Utada Hikaru Debuts ‘Boukyaku (feat. KOHH)’ Music Video on Her Birthday
It's January 19 over in Japan already, which means it's officially Utada Hikaru's birthday (Happy Birthday, Hikki!) — except she's the one giving all of us a surprise present.
The Japanese-American pop icon, who's still riding high on the Oricon charts in Japan months after the release of her 2016 studio album Fantôme, decided to provide a visual treat to her ever-loyal fans on her 34th birthday with a music video for the album's atmospheric standout, "Bōkyaku (feat. KOHH)" (English translation: "Forgotten").
The video was directed by Kento Yamada, who also goes by dutch_tokyo, a 20-something Tokyo-bred digital art director and creator handpicked by Utada herself.
As the director himself describes, it's a "pure 'music' video without extra things," meant to provide an "immersive feeling that eliminates all other senses for 5 minutes, divinity, life and death, consciousness and unconsciousness, presence and absence, cognition, subjectivity and objectivity." (That's a rough English translation of his original explanation in Japanese.)
He achieved just that: after opening with what looks to be an extreme microscopic close-up on a cell-splitting event (an embryo? blood vessels moving around?) for the duration of the song's moody opening, the camera focuses its lens on the two shadowy stars. KOHH goes first, spitting his grim verse (while looking incredibly hot in fur, a leather harness and some chokers, just saying) — and then, she arrives, bathed in a heavenly light.
The two continue trading off their verses as light and shadow subtly play on their faces and then, after a quick glimpse of the night sky, darkness.
Looking for a plot? Not so much. Instead, it's a bit like what Björk's been going for with her Vulnicura visuals as of late, removing the viewer entirely from their reality. As with the rest of Fantôme, the video feels more intimate and raw than anything she's done in the past.
Celebrate Hikki's birthday by watching the video above, get into her newly released "Simple & Clean" remix package for Kingdom Hearts, and if you'd like, check out an English translation of "Boukyaku" at Lyrical Nonsense.
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