Kurayami Monogatari

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Utada Hikaru – Hatsukoi July 21, 2018

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 7:08 am

hatsukoi

Track Listing

  1. Play A Love Song
  2. Anata
  3. Hatsukoi
  4. Chikai
  5. Forevermore
  6. Too Proud with Jevon
  7. Good Night
  8. Pakuchii no Uta
  9. Nokoriga
  10. Oozora de Dakishimete
  11. Yuunagi
  12. Shittosarerubeki Jinsei

1. Play A Love Song

Opening the album, Play A Love Song starts off with such an ethereal kind of glow and positive outlook like “Fight the Blues” did but this song is a lot more chill and laidback in comparison as well.  With the simple piano melody and light strings, percussion and synths, the song is definitely reminiscent to stuff from “HEART STATION” for myself.  There’s something relaxing about the track and it just starts the album off on a nice note.

2. Anata

So the bolded tracks are digital releases she dropped in the last two years prior to the release of the album!  With a piano intro, Hikki brings it in quite nicely and softly, but it does kind of come off a little similar to “Play A Love Song” in the arrangement and same instrumentation as well (minus synths though).  Though I was happy to hear brass in the song though to kind of spice things up, but it’s a middle-of-the-road kind of track for me.

3. Hatsukoi

As the title track of the album (and released a couple weeks before the album was released), Hatsukoi marks as the first ballad on the album and it really pops out especially since Hikki is singing in a slightly higher register.  Though the ~I need youu-hoo~ lines sound so alien to me for some reason like it’s not Hikki but yet it is.  As the song moves forward, strings are added to the arrangement.  It’s a dramatic track and she sounds good in this one!

4. Chikai

So to be honest, I was pretty hyped for the album just to listen to this song in full and if you didn’t know this is the song chosen to be the theme song for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III.  Though unlike “Hikari” & “Passion” before it, Chikai is more of a ballad with strings and piano at the forefront.  Though it does take some interesting turns with the beats because it kind of throws me off a bit since it’s not a simple beat to follow.  It might not quite live up to its hype, but I suppose it works for the series (especially with the English lines she throws in this).  Makes me wonder when we’ll get its US version, “Don’t Think Twice” released.

5. Forevermore

Moving on, Forevermore was another digital single released and this one has a little more oomph than all the previous songs that came before it.  I do like the songs more bright nature and the lowkey jazz vibes I get is also a nice twist to the song.  It does feel like it’s building up the entire way, but never totally feels like it makes it there?  Still, I’m pretty impressed by her vocals here!

6. Too Proud with Jevon

Hmmm?  Something odd from Hikki once again?  It seems like it’s the case with Too Proud with the kind of upbeat, but also somewhat playful atmosphere I get with the synths and harp?  It’s a mellow track it feels like and Hikki sounds relaxed and then hearing the tune kind of going into an R&B sound is just unique!  Could’ve lived without Jevon though, he kind of takes me outta the song…but otherwise, quirky little track.

7. Good Night

I thought our next track Good Night was going to be another piano ballad, but it’s quickly dashed as it’s more like a rock ballad, but still has strong pop elements!  I have to say, the song’s more lowbrow sound is nice and really was there to set Hikki’s vocals up front and she sounds pleasant if not maybe a little weak?  I don’t know, but there’s just something mysterious yet refreshing about the song.  I mean she does say ~gooooooooood~ a LOT in the track, but it’s still one of the standout tracks here.

8. Pakuchii no Uta

If I thought “Too Proud” was a bit strange on the album, Pakuchii no Uta is basically the “Boku wa Kuma” for this album as the sound of the intro is kind of cheesy and kid-like, but afterwards the song kind of goes into this somber-like state that sounds more depressing than “Good Night” did.  It does go back to the kiddy-like sounding lyrics, but otherwise…just not quite that good.

9. Nokoriga

Pipe organ to open up the next track?  I guess, but it just suddenly drops when Hikki begins to sing the first verse.  I don’t know why, but this song just doesn’t do much for me for some reason.  Maybe it’s the simplistic arrangement or the boring pipe organ chords that plays, but this song just doesn’t go anywhere for me and I almost fell asleep to it.

10. Oozora de Dakishimete

The last of the digital singles released, Oozora de Dakishimete kind of makes up for the boredom from “Nokoriga” with a more lighter sound but happier arrangement as well.  I like the arrangement and Hikki’s vocals are a lot more mesmerizing to listen to going in and through the song.  There is a couple of odd parts in its choruses where the arrangement gets bass synth and acoustic guitar?  Still, the song is a much needed improvement.

11. Yuunagi

Something dark comes this way in our penultimate track to the album, Yuunagi with some dark chords played by the piano.  At the minute mark is when Hikki begins singing and boy does this song sound fantastic and sends you to a different place.  It’s such a haunting ballad and my thoughts take me through an Autumn forest for this one even if lyrically it’s about loss.  It’s one of the best tracks off the album hands down!

12. Shittosarerubeki Jinsei

As the album’s closer, Shittosarerubeki Jinsei is definitely the one track that got something different going on from the other tracks on the album from the unique beats and cool bass and other things like the strings that give it a somewhat Arabesque groove.  Why it was chosen to close the album instead of “Yuunagi” is interesting though.  I kind of dug it!

Tracks Recommended

  • Yuunagi
  • Good Night
  • Shittosarerubeki Jinsei
  • Play A Love Song
  • Hatsukoi

Song of Avoidance

  • Nokoriga

Wow, it feels like forever since her last album doesn’t it?  Hatsukoi as a whole left me both fulfilled and somewhat bored by it at the same time?  I don’t know why but it feels like none of the songs were terrible persay, but many of them felt a bit too mellow for me, I’m kind of missing the truly upbeat stuff like the stuff she released back in “ULTRA BLUE” and “HEART STATION”.  Still, this is a pretty decent album and Yuunagi is a hidden gem to the album!

 

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