Thursday, March 26, 2009

CD Review :: Utada Hikaru - DEEP RIVER



Tracklist :

1) SAKURA DROPS
2) traveling
3) Shiawase ni Narou (Let's Be Happy)
4) Deep River
5) Letters
6) Play Ball
7) Tokyo NIGHTS
8) A.S.A.P.
9) Uso Mitai na (A Seemingly False) I Love You
10) FINAL DISTANCE
11) Bridge (Interlude)
12) Hikari (Light)



DEEP RIVER is Utada Hikaru's 3rd album . It was released 7 years ago on June 19th .

4 singles are included in the album & that goes for a double A-side single too .

SAKURA DROPS is the 1st track on DEEP RIVER & it was used as the theme song to the drama First Love . It's also the 1st A-side of her 11th single SAKURA DROPS / Letters .

Even though it has been almost 7 years since the song was released , I still like this song as it never fails to sound fresh everytime I listen to it . That & I also like the numerous layers of different music styles pertaining to the melody for SAKURA DROPS .

traveling's Utada's 9th single & it was used in the DoCoMo FOMA ad . traveling's the most successful single in terms of sales wise that made the cut in DEEP RIVER & it was the 2nd most sold single 7 years ago , behind ayumi hamasaki's H single .

I remembered when the song was released , I really like how peppy & cheery this song sounds . It also sound futuristic to a certain extent & it helps that I really like the video for traveling & credits really had to go to her ex husband Kazuaki Kiriya .

Shiawase ni Narou (Let's Be Happy) is the 1st album track & this's a nice experimental tune which's pretty much piano driven . You can definitely tell as compared to SAKURA DROPS & traveling , Shiawase ni Narou is more calm & simpler in terms of music arrangement .

Sharing the same title as the album , it's Deep River . This's so far the only album track that she had made a music video for & it's quite easy to see why she chose to do that .

I was pretty much moved when I 1st heard Deep River as I like the emotions that Utada poured into this song & I suspect because of this , she decided to make a music video for this & the fact that she throw enka inspired tunes into Deep River just make the song sound even better in its own right .

Letters is the 2nd A-side of Utada's 11th single SAKURA DROPS / Letters . It was used in the Docomo Foma ad . The song featured a few guitarists including Char , GLAY's Hisashi & her own father Teruzane Utada .

It's weird that in the past I never like Letters in any single bit for some weird reason/s . I like this song & it has some nice reggae inspired like beats going on in here too .

Play Ball kinda reminded me of For You on 1st listen . It took me quite a while to remember how Play Ball sounds as it was a bit un-memorable for my liking but at least I'm ok with it now .

Tokyo NIGHTS sounded like traveling part 2 in that both are very upbeat & great pieces of R&B experimental tunes .

A.S.A.P. & Uso Mitai na (A Seemingly False) I Love You are 2 songs that I have heard long before I listened to DEEP RIVER in full so it was nice to finally know where both songs are found in this case .

A.S.A.P. is quite a poppy piece of R&B no. & as for Uso Mitai na I Love You , it's the only album track that has quite a strong rock influence which I really like .

The chorus of Uso Mitai na I Love You was originally intended to be used for her 10th single Hikari but the lyrics did not match the melody .

The melody was thrown out & a new one was written for Hikari & the original melody ended up in in the Eng version of Hikari titled Simple and Clean as well as Uso Mitai na I Love You .

Simple and Clean was used in the English release of the video game Kingdom Hearts .

FINAL DISTANCE's Utada's 8th single . Originally Distance from her 2nd album of the same title was supposed to be released as a single .

Utada heard of a school stabbing rampage in which the then 6 year old schoolgirl Rena Yamashita had died 7 years ago .

Rena had previously won an essay competition writing about how she wanted to become a singer just like Utada . Utada decided to rearrange the song into & created FINAL DISTANCE .

To say that FINAL DISTANCE's real empowering is an understatement , I really like FINAL DISTANCE as compared to the original Distance as it sounds more emotional driven & it's 1 of my fave ballads of Utada .

Bridge (Interlude) is well an interlude . It's quite a weird one which doesn't have a head or tail but I suppose it's slotted in here as the 2nd last track on DEEP RIVER so that it can flow nicely of sorts to the final track in DEEP RIVER in the form of Hikari .

Hikari's Utada's 10th single . It was the main theme song for the Japanese release of the Squaresoft (now Square Enix) & Disney Interactive video games Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts : Chain of Memories .

Utada was the only singer Tetsuya Nomura , the director of Kingdom Hearts , had in mind for the Kingdom Hearts theme song . This also marked the first time Utada had produced a song for a video game .

The English language version of the song , titled Simple and Clean was used in the English release of Kingdom Hearts . Although the two songs share a similar melody and background music , the meaning of the lyrics is significantly different .

DEEP RIVER is often considered as Utada's most acclaimed album to date by fans and critics & it's easy to see why with the quality of the material that you can find in here .

Even though it has been 7 years since DEEP RIVER was released , the album still sounds as fresh as always & brings you back to the time when as to why Utada was in such hot property back then when she revolutionised the Japan music scene with her brand of R&B pop influenced music .


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Karen Pang

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