Utada Hikaru SINGLE COLLECTION VOL. 2
Utada Hikaru SINGLE COLLECTION VOL. 2 was Utada Hikaru’s 2nd compilation album. It was released on November 24, 2010 and reached no. 1 on the Oricon Weekly Charts with 230,979 copies sold. In all, this album has sold over 297,295+ copies. It was released in a 2CD edition, but first press orders placed before Nov. 17 came with a DVD featuring a PV.
1. Prisoner Of Love
2. Stay Gold
3. HEART STATION
4. Kiss & Cry
5. Beautiful World
6. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-
7. Boku wa Kuma
8. This Is Love
9. Keep Tryin’
11. Be My Last
12. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro
13. Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-
1. Arashi no Megami
2. Show Me Love (Not A Dream)
3. Goodbye Happiness
4. Hymne à l’amour ~Ai no Anthem~
5. Can’t Wait ‘Til Christmas
So this is Hikki’s final release before her hiatus, bittersweet, but we’ll get over it; plus, she left us some amazing, new material. Included are the singles from 2004’s Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro to 2009’s Prisoner of Love, it even included a sick remix. I guess I can give a tiny review of the first half, but everyone is more interested in the second half of the album.
So first we have all her hits from 2004. We have the sad and depressing ballad entitled Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro. But then we come to the more acoustic, and mature Be My Last. The fan favorite Passion was also included, and right after that was the up-beat and synth driven Keep Tryin’. Not sure why, but she also included This Is Love, good call though, because it’s epic.
Boku was Kuma was the first HEART STATION single, certainly not my favorite though. But then included was the ballad version of Flavor of Life, amazing epic hit. Then came the double A-side singles, both incredible. Beautiful World was the up-beat yet depressing song, while Kiss & Cry was the effervescent throwback. HEART STATION served as the name for her 5th studio album, and was a beautiful synth driven song. Stay Gold was the mid-tempo ballad, filled with lovely, ghastly sounds. And the final single was Prisoner of Love, the epic love ballad. She even included the -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix– of Beautiful World. It’s just as it sounds, a sweet mix of dance and acoustic.
Now we come to the 2nd Disc, the new stuff! This is what everyone wanted, the reason why most people probably bought the album.
The first song that anyone had every heard of was Show Me Love (Not A Dream). It was back in November of 2009, over a year ago at this point, and I remember people were going crazy. Well 2010 showed up and nothing. So after hearing that this song was going to be on the album, I flipped out. That being said, it was a lot different than I expected. Turns out it’s a dark, rock song. This is probably her first rock song since Drama released in 2001. The song begins simple enough, piano playing. But then suddenly, it stops, and the music becomes dark and eerie, it sounds euphoric though. Anyway, Hikki begins singing and everything get really good. The chorus is amazing, rock driven, heavy on the percussion and guitar. Seriously, it’s so dark and epic that you can’t help but love it. I was surprised that the “Show me love” part was soft and after her vocals, but good nonetheless. This really shows the diversity of Hikki, so amazing.
The next song announced was Hymne à l’amour ~Ai no Anthem~. I remember hearing this song in the Pepsi NEX CM, and I loved it. It is a partial cover of Édith Piaf’s song Hymne à l’amour. The original was in French, while this version features the same French opening, and the rest is Japanese. It’s the longest song on the album, about six and a half minutes, but pure magic nonetheless. The calm, light, acoustic opening was just beautiful. I don’t know how good her French is, but it sounded perfect IMO. The song’s music overall is very lighthearted, slightly jazzy in a sense; the woodwind section between the French and Japanese section was superb. Anyway, after the French, the Japanese comes in, it sounds foreign with the music, yet still lovely. Even the bridge was great, the faster and more up-beat change was fantastic. Overall, it takes a while to grow on you, but once it does, you’ll love it.
And now, time for the promo song! That’s right, Goodbye Happiness! I remember hearing the preview for this song, and falling in love with it right after!!! This song is the typical Hikki song; not only is it infectious, but it’s lyrical content is incredible, and it makes you appreciate how talented she is. However, and this isn’t a bad thing IMO, it is more popular sounding, but at the same time, who cares? Hikki wrote this piece of magic and it’s fantastic. I could definitely see this being on either Ultra Blue or HEART STATION. The music is infused with epic amounts of synth, the piano, and even the strings, yet still manages to sound up-beat. The beats are thumping, and the rhythm is catchy. The ad-libbing during the beginning, and throughout the songs, namely the “ahhh”‘s sounds great. Again, besides the Japanese, there are some English bits, but most of us know this already. This song is truly the catchiest thing on the album, easily my favorite. I also loved her vocals, the overall range was impressive, and they sounded perfect, no straining. And one of my favorite parts, the bride with all the strings, and the piano! And this also reminded me of Beautiful World, up-beat, but a sad theme overall.
So good bye happiness
Nani mo shirazu ni hashaideta
So those three were the first ones released, but the other two remained new until the album leaked. Since it’s getting close to that time of the year, Christmas that is, let’s start with Can’t Wait ‘Til Christmas. This song is perhaps the most innocent sounding in nature. It too is being used as a Pepsi NEX CM, like Hymne à l’amour ~Ai no Anthem~. The simple, yet impressive piano chords are the main instrument throughout the song. The arrangement sounds simple as well, just the piano for the most part. As for her vocals, well they stay the same for the most part. This song isn’t the catchiest one, but it still doesn’t change the fact that somehow it’s wonderful. This song is so simple, yet humble and just a treat to listen to.
The final song is Arashi no Megami lit. Storm Goddess. Like many people have said, it pays homage to her mother, another singer. Throughout the song, she tells her mother how she will never be like her, and so much more. It’s really a sweet song. The arrangement is a bit more complex than the last song. It does feature the piano, but also some percussion, a slight amount of synth, and even the guitar. It’s like a soft rock song. This song is more sentimental than anything, I almost cried when I read the lyrics. This song really shows what Hikki is feeling, and perhaps why she is going on hiatus. In all honestly, it isn’t all that catchy. Again, that honor has been taken already. And it probably wont be the most memorable song, but people will appreciate it for the lyrical content, not the music and all the fanfare. Either way, it’s yet another treasured song form Hikki.
So I know this review was a bit long, but it’s Hikki. And she hasn’t released anything new since last year. And on top of that, this is her final release before her hiatus, and the music is that damn good. If you haven’t guessed already, I FUCKING LOVED THIS ALBUM!!!!! This album pretty much contains all of my favorites from Hikki, mostly because my favorites are from her UB Era and on. Still though, all the songs were great and special in their own way. The first disc had some great classics, which made me feel kinda old, since I remember when they came out, oh so long ago xD. The second disc had some great songs as well. In time they will become classics I guess too. It’s your typical Hikki release, fantastic, intimate songs, as well as your extraordinary pop songs that astonish everyone. If you’re not a fan of Hikki, I recommend you give this album, both discs a shot. If you’re already a fan, then you should have this, if not, shame on you! But seriously, greatest compilation album in a long time. And I love the overall feel of the album, very intimate and personal. I just hope it can sell a bunch of copies like her previous works, it certainly deserves too.