It’s “Automatic” With Hikaru Utada

Happy #SongLyricsSunday! I try to make this short and sweet as I still am recovering from a corneal abrasion. Today’s prompt is to find a song with “Automated”, “Mechanized”, “Modernized”, or “Robotic” in the title or lyrics. My pick is Japanese-American singer-songwriter Hikaru Utada’s 1998 song “Automatic”. It was this one or The Pointer Sisters’ “Automatic”. But, Utada’s song won out as it is such a pivotal song in modern Japanese music history. Why? Find out below.

The Sun Will Shine

“Automatic” was Hikaru Utada’s first major debut single with the label Toshiba EMI. Before the single (which was released on December 9, 1998), Utada had some experience releasing some material in English under the name CubicU and with her mom, famous enka singer Keiko Fuji, under the name U3. But, the album that the singer-songwriter released under the CubicU name didn’t make any waves in her birthplace (the United States) or Japan. But, that didn’t stop her as she moved to Tokyo in the summer of 1998 to see if she could have a hit song in Japan in the Japanese music market.

And “Automatic” was that hit! Utada wrote the song in the summer of 1998. And then she had her father Teruzane Utada and his friend Akira Miyake at three studios. There is an English version that was recorded, but Toshiba-EMI executives thought it was better to release a Japanese song for the Japanese music market. After being released, “Automatic” went up to the number position on the Oricon charts and charted for twenty-three weeks. The 3″ and 7″ single sold over two million copies combined.

But Utada’s debut single made a deep impact on the Japanese music scene. “Automatic” is a combination of R&B, dance, and soul. A song that details the singer-songwriter’s past romantic relationship, this 1998 track was a pivotal shift as helped bring more Western-styled R&B to the Japanese market. Before “Automatic”, the Japanese music market was mainly about dance/club tracks. Then after the single hit the shelves, the music market shifted tastes as more R&B-flavored tracks and artists popped up. Without Utada’s “Automatic”, the Japanese music market would have been totally different at the turn of the century (and even today).

The Rules for #SongLyricsSunday
(This challenge is currently hosted by the generous Jim Adams.)

Anyone can participate in #SongLyricsSunday, even if you aren’t a music blogger! If you want to participate, here are the rules:

Post the lyrics to the song of your choice, whether it fits the theme or not.
Please try to include the songwriter(s) – it’s a good idea to give credit where credit is due.
Make sure you also credit the singer/band and if you desire you can provide a link to where you found the lyrics.
Link to the YouTube video, or pull it into your post so others can listen to the song.
Pingback to this post will eventually work, as long as you are being patient, but you can also place your link in the comments if you don’t like to wait.
Read at least one other person’s blog, so we can all share new and fantastic music and create amazing new blogging friends in the process.
Feel free to suggest future prompts.
Have fun and enjoy the music.

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