“Forevermore”: Utada Hikaru Dances in the Dark

Yes, she’s actually dancing.


Making their way home with firm strides, people avoid the overflowing main street / Plugging my ears with broken headphones, I half-muttered your name…

“Forevermore” is Utada Hikaru‘s latest single; her second post-Fantôme release since signing with Epic Records Japan earlier this year, which doubles as the theme for a TBS drama called Gomen, Aishiteru (I’m Sorry, I Love You).

The song was recorded this past spring between Japan and London, and penned after Utada read the plot for Gomen, Aishiteru and looked at images provided by the producer.

Starting with a dramatic string intro, “Forevermore” soon drifts into jazzier territory, most closely recalling her reinterpretation of Edith Piaf‘s “Hymne à l’amour” for Single Collection Vol. 2.

As with all things Hikki, the evocative lyricism is the best part of the whole production, as she goes through the motions of life consumed entirely by her commitment to another — betrayal, and even her own death, be damned. (Medical professionals would likely describe this behavior as “Mariah Carey-obsessed-dot-mp3.”)

Even if you betray me, this one thing will never change,” she vows.

Though my heart is unfeeling, the only one who seizes it like this, never letting go, is you.

“Forevermore” is great (which Utada song isn’t, for that matter?), but the Jamie-James Medina-directed video throws a curveball that’s even better — she does love to play ball, after all: Utada is actually dancing.

Choreographed by Fukiko Takase, the New York-bred dancer featured alongside Thom Yorke in Atoms For Peace‘s “Ingenue” music video, the visual finds our “Passion” princess in an eerily lit warehouse (and/or set of a new Alien movie?) twirling her interpretive heart out, Maddie Ziegler style, channeling emotions into moves.

Until now, Hikki hasn’t really served much in the way of choreography. Yes, there’ve been bits and pieces in “Traveling” and “Passion” and “Keep Tryin’,” but not as intricately performed as this. And those toned arms! Sure, it’s not Britney-style hair flipping and hip-thrusting, but it is the most movement we’ve ever seen from the singer, proving that it’s never too late to sign up for a dance class.

The full “Forevermore” music video is, cruelly, not available to view around the world until August 10. As one of the biggest music markets in the world (they’re still buying CDs), Japan is uniquely insular with their releases, and also way behind on the digital front. We must simply wait and see. (Eh heh.)

And, for a bit of interactive fun, Utada’s launched a special lyric site for “Forevermore,” which visually changes daily to highlight the lyrics mentioned most on Twitter.

“Forevermore” was released on July 28. (iTunes)

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