11 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mastered for iTunes
TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
318 Ratings
318 Ratings
格克里斯 ,

厉害了我的熊

不买fantome就变成fantome爬你床

sugarspocks ,

Beautiful return to music by Utada

It has been eight years since Utada’s last Japanese album and with just one listen it is clear that Fantôme was clearly worth the wait. Utada marks her return to the music world with this album and this might be one of her best albums ever, rivaling the perfection that is Deep River.

Although all of Utada’s albums have always been poignant and bittersweet, there is a certain musical maturity present in Fantôme that really shows how much Utada has grown over the years. Between going on hiatus to travel and explore the world, getting married, having a child, and losing her mother, Utada has gained a wealth of new experiences that have become the foundation that resonates deeply in this album.

“道 (Michi / Path)” is a sorrowful song that embodies Utada’s pain from losing her mother and having to gain the ability to move forward despite that pain. Despite the lyrics expressing loneliness, the upbeat tempo makes you want to stand up and dance away your own depression.

Utada performs the masculine and feminine roles of two lovers in the beautifully jazzy and soulful “俺の彼女 (Ore no Kanojo / My Girlfriend)”. The masculine character of the song expresses how nice and wonderful their girlfriend is while the girlfriend expresses how they have been holding things in to become stronger and how they wish to become more intimate with their partner. The Japanese and French lyrics Utada uses in this song really push home the sensual nature in which the girlfriend wishes to grow closer to her partner. I doubt I’ll stop repeating this song anytime soon.

"二時間だけのバカンス (Nijikan Dake no Vacance / 2 Hour Vacation)” is about young love and just taking those brief moments to get away and enjoy each other’s company. It is something many forget in these days where everybody rushes around. Sheena Ringo’s powerful and transformative voice harmonizes magnificently with Utada’s

"忘却 (Boukyaku / Forgetfulness)” explores the themes of life, death and all of the anger that comes with it. Utada’s vocals alone remind me of ”海路 Kairo” from Ultra Blue, but the lyrics are so much more powerful. The ever present beating of the drum and KOHH’s voice pushes the track to a new level and grounds this delicate and otherworldly song to reality.

"ともだち (Tomodachi / Friend)” might be one of my favorite songs on Fantôme due to the catchy lyrics and subject matter. Although the lyrics speak of unrequited love of a friend somebody can’t be with, it is really about about a gay individual who is in love with a straight friend. Despite being a stereotype that is often paired with the LGBT+ community, it is still a pretty familiar thing for many which makes this song so easily relatable for many people. Utada has taken this narrative and put her own spin on it in a manner that really makes listeners feel like they aren’t alone out there. Whether it is a personal experience Utada has faced or not (but after her vocal support of the LGBT community, the many comments she’s made in interviews and her songs, and her latest tweets on her sexuality, I would imagine she is very familiar with this), she has yet again created a song that embodies pain and turns into something that you can move to.

Utada wraps the album up with Evangelion: 3.0/3.33 You Can (Not) Redo’s “桜流し (Sakura Nagashi / Flowing Cherry Blossoms)," and although it is an older song from 2012, it fits right alongside every other song on this album. It embodies loss of love in a pure and delicate way and I think in the end this is what this album is about.

Fantôme is about love in all of its forms; how love is lost or causes you to lose others and tears you apart, how love makes you stronger, how it is spring days and tumbles under the sheets and everything in-between. It hollows us out like ghosts and follows us wherever we go, how it breeds hate and anger. We might lose somebody we love dearly, but we learn how to love again in the end.

I love every single song on Fantôme. I’ve never been so engrossed by an entire album of hers before until today. Utada has truly delivered a brand new masterpiece and I can’t wait to hear more in the coming years from her.

(And I’ll also sit here hoping for a new song for KH3 and a single release for "光 - Ray of Hope MIX-" and "Simple & Clean - Ray of Hope MIX-“)

evansT3A ,

2016, the year the goddess returned to the music industry

There are no words to describe my feelings about Utada's return to music, nor the greatness of this album. Combining the sensibilities of J-pop with powerful sounds familiar to the West akin to Adele or Beyoncé (specifically Ore No Kanojo and Boukyaku, respectively) with heartbreaking and poignant lyricism, this album marks a worthy return of the queen of modern Japanese pop.

Welcome back, Hikki.

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