Utada’s learned from her previous attempt at an international debut. The sexual, aggressive edge of Exodus is still here, but balanced with her usual quirky, observational songwriting style.
Most of the tracks are in a pop style, with “Apple And Cinnamon” a standout. But it’s Utada’s leaps into other genres that are the album’s real highlights - “Me Muero,” a Latin-fueled lament about lost love that sees Utada “smoking my days away reading old e-mails.” “Automatic Part II” kicks off the most danceable part of the album, and shows off Utada’s chemistry with the denser production of Chris “Tricky” Stewart. The sultry thread continues through the fun “Poppin’.”
Utada has finally arrived at a set of songs in English that show off the best of her vocal and lyrical ability. Here’s hoping it gets the attention it deserves. By Ben Applegate
“This Is The One”
Label: Island Def Jam