Utada Hikaru
ULTRA BLUE


3.5
great

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
February 10th, 2010 | 37 replies | 11,053 views


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.



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user ratings (59)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



10585 Comments


Thought I would try something a little different

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

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.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



10585 Comments


I liked this so I may check that out next

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!

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



10585 Comments


I think utada hikaru is how it would be in america because they say their last names first in japan.....i think?

americanmusicmachine
February 11th 2010



3953 Comments


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

BSX
February 11th 2010



1633 Comments


Yeah that's right

Digging: La Roux - Trouble In Paradise

theacademy
February 11th 2010



28232 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

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



10585 Comments


Thanks!

(I will change that)

Fina1e
February 11th 2010



123 Comments


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

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 11th 2010



10585 Comments


fixed it!

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

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 12th 2010



10585 Comments


Bayonetta is awesome indeed

charles2000
February 12th 2010



450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ugh be my last is amazn

FadedSun
February 25th 2010



1243 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



4983 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

Digging: Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops

beefshoes
May 29th 2011



2865 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Catchiest pop music ever!

Digging: Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X



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