This Is The One
This Is The One was Utada’s 2nd English Studio album (third in all). It was released on March 14, 2009 in Japan and reached no. 3 on the Oricon Charts with 77,832 copies sold, making it her lowest selling and charting album to date, although this might be due to little promotion and being released only 3 days prior to the end of the week. However this album did chart at no. 19 on the itunes Overall Chart, yet no. 3 on the Pop Charts. The US digital version is set to be released on March 24, 2009 while the physical release is set for May 12, 2009 with a slightly altered track list. The producers include Tricky Stewart and the duo Stargate.
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
9. Come Back to Me
10. Me Muero
11 Come Back to Me (Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit)
12 Come Back to Me (Quentin Harris Radio Edit)
Hikki has always had such great opening songs, so it’s no surprise that she starts the album off with the energetic On And On. This is the first of four songs produced by Tricky Stewart, that being said expect some R&B or Rap elements. Not surprisingly though is that this is one infectious dance song. The music isn’t aggressive but it does feature some claps along with the occasional percussion, and some great dance music. This song is probably best known for the lyrics “Honeys if you’re gay, burn it up like a gay parade, Honeys if you’re straight, pump it up take it all the way.” she’s getting very creative with these lyrics to say the least. Although all and all it’s a really infectious song. The chorus is to die for, seriously the melody is just that good, and the “eeooee” during the last parts of the chorus is just amazing! The only problem is the guy in background yelling “yeah.” This is going to make the night go On And On!
The second song to be featured on the album, as well as the second released is Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI. The title says it all in the song, including the origins. It turns out that Hikki actually sampled some music, namely the piano chords, from Ryuichi Sakamoto’s song of the same name. The music for this song is more of a smooth R&B with a slight hint of flavorful experimental piano chords and the occasional strings. The lyrics in this song are a little dirty, alluding to certain wild things, although not in that manner. They also mention “sipping chardonnay” and “up all night.” I really loved the verses, I mean they’re so simple and yet so astounding. The pitch in the vocals alters a little, making it exciting. The mid-tempo approach was somewhat expected but the song is still fantastic. I just wish that you could understand what she was saying during the bridge, her vocals sounded a little stressed. Other than that it was just outstanding.
I guess a lot of people have been expecting Hikki to write a song about her divorce. Well she’s done it with Apple And Cinnamon. It was the first track announced back in May of 08. It’s a straightforward synth song that resembles a ballad and that’s all about breaking up. And I really wasn’t expecting this song to be all that good, but luckily it turned out to be a heart wrenching song. The music features the lonely piano chords, the melodious synth riffs, and the chronic beats. And despite this song being sad it’s so catchy. The chorus is just so beautiful despite being so sad. Lyrics like “chemistry like Apple And Cinnamon, what we had was just to good, good to last” really set the tone for this song. And unlike the previous songs I can honestly say that her vocals were so crisp and unwavering. There was a great amount of emotion in her vocals as well as this song. It’s such a depressing song, yet you can’t help but listen, very deep in all respects.
Keeping with the separation subject is the second song produced by Tricky Stewart. Taking My Money Back sounds like it’s a little more modern and a little more complicated. The music is heavy with electronic music but still features the piano chords. The melody really isn’t all that strong to be perfectly honest with you, but the song is still catchy somehow. The chorus was a little odd, it’s a little hard to distinguish it between that and the hook. But Hikki’s really creative especially with the lyrics “give me back my heart, give me back my time” and “gettin’ high, while I worked hard to pay the rent.” Sadly I can’t say that I’m overly excited about this song, it’s catchy but it’s not to die for.
If you though Apple And Cinnamon was sad, you’ve heard nothing yet. The title track is This One (Crying Like a Child), which is truly a heart wrenching ballad. It’s not hard to figure out that this song is about the divorce and a few other things. But despite this being a ballad, the music is still modern R&B with a hint of electronic beats and various other elements such as the electric guitar and some acoustics. It’s really hard to listen to this song just because it’s downright depressing. The level of beauty and profoundness is equal to the level of sorrow. Once again her vocals were truly marvelous. There was so much emotion and strength, I especially loved how she changed the pitch occasionally. Again the lyrics were astonishing. Mention “One hundred jpeg files, filling up my hard drive,” and “How could I ever love another“. I love this song, but sometimes it’s just too depressing to listen to. And apparently there’s been some people that say this song is a little reminiscent of Rihanna’s Umbrella, I dont’ see it but others have.
It’s really a shame that after a heartfelt song she comes back with Automatic Part II. This is the third song produced by Tricky Stewart, and sadly it’s a big flop. The description of this song made it sound so good, and I was dying to hear it. But sadly I’m really disappointed in it. The melody is lacking to put it nicely in many aspects. I have to praise some of the lyrics, but they’re just so weird, come on, contraceptives??? I just I couldn’t get over the brass, which sounded so foreign and unusual. Although on the bright side it did get better towards the end.
The album’s guilty pleasure follows shortly, making up for the previous track. This is the final track produced by Tricky is Dirty Desire. This songs is really dirty to say the least, well not really, more like hot and sexy. The music is a mixture of some bumping percussion and sultry electronic music. The melody is insanely catchy, and the chorus is one hot mess, seriously it’s the hottest thing since TABOO. “I don’t want just a bite, I want the full size, tell her I’ll pay the fine, can you feel my Dirty Desire?” with lyrics like those who needs an explanation. It actually reminds me of Tippy Toe with that sense of adultery. And if that didn’t wow you the vocals will, she’s never ceases to amaze. Sadly the worst part was the end, where you get this random and ugly “desire” and “bring that beat back.”
Another song that’s not a favorite song of mine is Poppin’. It an unusual song that has a club feel to it, well imagine being a club at dancing. The lyrics really say it all, and it somewhat reminds me of a girl power theme. “Opps did I turn you on?” and “I wanna see the bottles Poppin’“, and those some of the lighter lyrics. It’s just really different from anything I’ve heard her do. Then again her vocals are different too, during the chorus they’re so high. But I did love the vocals during the bridge, sounded like she was just talking but I don’t mind. The music have such an odd arrangement with the electric guitar and some pink panther-esq music.
And now we get to the first single Come Back to Me. This mid-tempo ballads has recently debuted at no. 75 on the Billboard Pop 100, pretty good I’d say. The R&B music has grown on me a lot and it’s seems a lot better on this album than on a single. The piano chords are wonderful and the claps give life to the song. The lyrics are bittersweet and memorable. Once again Hikki displays some crisp vocals that are filed with a lot of emotion. It’s no wonder this was chosen as the lead single, and the MV that was produced for it was simple, but much better than HEART STATION.
The final song on the album is Me Muero lit. I’m Dying, in Spanish. This song has somewhat of an ethnic feeling, but I guess the scratchy music helps with that. It’s really as easy-listening song. The lyrics mention “I lie in my bed and flip through TV channels, eating Godiva.” The music justs sounds so foreign, well different for Hikki, reminiscent almost of Niji-iro Bus. The various woodwinds and claps really make it interesting, but the scratchiness gets a little annoying, but I love the piano chords. It’s different but I think it’s rather remarkable. And I loved the occasional muffled vocals, and the ad-libbing at the end. What a day Me Muero!
And now closing the album are the two remixes of Come Back To Me. The first is the Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Radio Edit. This is by far the better and stronger remix. The beats are slow yet the flow is just right. The music is mostly slow dance/techno. There are a few distortions, it’s basically just a slowed down dance version that actually sounds great.
The final song and remix is the Quentin Harris Radio Edit. Honestly it’s not all that exciting, more like a slower version of the previous song, with just a lot less fun and techno. There’s still a moderate dance vibe, but it’s lacking in the arrangement, it seemed like there was a cowbell during some of the sections. Not the best closing track, but not a horrific remix at the same time.
Overall Review: This Is The One was mainstream prominence! You can tell that it’s been a while since Exodus back in 2004. She’s shed her doubtful experimental ways and instead has returned with mainstream confidence. It shows that she’s evolved as an artist since her debut over ten years ago. The album has a lot of great songs, and was inspired by many events, including her divorce. There’s a lot of great mainstream music, mostly R&B but that’s what’s in now. I’m very pleased with this album, especially the lyrics. She’s gotten really creative with them, and only Hikki could write so many songs with great and humorous yet fun lyrics. The songs for the most part were just flawless, although a few could use some work. There’s not much flow with this album, but that’s really minor in the sense of things. She’s done a great job with this album. It’s so good in fact that i’m actually buying this album, which includes the music video via itunes! If any Asian’s English album can top the charts, This Is The One.
Final Grade: 97A