Utada Hikaru’s parting arrow before her rest from the music business comes in the form of Single Collection Vol 2. Whilst I’m sure you all know the singles well if you’re a Hikki fan, the 5 track second disc of new songs meant I had to grab the album when it was released digitally in Europe!
Firstly a quick shout out to Beautiful Worlds Acoustica PLANitb Mix which is absolutely fantastic at the end of disc 1, a previously download only track which is now available on CD – an equal to the original. Think rock-dance.
“Arashi no Megami” opens disc 2 with a power rock ballad. Starting off with piano and vocals, slowly the bass and guitars creep in and before you know it, you have a Utada Aerosmith song! It doesn’t quite go into massive rock chorus’ but it’s about as rocked out Hikaru has been for a while. “Show Me Love (Not A Dream)” opens to a beautiful ambient keyboard pulsing with heavily processed drum rolls in the distance which soon burst into a real rock track. This track really caught my attention as Hikki roars “it’s all in my head” to pounding drums and grungey guitars. It’s such a fabulous removal from another she’s done recently – I could quite happily take a grunge Utada next album!
“Goodbye Happiness” is very much of the last two albums. Completely digital j-pop but with a tinge of sadness and spoonful of chirp. Utada has always been able to write fantastically catchy songs that never grate on you and just stay with you and this is a great example of this. You’ll like it on first listen but love it by the fifth.
Then time for something completely different, “Hymne a L’amour -Ai no Anthem-” is a lounge song. With the electric piano, flutes and hi-hats bashing away, it’s a complete transformation. Utada’s voice suits the type of song and it’s really surprising at how versatile and cameleon like all these different styles in five songs have allowed Utada to be. The final track “Can’t Wait Til Christmas” is a beautiful ballad to end the mini CD.
I have to say that the complete variation on this mini CD took me by surprise. It’s whet my pallette for Grunge Hikki! However, as long as we get to hear more music from her in the future, I’m sure whichever style she goes for will be magic. This see’s her staying gold.