Utada Hikaru‘s Hatsukoi – or First Love in English, a Japanese language nod to her debut album title 20 years later – is nearly upon us, and now everything is beautiful (world) and nothing hurts.
First off, there’s the album cover shot by NY-based fashion photographer Takay – which, much like almost all of her album covers, is a tight, simple and clean (do you see what I did there?) close-up on Hikki’s face.
While a change of scenery would be welcome (or perhaps just proof that she exists from the neck down), it’s kind of cool that she’s kept the covers fairly consistent throughout the years. You can see how she’s matured, album by album, up real close and personal.
And of course, the image bears a striking resemblance to the one that started it all…
Secondly, there’s the track list: there are 12 songs, as we already knew, including the newly released ode to post-divorce mixed emotions, “Play A Love Song.”
One song, “Too Proud,” includes a feature by Jevon, who I’m assuming is this up-and-coming rapper:
Praying that means we’re getting another Hikki hip-pop moment. Bring on the “Blow My Whistle” sequel!
There’s also a track called “Good Night,” which will be used as the theme song of the (already adorable looking) animated film, Penguin Highway, which hits theaters this August in Japan. It’s also Utada’s first animated soundtrack song since “Sakura Nagashi” for Evangelion back in 2012.
A plot summary of the penguin movie, should you be as interested in seeing this as I am, via IMDB: “A fourth-grader, Aoyama-kun, investigates the mysterious reason behind the sudden appearance of penguins in his village, which is somehow related to a power from a young woman working at a dental clinic.”
To soothe the anticipation for the album, there’s already a preview of “Good Night.” Watch the super cute trailer below – the song sounds good so far, but judgement will be reserved until there’s a version without excitable penguin-related dialogue layered on top.
The album drops on June 27, which means we’re just a little over a month away now from UH7.
Check out the full Hatsukoi track listing below.
1. Play A Love Song
6. Too Proud featuring Jevon
7. Good Night
Photo credit: Epic Records Japan