The third English studio album by Japanese superstar, Utada is possibly her best yet and lives up to the title. This really Is The One!
One of my favourite albums in a long time and one that you can not only listen to completely from start to finish but also keep on repeat. When artists try to make it big in The States their efforts are often compared to similar stars and there is always extra scrutiny and pressure on them because of the fact that they are a star in another country and suddenly starting from scratch, but this is not just a decent performance by a non-American, but an actual great album in it’s own right regardless of the previous success in Japan. Without going into a long history lessson (because you can always use Wiki for that), Hikaru Utada has been a superstar in Japan for about 10 years now. With numerous number one singles and albums, 10’s of millions of records sold and countless awards she has pretty much done it all as an artist.
I first heard of her on an internet forum about 7 or 8 years ago during a post about everyone’s favourite J-Pop singers. I didn’t even know what J-Pop was referring to, but listened to a number of recommended artists and Utada was one of the standouts. Fans of the Playstation Disney/Square collaboration Kingdom Hearts would have heard her on the opening track, Simple and Clean also.
I wasn’t at all surprised to see her still successful and all over the television when I visited Japan in ’06 and have continued listening to and enjoying her music since. So as much as I highly recommend her latest offering, I also suggest new fans to track down her previous work and get a better knowledge and appreciation of her talent.
This Is The One is a great mix of R&B and Pop. I’m no accliamed critic and will rarely go into the smallest details and imperfections in any review or recommendation but I know what I like and among the catchy tunes, lovely vocals and nice combination of both tempo and subject matter I can only highly recommend it. I’ve added a small sampling of some of the tracks below for those who have yet to have the pleasure of listening to what Utada has to offer.
I do like them all, but my absolute favourites would have to be:
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence FYI – a soft and gently sung track which is actually also very funky and catchy!
Apple and Cinnamon – Despite the few simple lyrics that make up this song, it’s a classic for Utada. Great vocals and great use of such simple lyrics!
Poppin’ – Jazzy and sexy! Something different and unexpected but could easily be a hit single with it’s modern, almost Pussycat Dolls style.
Come Back to Me – Her first single from the album and one her finest vocal performances for sure. Like most songs on the album, simple but effective lyrics. (Utada writes and co-writes most of her tracks)
The album is available digitally through iTunes or physically in retail and online stores now!