Kurayami Monogatari

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Utada – This Is The One March 13, 2009

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 5:37 am
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Track Listing

  1. On and On
  2. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI
  3. Apple and Cinnamon
  4. Taking My Money Back
  5. This One (Crying Like A Child)
  6. Automatic Part II
  7. Dirty Desire
  8. Poppin’
  9. Come Back To Me
  10. Me Muero
  11. Come Back To Me (Seamus Haji and Paul Emanuel Radio Edit) (JPN Only)
  12. Come Back To Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit) (JPN Only)
  13. Simple and Clean (US Only)
  14. Sanctuary (Opening) (US Only)
  15. Sanctuary (Closing) (US Only)

1. On and On

I know Hikki has a past history of R&B so it’s nice to see her return to her roots at the start of the song.  The lyrics are a bit kinky because it almost seems to be a rehash of “The Workout” but with a different sound.  I really hate the guy in the background sounding like he’s banging some chick or something. 

2. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI

Ok, so Hikki took a melody from a classic JPN tune and twisted it in her ways.  I kind of like the beat and the whole recycling of the classic tune, but seriously your gonna use FYI in the song?  It kind of sounds a bit cliche and maybe cheesy, but the lyrics beyond that is pretty cool and just sexy in a way.

3. Apple and Cinnamon

Apple and Cinnamon was the first known track from the album, and yet I feel a little perturbed at the fact that the song is basically piano and beats.  Third track and it’s getting very old.  I do love this track though because of the new usage of synths and the whole comparing a relationship to a combination of ~apples and cinnamon~.  Maybe she could’ve said Peanut Butter and Jelly….then again that’s a bit weirder.

4. Taking My Money Back

Hikki is mad because of all of the false proclaimations by her man, so just like the title is implying.  She’s taking her money back.  I’m still mad that she’s still using the whole piano/beat work so it’s really starting to irk me.  I really love how she’s getting all angsty and the low synths sound pretty cool.  Sadly, the song seems really short…I mean really short.

5. This One (Crying Like A Child)

At first I was really happy to not see piano, that is until the chorus which pissed me off.  I can really see this as a Rihanna song, because it reminds me of “Umbrella” just without the repititions and punch.  It’s softly sung and shows off her skills at singing in a fast pace.  Good track.

6. Automatic Part II

This definitly does not remind me of Automatic at all.  Anyway it’s definitly heavy on the urban sound so it’s basically different.  It’s also the shortest track on the album so it doesn’t give out as much as an impact.  Maybe a little too repetitive at some parts but this is ok for right now.

7. Dirty Desire

I love how Dirty Desire sounds and finally ditches piano altogether and left in clapping beats.  LOL ~I love you long time~  Way to represent Asian stereotypes bb.  Anyways, this is a dirty song, but Hikki doesn’t obviously set herself to actually say because she mention her fantasies and thoughts.  Nifty idea and it worked so much for her. The middle of the song with the synths was cool too.  The ending was so edgy though and she sampled Janet Jackson at the end?  WOW!

8. Poppin’

What is up with the mysterious 007 music opening Poppin’?  It’s definitly original in her discography, but her voice just bothers me here.  She’s like using falsetto and it’s quite bothersome, but the verses were even better and she’s like ~girls, we have it so much better than boys~  That was a jab at the guys for sure. 

9. Come Back To Me

The track to precede the album, I think she chose a good track to promote the album.  It’s laidback and is something everyone can relate to in one way or another.  Her vocals have gotten stronger since “HEART STATION”.  I actually like the piano/beats here because it isn’t in all over the place and the chorus was catchy.  I still think the lyrics are a bit cheesy, but this song has redeemed itself since the single.

10. Me Muero

Ending off the album, I initially thought Me Muero was going to be a heartfelt ballad.  Was I wrong…It’s another R&B track but it has an odd mood to it.  It’s like hearing it in a Starbucks or something.  It’s so laidback and there’s flutes and ad-libbing.  Not that it’s strange or anything, but it wasn’t something I was expecting.  She even says the title very nicely.  As the song goes on it gets really good!

11. Come Back To Me (Seamus Haji and Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)

For the Japanese fans they get two remixes of the promotional track.  First off is this one and they gave it a club sound and Hikki’s vocals are lightly filtered.  Other than that the remix seemed really dry and empty especially when it’s two guys working on it.  They could’ve added a lot more to it.

12. Come Back To Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit)

Quentin Harris’s take on the track is also club related and I’m also disappointed in it.  The beat is a little faster, but it’s just as cold and empty as the previous.  I actually liked the one before moreso than this.  That’s pretty bad

13. Simple and Clean

Now with the US Edition of the album, the fans get the Kingdom Hearts songs instead of the craptacular remixes.  I still think Simple and Clean should’ve been on “EXODUS” but y’know seeing it on her works too even if it does break the flow of the album down.  Anyways from the “COLORS” single, the song still doesn’t show much of aging with it’s slow-moving beat and Hikki’s nice vocals.  It’s still one of her most well-known tunes, so I’ll be if people knew this has the KH songs yeah, they are in for a surprise xD.

14. Sanctuary (Opening)

Reason Sanctuary was not bolded is because it’s never been officially released on anything, not even the KH2 soundtrack (Passion was on that).  Now what has been known is that Hikki wrote this song before “Passion” and it kind of shows because there’s a few things that were missing.  Mostly the background vocals and the lack of an ending verse that “Passion” had.  It does have the ~My heart’s a battleground~ part which is cool.  This still doesn’t fit with the album at all because it’s all ethereal and such so it easily stands out from this album. 

14. Sanctuary (Closing)

To put it more clearly, it’s just like “Passion ~after the battle~”, so don’t think it’s anything amazingly special.  The song is still ethereal with the ahhh-ing in the background, but it’s more of a ballad this time around and I love Hikki’s performance especially in English.  It’s kind of weird that at the end the electric guitar that started off the main track comes after Hikki finishes singing the song and then the instrumental pops in to close things off.  Two ideas stuck together, but good.

Tracks Recommended

  •  Apple and Cinnamon
  • Me Muero
  • Dirty Desire
  • Poppin’
  • Come Back To Me

Song of Avoidance

  • Automatic Part II

Was this the one?  Hell no!  “EXODUS” was far more of a better experience than this album.  I do think Hikki’s vocals were more pleasant than “HEART STATION”.  The album does harken back to her R&B days but damn a good portion of the song had the same beats and the lyrics were more lovey-dovey than what was happening on her last English album.  Wow I haven’t been this disappointed in an album in a while…The US Edition luckily took off the bad remixes and put on the songs Hikki is well known for around here.  Still I would’nt call it better than “HEART STATION” or “EXODUS”

 

Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION March 10, 2009

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 2:38 pm
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heart1

Track Listing

  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 Basu
  13. Flavor Of Life (First Press Bonus)

1. Fight The Blues

Yep….we have struck gold.  Fight The Blues has to be one of Hikki’s best tracks for sure.  Not only does it have the ethereal sound that we’ve come to known, the song just takes me to a happy place for sure and it’s not because of the meaning of the lyrics.  Everytime this song pops up I think of Hikki doing a PV of this in a rainforest because of the tribal beats and the elephant string wail in the chorus.  I especially love the bridge with it’s darker tone and beats.  This already wins best song.

2. HEART STATION

After “Fight The Blues” we begin a long list of old tracks starting with our last A-side released and title track, HEART STATION.  After the powerhouse of the first track this does seem vocally more weaker because Hikki’s vocals are very airy weak for some off reason.  I hear some of the R&B returning as well so it’s a nice track and I still love her English line after the first chorus.  So cool.

3. Beautiful World

Once again, I found myself wondering why Hikki’s vocals were so weak and putting BW with HS was not the smartest of choices because they both seemed to have that problem.  I do still like this track as well, maybe not as much as “HEART STATION” but it’s definitly one of those songs that represent her very well.

4. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-

Her biggest track in her career since her debut, When your track gets featured on a dorama (Hana Yori Dango).  You know this song is epic and it still shows.  I love the whole orchestration combined with Hikki singing along was just so nice, but it was my first time hearing Hikki’s weakened vocals so I partly blame this for causing the last two tracks their minor problem.

5. Stay Gold

Stay Gold to me was the last track off the album for me to really connect with personally, but I do like nowadays.  I love the twinkly piano melody and other sounds put with a R&B styled beat.  Even though the arrangement doesn’t exactly move anywhere, Hikki’s weak vocals sounded a lot more better here than in “HEART STATION” but I connected more with the latter just because of the meaning of it.

6. Kiss & Cry

That fanfare opening to me still sounds so random for K&C.  I do have to say the song was/is a bit strange on the album because of it’s happy outlook and music arrangement.  It’s funny that this song she sounds so good and not weak unlike the other older tracks.  I still loved the usage of “Hotel Lobby” in the song, shows that she has maneuverability with her songs, so I hope to see more of songs that cleanly does the same thing.

7. Gentle Beast Interlude

Interesting to see the only interlude being in the middle because she usually stores these right before the final track.  Anyways, the interlude has a very ghastly view of it and you hear snippets of “HEART STATION” more importantly the ~Ai~ parts.  Hikki also adlibs here before it seemingly moves into…

8. Celebrate

Our 2nd track, Celebrate.  Now just like “Kiss & Cry” it’s a very happy sounding track with a nice lite dance beat.  I love this one line of the song ~Just enjoy the art of life~ I thought (that right there, is the most important line of the entire album).  Continuing on, Hikki proves to be so much more better in the new tracks singing because of the lighter needed notes.  The chorus was so cool and made her sounded pimpin for sure.  Sweet song!

9. Prisoner Of Love

Prisoner Of Love is definitly a powerful R&B ballad.  It was so good that she even made the song into a re-cut single (which I’ll review in due time).  It’s so interesting to hear how she proclaims she is a prisoner of love which took the song to a new level, especially how the arrangement of the song was working.  However, I do think it’s way overhyped because of bunch of other tracks are just better IMO.

10. Take 5

Take 5, a song about death was especially surprising to see on this album.  Hikki sounds so strong in this song this time around.  I love when she enters the bridge and her lower tones take over and it’s a quite a beautiful song.  Now I know everyone was like WTF at the sudden cutout of the song, but like people have said before.  Take 5 is about death and it can happen anytime, so having the song cutout so suddenly is honestly the smartest thing Hikki did with the track and our next one.

11. Boku wa Kuma

Who knew Boku wa Kuma would actually have a purpose on the album.  After the sudden cutout, our children’s song begins which can signify that it’s the rebirth song.  Now the meaning of the song would be that theory’s wrench because the song is about a bear….so who knows but this song is oddly cute on the album and Hikki’s French skills is so odd and yet cool to know.  It’s just one of those tracks that couldn’t have been put anywhere else without issues, so kudos to Hikki for putting it after “Take 5”

12. Niji-iro Basu

Our last track is one of the catchiest tunes Hikki has on the album.  She says it has an analog sound, but honestly I don’t hear it nor what it would sound like in the first place.  I just call it a very fun pop track with ethereal undertones and R&B beats.  I used to theorize that Niji-iro Basu continues the rebirth mode because it’s like the song is so bouncy and kiddy-like, but when the song enters the slower part of the song it’s like the song is maturing into an adult.  I might be overlooking it, but it’s such a cool track to end the album with.

13. Flavor Of Life

I’m surprised that there was a bonus track.  It’s so not Hikki.  Even then the choice of putting the original version of Hikki’s biggest single.  Like I said before, Flavor Of Life is like a mimic of Distance because they both are forgotten by their ballad secondaries.  I know both are odd because they are upbeat with sad lyrics, but I like FOL’s original better than the ballad version.  It’s so catchy and the much needed BKGD vocals helped Hikki out  a lot.

Tracks Recommended

  • Fight The Blues
  • Niji-iro Basu
  • HEART STATION
  • Kiss & Cry
  • Celebrate

Song of Avoidance

  • Stay Gold

My favorite album of 2008, HEART STATION was full of meaningful songs that really dug deep into Hikki.  The new songs were all amazing, but not enough of them because the singles filled the rest.  Which by the way a few of them had some vocal problems, but still every track is so wonderful or catchy you can’t go wrong with this…*RECOMENDDED*

 

Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION/Stay Gold February 23, 2009

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 9:30 pm
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Track Listing

  1. HEART STATION
  2. Stay Gold
  3. HEART STATION -Original Karaoke-
  4. Stay Gold -Original Karaoke-

1. HEART STATION

Damn, Hikki’s hitting all the right spots this era.  HEART STATION is once again a very ethereal A-side pops up and it’s sadly more evident that Hikki’s vocals are very weak and not supported when it’s just her singing alot.  Even with that problem lurking about, it’s very smooth and her English lines are just sexii.  She even goes far enough to mention God of all things.  The PV for HS though was just a bit weird and left us with questions about what the hell it meant.  It’s a great song though.

2. Stay Gold

Before the release, Stay Gold was well-known, practically when “Beautiful World/Kiss & Cry” came out.  It starts with a sad piano melody that resonates for most of the song.  Stay Gold brought back the R&B sound Hikki was well-known early in her career, but given a little bit of that new sound.  When the single first came out, I wasn’t liking this track much, but by the time the album was released it became very catchy and stood out for me.

 

 

Even though it was released like a few weeks before the album, we get a single and both songs are powerful in their lyrical content and brought the best of Hikki’s sounds together.  I’m a little surprised that Stay Gold didn’t get a PV, but it’s prolly for the better because all of the PV’s in this era were pretty bad. 

 

Utada Hikaru – Beautiful World/Kiss & Cry February 4, 2009

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 7:57 pm
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beautifulworld

Track Listing

  1. Beautiful World
  2. Kiss & Cry
  3. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) -2007 Mix-
  4. Beautiful World (Original Karaoke)
  5. Kiss & Cry (Original Karaoke)
  6. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) -2007 Mix- (Original Karaoke)

1. Beautiful World

People definitly said that this was the epitome of her ethereal J-pop style that she’s heavily been under since “DEEP RIVER”.  Honestly, I can agree to it since it isn’t so slow, but more like a dance-like vibe.  The lyrics are a little more on the sad side of things which throws people off because of how dancey it is.  I’m starting to notice though that Hikki is getting weaker with the higher notes for some reason.  Another fault was the long ending…You didn’t need to ad-lib for that long Hikki…Still I love this song.

2. Kiss & Cry

Well, obviously you’ll notice the mood change pretty quickly with the brass fanfare that opens up this lively track.  We do seem to go back into the early days of Hikki with it’s R&B styling.  What people will immediatly figure out though is that the bridge is a sample of Hikki’s English track, “Hotel Lobby”.  I for one do think the transition from verse to bridge is a bit wonky…but it isn’t the worst I’ve heard.  Once again though Hikki, your taking too damn long to finish the song up.  I mean it’s bad you ad-libbed in “Beautiful World”, but it’s worse here…Another great track, but bad ending choice.

3. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) -2007 Mix-

I guess it’s alright to feature a cover track that you already covered before Hikki.  Anyways Hikki fine-tuned a track that was originally found on her “Wait & See ~Risk~” single.  There wasn’t much difference between the two minus a few sound changes, but they were so minor you might as well miss it.  Still, you gotta wonder why she chose such an odd track, other than the movie tie-in.

 

 

Even though this single wasn’t phenomenal like “Flavor Of Life”, This was a pretty strong single for being a double A-side.  Beautiful World is a great song and probably the most memorable of the era, or maybe it’s the others….yea it was that hard picking a favorite of the era.  Kiss & Cry was a nice nod to the past and the resampling of a previous track was genius.  Once again the cover track doesn’t appear on “HEART STATION” which is just well….stupid and it still remains the only track in her JPN discography to not appear on any album.

 

Utada – Come Back To Me January 20, 2009

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 11:59 pm
Tags: , ,

comebacktome

Track Listing

  1. Come Back To Me (Tony Moran Radio Edit)
  2. Come Back To Me (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanual Radio Edit)
  3. Come Back To Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit)
  4. Come Back To Me (Mike Rizzo Radio Edit)
  5. Come Back To Me

1. Come Back To Me (Tony Moran Radio Edit)

To begin an American single with a remix is usual of course.  It seems to be your generic remix of track.  I mean it’s danceable, but it lacks interest and it just doesn’t get special or anything.  It’s the same beat just played back with Hikki.  Not the best way to start things off.

2. Come Back To Me (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)

Same issue stands with this track.  I mean, once again the beat is to repetitive to lead anywhere really.  It drops a bit for the second verse which was a good break from it because it gets ethereal but it comes back…It was a good try, but no cigar.

3. Come Back To Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit)

I do like how they made the strings a part of the remix, but this time this remix felt pretty empty otherwise.  A lot of this percussion instrument that resembles a cowbell just provides a good portion of the beat and seriously?  It’s annoying.

4. Come Back To Me (Mike Rizzo Radio Edit)

The only remix to stand out is this one.  For one thing, it had a pretty catchy beat and Hikki’s singing sped up for this one was the smartest idea to do with the song.  I mean I could clap along with it and just seems right.  It helps it sounds like a 90’s R&B track.  Definitly enjoyed listening to this one and it was a bit of fresh air to me.  Great remix otherwise.

5. Come Back To Me

Honestly, with such an emotional piano opening I didn’t expect something so oddly generic.  Hikki isn’t normally like this but returning to the American music market must have made her feel pretty awkward.  The lyrics are just as odd using the word ~Photoshop~ I mean that’s just a little strange.  At least she knows what it is hahaha.  It just seemed like a little bit of Mariah Carey was infused in the song and just made the song a bit worse.  I hope the new album won’t be full of cheesiness

 

 

Hikki’s 1st single return to the American market, will probably get big since the lyrics do seem a lot more easier to understand and relate to than her past English stuff.  Me, though I want her to keep the interesting topics flowing because “EXODUS” was that good.  So far she hasn’t really proved anything yet.  Except that R&B is more heavy this time around.  The remixes though minus Mike Rizzo’s take were horrible, lifeless remixes.

 

 

Utada Hikaru – Flavor Of Life January 10, 2009

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 4:25 am
Tags: , , ,

Track Listing

  1. Flavor Of Life
  2. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-
  3. Flavor Of Life (Original Karaoke)
  4. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version- (Original Karaoke)
  5. Flavor Of Life -Antidote Mix- (CD Only Bonus Track)

1. Flavor Of Life

It’s kind of weird hearing the original, when the ballad version is more well-known.  Just like the Distance/FINAL DISTANCE thing, you can take the song and maneuver it anyway you want to, since the original sounds pretty refreshing.  It’s pretty upbeat and the addition of BKGD vocals are pretty nice, especially during the bridge.  It does sound quite different than the stuff she released off of “ULTRA BLUE” which is great!

2. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-

Strange that the rearranged version got the PV and the most promotion of the single.  I guess it’s the more appropriate version of the track as it had a pretty huge tie-in to Hana Yori Dango.  Doesn’t it seem tracks from that dorama always get the big songs?  Anyway, I kind of wished the BKGD vocals were there in the bridge of the song.  Still, I’m starting to hear Hikki’s vocals start to sound pretty thin here, but even stranger is her lower register, it isn’t bad, but you have to get used to it.

3. Flavor Of Life -Antidote Mix-

What a strange remix indeed.  It starts out pretty weird with the sound temperaments they were doing.  When they hit the first verse the beats come in and it sounds like something she would’ve done pre-DEEP RIVER.  I did kind of thought the remix didn’t bring enough to the table, to make it stand out like the others.  At least we finally get a remix after how long?

 

 

This would become her hugest song she’s had since like forever.  Breaking a lot of records on the charts.  Flavor Of Life still is a great single and c’mon everyone likes one version of it, right? 

 

Utada Hikaru – Boku wa Kuma December 27, 2008

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 6:03 pm
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bokuwakuma

Track Listing

  1. Boku wa Kuma
  2. Boku wa Kuma (Original Karaoke)

1. Boku wa Kuma

Seriously, this song shouldn’t be taken so seriously. It’s a downright Children’s Song and it’s pretty basic all-around.  It’s what Kuma is and isn’t and what it likes and doesn’t like, so it’s pretty easy to follow along.  A simple melody also occupies the song and it’s pretty cute and Hikki talks in French?  WTF.  I really like this short track for some reason, I get this track and start to hum along. 

 

 

Hikki, I wonder why you released this as an actual single and with the fact that it was mainly for kids.  She’s got some smart planning because I think it sold pretty well.  It’s an ok single but it needed a B-side IMO.

 

 

Utada Hikaru – ULTRA BLUE November 30, 2008

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 5:44 pm
Tags: , ,

ultrablue

Track Listing

  1. This Is Love
  2. Keep Tryin’
  3. BLUE
  4. Nichiyou no Asa
  5. Making Love
  6. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro
  7. COLORS
  8. One Night Magic feat. Yamada Masashi
  9. Kairo
  10. WINGS
  11. Be My Last
  12. Eclipse
  13. Passion

1. This Is Love

I’ve liked Hikki’s album openers and this is one for the ages.  For one, it’s pretty piano heavy and quite soothing too, strange eh?  It’s definitly a good thing to hear something so upbeat after all the slower songs of the era.  I really love the verses where she sings something and then backups say something, I loved it.

2. Keep Tryin’

Our last single for this era continues on this fun ride and c’mon if there was anyone who didn’t like this song.  Then you are horrible.  This song is definitly an interesting listen because of all of the lyrics about pushing forward.  I’m definitly liking the wintry etherealness this song brings.  It is a winter song right?  Still the orgel in the interlude of the song was a nice touch for the song.

3. BLUE

OMG, what a beautiful opening to BLUE, the title track of the album.  Hikki’s ad-libbing is quite nice and the verses sound very powerful.  The problem though occurs with the spaz that’s called the chorus.  Her high notes are pretty piercing and then it just ends up back into the soothing verses again.  I wonder if the crazy chorus has a meaning behind it, but it was pretty strange and painful IMO

4. Nichiyou no Asa

I do know the song is about a specific Christmas on Sunday so I can say this was a winter tune.  This would be the only new song that has a definite R&B rhythm to it.  I do love how Hikki whispers ~Christmas morning~ I mean jeeze it’s quite hot.  There’s also some obvious synth usage here and it sounds really cool against the calpping beats.  Strange though because Hikki hasn’t really had a holiday song.

5. Making Love

I thought this track was going to be a ballad hence the piano opening.  What I got instead was a pretty cool dance track.  Love the whole tribal sound with the synths and all.  What was weird for me was how she said ~Making Love~ at the end of the chorus being all minor and such.  It did hamper the experience, but it’s not all terrible. 

6. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro

Then we enter our ballad which to me still sounds boring on the album.  Hikki is singing at a deeper register than normal and even though the song is very minimal in sound with just piano and a cello backing Hikki up, it just kind of was there and not being so astounding as I thought it would be.  Good to hear if your sleepy.

7. COLORS

As with “Dareka no Negai Kanau Koro”, COLORS is definitly REALLY OLD.  I’m actually surprised it fits with the album’s overall sound.  Definitly having a certain element hope and sadness, COLORS is still one of her best songs.  The whole using colors as metaphors of emotion couldn’t have been done any better.  Beautiful song

8. One Night Magic feat. Yamada Masashi

I’m wondering why this was put here.  I mean it’s between ballad central, I guess it was supposed to split it because seriously who wants to sit through that many ballads right?  One Night Magic marks the first in her Japanese career where she’s collaborated and Yamada sounds pretty cool.  I always envision this song as having a Las Vegas kind of musicality.  Like driving through town and seeing all the lights of the casinos and such.  It’s vivid I know, but it so has it.  Hikki and Yamada do sound alright together except when Hikki tries for the high register because she’s sounding really thin.  Yes, I do love the ~motto, motto, motto~ parts.

9. Kairo

Kairo is pretty with a nice strings opening.  Hikki ad-libbing against it as well.  The weird thing is how she transitions from the ad-libbing into actual wording.  It’s kind of strange how she does it.  After a little bit, it quiets down before Hikki sings again.  It’s a standout song for sure, but I was left wanting more of this song.

10. WINGS

Surprised to see WINGS appear?  I am as well. I guess it’s another R&B influenced track added onto the album.  Now, I love how Hikki’s is breezing through the song without many problems and her held notes aren’t terrible.  I still like the flute lines and I’m actually fine even if it doesn’t totally fit the mood of the album…or does it?  To be honest, this sounds like a SONY Ami Suzuki song, how strange.

11. Be My Last

Be My Last kind of just pops up here and still what’s up with Hikki here.  It’s like she’s possessed into the song which I guess is a good thing or not?  The acoustic guitar added to the dreamy atmosphere was nice to hear, but her ad-libbing is so farfetched and quite off as well.  I always get stuck on which is my least favorite ballad of the album…Dareka or this one. 

12. Eclipse

I’m always surprised at her interludes.  Like Eclipse sounds like something you’d hear at a club or something.  I really don’t know how it ties into our last track of the album, but it’s definitly a sweet listen. 

13. Passion

One of the more recognizable tracks from this era ends the album.  They really made a good choice because Passion does end right and sounds like a final song or sorts.  I have to say that Passion is her best offering to the Kingdom Hearts series even though literally it’s “Simple and Clean” that took it.  I love the BKGD yell in the chorus of the song.  Even then this track has so many different things going on.  The ethereal sound, the tribal beats, Hikki’s singing, and them backwards lyrics.  It’s definitly a concept song that worked in her favor.

Tracks Recommended

  • Passion
  • COLORS
  • One Night Magic
  • This Is Love
  • Keep Tryin’

Song of Avoidance

  • Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro

Wow, this was a pretty nice album.  I mean this is where her transformation from R&B to pop etherealism happens.  I must say though she’s kind of iffy on this album because some of the tracks were ballads as well, and she’s kind of half/half on them.  Songs like COLORS comparing to Be My Last is relevant.  The upbeat stuff beat out the slow stuff actually.

 

Utada Hikaru – Keep Tryin’ November 22, 2008

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 12:56 pm
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Track Listing

  1. Keep Tryin’
  2. WINGS
  3. Keep Tryin’ (Original Karaoke)

1. Keep Tryin’

If “Passion” is what brought me back into Hikki, then this track solidified me to listen to her.  Keep Tryin’ is once a again an ethereal pop track, but the topic at hand is surely perserverance.  Obviously by the lyrics she saying y’know, I gotta keep trying to be what I want to be.  I really like that she went and did that.  It does have a wintry kind of sound to it, which adds to the fun of the song, since it’s lighthearted and quite cute.  I think what made Keep Tryin’ stand out was either the last minute of the song as well as its accompanying PV as well.  Sweet song.

2. WINGS

We finally get an actual B-side again and WINGS isn’t as memorable as “Keep Tryin'”, but it is a nice track.  It actually brings back the R&B sound that she used to be all about back then which is a great nod for sure.  The flute-like sound adds to the more calm side of the track.  It was a pretty good B-side overall.

 

 

Hikki’s last single for “ULTRA BLUE” was finally a return to actual B-sides.  Much to my happiness is that both songs are quite good with each other.  Keep Tryin’ being the cute song with meaningful lyrics as well with WINGS’s blast from the past vibe.  It’s great to know that both are on the album ^_^

 

Utada Hikaru – Passion November 6, 2008

Filed under: Utada Hikaru — solarblade @ 10:44 pm
Tags: , ,

passion

Track Listing

  1. Passion ~single version~
  2. Passion ~after the battle~

1. Passion ~single version~

Being the tie-in track for Kingdom Hearts II and it had a lot to live up to against “Hikari”.  I’m actually happy to say that I really love this track.  Starting up ethereal and dreamy it did make you wonder where it’ll go.  Then the drums turn the song into this tribal-like ethereal crossbreed.  Utada hasn’t sounded this good in so long and she’s just as strong.  I am disappointed that the whole ~My heart’s a battleground~ part wasn’t included but I love the last minute and a half of the song as it became fluid and all of the ad-libbing and such.  Oh yea, the backwards lyrics was a nifty idea too and created some funny moments ^_^

2. Passion ~after the battle~

At first I was like oh no, what’s this.  What it is at first is a piano version of Passion…I mean all it is is just the ahh-ing, the piano, and Hikki singing majority of the song.  I can understand and it’s quite nice to hear Hikki resing for the ending track.  She sounds even more vulnerable than she did in the main track.  As she finishes through the initial track, the music goes back to the beginning and it turns into the instrumental of the song which is a nice thing to do…So i guess it works.

 

 

So, as we come closer to finishing up with the single of the era, Passion really brought back in love with her music.  I was starting to doubt her after her last two singles, but Passion was what we needed and made a great opening to KH2.  About that, actually this was created after the original English version “Sanctuary”.  To be honest Sanctuary was missing a lot of things Passion had.  I mean there wasn’t the yell during the chorus, the verses near the end and even though it had the ~My heart’s a battleground~, I felt it wasn’t as good as this single.  Still, her best single of the era.