Single Review: Hikaru Utada - Dare ni mo Iwanai | 誰にも言わない

Single Review: Hikaru Utada - Dare ni mo Iwanai | 誰にも言わない | Random J Pop

"Dare ni mo Iwanai" is the second digital single from Hikaru Utada in 2020. And it's an interesting one, because it feels like the other half to her first, "Time".

Both "Time" and "Dare ni mo Iwanai" are songs are about looking back, but offer two different perspectives on the actual act of doing it. "Time" was about looking back on a relationship and wanting to recapture a moment from it and relive it. To live in the past. Where-as "Dare ni mo Iwanai" is about looking back on experiences you've had in love in the past, and choosing to not to let them affect your approaches to living in the present. To willingly approach it blindly, even if it means you get hurt. Neither song affects the other in any way. They can very much their own thing, but it's cool putting them side by side, because they represent two sides of the same coin, something which extends to how Hikaru Utada approached their sounds.

Where-as "Time" was hard hitting and "Dare ni mo Iwanai" is easy listening. It's odd to take at first. I had to listen to it several times before I could even say that I liked it as a song. I liked it as background music from the get go, because it's beautifully composed and arranged. But as a Pop song, I was unsure about it, because it didn't feel like the song was really...doing anything. Until I realised that THAT'S what's so good about "Dare ni mo Iwanai". It's all in what it doesn't try to do.

The song does have something resembling a verse, chorus, verse, bridge structure, but it's so spread across the song and punctuated by instrumentals and musical flourishes that the structure feels almost non-existent. It's not a song that demands that you follow it, as opposed to just go along with it. It makes almost too much sense that this song was used in a TV commercial which showed rivers and waterfalls. Because it's what the song feels like. Water flowing.

Single Review: Hikaru Utada - Dare ni mo Iwanai | 誰にも言わない | Random J Pop

If I had to pick one thing I don't like about the song however, it's the vocal production; something I've found myself very critical of when it comes to Hikaru's music as of late. The vocal production or lack thereof was one of the biggest reasons I wasn't keen on "Time". It definitely doesn't ruin "Dare ni mo Iwanai". Far from it. But some vocal production touches here and there would have made the song that bit better. Hikaru's vocals are soft and suit the song perfectly, but they still sound so straight, especially at the start. Some reverb and some echos would have provided some extra smoothness and really allowed them to settle into the easy listening vibe of the music itself - making Hiakru's voice sound almost like it's coming to you in a dream. But this is a very me specific thing. As I said, it's not something which makes or breaks the song.

Single Review: Hikaru Utada - Dare ni mo Iwanai | 誰にも言わない | Random J Pop

Hikaru Utada continues to play with music and that's what I appreciate about a song like "Dare ni mo Iwanai" and why Hikaru is in a league of her own. 20 years into her career and she's still giving us something different, yet so typical of her. As was the case with "Time", "Dare ni mo Iwanai" manages to feel fresh and different, whilst also being able to sit along what Hikaru has given us before. You could slap this on Ultra Blue and it'd fit, because of how ethereal and pensive the song is, and the way it feels like this living and breathing, as many of the songs on Ultra Blue did.

It's easy to listen to a song like "Dare ni mo Iwanai" and feel that Hikaru didn't take a risk and that the song is boring. But not every artist in the position that Hikaru Utada is in would put out a song like this, even thought it'd be the perfect time for them to do so.

Hikaru Utada has long been past the point of conforming her sound, and her willingness and desire to still play around with it is part of why she still has the huge dedicated fanbase that she does, and why she's in a league of her own.

"Dare ni mo Iwanai" is the calmest and most unbothered of middle fingers.

RATING: 7.5 / 10

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