ULTRA BLUE

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宇多田 ヒカル
(Utada Hikaru)
ULTRA BLUE
June 14, 2006
Total Tracks: 13
Oricon Peak: #1 (2 consecutive weeks)
Total Sales (Japan): 910,998
Oricon Year-End Chart: #7
United World Chart: #1
Total Sales (Worldwide): 1,090,778
Label: Toshiba EMI
Producers: Utada Hikaru, Akira Miyake, Teruzane Sking
Lyricist, Musician, Arranger: Utada Hikaru

~~~

This is Love
4:58

A striking electronic track opens up what promises to be a wonderful album. An aggressive chorus of pipping vocals is the first thing you hear, and trust me, this is definitely the only dance-inspri track on the album. It only slows down. I really enjoyed this track and was glad to have heard it was a digital single (#1 on a myriad of download sites including iTunes Japan, OnGen, and ChakuUta) for the album. Mostly this song is fun and danceable, but the lyrics are more sad than you might think. They speak of how hard love is and that you must take the good with the bad.

Keep Tryin’
4:53

For a complete review of this song see Keep Tryin’. I think that this is the most suitable place for this, we need to wind down after the electronica and this gets us ready for…

Blue
5:15

This song is gorgeous. Lots of programming (that’s synth…), but original. It’s definitely a ‘blue’ song. The chorus is by far the best part with the impossibly high, Asian-esque melody. The beat is all at once a clap and a boom of bass. From the English it sounds like she’s telling her lover that she wants him to stop asking questions (’cause they make her blue) and to “tell me something good…”

日曜の朝
(Nichiyo no Asa)
(Sunday Morning)
4:44

Bouncing synth gives a soothing feel as the also bouncing electronic rhythm section kicks in with much vim and vigor. The chorus is so kawaii because its like the Hikki version of ‘My Favorite Things’. Those include: ice cream toppings, sunshine dreaming, all-night dancing, Christmas morning, candles burning, among other things. This song is very bright and happy, perfect for Sunday mornings. I think it served it’s purpose, then.

Making Love
4:25

 A muted piano comes in amid vapory synth and is replaced by a muffled beat in the beginning. This song has a rather lascivious title, I was half expecting some sort of Koda-like sex romp, but was thankfully spared. It’s actually a rather sweet song and really shows how truly unique Utada Hikaru is. It ends with an abrupt white noise which sows a definite stop with the festivites as we descend into the depths of…

誰かの願いが叶うころ
(Dareka no Negai Kanau Koro)
(When Someone’s Wish Comes True)
4:27

For a thorough review of this song see 誰かの願いが叶うころ. This was a strange transition, but it works… it’s dramatic and unexpected and therefore fun.

COLORS
3:59

For an exhaustive review see COLORS. This is an excellent place for this song after the depressing 誰かの願いが叶うころ we have a slightly happier song and then into an even happier one…

One Night Magic ft. 山田将司
(Yamada Masashi, lead vocalist of THE BLACK HORN)
4:39

Welcome to the world of “Why Have a Featured Artist If He Is Barely Going to Do Anything?” Seriously, though, what’s up with that? Masashi does nothing but kind of back up Utada. The song on the other hand is insanely catchy and fun. With dinging bells and synth, some harpsicord-like midtones and a pretty melody, you’ve got yourself a good track. He doesn’t even get a verse, or is own chorus… it’s driving me crazy! Ugh… motto motto motto motto aietara!

海路
(Kairo)
(Sea Route)
3:34

And we’re back to the sad… maybe the lyrics are happier than the accompaniment, but for some reason, I doubt it. The violins don’t help make it less setsunai and neither does the melody or the eerie ad. lib.-ing from Hikki. At best, this track is the closest thing this album is going to get to filler. **shrugs**

WINGS
4:52

For this B-side to Keep Tryin’, see it’s review. And we’re back up into slightly-less-down-then-before territory and into yet another sad so-oh-oh-oh-ong…

Be My Last
4:30

A whole review of this track may be found at Be My Last. Oy! This album is quite the downer… but I love it!

Eclipse (Interlude)
1:32

So this interlude is fun. It’s happier than the last three songs combined. With some cool programming and a peppy beat. I like the little cut-in-and-out distortion of some vocals. It’s cool and gets you just happy enough to endure…

Passion
4:43

And lastly, for this song, see it’s full review at Passion. Good end to an album. I mean, honestly, where else could you put this song? Nothing else could follow it…

~~~

**stops frowning** Okay… so… I wouldn’t recommend this album if you’re, say, going clubbing… but it’s good if your feelin’ a bit one of those emotions in between happy and sad. Overall, this album is not as good as Deep River but its still a solid studio release. I could deal with a few more happy songs, but it must be taken as is and I enjoy it when I can.

A+
98%

*Credit for picture below “utada-online.net”

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~ by vinyabarion on January 21, 2008.

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