Everybody feels the same

Reading this lengthy 2007 MUSICA interview, was a lot like re-watching Introducing Utada, which I went back and re-watched anyway. Juxtaposed against clips and images of her commercial success, she speaks with a vacancy that matches her listless appearance.

I suppose you could read the signs to arrive at the same conclusion, being as transparent as she is, but it’s something else to have her admit it in writing, and Utada Hikaru has cemented her position as a celebrity that is simultaneously anti-social but outspoken. It makes my head spin, kind of.

Along the way, the interview touches on aspects of her past three albums, but Ultra Blue doesn’t get as much mention. Her goal of “un-genre-lization” is directly reflected in the lyrics of Opening and Crossover Interlude, as well as other Exodus tracks. See her thoughts on gender and compare them to YMMWTBAM.

At the time of the interview, the seeds of Heart Station were being sown. She wraps death, the abstraction of the person from the music, and that transcendental experience of being connected to everyone and everything into Teiku 5. Her world view advances no particular agenda, but it’s that mixture of resignation and cynicism that is so well integrated into Niji-iro Basu, and the album in general.

I’m reminded of someone’s YouTube comment, claiming that whatever one thinks of Exodus, it had to have happened for the next two CD’s to happen. S/he is probably right: Exodus is rough yet earnest, the mark of someone with experience freed from various restraints for the first time, someone who had something to prove and went (arguably) overboard while doing so.

Ultra Blue kept the passion (and Passion) but lost the roughness, the observations packaged in the richest production of the past three albums. Heart Station is decidedly less earnest, and honesty is of the cold, mostly dispassionate variety. If pushed a bit further, the music could border on despairing, and while some think that the interview is on the verge of that, I think it’s well within the purview of apathy.

While there’s a chock full of other stuff worth noting, you should read the whole thing even if you’re not a fan — maybe you’ll feel the same way as well — but the last thing I want to mention is the contradiction between the artist and her music. Even though she views herself in static terms, the whole concept of defying genre is to produce work that is anything but static.

That she has sacrificed everything that she is not for music wasn’t just some on the spot interview answer (like her last statements in that same video), but it’s not that true either. Rather, that she puts everything that she is not into her music, becomes everything that she is not (Hotel Lobby, anybody?) when in the recording studio or in the public eye, makes a lot more sense.