Well, she's back. After a hiatus of just over 5 years, Hikaru Utada（宇多田ヒカル）has come out with a couple of theme songs, one of which is now greeting viewers watching the NHK morning serial, "Toto Nee-chan"（とと姉ちゃん）in the past several months. And in a few weeks' time, her first album in 8.5 years, "Fantôme" will be out in stores.
There is that feeling of natsukashii when I think about Hikki...which is a bit strange, because I distinctly remember when she was in her earlier heyday back at the very beginning of the 21st century. At the time, not a lot of us in Japan probably thought about her doing a slow fade from the spotlight with all of those hit songs just streaming out one after the other. But I recall an interview that she gave back at that time in which the question was most likely along the lines of what she would be doing a decade later, and she answered that she may end up working in a lab somewhere, her musical career being a pleasant memory.
Obviously, that didn't quite happen, so I will be interested in hearing what "Fantôme" has to offer. In the meantime, I will once again go natsukashii and bring up Utada's 6th single from June 2000, "For You". Written by the singer and composed by Kei Kawano（河野圭）, this was another one of her hits whose video got plenty of airplay in full and in excerpts on the various music shows for months on end. I have to say that I really liked the keyboard work...nice and mellow with some of those R&B hooks catching on here and there. One of the key things about "For You" that has also helped me to remember it is that slight rap that Hikki gives in the intro, which to be honest, sounded like Peppermint Patty from "Peanuts" speaking. She always had that soft rasp in her speaking and singing voices.
"For You" stayed at the top of the charts for 2 straight weeks and became the 18th-ranked single of the year, selling over 450,000 copies in its first week alone. Eventually it would break the million-seller barrier. It would also become a track on Utada's 2nd album "Distance".