Can’t wait for Utada Hikaru’s new music? Reminisce with these 5 songs

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Audrey Magazine/Team-Yellow:

Let’s hear it for our former boss, J-Pop singer Utada Hikaru! Unlike most J-Pop idols, Utada Hikaru is well-known for writing and producing all her music, a feat that has paid off with the 52 million albums she’s sold. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jpop, you may recognize Utada Hikaru for her Kingdom Hearts songs “Simple and Clean” and “Sanctuary.”

Although she was considered one of the most influential Japanese artists of the 2000s, Utada Hikaru announced she was going on hiatus in 2010 for personal reasons. She added that the hiatus shouldn’t last more than five years.

Now it’s 2015. Although she stepped out of the limelight, rumblings from her personal life have made it’s way to the public. Some of the news, such as her marriage, were good. Other news, such as her mother’s death, were tragic. All the while, fans made it clear that they missed her. A tribute album was released in Japan featuring artists such as Sheena Ringo and Ayumi Hamasaki.

But recent news has hinted that the wait may finally be over. Utada Hikaru has announced via twitter that she is working on a new song with the working title “Sasshire Cappucino.” Is it the end of her hiatus? No one is sure yet. But new music from Utada Hikaru is welcome and we here at Audrey thought it would be great to reminisce on five of her greatest songs while waiting for “Sasshire Cappucino.” Ranked in no particular order, here they are:


1. First Love

Released as her third single in 1999, “First Love” was written and composed by Utada Hikaru at the tender age of sixteen. This is especially surprising considering the first lines of the song translate to “our last kiss, taste like a cigarette.” Despite this edgy opener, “First Love” is primarily a song of heartbreak, with a chorus that is both wistful and devastated. Who wouldn’t cry when she sings “I’ll remember to love, you taught me how.”

 


2. Passion

Primarily known as the Japanese version to the second Kingdom Hearts opening theme, “Passion” is a beast on it’s own. The closest English equivalent would be an Enya song, but that doesn’t even fully capture this ethereal rock-ballad with the soaring background vocals. There’s also quite a few english lyrics sung backwards in the chorus. Can you find them?

 


3. FINAL DISTANCE

A ballad re-arrangement of her song “Distance,” Utada Hikaru reworked the song after she heard that the 6-year-old victim of a school stabbing, Rena Yamashita, was a fan of hers. It’s hard to do a slow, mostly-piano driven ballad without boring the listener, but “FINAL DISTANCE” always seems to evoke tears.

 


4. Kiss & Cry

Speaking of working song titles, Utada Hikaru once revealed the working title of “Kiss & Cry” was called “Dancing Leah” after the Filipina American model Leah Dizon. While “Kiss & Cry” certainly has a danceable beat, it’s not exactly club material. But then again, as long as “Kiss & Cry” is playing, we are down for anything.

 

 


5. Flavor of Life (Ballad Version)

Lastly there is “Flavor of Life (Ballad Version),” which many know as the theme song to Hana Yori Dango 2 (Boys over Flowers 2). Equally heartbreaking and catchy, “Flavor of Life” is undeniably one of Utada Hikaru’s biggest hits. In Japan alone, it sold 700,000 physical copies and 7.7 digital downloads in the year of 2007. Yeah, it’s huge and we can understand why.

 

 


 

BONUS: Sakura Nagashi

We’re cheating with this one, but this song, which was released in 2011 (after the the hiatus) for the Neon Genesis Evangelion movie, is simply exquisite. Bring on your new material when you are ready, Hikki-chan!

 

New Evangelion film’s team make video for Hikaru Utada’s new cover album

Anime News Network:

 

The official website for Hikaru Utada‘s new cover album Utada Hikaru no Uta revealed on Tuesday that the team behind the new Evangelion films will create a video for the album.

The new album will feature other artists covering Utada‘s work. The album is the second one the artist is releasing this year to commemorate her 15th anniversary. The first one was a remastered version of her debut album First Love that shipped on March 10.

Utada has also set up a special website that will feature works by different creators with a theme of one of Utada‘s songs. Aside from the Evangelion team’s video, Square Enix designer and director Tetsuya Nomura (Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy franchises) has also drawn a collaborative art piece for the project.

The website also has a work by Kumamon designer Manabu Mizuno (Utada released a single in 2006 with a song titled “Boku wa Kuma” or “I Am a Bear”).

Utada Hikaru no Uta will ship on December 9, and will feature the following artists:

  • AI
  • Yousui Inoue
  • Trio Ohashi
  • Yasuyuki Okamura
  • Miliyah Katō
  • KIRINJI
  • Ringo Sheena
  • Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis feat. Peabo Bryson
  • tofubeats with Bonnie Pink
  • Hanaregumi
  • Ayumi Hamasaki
  • Kazuya Yoshii
  • Love Psychedelico

The official website has not yet announced which songs each of the artists will perform.

Utada has been on hiatus from the entertainment business since the beginning of 2011, although she returned to host a monthly radio program called Kuma Power Hour with Utada Hikaru on the InterFM station starting in April 2013. She did contribute the song “Sakura Nagashi” as the ending theme for 2012’s Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (Evangelion Shin Gekijō-ban: Q), but her management emphasized that the song did not represent a full-fledged return from her hiatus.

Utada‘s father Teruzane Utada had originally said in a Twitter post in October 2013 that he and his daughter would be involved in the Kingdom Hearts III theme song, but he took back that comment the next day, saying that “as of now it’s undecided.” Utada contributed the two theme songs that have been used for every game so far in the Kingdom Hearts franchise.

 

Link

Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru releases “First Love – 15th Anniversary Edition”

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To commemorate the album’s 15th anniversary, Bilingual Queen of J-Pop Utada Hikaru will re-release her debut album, First Love — otherwise known as the best-selling album in Japanese music history.

According to the press release, the Anniversary Edition — which will arrive on March 10, 2014 — is one for the hardcore Hikaru fans out there:

The original album’s been remastered by GRAMMY-award winning engineer Ted Jensen, and includes a previously unreleased DVD of Utada’s very first live shows — the LUV LIVE performances held in Tokyo and Osaka in April of ’99. Not only that, but the collection will also include B-sides and a karaoke version of the original CD, as well as a book full of photographs, LUV LIVE tickets and passes, autographed lyrics and advertisements from the era.

The album was first released on March 10th in 1999 and sold 8.600.000 CDs in Japan only! And of course it was sold in other countries as well – 9910.000 copies!

Well, this time there will be a 15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition as well, so you should make sure to check it out!

●「First Love -15th Anniversary Edition-」
Code:TYCT-69016  Preis:4,000円(税抜)

1: Automatic -Album Edit-
2: Movin’ on without you
3: In My Room
4: First Love
5: 甘いワナ ~Paint It,Black~
6: time will tell
7: Never Let Go
8: B&C -Album Version-
9: Another Chance
10: Interlude
11: Give Me A Reason

+DVD

1: 甘いワナ ~Paint It,Black~
2: time will tell
3: In My Room
4: Never Let Go
5: Another Chance
6: Give Me A Reason
7: Automatic
8:今夜はブギー・バック feat. スチャダラパー
9: First Love
10: Movin’ on without you

●「First Love -15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition-」
[SHM-CD/SHM-CD/CD/DVD]
Code:TYCT-69015   Preis:15,000円(税抜)

①First Love <2014 Remaster> [プラチナSHM-CD]
②LUV LIVE [DVD]
③Original Back Tracks [SHM-CD]
④Bonus Tracks [CD]

Check out this link:

Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru releases “First Love – 15th Anniversary Edition”

Link

Tao Of Sound releases “Ronin”

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Recording artists/production duo Tao Of Sound has released their sophomore album, “Ronin,” on Domo Records. Tao Of Sound is comprised of producer/remixer/multi-instrumentalists Taku Hirano and Daniel Pearson.

“RONIN” is the sophomore album from experimental multi-instrumentalists Taku Hirano and Daniel Pearson, otherwise known as the band Tao Of Sound.  Departing from the ambient/lounge vibe of their 2010 debut “METRO“, they went for an edgier sound when composing, arranging, and producing the songs for “RONIN”, and brought in guest instrumentalists and vocalists from around the world.

The album appears after an already impressive career working with a wide array of talents, including some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Dr. Dre, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder, and Nine Inch Nails.  Internationally, Tao Of Sound has worked with Academy Award-winning film composer A.R. Rahman (“Slumdog Millionaire“), Cirque du Soleil, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Japanese pop icon Utada Hikaru.  Chances are you’ve already been exposed to their music and production work, as Tao Of Sound has contributed to the soundtracks of a number of television productions and feature films.

Having made a name for themselves as remix artists initially (including remixes for Rap superstar Kanye West‘s 2008 release 808s & Heartbreak and for Grammy Award-winning New Age pioneer Kitaro), “RONIN” allows Tao Of Sound to step to the front of the stage with their eclectic, ever-changing style.  From their first album, which combined Zen-like Eastern influences with electronic beats and rock swagger, to RONIN’s edgy pop sounds and epic world-electronica orchestrations, Tao Of Sound has carved out a completely original musical identity.

iTunes:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ronin/id646120807

Check out this link:

Tao Of Sound releases “Ronin”

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Video

Utada Hikaru sings a cover of Green Day’s “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”

 

Here’s a video I came across of my former boss, Japanese pop superstar Utada Hikaru singing a Green Day cover in an acoustic setting.

Hikaru, or “Hikki” as her fans call her, was born in and grew up in New York City until middle school, and then moved to Tokyo and attended ASIJ (American School in Japan). Her debut solo album that she released at the age of 15 is still the highest-selling album in Japanese history.