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  • Utada’s US foray, part 2

    Posted by simon c on 2009 May 26日 Tuesday

    Hikaru Utada (Wiki, the number of languages is impressive) is the most popular singer in Japan, and has sold over 50 million records worldwide (though most of that is in Japan and some in East Asia).

    After a long and successful career in the Japanese and East Asian markets, she has tried to penetrate the biggest pop music market in the world, the US (she’s born and partially raised in NYC so she is a native English speaker).

    Utada_Hikaru_s

    Her US debut album EXODUS in 2004 was a dud, topping the Billboard charts at 160. She has just released her second all English album aimed at the US market, This Is The One. And she has earned a network TV appearance on CBS’s 2nd Cup.

    I gave the album a listen at my local HMV, and unfortunately her second all English offering is very similar in flavour to her debut effort. Her voice is extremely well suited for J-Pop but not the US Top 40. And her naturally bilingual wordplay makes her (especially early) Japanese albums great, but she can’t unleash this aspect in a monolingual album.

    This Is The One has entered the Billboard Album charts at #69, which is an improvement from her debut album, we’ll see if this is the peak or she can gain word of mouth cred and air play to move up the charts. She also violates my sampling rules by heavily sampling Ryuichi Sakamoto’s classic tune Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence. I’m all for sampling, but not when the new song basically freerides on the coattails of the original (even though this is sort of like a tribute/remix). Unfortunately, for me, her recent Japanese album was rather soppy and lame as well, so she hasn’t produced anything that I really like in a while. Maybe she needs to marry another guy who could be her father?  :P

    One Response to “Utada’s US foray, part 2”

    1. npbtracker said

      Hikaru was supposed to appear in store at a Best Buy in San Francisco, but it got canceled for some reason. I eventually got over the disappointment, but it took a while.

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