Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

Utada Hikaru – One Last Kiss

Utada and A.G. Cook end the rebuilding of Evangelion…


Michael Hong: Utada Hikaru wants one last kiss. A kiss so passionate and intense that your lips burn on contact and freeze when they part. And when that’s all over, when their lips have branded on yours, Utada wants one more kiss, this one to last forever. Utada and co-producer A.G. Cook force the impossible, splitting the timeline where your relationship started and where it should’ve ended, coiling it into a circle. Suspended in the gradually obscuring focus of its production, “One Last Kiss” folds in a loop of coos and its repeated “can’t forget” — that one last kiss stuck in the back. It’s there that they realize that constantly reliving those experiences cheapens them and that one last kiss means nothing unless it really is the end. On the spring lilt of the outro, Utada rewrites one last kiss one final time. This time they leave it gentle, just a graze, enough to keep you from ever forgetting that they truly loved you throughout.

Katie Gill: Utada Hikaru by way of late 2010s Ariana Grande. It’s a lovely, calm little song that does a wonderful job showing off Utada’s range. Yeah, it’s a little paint-by-numbers, but when these numbers are so great, I can’t blame it.

Iain Mew: For all Utada’s careful and delicate vocal touches, they’re working with a pretty routine bit of soft electronic pop. On the other hand I just love this stuff in general and will listen to any number of crystalline vocal cut-ups, so it balances out in their favour.

Ian Mathers: The single best thing about Evangelion-related music is someone on tumblr posting “the angel was probably nice before they made it write a thesis” but this song is a surprisingly close second.

Nortey Dowuona: Utada has a plaintive voice, one very easy to twist into a keen, or a loop surrounding the plush piano chords and knotted under the bass and flat, mushed kicks and clacking snares. And every time an English line appears, you seem excited then give up, dissolving once the guitar hook is glued to the bottom, the synths floating above them.

Edward Okulicz: Utada Hikaru is a great performer and writer, and they could have knocked out an okay theme song in their sleep. But this is done with a great deal of care and nuance, leaning wisely on the “sweet” half of the concept of bittersweet, and the relative simplicity of the production is gentle and inviting. Formulaic, yes, but there’s nothing so satisfying as a formula executed to near perfection, to such an extent that it actually feels timeless rather than tired. 

Alfred Soto: Stuttered oh-oh-oh’s are the keys to my reasonable facsimile of a heart, and Utada Hikaru clothes the rest of this elegy to better times with a delivery that acknowledges what is lost yet obstinate about “moving on.” It gains intensity too.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Recognize that 2021 was another impossible year, and that you did the best that you could. Understand but let go of its chaos and bleakness: climate change, race wars, quarantining, pandemic loss, ambiguous loss, social anxiety, all of it. (Press pause on that crush.) Unlearn catastrophizing; finally extend yourself grace. For four minutes, lick your wounds and recharge for the joy that you’ll find in the year ahead.

Reader average: [8.57] (7 votes)

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One Response to “Utada Hikaru – One Last Kiss”

  1. Great write-ups! My song of the year.

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