Utada Hikaru – Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry [19th Single]

January 1, 2008 at 1:44 am (Utada Hikaru)

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Utada Hikaru’s 19th single, entitled Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry, was released on 08.29.07. Both songs on this double A-side received tie-ins. Beautiful World was used as the theme song for the first of the Rebuild of Evangelion called Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone while Kiss & Cry was used for the 2007 Freedom Cup Noodle CM.

The single opens with Beautiful World, an uptempo track with powerful lyrics that tie right in with the Evangelion storyline. Beautiful World opens up with a magical sound, similar to that of Keep Tryin’ and introduces the beautiful melody to follow. The song speaks of a beautiful boy (Shinji Ikari from Evangelion) who doesn’t realize his own beauty, standing in a “beautiful world.” The beat of the song matches perfectly with Hikki’s recently ethereal experimental sound. Hikki’s vocals are once again strong and there is another ad-libbing section at the end that brings the song to a polite finish.

The second track on the single and my personal favorite is the uptempo track entitled Kiss & Cry. Using a sample from Hotel Lobby, a track off her all English album, Exodus, Kiss & Cry was born. The song opens up with a blaring of horns, which is very unexpected and un-necessary and after a second of silence, the actual song begins. The introduction is a bit out of place with the rest of the song but does give a feeling of importance. The lyrics to the song are bit strange at times (cup of noodles, cup of noodles…) but they give the song a fun and happy vibe, creating a nice atmosphere to sing along to. My favorite section of the song is the ad-libbing section where she sings “you’ve got me on a natural high.” It ends the song on a light and breezy note and the vocals are truly impressive. The tie-in for this song expresses the theme of the song, freedom. The message of being able to let everything go and cry knowing there’s someone there to listen is present in the song, alongside the feeling of hope for the future for freedom. This song is one of my personal Hikki favorites and she did an amazing job.

The third track is Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) – 2007 Mix, – which is a remake of the song with the same name on her  Wait & See ~リスク~single. The song is sung entirely in English and has cute lyrics. The reason the song is present is because it also was involved with the promotion for Evangelion. By no means is it a bad song but it’s definitely not the best song she’s ever made. But it’s cute and if you’re in the mood for a song like that, then it’s a good song to listen to.

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The PVs for both songs were disappointing since Hikki wasn’t in either of them. For Beautiful World (left), a montage of clips from the Evangelion movie were used. The PV truly promotes the movie instead of the song so it was disappointing to just see clips of the movie instead of one of Hikki’s deep and meaningful PVs since it would be appropriate with the themes and ethereal sound of the song. The PV for Kiss & Cry (middle) is even worse for me personally. I don’t like the animation that was used for the PV and felt that a regular PV would’ve been more appropriate for the song as it could have been simple and meaningful. The one part that makes me dislike the PV the most is the fact that it cuts off the ending of the song (the ad-libbing of “the natural high”). All in all, the PVs, which are supposed to promote the songs ended up promoting their respective tie-ins. However the promotional images for the single (one seen, right) are wonderful and the one above definitely gives a Kiss & Cry feel and Hikki looks beautiful.

Single Ranking: A +

This double A-side single shows Hikki’s versatility and both songs are incredible pieces of work. Beautiful World is an ethereal masterpiece worthy of such a great tie-in as the theme song for the Evangelion movie. An uptempo song with lyrics tinged with sorrow, Beautiful World is one of Hikki’s best. Kiss & Cry is an even better song, using a sample from Hotel Lobby, to create a memorable uptempo track with a breezy feel. Hikki’s vocals are impressive as she ad-libs and is one of my favorite Hikki songs. The third track Fly Me To The Moon – 2007 Mix – is a nice addition to the single as it features Hikki singing in English and opens up very nicely. Although the PVs were disappointing, the songs were phenomenal and that’s all that really matters.

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