Utada Hikaru – Flavor Of Life [18th Single]

December 31, 2007 at 11:23 pm (Utada Hikaru)

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 Utada Hikaru’s 18th single, Flavor Of Life, was released on 02.28.07. The ballad version of the song received a major tie-in: an insert song for the ever popular dorama Hana Yori Dango 2. The single features two different versions, each using a different tempo to establish a different atmosphere.

The single opens with Flavor Of Life – Original Version, – an uptempo version of Flavor Of Life. This is my personal favorite version of the song since I feel an atmosphere of hope. The lyrics of both versions speak of the magic of love remaining after the relationship ends but the tempo and vocals of the song suggest a hope for the future. While this is Hikki’s first single after her divorce from Kiriya Kazuaki, the lyrics and atmosphere tie in very nicely. The song uses an slight electronic sound to deliver an uptempo song with beautiful lyrics. Hikki’s vocals are very nice in this one and blend well with the music, creating an A+ song.

The second track, entitled Flavor Of Life – Ballad Version, – emerged as the more popular version among the general Japanese public. This version was used as an image song for the extremely popular Japanese dorama, Hana Yori Dango 2. Although I prefer the original version, this song has various strengths. The biggest strength of the song is Hikki’s strong vocals, which are highlighted at the end of the song during her ad-libbing. Throughout the song, her vocals are very impressive and match the song’s atmosphere. While the original version has a tone of hope within it, this version seems to spotlight the tearful goodbye element of the end of a relationship. This ballad definitely brings the emotional side of the song to the forefront, which gives a greater appeal and even greater relability to many but I personally prefer the original version.

The first press bonus for the single is Flavor Of Life – Antidote Mix, – which bears a closer resemblance to the ballad version with slightly distorted vocals for Hikki in order to create a slightly upbeat tone. This song sounds like a mesh between both the original and ballad versions to create this one. There isn’t much to say about this version but it’s a nice song to listen to if you’re in the mood.

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The original version of the song has no PV but because of its tie-in with Hana Yori Dango 2 and its popularity, the ballad version received an official PV. However, the PV is merely Hikki performing it in a studio with other musicians playing the instruments. The purpose of a PV is to promote the song is technically, that’s what the video does but it would have been nice to see other scenes or something with a little originality. But this video was viewed very many times, despite the simplistic nature of it.

Single Ranking: A +

Both versions of Flavor Of Life are present on this single and although they use the same lyrics, they both present very different atmospheres. My personal favorite, Flavor Of Life – Original Version, – suggests a feeling of hope present in the instrumental and there is a more focus on the uptempo instrumentation. In Flavor Of Life – Ballad Version, – the spotlight is on Hikki’s amazing vocal talents and the emotional presence in the tempo. This is a wonderful single that brought Hikki great sales (number 2 single on the Oricon Year 2007 Charts) and it’s no surprise why.

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