Cubic U – Precious

July 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Posted in Cubic U | 5 Comments
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  1. My Little Lover Boy
  2. Lullaby
  3. How Ya Doin’
  4. I Don’t Love You
  5. Promise
  6. Ticket 4 Two
  7. Take A Little While
  8. 100 Reasons Why
  9. Work Things Out
  10. Close To You
  11. Precious Love
  12. How Ya Doin’ (Rap Version)

Utada Hikaru’s first album was an English release under the name Cubic U. She was still in high school when she began writing the songs for Precious. It was schedule to be released in America but due to problems with the label it was only released in Japan. The album received praise from American artist Lenny Kravitz and later Utada was convinced to start a music career in Japan.

Precious begins with My Little Lover Boy, which isn’t that bad of a track. I find Utada’s vocals to be too soft but I do enjoy them right before she sings the chorus. This track is pretty straight forward and the arrangement isn’t really that interesting. The same can be said for Lullaby except this track features male vocalists who really don’t add anything to the song. One of the male vocalists has such a deep and straining voice that it really detracts from the enjoyment of this track. This song would have been better off with just Utada’s vocals. How Ya Doin’ is much better than the previous two songs. It’s more upbeat and has a catchier chorus than the previous songs. Utada’s vocals are also better because she’s singing in a stronger tone which doesn’t make her sound like she’s bored. In I Don’t Love You Utada sounds somewhat monotone when she sings in the verses. Her vocals do get better towards the end of the song when she ad-libs but the male vocalist really irritates me in this song. His voice is just too strained and doesn’t work well with her vocals.

The second half of the album is much more interesting than the first half. I really like the way Promise begins. The instruments are sweet and the piano riff is very lovely. Utada’s vocals are livelier in this song compared to the first few tracks. This song is definitely one of the better songs on the album. It’s very simple but it isn’t as monotone as the first couple of tracks. Ticket 4 Two is another one of the album’s better tracks. The first time I heard this song I was surprised by how much I liked it. I find the chorus to be very catchy and I enjoyed her vocals on this song. This song has a nice relaxing feel to it and I enjoyed that aspect of it. Take A Little While is a nice mid-tempo song. Utada’s vocals are great in this track and her ad-libbing near the end is nice as well. Utada continues to sound great with 100 Reasons Why and the backing vocals from the male vocalist were pleasant. Their voices worked well together in this song. It’s a shame the previous songs that featured the male vocalists didn’t sound as good as this one.

Sadly, the album slows down once again with Work Things Out. Utada’s vocals are not as strong as they were during the middle of the album. The way she sings in the verses makes her sound boring and monotone. The chorus doesn’t grab my attention and isn’t really interesting. However, things get much better with Close To You. This is the first song I heard from Precious and Utada did a great job with this cover. The backing vocals in this song are great and the arrangement of the song is very beautiful. The male vocals in this song aren’t as strained as they were before so they don’t detract from the song but they also don’t add anything to it. The title track Precious Love is a nice and simple song. Utada’s vocals during the verses are slightly weird but they aren’t bad that they make the song unenjoyable. This time Utada’s voice blends well with the male vocalist in this song and the chorus is very nice. The final song on the album, How Ya Doin’ (Rap Version), is slightly more upbeat than the original. The new arrangement does make the song better but it’s only a slight improvement. There’s also a rap halfway through the song which added a nice touch to the song.

Conclusion: Despite having some issues with the vocals and some of the arrangements of the songs Precious is not that bad of an album. It’s definitely Utada’s weakest album but it’s still decent. The album does start off slow and it’s a real shame that some of the songs are ruined by the male vocalists featured on the tracks but it does get better during the second half. This is not an album I would listen to on a regular basis but it does have some nice moments.

Recommended Tracks: Promise, Ticket 4 Two, Close To You, and Precious Love

Rating

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5 Comments »

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  1. I remember listening to this album, back in my hardcore Utada fan days, when she was the only Japanese artist I listened to.

    It bored me to death, to be honest. It still does, but as I’ve gotten older and more used to slowed-down music, I’ve come to appreciate it a little bit more.

    • I had to listen to this album for quite awhile before it started to sink in. I think it sounds pretty outdated but it is interesting to see where Utada started. I had a hard time reviewing this because I wasn’t sure what grade I was going to give it.

  2. Male vocalists ruin this album for me. D= CAN’T STAND THEM.

    Although like you said, it does have it’s memorable tracks~

    • I really hate it when an album is ruined by guest vocalists who can’t sing or have terrible voices :(.

      • “Queen B” by Maki Goto is the perfect example of that. That song would have been perfect if it weren’t for Bigga Raiji.


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