Hikaru’s 21st single. This single is a re-cut single, which is her second re-cut single. This single was released due to popular demand, and it’s easy to see why. This song is phenomenal! It reached number 3 on the Oricon charts.

Prisoner of Love is a pop ballad and opens with strong English Vocals that Utada Hikaru - Prisoner of Love Promoare extremely catchy. When I first heard this song I just wanted to belt it out wherever I went. The beats are extremely strong. It has a strong string line, and mellow synth beats. The lyrics are the one of the best in a song I have heard, and they are extremely bittersweet. The English sprinkled throughout the song, creates an authentic feel to it. Hikki shows no sign of slowing down, as her singles keep getting better!

Utada Hikaru - Prisoner of Love PromoThe “Quiet” version of this song obviously is quieter and creates a sadder feel to it. The vocals are just as strong, but it has a stronger piano line. It is relatively similar to the original song, but since there is less synth beats is makes it feel more genuine, however it doesn’t capture all the atmosphere of the original.

Prisoner of Love, is a very strong ballad, the vocals are relaxed but at the same time very powerful. This bittersweet song is amazing, however I do prefer the orginal version over the “quiet” version.

Rating
4.5 Stars
4½ stars



Utada Hikaru – Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro

Utada Hikaru - Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro

Tracklist:
1. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro
2. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro (Instrumental)

This single is Utada’s 13th Japanese single, reaching number 1 on the Oricon weekly charts and selling over 365,206 copies. This single was the theme song for Kazuaki Kiriya’s (Utada Hikaru’s ex-husband) movie Casshern.

Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro starts off with a piano solo, and then Utada Hikaru’s amazing voice that penetrates through the piece. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro, means “when somebody’s wish comes true”, and while this song title may sound happy, this song is anything but happy, Utada’s wistful vocals really create a sad atmosphere, but it is beautiful! Her vocals are soft and don’t sound strained at all, making it one of the her best ballads of all time.

Rating5 Stars5 stars

Utada Hikaru - Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro Promo



Utada Hikaru – Keep Tryin’
May 18, 2008, 1:50 am
Filed under: Utada Hikaru | Tags: , , ,

Utada Hikaru - Keep Tryin'

Tracklist:
1. Keep Tryin’
2. WINGS
3. Keep Tryin’ [Original Karaoke]

This is Utada’s 16th Japanese single, reaching 2nd on the Orican Weekly charts and selling more than 125,077 copies.

First Keep Tryin’ starts off with a somewhat outer space feel, and then it comes back to earth with nice backing vocals and strings and then finally Hikki’s powerful vocals. This song has a very strong synthesised pop feel to it. The lyrics are very powerful, but despite the song’s happy name, the lyricUtada Hikaru - Keep Tryin' Promos aren’t all that happy. This song also has an awesome PV.

I wasn’t as keen WINGS at first, but then it really started growing on me. This song has a very strong jazz feel to it, which is something we don’t normally get from Hikki. Her vocals are very strong, but they do sound a tiny bit strained, but that adds to the atmosphere of the song. This song has a strong piano line, with the introduction being only piano which carries all the way throughout the song, along with strings and percussion that is later added. A great B-Side for a great single.

This single is no letdown; Hikki’s vocals are strong and powerful, and her arrangements create and audio delight; she is easily the best J-Pop singer around.

Rating5 Stars5 stars