Jun. 17th, 2009

reileen: (music - piano & smoke)
I don't usually listen to J-pop star Utada Hikaru - my main exposure to her is though the songs "Hikari"/"Simple and Clean", which are, respectively, the Japanese and English versions of one of the main theme songs for the Kingdom Hearts video game. Also, I had some vague inkling that one of her songs off one of her North American albums had a line that went something like "You're easy breezy and I'm Japanesey", which just kind of made my mind boggle a little when I heard about it. (I eventually went and Googled the lyrics just to confirm my suspicions. Besides that ridonkulous line, the rest of the song is actually fairly standard-ish pop.)

Anyway, I don't listen to Hikki. But my gal pal [livejournal.com profile] vyctori does, and she asked me last night to boggle with her over the vast difference in style and quality between Hikki's recent Japanese releases and her latest North American album, This Is the One.

First, let's take a look at "Heart Station", the title track of her most recent Japanese album, released in March 2008.

A gentle, sweet pop ballad, with lyrics that are just as sentimental (scroll way down to find the English translation).

Were you able to hear my voice as I spoke?
The Heart Station broadcasting at one o’clock in the dead of night
Requires no tuning on the dial as it lies
On a secret frequency.*

Were the radio waves of my heart able to reach you?
It’s broadcasting from the Heart Station of sinners
And only God knows
How much I miss you.

Not my usual thing, but hey, I can see why Hikki's a pop sensation to rival even homegrown diva Ayumi Hamasaki.

Okay, fine. Let's take a look at "Me Muero", the second track off her second North American album This Is The One, released March 2009.

I...I just...what? Vocals: Fail. Production: More Fail. Lyrics: COMPLETE FAIL">:

Everyday my life's in shambles
since you took your love away
I got nothing left to gamble
I've thrown it all away

Now and then I'm suicidal
Flirting with a new temptation
Happiness inside a bottle
is what I need today

Oh my lover's gone away, gone to Istanbul
Light as a feather
I lie in my bed and flip through tv channels
Eating Godiva
I'm smoking my days away reading old emails
In my old pajamas
What a day, me muero, muero, muero

what is this I don't even. And the thing is, this song might actually be tolerable for me if the lyrics were just simple, cliched, and bland, because then this would just be a fun piece of audio junk food.

This Is The One is apparently Hikki's specific attempt to appeal to the American mainstream and to finally have a "breakout" album here in the States, which is why she went for this R&B/hip-hop sound. Y'know, she might be Japanese-American, but the album sounds like something from a native Japanese singer who thinks that all American are "totally gangsta" or something. Seriously, she should've just stuck to her own style. If she really wanted to use R&B/hip-hop elements, she could fuse it with her usual sound and probably get something worthwhile. Because seriously, it's bad when I listen to a song (this song in particular) where I wouldn't have had any audio cues that this was Hikki's work because it sounds more like a generic song from an up-and-coming R&B singer. I'm not even a fan of Hikki and This Is The One makes me feel so embarrassed for her.


Need to get back on my school sleeping schedule so I have more time to be productive. I've been waking up at noon or later these past couple of days, and it's refreshing but also annoying. I had something else I wanted to write about but I've been finding lately that my writing abilities have been severely lacking. It's been nine years and I still haven't gotten the hang of this "blogging" thing.

when I'm drivin' in my car and that man comes on the radio


reileen: (Default)
Reileen van Kaile

April 2010


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