YMMV / Utada Hikaru

  • Accidental Innuendo: The otherwise somber Break-Up Song "This One (Crying Like a Child)" has this:
    You are all the shelter that I need above me
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Boku wa Kuma" from Heart Station can definitely be considered one. It's a cutesy children's song about her teddy bear... which comes directly after "Take 5", a song with dark, poetic lyrics about leaving one's body. The lyrics are completely unrelated to the rest of the album which is mostly about relationships and dealing with life's difficulties. The former song ends abruptly which makes the transition even more jarring.
  • Broken Base: Mostly in relation to her English albums. There's a camp that feels Exodus was a daring and innovative work while This is the One was a cheap attempt at mainstream success by chasing trends, while others feel This is the One is a more mature and accessible work while dismissing Exodus as a clumsy attempt at "avant-garde" music, citing narmtastic lyrics in "Easy Breezy" and "Let Me Give You My Love." There's also fans who like both albums, and those who think both albums are lacking and wish she would just stick to Japanese music altogether.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Her English albums have seemingly become this. Utada's offical website lists Fantôme as her 6th album and her first album in 8 years.note 
  • Creator Worship: You'll have a fine time searching for a hint of criticism over the praise she gets from fans, although admittedly this is not that unjustifiable.
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome:
    • As heavily implied on the main page, she is very, very good at Tetris. So much so that she participated in a tournament and cleaned house. Nintendo sent in two of their 'Nintendo Assassins,' (gamers who essentially get paid to be awesome at gaming) to beat her. She beat one of them and came close to beating the second, with a smile on her face the entire time.
    • She also holds the record for fastest selling album ever in Japan for Distance, which sold 3 million copies in its first week. (It was also the fastest selling album in the world, until Adele released 25.)
    • After a six year hiatus, she released Fantôme which instantly shot to number 1. It stayed as number 1 for four weeks, breaking her previous personal best, First Love, which was number 1 for two weeks. More impressive is that it charted in the top ten in non-Japanese iTunes Stores where her album was not promoted at all.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome:
  • Dork Age: Arguably, This is the One. While neither of her English albums tend to be noted as high-points of her career, Exodus has received more appreciation from fans and critics in the years following its release and was at least a big success in Japan despite flopping internationally. Conversely, This is the One received a lot of criticism for a perceived watering-down of Utada's sound and attempts at fanservice, and did even worse sales-wise than Exodus, not even making much impact even in Japan. Some people attribute her hiatus in the years following its release, as well as her English albums often being excluded from her discography to its failure.
  • First Installment Wins: Her debut album First Lovenote  is her highest selling album and the highest-selling album in Japanese history. Some fans also consider it her best album.
  • Follow the Leader: Unsurprisingly after releasing the best-selling album in the country, a lot of Japanese singers in the early 2000s drew influence from her R&B-pop style and vocal technique, the most notable being Kuraki Mai who despite achieving massive success in her own right was frequently criticized for being an Utada-wannabe.
    • For Utada herself, This is the One qualifies. This was intentional on her part; she specifically wanted the album to sound mainstream compared to the experimental Exodus.
  • Growing the Beard: Deep River can be seen as one. It marks the beginning of her Genre Shift away from R&B to a more eclectic and electronic style, and is the first album where she was involved in arranging the majority of the songs. Many fans consider it her best work.
  • Hypocrite: The third chorus of "About Me" has Utada calling her partner out for keeping secrets from her, with the line "You say you're sure that you love me, how could that be when you keep so much from me?" However the entire song up to this point has been about how she hasn't been honest with them.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "Wonder 'Bout" is about leaving a bad relationship, but after her mother's suicide in 2013 some of the lyrics can now sound like a metaphor for her mother's death and mental health issues:
    Living in a house of pain
    Ran away and I'm glad that I ran away
    Rather be out in the rain
    Now I understand why my mother ran awaynote 
    • Further, following this metaphor would also imply Utada is talking about herself committing suicide as well.
    • "Sakura Nagashi" released a year before her mother's suicide, is about life and death, with lyrics about a lost love who is implied to be dead, and a newborn child implied to be hers with her lover. The song was originally written for Evangelion, The New Movie, but after her mother's death and the birth of her son it sounds much more personal. She later included the song on Fantôme which is dedicated to her dead mother. Doubles as Life Imitates Art.
  • Les Yay: The video for "Nijikan Dake No Vacance" has her and Shiina Ringo holding each other rather intimately.
  • Memetic Mutation: From Sakura Nagashi we get "Everybody finds love, in the end".
  • Narm:
  • Narm Charm: The infamous "You're easy breezy and I'm Japanese-y" line from "Easy Breezy", while bizarre and cringe-worthy to some, is also pretty hilarious, and showcases Utada's unique sense of humour (which was apparently her intention).
  • Painful Rhyme:
    • "Automatic Pt. 2" has quite a few, when the lyrics rhyme at all. She even lampshades this in one line which is itself an example:
    Indian, Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic Ocean
    You can be the captain and I'll be your commander
    Do you like the way I rhyme? It's pretty darn clever
    • "This One (Crying Like a Child)" has this, which doubles as a Lyrical Shoehorn:
    We should get back on the road
    Let's get married
  • Signature Song: Both of her Kingdom Hearts themes, but "Hikari" in particular. She calls the song "Hikaru Junior" due to her name using the same kanji (光).
  • Stylistic Suck: It's likely that some of the more bizarre lyrics on her English albums were this. Word of God is that "Easy Breezy" specifically is meant to show her sense of humour, and she's stated that not all of her lyrics should be taken too seriously.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • "Final Distance", given the story behind it: It's an orchestral ballad version of a cute little tune that appeared on her second album, rearranged to honor the memory of 6-year-old schoolgirl Rena Yamashita who was killed in the Osaka school massacre. Prior to her tragic death, she had won an essay competition with her writing about wanting to be a singer just like Utada.
    • The deeply wistful "Passion".
    • Another notable mention would be "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro", the theme song to her director ex-husband's movie Casshern. One critic remarked that he didn't understand the movie until he heard the theme song. Then apparently it just clicked.
    • Utada appears to purposefully invoke this with "This One (Crying Like A Child)". Somber acoustic guitar backing emotionally charged lyrics, especially the chorus.
    • Several songs on Fantôme could count, seeing as the album was written after her mother's death, but "Ningyo" and "Manatsu no Tooriame" in particular are both heartbreakingly somber.
  • Tough Act to Follow: A notable aversion in her early career. First Love is the #1 best-selling studio album in Japan... the runner-up? Her sophomore album Distance, with her third Deep River being #4.note . Exodus is a more straight example, as it sold 1.1 million copies in Japan compared to Deep River's 3.6 million and attracted some backlash for its experimental style and sexual content.
    • Utada herself apparently feels this way about Fantôme. She's said she won't be able to make an album like it again.
  • Uncanny Valley: The "Travelling" music video definitely qualifies, with the horde of strange-looking Humanoid Aliens, unsettling stop-motion animated sequences, Dutch Angles, and some strange arm movements from Hikaru herself. It feels like a bit of a Disney Acid Sequence even compared to her other lavish, Kiriya-directed music videos.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/UtadaHikaru