Review Summary: No, I've never played Kingdom Hearts.
It was on a long car ride home from Cleveland when I was first introduced to This is the One
, Utada Hikaru's third English language album (the second under her "Utada" mononym), by a friend whom I haven't been in touch with for a couple of years now. He was in charge of the music by rule of being the driver, and after sifting through a few K-pop songs on Pandora, he decided to instead put on This is the One
. He and I had both recently been broken up with by our long-term girlfriends, so given our gloomy hearts and our longing for solitary happiness, I would say in hindsight that this album was the perfect choice.
The first six tracks, save for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
, each describe a different situation regarding a strained romantic relationship. The opening number, Come Back To Me
, sets the tone for this block of songs. A frantic piano lick leads into the ballad, in which Utada begs for the man she admits to cheating on to come back to her. The second track, Me Muero
, features a bass-heavy beat with a bit of Spanish flare, in which Utada sings of depression and suicidal thoughts, spawning from her lover who has gone away. Despite the dark nature of these lyrics, Utada cleverly delivers them in an upbeat and pouty manner, as if to conceal their meaning.
The next four tracks – including Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
, which I had mentioned to be a lyrical outlier due to it being a song about casual encounters rather than love – continue on with piano-driven beats and melancholic tone. It's on Automatic Part II
when the album makes a shift to more upbeat lyricism, as well as ditching the piano for more synthetic pop beats. Whence the preceding track (This One [Crying Like a Child]
) is about Utada's non-mutual love for a fellow musician whom she is touring with and has toured with before, Automatic Part II
is a song in which she boasts of her love for getting on stage and performing, as if to put her matters of the heart aside for what is most important to her. The last three tracks are about dancing, clubbing, and sex.
This is the One
embodies the grieving process through heartbreak. While the dancing, clubbing and sex part might not be as much the appropriate method of moving on for you as it is for Utada, the important thing is what those tracks symbolize, which is that happiness can be found in whatever one takes pleasure in doing. While certainly not the most musically adventurous album in Utada's discography, I would recommend anyone with a broken heart and an open mind to give this (is the) one a spin.