Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION

September 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM | Posted in Utada Hikaru | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Utada Hikaru – HEART STATION

1. Fight The Blues
2. HEART STATION
3. Beautiful World
4. Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-
5. Stay Gold
6. Kiss & Cry
7. Gentle Beast Interlude
8. Celebrate
9. Prisoner Of Love
10. Take 5
11, Boku wa Kuma
12. Nijiiro Bus
13. Flavor Of Life [Bonus Track]

♦ ♦ ♦

HEART STATION is Japanese/American singer Utada Hikaru’s fifth Japanese album, and it was released on March 19, 2008. HEART STATION‘s first week sales was 480,081 copies, the lowest first week sales in Utada’s career. However, it was still certified million by the RIAJ for shipments of 1 million copies in Japan, and stayed in the Oricon top 10 for 11 consecutive weeks, becoming her most successful studio album in terms of worldwide sales since the 2002 DEEP RIVER.

I still can’t put her beautiful voice together with her… plain looks. Apart from that, Fight The Blues was a very nice first real meeting with Hikki (after the English song ‘Come Back To Me’). It’s a very sweet synth pop song, and her voice actually has a deep, yet very feminine quality and its so different from Ayu for example. The synth lines were blended very nice with the overall uptempo beat.

I like the chorus of title song HEART STATION most of all, since everything else is pretty bland, including Hikaru’s vocals. I liked her higher register, but the melody can get a bit repetitive after a while. There was a catchy part in this song, but it was sooo short I can’t even remember which part. Probably the hook or something. It’s a unique song, true, but it could’ve been a lot better.

I like it when singles follow up on each other, and Beautiful World is next. It has an extremely catchy chorus with some good higher notes from Hikki. To be perfectly honest, I think I love her voice pretty much already! The previous song had a good flow into this one, and this one’s kinda groovy and poppy all together. It’s my favourite song up until now, since the melody in the chorus is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. True, it’s a bit long, but still… I can take it.

Wow, Hikki truly is a good songwriter! Flavor Of Love -Ballad Version- has some extremely lovely and heartbreaking lyrics (about the divorce with her husband Kazuaki Kiriya), but it also features great musical arrangements and vocal acrobatics. From very low in the verses (which actually suits her) to her higher notes in the chorus, she really captures me with this. In the big bridge, I feel the drama building up with the beautiful strings arrangement, and I’m afraid I fell in love with the song.

Stay Gold has some very cute music with bells and a piano, and a bit of a bouncy, more R&B-ish, beat. Those two aspects always go very well in my opinion. Since this song was the B-side on the HEART STATION single, I can say I like this one a LOT more. True, this is another song that’s over five minutes in length, but some songs just fit into that length. In this case, I just couldn’t get enough of the light pumping beats and lovely piano!

Wow, what was that brassy element in the introduction for Kiss & Cry?! It surely caught my attention to say the least, and I was surprised to hear a more chaotic/funny side of Hikki’s music. For the first time on this album, I’ve found a more funky song, and I LOOOVE it. I don’t know what else to say, I love the variety of styles on her and the great adlibbing section at the end of the track.

Gentle Beast Interlude is just a percussion based interlude with some random adlibbing by Hikaru. It’s decent, but hey, were talking about an interlude here, right? She did pasted a sample of HEART STATION in here somewhere, but all the same, it’s just an interlude.

Which flows almost too well into Celebrate! It’s not a really special song to me, because it’s almost like 90s Dance songs, and I’m not really a Dance fan. The arrangement has been kept very simple, and not the choruses but the hooks are my favourite parts because of its distinct melodies. It’s a good song, true, but just not one of my personal favourites.

Prisoner Of Love triggered something in me then. The piano with the kind off  ‘thudd’ sounds (which lead into a GREAT beat) draws my attention, and Hikaru’s vocals in the introduction weren’t ugly either. This could easily be my favourite track of the album because the beats and melody gives me such a good musical blend here. The thing I actually loved most about this one were Hikki’s beautiful vocals!

Well… If that isn’t the song that started a whole controversy because of its sudden ending! Although Take 5 has more of a synth arrangement all over, I can like this pretty much actually! The chorus has such a pretty melody, and I even like the music and the pumping beat. And okay, I totally understand why the controversy started under fans… WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO THE SONG? =| Sounds like there was a mistake made during the editing! Really… such a waste… =(

So, Boku wa Kuma is such a FUNNY song! It’s like I’m back at kindergarten, because this song has such a childish ambience all over, and the lyrics translate as “I’m a bear”. Oh wait, it’s actually aimed towards children. Should’ve told me before. Still, why shouldn’t I like this, hehe. It’s such a cute and fluffy song with only a piano, strings and soft percussion. Perfect for little Japanese kiddies! =D

The piano melodies actually flows pretty well into the next ‘normal’ song: Nijiiro Bus. Ofcourse, the beats are a little more prominent here for Hikaru’s more grown up fans, so we’re back on track again. It sets everything back to a little lighter note compared to some of her previous tracks, and I loved her vocals most of all here. Especially that little adlibbing section after every chorus. The song is a little too long for me though (almost six minutes long). She should’ve stuck to four.

Flavour Of Love [Bonus Track] is actually the same song as the ballad version. Even better, let me introduce you tooo… *drums* the original! This version only features more of a beat, so the ballad version concentrated more on the lyrics. This version is just… well, how can I say it? It’s a little extra on top of that. Still love it after all those other tracks.

I almost gave up after  a few first tracks, but now I understand why Utada Hikaru is such a popular singer throughout the world. She actually makes enjoyable music, and this album proves it all to me. “Come Back To Me”, a single off her latest English album This Is The One, was my first introduction to her music, and I wouldn’t have believed it if someone told me she was actually half Japanese as well because of her flawless pronunciation. As soon as I heard she also made Japanese music, she caught my interest, and here I am reviewing her latest Japanese piece of work. I must say I truly loved ther majority of this album, she featured some great musical pieces here. So… another album or single review of this artist? Hell yeah!

Favorite tracks: Flavor Of Love -Ballad Version- | Stay Gold | Kiss & Cry | Prisoner Of Love | Take 5 | Boku wa Kuma

OVERALL RATING

4 stars

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