Automatic / time will tell

Automatic / time will tell was Utada Hikaru’s 1st single. It was released on December 9, 1998 and it reached number 2 and 4 on the charts with 42,210 copies sold. At this time, her singles were released in 12cm and 8cm format, and naturally the 12cm edition reached number 2. In all this single has sold over 2,062,780+ copies, the 12cm edition has sold over 1,290,700+ copies and the 8cm edition has sold over 772,080+ copies. This single skyrocketed her popularity and she “became famous overnight” in the words of her classmates, mostly because of her new R&B style that was so new to Japan. She released this single when she was only 15 years old. This also marks the beginning of the most popular album of all time, and it began the First Love Era.

1. Automatic
2. time will tell
3. Automatic (Original Karaoke) (8cm)
3. time will tell (Dub Mix) (12cm)

Automatic, the brand new R&B sensation. The song opens up with some R&B beats followed by Hikki singing some English, then she begins to sing the next few verses in some great vocals. Although the song is slower paced than her new songs it still sounds so amazing, even with her young vocals. Throughout the song English can be heard as it was Hikki’s first language. The chorus then begins and it sounds so mind blowing. The beats are slow and yet enticing, the lyrics use English and they’re so catchy. The overall melody was superb and the music was so unique and excellent. The lyrics mention how “just when you’re close to me” and “I feel so good” and that “it’s automatic.” Towards the end a guitar can be heard playing and Hikki ends it with her singing in English. No wonder it’s a fan favorite.

time will tell, the softer R&B tune. This song contrary to popular belief was written before Automatic, this can be seen on her first compilation album. It begins with Hikki ad libbing and with the piano playing, shortly though the music changes and takes on that distinct R&B vibe. The music is softer than Automatic and it moves quicker and features a piano playing. Hikki then begins the first few verses and after the first few lines the piano plays. The chorus then begins and it sounds so different from Automatic but in a good way, it sounds a little more light hearted. It sounds pretty catchy, although I think it could’ve been a bit better. The final chorus sounds a lot better than the first, and the music even sounds a little better, even though it’s the same. The lyrics mention “There’s no clever shortcut to tomorrow,” “So it’s OK not to hurry so much,” and that “Time will tell.” What a great first song from Hikki. Although this isn’t half as popular as Automatic, which was used to close Utada United 2006 and fans were cheering when it began, it’s still good.

time will tell (Dub Mix), an English mix for those that don’t speak Japanese. The music is the same here but the lyrics are entirely in English. Although the actual singing doesn’t begin until the 2 minute mark. The chorus here sounds better in English, but that’s just my opinion. Hikki’s vocals sound softer here but they’re still great. The lyrics mention “I’ve gotta let you know that you’re not alone” and that” we just can’t control the time.” This version also features more background vocals than the original. She should do more dub versions for sure.

Overall Review: Automatic / time will tell was a phenomenal R&B breakthrough single. This single is responsible for making Hikki what she is today, in terms of popularity. The new, now old, R&B style was really what made it so memorable. Both songs were so simple compared to some of her songs now, but they’re so classic, so inspiring. It was an almost magical way to begin the First Love Era.

Final Grade: 100A+

2 Responses to “Automatic / time will tell”
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  1. […] Review: We begin First Love with Automatic -Album Edit- the beginning of J-Pop supremacy. Automatic was originally released as a double A-Side single with time will tell and began the First Love Era. This edit is basically the same as the original version, with the exception of the length and ad-libbing. The song is steady moving and very R&B influenced. It’s this song that really skyrocketed Hikki to popularity. For the review of the outstanding R&B tune, click here. […]

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