Artist: Utada Hikaru
Album: Deep River
Musicians: Utada Hikaru (Vocals)
Composer/Lyricist: Utada Hikaru (Lyrics)
Date Released: 19 June 2002
|Deep River – Utada Hikaru
01. SAKURA Drops
*Bold Titles â€“ Recommended Listening
By the time this album was released, Utada Hikaru was no longer just a singer. She became somewhat of a divine being; this is the only plausible explanation for the sales record of this album. Falling sick with an ovarian tumor shortly before the release of this album, it was promoted only in magazines and radio interviews. Yet, somehow, sales surpassed 3.60 million, making her the only Japanese artist to exceed triple-platinum three times in a row. The eighth best selling album in Japanese history, this album sees a clear break from the Hikki albums of the past. We begin to see her slow maturation, with songs such as â€œFINAL DISTANCEâ€ and â€œHikari.â€ The child prodigy of First Love is gone; what we now see is a God-like figure towering over the industry with her divine music.
In every album of hers, thereâ€™s always one song that stands out as the best of the pack. In Deep River, â€œtravelingâ€ is that song. It begins with an arpeggio rhythm, which carries out through the entire song, giving it a sense of motion. She says, â€œLetâ€™s go for a ride…â€ and the song explodes, as if it were a train coming out from a dark tunnel. The vocals are absolutely perfect; from the addictive verses to the chorus, theyâ€™re powerful, passionate and on pitch. The beat is solid and pounding, making this another one of her more catchy songs. Your head will sway to her voice during the chorus of, â€œTraveling~/ Kimi wo Traveling~.â€ Itâ€™s a perfect choice to put second on the album, with the first piece being slower, more calm piece of music. â€œtravelingâ€ is fast, pounding and catchy, and like all of her other good songs, instantly recognizable. Once again, â€œtravelingâ€ is another one of those songs you just canâ€™t resist but sing along with.
In one sense, this song is a remix. However, in another sense, this song is so different from a remix that itâ€™d be insane to call it that. This song has the exact same lyrics as â€œDISTANCEâ€ from the album of the same name, but the instrumentals and tone of voice gives it a completely different mood and feeling. This song was dedicated to a fan of Hikkiâ€™s who was stabbed to death during a school violence incident, which explains why, unlike the happy, bright J-pop song that is â€œDISTANCEâ€, â€œFINAL DISTANCEâ€ is a slow, mournful ballad. While the former expressed feelings of optimism and hope, the latter sang of sorrow, loss and suffering. The final verse of â€œDISTANCE,â€ starting with the lines â€œWe can start all over…â€ is cut out from â€œFINAL DISTANCEâ€, thus emphasizing the â€œFINALâ€ part of the song title. She gives us a feeling that something we treasure dearly has passed, never to come back. A movingly powerful song, “FINAL DISTANCE” is perhaps her best ballad to date.
Almost everyone has heard this song, whether from the Kingdom Hearts commercials, on the Internet, or from his or her J-pop obsessed friend. Itâ€™s hard to explain why this song is so â€œgoodâ€, or its overwhelming popularity. Perhaps itâ€™s the vocals that seem to span four or five octaves, or maybe itâ€™s the beautiful instrumentals that seem to â€œtwinkleâ€ in the background. In any case, this song is absolutely beautiful. It starts out with the chorus, loud and passionate, with her amazing voice fluctuating octaves. Then, it gets quiet very suddenly during the verses, and builds up to the next chorus. The most striking part of this song is, undoubtedly, the short interlude between the last choruses. Her voice becomes strikingly high, yet retains its sound perfectly. A beautiful song in all rights, this song shows her development. Itâ€™s not a happy, upbeat song like her earlier works, but has its own kind of beauty.
Uso mitai na I Love You
To be honest, to call this song â€œbadâ€ would be extremely unfair. As a song, it stands out as â€œbetter than mostâ€ J-pop. Yet, because of the nature of this song, it just doesnâ€™t seem to fit in this album with the other songs. While most of her other songs on this album are either ballads or really upbeat pop, this one is borderline rock. With screeching guitars, heavy drums, and a chorus conspicuously similar to â€œHikariâ€, this song just seems like a cheap knock-off once you put it with the other songs on this album. Itâ€™s truly unfortunate that this song was put on Deep River; had it been put elsewhere, it would definitely not be in this section.
The Rating: 8
Reviewed by: Akira