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Finally! Utada’s “This is the one” review!

March 15, 2009

uicl1088It’s here! Well, actually it’s been here since yesterday, but I just got back from my trip today so that’s why. I couldn’t wait to listen to the album, I was excited all week. So was it all worth it?We’ve waited 5 years for her new full-length English album, and I’m sure a lot of people have been dying to listen to the album. Her last attempt to break into the American scene failed, partly due to the bad promotion and partly due to the fact she made a very experimental album that’s very hard to categorize and strange for some people. This time, the promotions are a lot better, she’s been on a lot of interviews, website, etc. getting a lot of exposure, and her new single “Come back to me” was very mainstream. So what about the rest of the album?

Well, let’s start with the review. This is what the tracklist looks like (again):

  1. On And On/オン・アンド・オン
  2. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI/メリークリスマス・ミスター・ローレンス – FYI
  3. Apple And Cinnamon/アップル・アンド・シナモン
  4. Taking My Money Back/テイキング・マイ・マネー・バック
  5. This One (Crying Like A Child)/ディス・ワン(クライング・ライク・ア・チャイルド)
  6. Automatic Part II/オートマティック・パートⅡ
  7. Dirty Desire/ダーティー・デザイア
  8. Poppin’/ポッピン
  9. Come Back To Me/カム・バック・トゥ・ミー
  10. Me Muero/メ・ムエロ
  11. Come Back To Me (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)
  12. Come Back To Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit)

So the album starts of with the track “On And On“, which is a very upbeat song and it starts of very nice. Once she starts singing it immediately sets the tone of the album, very mainstream pop-like music. The lyrics are simple, but somehow, I don’t think they’re lame. I kinda like her airy voice and the ending is very awesome, very much like the Hikki we know, yet different because of the lyrics. Which are a lot more carefree.

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI” immediately starts off with a very familiar melody (which is of course the main theme of the movie “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI“). But like “On And On“, once she starts singing it turns into a very simple mainstream song. But the song sounds really nice, with the piano piece and the urban beat over it. Her singing in this song is also very good, it just fits perfectly with the orchestra.

The next song has got to be my favorite song of the album. “Apple And Cinnamon” caught my attention the first time I heard it, and felt attracted to it immediately. The R&B ballad which somehow sounds like her early Japanese work, yet modern. But the lyrics are very good as well, very emotional and expressive, telling a story of 2 people fitting together perfectly, but somehow fall apart and her voice fits the song nicely. But somewhere 3/4 of the song, there’s this strange synthesizer for a few seconds which sounds totally inappropriate, but still, this song is amazing.

After the amazing ballad, we have another mainstream song, this time  more R&B oriented. “Taking My Money Back” somehow sounds strangely similar to Destiny’s Child (“Say my name” in particular). And I have to say, I hate Destiny’s Child and so, this song, sure isn’t one of the better ones on the album. It’s not bad, it’s just that I hate Destiny’s Child, and I don’t want to listen to something even remotely similar to their work.

Ok, next song, which is “This One (Crying Like A Child)“. Another R&B ballad and almost on par with “Apple And Cinnamon“. Though I think the lyrics are simpler this time they also sound very unique. Strange, but I’m liking it. Maybe when she’s putting more emotion into the song, they just sound better, because the emotional songs are a lot better on this album.

So now we have “Automatic Part II“, which was supposed to be the crossover between her Japanese and English work. It starts of like a very playful song, and I have to say it’s completely different from what I had in mind. The lyrics are very similar to “Animato” somehow, like an introduction of herself, yet funny and playful. Give it a listen, you’ll see what I mean. But calling it “Automatic Part II“…hm…I dunno, it doesn’t do “Automatic” justice, and kinda makes my all time favorite song look bad. Not that it’s a bad song, but it’s just not worth seeing it as a follow up of the original song.

Dirty Desire” has very sexually oriented lyrics (duh…) yet the song doesn’t sound all that bad. The lyrics my be a bit much because she usually doesn’t do songs like this in Japanese, but hey, this is a totally different album. But somehow, the song changes it’s tune toward the end, much like “Apple And Cinnamon“, but this time, it’s worse, and they should’ve left it out.

When “Poppin’” starts off, I immediately was thinking of Pink Panther and a very burlesque/Moulin Rouge like setting. Apart from the funny feeling it gives me, the song is definitely the weakest song on the album. And she kinda sounds British when she’s talking in the song, weird. And yes, the lyrics are very sexually oriented again.

Next is “Come Back To Me” (See the longer version of the review on this song here), which is another slow R&B ballad and the lead single of the album. It’s a very good song and her vocals fit the song nicely and the drums are also very nice. Sounds kinda familiar, yet refreshing.

Me Muero” is the strangest song on the album. The lyrics are so weird, yet so familiar and easy to relate to. It’s a very easy to listen to jazzy/latin flavored song. Again, not the song that I had in mind, but I was pleasantly surprised when I first listen to it, it’s just so weird to listen to it that I feel strangely attracted to it.

The other to are remixes of “Come Back To Me” and not very special. I wished she made more remixes like m-flo’s remix of “Distance“, which is still the best remix ever.

Som that was the album. It did feel very short, and with 2 very weak songs (“Taking My Money Back” and “Poppin‘”) it felt even shorter. It’s also different from her Japanese work, so don’t expect anything amazing like “Heart Station“, we’ll have to wait a while longer for that. Talking about waiting, US guys have to wait till May for the physical release of the album, while the digital release is still the 24th this month. But the album is something different, even different from “Exodus“, which some people may see as a good thing (I personally think it’s a shame, but that’s just me), this album came out like a very mainstream pop album, pretty much what she intended to do with it and shows a totally different side of her. But it’s still good, with songs like “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI” and “Apple And Cinnamon” I’m sure she’ll do fine. But The album doesn’t deserve 5 stars IMO, it’s too short and the I really hate “Taking My Money Back” and “Poppin‘”. Well I wouldn’t call it hate, but yeah, it’s just that she could’ve done better.

Rating: star1star1star1star1blankstar1

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 17, 2009 07:35

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

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