Beautiful World (Hikaru Utada song)

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"Beautiful World"
A woman sitting on a ledge at the bottom of a concrete garage building while motion-blurred school children walk past
"Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry" cover
Single by Hikaru Utada
from the album Heart Station
Released August 29, 2007 (2007-08-29)
(see release history)
Format CD Single, digital download
Recorded 2007
Genre Pop
Length 5:18
Label EMI Music Japan
Writer(s) Hikaru Utada
Producer(s) Hikaru Utada, Akira Miyake, Teruzane Utada
Hikaru Utada singles chronology
"Kiss & Cry"
(2007)
"Beautiful World"
(2007)
"Do You"
(2007)
Alternate cover
"Beautiful World (Planitb Acoustica Mix)" digital download cover

"Beautiful World" is a song by Japanese musician Hikaru Utada. It served as the theme song for Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, the 2007 film reboot of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. It was released as a double A-side single on August 29, 2007 along with her song "Kiss & Cry", which had been released digitally three months earlier.[1] In 2009, a remix of the song, "Beautiful World (Planitb Acoustica Mix)" served as the theme song of the second film in the series, Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance.

Background and development[edit]

In 2006, Utada released her fifth studio album, Ultra Blue, led by the digital single "This Is Love". In February 2007, Utada released "Flavor of Life", the theme song for the drama Hana Yori Dango Returns, which became one of her most commercially successful singles, selling over eight million downloads and becoming the second most digitally successful song of 2007 globally.[2][3]

On April 20, Utada's song "Kiss & Cry" began to be used to commercials for Nissin Foods' Freedom Project advertising campaign, and was released as a digital download on May 31.[4][5] Utada's recording of the jazz standard "Fly Me to the Moon", originally found on her "Wait & See (Risk)" (2000) single, was rearranged and released as a digital download on June 29.[6] Renditions of this song had previously been used in the original Neon Genesis Evangelion animation's soundtrack, and Utada's version was used in trailers for Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone.[6]

Promotion and release[edit]

"Beautiful World" debuted on the radio and was released as a ringtone on July 23, 2007.[7] In early September, Utada performed the song at many music entertainment programs in Japan: at Count Down TV on September 1,[8] Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ on September 3,[9] Utaban on September 6,[10] and both Music Station and Music Fighter on September 7.[11][12] "Beautiful World" was performed during Utada's two date concert series Wild Life in December 2010.[13]

Articles about Utada appeared in music and fashion magazines in August and September 2007, to promote the single. This included R&R Newsmaker, What's In?, CD Data, Barfout!, Oricon Style, Pia, Pop Teen and Patipati.[14]

Planitb Acoustica Remix[edit]

In 2009, the song was rearranged for the second film of the Rebuild of Evangelion series, as "Beautiful World (Planitb Acoustica Mix)". It was released as a digital download on June 28, 2009. Utada worked with Russell McNamara, who had previously made remixes of her songs "Distance", "Traveling", "Hikari" and "Simple and Clean" between 2001–2002. The song was commercially successful, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100.[15] It was added as the final track of Utada's second compilation album Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 2 in late 2010.

Music videos[edit]

Two animated music videos were produced for the song, depicting scenes from Evangelion. The first was released at the time of the single's release, and featured scenes of Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, directed by the film's chief director Hideaki Anno.[16] This music video won a Japanese MTV Video Music Award for the best video used for a film.[17]

In 2014 to promote Utada's 15th anniversary, as well as the tribute album Utada Hikaru no Uta, a music video of Evangelion scenes was produced by Kazuya Tsurumaki, one of the co-directors of the Rebuild of Evangelion film series.[18][19]

Critical reception[edit]

CDJournal reviewers described Utada as singing about "earnest love and deep prayers in a rhythmic tempo", and noted "a painful beauty where transience and passion live together" in the song. They praised the "melancholy" way that Utada sings the lyric "it's only love", as well as the lyrics' sense of ironic while coming from an everyday perspective.[20][21] Tetsuo Hiraga of Hot Express gave an extremely positive review of the song, feeling in awe of the emotional sensitivity of Utada's lyrics and how well they resonated with Evangelion.[22]

Track listings[edit]

"Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry" single
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Beautiful World"   Utada 5:18
2. "Kiss & Cry"   Utada 5:07
3. "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words) (2007 Mix)"   Bart Howard 3:24
4. "Beautiful World (Original Karaoke)"   Utada 5:15
5. "Kiss & Cry (Original Karaoke)"   Utada 5:08
6. "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words) (2007 Mix) (Original Karaoke)"   Howard 3:23
Total length:
27:35

All songs written and composed by Hikaru Utada. 

"Beautiful World (Planitb Acoustica Mix)" digital download
No. Title Length
1. "Beautiful World (Planitb Acoustica Mix)"   5:15
Total length:
5:15


Personnel[edit]

Personnel details were sourced from "Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry"'s liner notes booklet.[23]

  • Goetz B. for 365 Artists – mixing
  • Atsushi Matsui – recording
  • Akira Miyake – production
  • Alexis Smith – additional programming
  • Yuzuru Tomita – additional programming
  • Hikaru Utada – arrangement, keyboards, programming, production, songwriting, vocals
  • Teruzane Utada – production

Chart rankings[edit]

Charts (2007) Peak
position
Japan Oricon weekly singles[24]
  • "Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry"
2
Japan Oricon yearly singles[25]
  • "Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry"
20
Japan RIAJ Reco-kyō ringtones Top 100[26] 2
Charts (2009) Peak
position
Billboard Japan Hot 100[15]
  • Planitb Acoustica Mix
8
RIAJ Digital Track Chart Top 100[27] 59
RIAJ Digital Track Chart Top 100[28]
  • Planitb Acoustica Mix
8

Sales and certifications[edit]

Chart Amount
Oricon physical sales[29]
  • "Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry"
235,000
RIAJ digital download certification[30] Million (1,000,000)
RIAJ ringtone certification[31] 2× Platinum (500,000)
RIAJ physical certification[32]
  • "Beautiful World" / "Kiss & Cry"
Platinum (250,000)
RIAJ cellphone download certification[33]
  • Planitb Acoustica Mix
Gold (100,000)

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Distributing Label Catalog codes
Japan July 23, 2007 (2007-07-23)[7] Ringtone, radio add date EMI Music Japan
August 29, 2007 (2007-08-29)[1][30] CD single, digital download TOCT-40120
South Korea August 30, 2007 (2007-08-30)[34] Digital download Universal Music Korea
Taiwan August 31, 2007 (2007-08-31)[35] CD single Gold Typhoon 5099950581924
Japan June 27, 2009 (2009-06-27)[33] Digital download (Planitb Acoustica Mix) EMI Music Japan

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry". Amazon.co.jp. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  2. ^ AFP (January 24, 2008). "Online music sales grow 40 percent in 2007: IFPI" (in Japanese). Google. Archived from the original on April 19, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  3. ^ 宇多田ヒカル、デビュー以来全アルバムがミリオン達成 [Hikaru Utada has her first digitally million album] (in Japanese). Barks. March 13, 2008. Archived from the original on August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ "宇多田ヒカルが新記録を樹立!さらに新曲も発表" (in Japanese). Barks. April 20, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ レコード協会調べ 6月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: June Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. July 20, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "宇多田ヒカル、新曲はヱヴァンゲリヲンのテーマ" (in Japanese). Oricon. June 29, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "宇多田ヒカル、話題の新曲がついに解禁!" (in Japanese). Barks. July 23, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Count Down TV". (in Japanese). September 1, 2007. Tokyo Broadcasting System.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "宇多田ヒカル Beautiful World" (in Japanese). Fuji Television. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Utaban". (in Japanese). September 6, 2007. Tokyo Broadcasting System.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ 主演者ライナップ 2007/09/07 (in Japanese). TV Asahi. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Music Fighter". (in Japanese). September 6, 2007. Nippon Television.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ "宇多田ヒカル一時休止前ラスト公演で感涙&Ust新記録樹立" (in Japanese). Natalie. December 13, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010. 
  14. ^ 「Beautiful World」関連記事掲載予定メディア一覧 [Planned "Beautiful World" related article media list] (in Japanese). EMI Music Japan. July 30, 2007. Archived from the original on October 31, 2007. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Japan Billboard Hot 100". Billboard Japan. July 13, 2009. Archived from the original on September 19, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Beautiful World" (in Japanese). Space Shower. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  17. ^ "速報!MTVが贈るミュージックビデオの祭典VMAJ受賞者決定". white-screen.jp. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  18. ^ "Beautiful World(2014 ver.)" (in Japanese). Space Shower. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  19. ^ EMI Music Japan. "Utada Hikaru「Beautiful World」 Directed by Tsurumaki Kazuya" (in Japanese). Youtube. Archived from the original on December 29, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  20. ^ "宇多田ヒカル / Beautiful World / Kiss&Cry" (in Japanese). CDJournal. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  21. ^ "宇多田ヒカル / HEART STATION" (in Japanese). CDJournal. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry" (in Japanese). Hot Express. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  23. ^ Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry (Media notes) (in Japanese). Hikaru Utada. Tokyo, Japan: EMI Music Japan. 2007. 
  24. ^ 宇多田ヒカルのシングル売り上げランキング [Hikaru Utada single sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on November 11, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 
  25. ^ シングル 年間ランキング (in Japanese). Oricon. December 2007. Archived from the original on December 29, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  26. ^ "レコード協会調べ 9月度有料音楽配信チャート(「着うた(R)」)<略称:9月度レコ協チャート(「着うた(R)」)>" (in Japanese). RIAJ. 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  27. ^ "レコード協会調べ 2009年07月01日~2009年07月07日 <略称:レコ協チャート(「着うたフル(R)」)>" (in Japanese). RIAJ. 2009-07-10. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  28. ^ "レコード協会調べ 2009年06月24日~2009年06月30日 <略称:レコ協チャート(「着うたフル(R)」)>" (in Japanese). RIAJ. 2009-07-03. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  29. ^ "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」" [Oricon Ranking Information Service 'You Big Tree']. Oricon. Retrieved December 18, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  30. ^ a b レコード協会調べ 9月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: September Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  31. ^ レコード協会調べ 9月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: September Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. October 20, 2007. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  32. ^ ゴールド等認定作品一覧 2007年8月 [Works Receiving Certifications List (Gold, etc) (August 2007)] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. September 10, 2007. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  33. ^ a b レコード協会調べ 8月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: August Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. September 20, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry" (in Korean). Bugs. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Beautiful World - Kiss & Cry". Books.co.tw. Retrieved December 23, 2014.