Utada Hikaru – First Love

July 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Posted in Utada Hikaru | 3 Comments
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  1. Automatic -Album Edit-
  2. Movin’ on without you
  3. In My Room
  4. First Love
  5. Amai Wana ~Paint It, Black
  6. time will tell
  7. Never Let Go
  8. B&C -Album Version-
  9. Another Chance
  10. Interlude
  11. Give Me A Reason
  12. Automatic -Johnny Vicious Remix-

First Love is Utada Hikaru’s debut album and it is the best-selling Japanese album of all time. That is a record that I doubt will ever be surpassed seeing how physical copies of albums don’t sell as much as they used to. All the songs on the album were penned by Utada herself and that’s an amazing accomplishment, especially since she was so young at the time.

The album’s first song is the popular, Automatic -Album Edit-, and it opens up with her singing “I can’t help but feel alive.” This song is pure R&B and the beat is immensely cool. The first thing you’ll notice is that compared to Precious her vocals are 100% better and she almost sounds like a completely different person. I love the English lyrics and they are incorporated into the song perfectly. The ab-libbing at the end is phenomenal and I’ve always loved the part when she belts out “tell me why.” What a great way to start off this album. Movin’ on without you contains blaring guitars which gives it a slight rock vibe. Utada’s deep vocals in the verses are fantastic and I like how she switches to a higher tone for the chorus. For some reason I adore the line “I have to go without you.” I find it to be insanely catchy and I look forward to it every time I listen to the song. This is a great high energy R&B track.I really like the beginning of In My Room because the beat is very interesting. It’s a soft R&B track and there’s some disc scratching throughout the song. The piano that plays as the song progresses makes the song better and her vocals just flow smoothly with the beats. It’s the type of song you would listen to while you sit back and relax. First Love is a song that almost everyone who is a fan of Utada has heard and is one of her most popular songs. Her ad-libbing accompanied with a piano at the beginning of the song is just lovely. This song is very stripped-down with mostly just a piano and a guitar and Utada’s deep voice. The English and Japanese lyrics work perfectly together and make the song much more memorable. The song is very bittersweet because it has such a depressing feel to it but at the same time is a reminder of a first love. When the chorus starts the instruments come to life and she sings in a higher tone then the verses. It’s easy to see why this song has been a signature song for her because it’s a marvelous piece of work.

I was never a big fan of Amai Wana ~Paint It, Black but now it’s one of my favourite songs on the album. The verses are sung quickly and the chorus is catchy with its fun and upbeat vibe. This song also contains some disc scratching and some very funky beats. I love the end of the song when she continuously sings “I see your red door and I want to paint it black” which is taken from Paint It, Black by The Rolling Stones. This is a fantastic song and should not be overlooked. time will tell begins with a piano playing and Utada ad-libbing. She sounds very young in this song more so than in the other ones on the album. Her vocals are vibrant and go well with the uplifting nature of the song. This track has grown on me over the years and I love its carefree vibe. Never Let Go doesn’t seem to get much love from many people but it’s my favourite song off the album. It samples Shape Of My Heart by Sting but Utada was inspired by Monica’s Take Him Back which also samples Sting’s song. The guitar melody is gorgeous and her vocals during the verses are deep and wonderful. I like her vocals during the chorus because she sings in a higher range and she sounds incredible. The lyrics during the bridge “what am I suppose to do if I can’t have you” are beautiful and her ad-libbing at the end of the song is great as well. I don’t know why so many people find this song boring because I love everything about it.

B&C -Album Version- is another great R&B track with an interesting arrangement. The highlight of the song is definitely its catchy chorus and the English lyrics “take me with you” and “keep on driving.” The guitar that starts playing near the end of the song along with the repetition of “take a chance” and Utada’s distorted vocals saying “Bonnie and Clyde” really makes this song so much better. The sound of a car driving off was a neat way to end the song. The beginning of Another Chance sounds like someone dropping a coin into a machine and the music starts playing immediately after. The R&B music is nice and her vocals sound great as usual. The verses are sung nicely and the chorus is pretty catchy. I like the backing vocals that repeat “I need you” and the chimes used throughout the song. Interlude is only 17 seconds long and it’s very basic. The lyrics featured in this interlude are later used for a song on Utada’s second albumDistance. Give Me A Reason is a simple R&B joint andit’s the longest song on the album running over 6 minutes. Good thing it’s enjoyable and doesn’t end up dragging on. I like the guitar melody that later becomes accompanied by some drums for the chorus. The ad-libbing at the end is fantastic and Utada’s vocals are strong. First Love ends with Automatic -Johny Vicious Remix- which removes the R&B elements of the original and replaces them with dance music. I enjoyed this take on the song because it gives it much more energy. The only thing I don’t like about it is that all the ad-libbing at the end was taken out.

Conclusion: Utada Hikaru’s debut album, First Love, is phenomenal and it’s easy to see why this is Japan’s best-selling album. What Utada accomplished with this album, especially at her age, is remarkable. I’ve read countless times how Utada is credited for making R&B popular in Japan and First Loveis definitely filled with amazing R&B music. The R&B music in this album is a vast improvement over the music in Precious. The mixture of Japanese and English work perfectly together and it’s not surprising since she’s bilingual. Many people tend to just listen to the singles off this album and overlook the album only tracks which are equally fantastic and my favourite song on the album happens to be one of them. Check this album out, especially if you’re into R&B music.

Recommended Tracks: Never Let Go, First Love, Movin’ on without you, Automatic (Album Edit), Amai Wana ~Paint It, Black and B&C (Album Version)




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  1. BEST R&B ALBUM IN JAPAN HANDS DOWN(well, after Distance).

    Such amazing and memorable tracks on this album with absolutely no “bad tracks”.

    I like how her styles flow between her albums. i.e. a heavy English R&B sound in Precious, slightly closer to pop yet still R&B music with both an English and Japanese flair in FIRST LOVE, and so on…

    • I totally agree with her styles flowing between her albums. I always thought that was noticeable in EXODUS, ULTRA BLUE, HEART STATION and This Is The One as she moves from experimental pop to a more mainstream pop sound.

  2. Quote:
    “What Utada accomplished with this album especially at her age is remarkable. ”

    She’s exceptional. Her exquisite musics signify that she’s a genius artist.

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