Thursday, June 21, 2007

Utada Hikaru - Exodus, 06. Tippy Toe

The stream of consciousness continues with notes on the sixth track. Tippy Toe is like a guilty pleasure. I'm too modest.

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Whenever I listen to this track, I'm reminded of the MTV Unplugged performance of Addicted to You. That's a good thing. Actual similarities are non-existent though.

This is a coy track, and is pretty typical pop R&B, except that the verses use some pentatonic scale, in a bit of an Exotic Asian twist. At the end of the verse it concludes with a proper Western cadence. Insistent bass drum generates a good forward movement. The rest of the instrumentation is pretty standard for an R&B track. The pentatonic percussion makes brief entrances in the verses, nothing prominent.

There's the addition of this droning electronic bass effect, which is pretty strong. During the chorus, I hear either that, or her. The one not being paid attention becomes muddled in the background. More often than not, it's the bass that takes centre stage. It's annoying.

The combination of a high register chorus and fast lyrics creates this slurring effect. I have no solutions, but she can sing Kettobase verses cleanly, and they've got fast jumps, albeit it's scored for a mid to high register. Anyway, the chorus takes several passes (song passes, not chorus passes) to get a sense of what she's saying.

I think what reminds me most of Addicted to You is the lead up to the chorus. In both there's a bit of transition and tension leading up to the real chorus, and all the while bass drum is motoring things along. It's a nice effect. Beats the stuffing out of the Up-in-Heaven mix.

At the end of the first verse, when she says you in a high range, she clips it off, maybe due to shortness of breath. People complain about how whenever she says ooh! in such a high register it sounds distorted. For them it was a show stopper. For me, it's a minor issue. It sounds smeared, yes. If the main voice and harmony voice were clean and short, it would have resonated, like the ooh! in Kettobase Unplugged. Missed opportunity, but it doesn't break the song.

Same complaints about her voice lacking any interesting qualities, yada yada. I shouldn't say anything unless she does something special, or especially bizarre.

I'm not paying attention too much to the lyrics. In the second verse the backgrounds drown out some of her fast lyrics. Extra-marital affairs, but from what I can tell it's not really insightful, just viewed through romanticism-tinted glasses.