Thursday, June 21, 2007

Utada Hikaru - Exodus, 07. Hotel Lobby

Terse pseudo-technical commentary continues with notes on the seventh track. Incidentally, the melodic structure of Hotel Lobby's verse appears in the bridge of her latest single (available for download on iTunes in Japan). Square-bracket comments are new.

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Whoo, Latin styles. Hikaru should've dragged in a steel drum band [maybe she did, now that I think about it]. The electronic clipped piano thingy (I can't identify what kind instrument plays that introductory motif) is not too intrusive.

I might as well get through the lyrics. At first I wasn't sure what was going on since I couldn't really make out the lyrics. But after hearing [I'm kind of slow that way] that it's about a prostitute, everything sort of clicked, and I could make out the lyrics. It's amazing how well your hearing improves once you have a framework to work with. The lyrics are descriptive of the situation and thoughts of the character. Who knows if they're realistic. They're brief enough to say that they're representative.

This is another of those tracks that is executed well. The verses are sort of quick, and the high register that they are sung in, combined with the high register harmony, can lead to a bit of distortion, but again, after knowing what's going on, it's a lot easier to pick out the words. I think the higher register is appropriate given the style and character of the track.

The really engaging part is the chorus. The underlying harmony swells and drives the harmonic progression out of sync [colloquially known as call and response] with the main line, and it's like the two are racing. They quickly swell and peak in sync, before falling and doing the same thing again. It's really chant-like, and chant is usually energizing [I do like the choral elements of Yuki Kajiura's works]. There is some solo chanting in between verses and chorus as well.

Upon listening to the chorus again, the dramatic swelling is only done on the first pass. The second run is a bit sparser. I wish that there was a greater dynamic change at the top of swell relative to the bottom. It would have added that much more energy.