After a long hiatus, Utada Hikaru (宇多田ヒカル) has finally released 2 brand new songs on the 15th of April, 2016. These new songs have been titled ‘Hanataba wo Kimi ni’ (A Bouquet for You), and ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ (Midsummer Rain). Where can you get this beautiful new music?
On April 4, 2016, the songs were first publicly revealed (albeit only short versions) as they were both featured in a drama and a news program. ‘Hanataba wo Kimi ni’ is the theme song for NHK’s drama ‘Toto Nee-chan’, while ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ was broadcast during news program ‘NEWS ZERO’. Some fans uploaded the songs on Youtube, but they were quickly removed due to copyright issues.
10 days later the songs were finally made available for download on iTunes, Recochoku, and online music store mora. The songs have been digitally released only, so it is unlikely that the full versions of the songs will be uploaded on the official Youtube account of Utada Hikaru. Short previews of the songs are available on Utada Hikaru’s homepage.
In both of the music videos, Utada Hikaru did not make an appearance, which has disappointed some of her fans who were looking forward to seeing her again. The music video for ‘Hanataba wo Kimi ni’ is in cartoon form, while the music video for ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ features various scenes such as children playing with fireworks and people sailing the sea.
Both songs immediately topped the iTunes music chart with ‘Hanataba wo Kimi ni’ taking the first spot and ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’ taking the second position. Besides that, both drama ‘Toto Nee-chan’ and news program ‘NEWS ZERO’ experienced high ratings as a result of using Utada Hikaru’s songs. ‘Toto Nee-chan’ is receiving the highest ratings for a morning drama since the year 2001, and the only morning drama that has ever received better ratings is ‘Honmamon’ in 2001. On the other hand, ‘NEWS ZERO’ received the highest ratings of the year when it broadcast Utada’s song.
Of the two songs I prefer ‘Manatsu no Tooriame’, but ‘Hanataba wo Kimi ni’ is still quite pleasant. If you have always been a fan of Utada Hikaru, don’t miss out and buy the songs!