SHE'S NOT EVEN 16?!
That was one of my first reactions on seeing and listening to this classic video of Hikaru Utada's（宇多田ヒカル） "Automatic"when it was released at the end of 1998. The Japanese-American composed and wrote this cool masterpiece、but when she performed it in the video, what stood out to me was that this was no made-up aidoru. Even before I found out more about Utada, she struck me from the video alone as being a with-it club kid. But obviously she was more than that since this was a teenager who crafted a song that probably got Toshinobu Kubota green with envy.
Considering that this was one of the songs that pushed J-Pop further into the R&B mode, it's no surprise that it peaked at No. 1 when the sales for both the 8 cm and 12 cm CDs were tallied up. It became the 5th-ranking song for 1999 and ended up selling over 2.5 million copies.
"Automatic"was included as the first track on her debut album as Hikaru Utada, "First Love". I mention this last part since the year before, Utada had released an album in the United States as Cubic U where she did a cover of The Carpenters' "Close to You".
I remember in the weeks and months after her song had been released, "Automatic"was given frequent analysis by various folks in the Japanese music business. Everything from her dance movements in the video to her native English pronunciation of some of the English lyrics were dissected.
The only other thing that struck me about the video was how I hoped that the set for the next one would have a higher ceiling for her.