Utada Hikaru
ULTRA BLUE


3.5
great

Review

by Elijah K. STAFF
February 10th, 2010 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Japan's pop sensation is equal parts style and substance and with Ultra Blue, Hikaru Utada really shines.

Hikaru Utada is a big deal. Never heard of her? Well outside the popular Playstation video game series, Kingdom Hearts, Utada has had little to no exposure here in the states. That being said, she is a force to be reckoned with. For example, three of her albums rank in the top ten selling albums in Japan....of all time. Claiming the first, fourth, and eighth respectively. So it's fair to say, when Utada sings, people listen.

However, is this fame well founded? After all, American pop stars are more a flash in the pan than actual musicians. Putting out a good single or two, only to make room for a younger, prettier version. Yet Hikaru Utada has shown some true staying power. That being said, nothing displays that better than Ultra Blue.

It must be said, that there is a language barrier. She is Japanese after all, and this is entirely sung in her native language. Yet this isn't a legitimate complaint.

The style of Ultra Blue is a mix of electronic and standard pop elements. Throw in the occasional keyboard or piano and you're left with some pretty solid background music. I say background music because her voice is the thing here to listen for. Utada has a great voice, full of passion and emotion. She clearly has some singing chops.

So what I've been describing sounds like a classic right? Well unfortunately that's not the case. What Ultra Blue suffers from is a few tracks that are just a lot weaker than the others. From a purely songwriting standpoint, they lack the spark that makes the rest of the album worth listening to. "Keep Tryin'," "Making Love,"and "One Night Magic" are three such songs. They just aren't interesting. And as much I wish it weren't true, they really do put a damper on the experience.

Aside from these however, are some really standout tracks. If there was one song that truly defined this album, "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro" would be it. It's gorgeous, emotional, and a real showcase of her voice. Without a doubt the best track. "Colors" was another hit single, more upbeat and electronic in nature with "Sea Route" being the opposite. Both are great tracks also. "Passion" is the albums closer, and easily the second best. Released in the United States for Kingdom Hearts 2 as the English language song"Sanctuary,""Passion" shows Utatda at her most varied. Much quicker in pace and just as passionate as the rest of the tracks, it is a truly interesting song.

If J-pop isn't your thing, I can't see Ultra Blue persuading you. But it really stands out amongst the bubblegum pop that is prevalent in the Japanese music scene. Those who do give this a listen won't find an instant classic, but instead a wholly satisfying and rewarding experience.



Recent reviews by this author
Envy Atheist's CorneaSigh Graveward
Marriages SalomeMarsen Jules The Empire of Silence
Leviathan Scar SightedImperial Triumphant Abyssal Gods
user ratings (60)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
charles2000
February 11th 2010


450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

havent listened to this one yet

americanmusicmachine
February 11th 2010


3953 Comments


I have 'deep river'-i think it is-by her and it's really good.

charles2000
February 11th 2010


450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that one is way good. gonna have to download this one now

americanmusicmachine
February 11th 2010


3953 Comments


the song 'sakura drops' is fucking amazing. also itunes has her name listed as 'utada hikaru'. why itunes!

americanmusicmachine
February 11th 2010


3953 Comments


yeah that makes sense but utada sounds more like a last name to me.

BSX
February 11th 2010


1640 Comments


Yeah that's right

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2010


29124 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

album is gold



english version of "Passion" is simply "Sanctuary," tho, not "My Sanctuary." also I think you're

missing a space. pos'd

Fina1e
February 11th 2010


123 Comments


She has the best voice in all of Asia, and one of the best worldwide.

XulOnerom
February 11th 2010


1818 Comments


Only album I've heard of her is This Is The One, and didn't like it very much. But I might look into this

And Bayonetta is awesome

charles2000
February 12th 2010


450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ugh be my last is amazn

FadedSun
February 25th 2010


1415 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Keep Tryin' is actually one of my favorite songs on the album, and it seems a lot of people agree if you watch the video for the song.



Good review for a great album.

AiKo
July 1st 2010


52 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My favourite album of all time right har ^c^

WashboardSuds
January 15th 2011


5077 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

From what I've listened to so far, this is probably my favorite Utada album. First 3 tracks are gold, as are Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro and Passion. Feels more like she has her own style here than on other records.

Have to disagree with you about Keep Tryin' because I love that song, but good reveiw otherwise

POS

beefshoes
May 29th 2011


5469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Catchiest pop music ever!

Digging: Vennart - The Demon Joke

Titan50
July 20th 2011


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So I just listened to Passion, and I feel like I just fell in love

AiKo
January 29th 2012


52 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i love this album soo much!! it is my life in fact (^ー^)ノ

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
January 29th 2012


29124 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ULTRAAAAA

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2012


51438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool

Digging: Main Attrakionz - 808s & Dark Grapes III

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2012


51438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Marry me

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2012


51438 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not you, you aren't asian





You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy