The last time Hikaru Utada and Shiina Ringo got together, they were taking a trip into outer space for a brief, but necessary two hour vacation on Fantôme‘s “Nijikan Dake No Vacance” in 2016.
Having returned back down to Earth – or, more likely, arrived at some far-off planet accessible only to Japanese music industry titans – Hikki and Shiina are reuniting on a record once more.
This time, they’ve come together for – what else? – a round of sexy Tetris set to the sound of their jazzy collaboration “Roman to Soroban,” a new song featured on Shiina’s upcoming greatest hits album, Newton no Ringo ~Hajimete no Best Ban~, which is out on November 13. (The title translates roughly to “Romanticism & The Abacus,” but it’s called “The Sun & Moon in London” on Apple Music. Go figure.)
The stylish, chic black-and-white clip finds the singers alternating between crooning Shiina’s introspective thoughts together at vintage ’20s/’30s-style standing microphones and playing a giant game of Tetris as glitzy dancers twirl around on poles in the background. Pop star cinematic crossovers and strippers? It’s basically like a classy Japanese take on Hustlers.
Every set-up is gorgeous, especially when it looks like they’re on the set of a ’60s musical variety show. Very Barbra and Judy singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” really.
“Experts, amateurs, and everyone else… all have their pros and cons / So give me the foolishness to play it safe / I want to keep practicing new techniques, each and every time,” they sing. (Translation courtesy of Lyrical Nonsense.)
The song is noted as the “LDN ver,” likely due to the fact that the London Philharmonic Orchestra (!) recorded for the track at Abbey Road Studios. That said, perhaps there are more location-themed versions coming. RT for Brazil version, please?
As with Hikaru and Shiina’s Fantôme collaboration, there’s a real chemistry between the two performers – both on the track and in the video. They might not be very similar in their respective musical styles, but their real-life friendship and mutual appreciation is palpable, and witnessing two icons at work is truly a sight to behold.
Or, as director Kodama Yuichi reportedly remarked: “Please take a look at the gods flirting.”
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