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Hikaru Utada - Hikari
Catalog Number: TOCT-4361
Released On: March 20, 2002
Composed By: Hikaru Utada
Arranged By: Hikaru Utada, Kei Kawano, Russell McNamara, Alex "Godson" Richbourg
Published By: Toshiba-EMI
Recorded At: Bunkamura Studio
Format: 1 CD
Tracklist:

01 - Hikari
02 - Hikari -PLANITb Remix
03 - Hikari -Godson Mix
04 - Hikari -Original Karaoke
Total Time:
19'28"

As the only song on the Kingdom Hearts OST not composed by Yoko Shimomura, I was skeptical of both the voice talents and musical composition in Hikari. I'm not a very big J-POP fan, and I feared this song would fall short of the excellent precedence Square has made for itself. Thankfully, not only is Hikaru Utada's performance amazing, but the lyrics and composition really shines through.

Hikari is one of the few Square vocals that completely grabbed me the moment I heard it. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it was written by Utada herself. Although the music is typical of most J-POP songs, her voice seems to make anything sound incredible, which is another matter in itself.

I've come to the determination that a good majority of female Japanese vocals, especially those on anime and game soundtracks, feature high-pitched, whispy-voiced performances that are often too saccharine for my tastes. I was expecting much the same of Utadu when I popped this CD into my player. Was I ever wrong! I can't believe how incredible her voice is. What's more amazing is that she's singing with this amount of emotion and power and she's only 19 years old. No wonder she's among the most popular J-POP artists today.

Along with the original track are two remixes of the song itself. Although the Godson Mix isn't quite to my liking, the music is just a little too funky for me, the Hikari PLANITb Remix is really good. Unlike some mixes that I've heard, the arranged music here compliments the lead vocal nicely, and also has a great beat to it. I think I enjoy this version of the song as much as the original, which is saying a lot since I'm normally not too fond of remixes.

If you have the Kingdom Hearts OST, you'll have Hikari already on it. In most instances I would suggest that only the collector need buy this single, but then you'd be missing out on the full version (the OST only has the edited version) of an excellent remix. So, make sure you pick this up along with the OST. You won't regret it.

Reviewed by: Lucy Rzeminski



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