Exodus (Hikaru Utada album)

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Exodus
Studio album by Utada
Released September 8, 2004
Genre Pop, dance, R&B, alternative, techno, electronica
Length 54:15,
65:00 (UK Version)
Label Island, Mercury
Producer Utada, Timbaland, Danja, Sking U
Utada chronology
Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1
(2004)
Exodus
(2004)
Ultra Blue
(2006)
Alternative cover
UK album cover
Singles from Exodus
  1. "Easy Breezy"
    Released: August 3, 2004
  2. "Devil Inside"
    Released: September 14, 2004
  3. "Exodus '04"
    Released: June 21, 2005
Singles from Exodus (United Kingdom Version)
  1. "You Make Me Want to Be a Man"
    Released: October 17, 2005

Exodus (エキソドス Ekisodosu?) is the debut English language by Japanese singer-songwriter Utada. The album was released on September 8, 2004 by Island Records in Japan, and worldwide on October 5, 2004. The album was re-released by Mercury Records in the UK over a year later on September 25, 2005. This is Utada's debut English language studio album (not including Precious). Exodus received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who felt that her music was very mainstream for the public, although some did feel it was "repetitive".[citation needed] Exodus was re-released[1] on September 20, 2006 in Japan, under Universal International, parent company of Island Def Jam. This limited reissue retailed at ¥1470. The album sold a total of 1.5 million copies worldwide.

"Easy Breezy", "Devil Inside" and "Exodus '04" were the three singles released in America, whilst the UK re-release had a single release also; "You Make Me Want to Be a Man". All singles were released in the United States, although "Easy Breezy" didn't manage to chart in the US. "Devil Inside" was considered Utada's best single in the states at that time, as it peaked at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play, becoming one of Utada's first number one on the charts. "Exodus" managed to peak at number twenty-four on the Hot Dance Club Play. The fourth single "You Make Me Want to Be a Man", peaked at number two-hundred and twenty-seven on the UK Singles Chart. To date, none of her English singles have peaked on the Oricon Singles Charts.[2]

Background and release[edit]

After being approached by Island Def Jam to appear in a song for the soundtrack to action-comedy film Rush Hour 2, Utada was then asked by the label to record an album. The track, "Blow My Whistle" was written by Utada herself, along with Pharrel Willams, Chad Hugo and featured American rapper Foxy Brown. The track was produced by The Neptunes. Exodus was written, produced and mainly composed by Utada herself, with Timbaland acting as producer and remixer. She also received help from Danja and Sking U, her father. Exodus was the first release by Utada under the Island Def Jam and Universal Music label. The tracks "Opening" and "Crossover Interlude" contain exactly the same lyrics, but are mixed differently. Even though "Opening" has vocals in the song, the lyrics aren't provided in the lyric booklet. The Hong Kong and Taiwan versions of the album contain lyrics for "Opening" in Chinese. Only two Japanese words were used on the whole album: the words "konnichiwa" (こんにちは?) and "sayōnara" (さようなら?) are found in "Easy Breezy". Additionally, the words "Thank you for praying for my success" (成功祈ってくれてありがとう Seikou inotte kurete arigatou?) are written in the lyric booklet. All of the Japanese translations in the lyric booklet were done by Hiroko Shintani (新谷洋子 Shintani Hirōko?), except for the song "Animato" which was translated by Utada herself. Utada stated that it had a certain feel to it that she wanted to bring across to her Japanese audience.

During an interview in the United States whilst promoting This Is the One in 2009, when asked about Exodus, Utada said that Exodus was "a very experimental album. I was like a mad scientist working away in an underground laboratory", going on to say "I had the time of my life but it was a very intense, introverted process".[3] Utada has said in numerous follow-up interviews that Exodus is an introverted album.

Promotion[edit]

Exodus was released in North America nearly a month after its release in Japan, on October 5, 2004, two months later in Brazil,[4] on November 17, 2004, and the UK version was released about a year after on September 26, 2005. Exodus was re-released[1] on September 20, 2006 in Japan, under Universal International, parent company of Island Def Jam.

On February 23, 2005, Utada did a one-night-only showcase at the Skylight Studios, New York. There she sung a few songs from Exodus including "You Make Me Want to Be a Man" and "Kremlin Dusk".[5]

Response by Elton John[edit]

In an interview, Elton John stated that:

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 4/5 stars[7]
Allmusic 3/5 stars[8]
MSN Music 3/5 stars[9]
Stylus Magazine (B)[10]
USA Today 3/4 stars[11]

Exodus received generally favorable reviews from most music critics. Allmusic gave three out of five stars, highlighting the two first tracks from the album and "Exodus 04", stating that Exodus "Delivers a diverse collection of urbane, modern, and, at times, almost avant-garde electronica and dance music", and concluding with "EXODUS heralds the American arrival of an unusual and challenging artist." Rob Carolan from Stylus Magazine gave it a positive review, stating "So there you have it. It’s not a pop masterpiece but it’s a decidedly good record. Few J-Pop artists ever attempt to make such a bold and risky record, but with Exodus, Utada has established herself as an individual who can proudly stand aside from the rest of the identikit J-Pop idols. Hopefully she'll keep on getting better, but even if she falls into the machine, she will always have Exodus, and that’s enough."[12] Isaac McCalla from Dancemusic on About.com gave it a positive review, complimenting the album's process, calling some songs "radio-friendly" and then the rest more "chilled-out". He later concluded saying "[...] Utada is definitely an up and comer; she's beautiful, writes good songs with intelligent lyrics, and has a keen electronic sensibility."[13]

Elysa Gardner from USA Today gave it three stars out of five. She said "Utada Hikaru crafts slick, electronically fueled tracks that could, on their surface, pass as background music for nightclubs and loft parties. Luckily, this young singer/songwriter is more than a ghost in her own machine." She compared Utada to an early stage of Madonna saying she is "girlish yearning that transcends her vocal limitations and melts the cool sheen of her arrangements." Sputnikmusic gave the album 2.5 out of 5. The review praised Hikaru's vocals saying it is "very well done most of the time". However, he did say that overall, he felt that the album was a "letdown". He also said that the lyrics were not good as well. He did highlight "Kremlin Dusk", "Devil Inside" and "Hotel Lobby".[14] JPop-Go gave the album a positive review saying "This is Utada's 'Exodus' from overly-polished, commercial pop; her two fingers up at the music industry. Existing fans with more eclectic tastes will be pleasantly surprised, while hardcore J-pop junkies might be disappointed at the changes."[15]

Chart performance[edit]

Exodus is the largest debut selling foreign language album in Japanese history (debut with 523,761 units). It is the 247th best selling album of all time in Japan.[16] It did have success in Japan. On September 8, 2004, Universal Music Japan shipped 1 million copies of the album, breaking a record that was previously held by Mariah Carey (she had sold 500,000).[17]

However, the album did not achieve a lot of success in the US, reaching #160 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and has sold in excess of 55,000 units in the territory according to Nielsen Soundscan.[18] The album did however have success on the US Billboard Heatseekers, peaking at number five on the albums chart, making Utada's first album to debut on both albums chart.[19]

Singles[edit]

"Easy Breezy" was released as the first single of the album. This is the first single to debut her name "Utada" which she uses for her English releases. The song received generally positive reviews from music critics,[citation needed] however the song did not chart on any singles chart. The song however sold more than 2000 copies in Japan. The second single of the album, "Devil Inside", was released on 14 September 2004 and received generally mixed reviews from music critics. The song was released physically in the United States. No music video was produced. The song remained Utada's biggest hit in the States, as it peaked at number one on the Hot Dance Club Play.

The third single "Exodus '04" received generally positive reviews from music critics,[citation needed] and was released in 2005, a late release on the album. No music video was produced for the single. The song received little attention yet again, but did peak at number twenty-four on the Hot Dance Club Play. The fourth and last single, "You Make Me Want to Be a Man", was released as the only UK single. The song received little success as well, but peaked at number 227 on the UK Singles Chart.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Utada, except "Exodus '04" and "Let Me Give You My Love" composed by Utada and Timbaland

No. Title Length
1. "Opening"   1:50
2. "Devil Inside"   3:58
3. "Exodus '04"   4:32
4. "The Workout"   4:01
5. "Easy Breezy"   4:03
6. "Tippy Toe"   4:15
7. "Hotel Lobby"   4:30
8. "Animato"   4:31
9. "Crossover Interlude"   1:18
10. "Kremlin Dusk"   5:14
11. "You Make Me Want to Be a Man"   4:37
12. "Wonder 'Bout"   3:48
13. "Let Me Give You My Love"   3:38
14. "About Me"   4:00
UK Bonus Tracks
No. Title Length
15. "You Make Me Want to Be a Man" (Bloodshy & Avant Mix) 4:03
16. "You Make Me Want to Be a Man" (Junior Jack Mix) 6:44

Charts[edit]

Exodus (Japan) - Oricon Sales Chart (Japan)

Release Chart Peak Position Debut Sales Sales Total Chart Run
September 8, 2004 Oricon Daily Albums Chart 1[20]
September 8, 2004 Oricon Weekly Albums Chart 1[21] 523,761 1,074,393 20
September 8, 2004 Oricon Yearly Albums Chart 6[22][23]

Exodus (U.S.) - Billboard Sales Chart (U.S.)

Release Chart Peak
position
Sales Total
October 5, 2004 The Billboard 200 160
55,000
October 5, 2004 Top Heatseekers 5

Exodus singles - Billboard charts[edit]

Year Single Chart Peak
position
2004 "Devil Inside" Dance Radio Airplay 1
2004 "Devil Inside" Hot Singles Sales 57[24]
2004 "Devil Inside" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 30
2005 "Exodus '04" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 24

Release history[edit]

Country Date Distributing label
Japan September 8, 2004 Universal Music Japan
United States October 5, 2004 Island Records
Luxembourg October 5, 2004 Universal Music
Germany October 5, 2004
New Zealand October 14, 2004
Brazil November 17, 2004
United Kingdom September 26, 2005 Mercury Records
Worldwide October 5, 2004 Universal Music

Personnel[edit]

  • Hikaru Utada - vocals, writer, producer, programmer, acoustic guitar
  • Teruzane Utada/Skingg U - producer, guitar
  • T. Moseley / Timbaland - producer, writer, remixer
  • Goh Hotoda – recording, mixer
  • Mat Snedecor – engineer
  • Dan Bucchi – engineer
  • Brian Russel – engineer
  • Pat Woodward - engineer
  • Jason Dale – engineer
  • Patrick Magee – engineer
  • Pete Davis – programmer
  • Steve Sidelnyk – programmer
  • Bill Pettaway – production coordinator
  • Michael Evans - production coordinator
  • Yuko Honda – production coordinator
  • Jeff Gulob - guitar
  • Jon Theodore - drums
  • Bryan G. Russell - saxophone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Utada - EXODUS <初回生産限定特別価格盤>
  2. ^ http://allmusic.com/artist/utada-p679547/charts-awards/billboard-singles
  3. ^ "Utada Reaches The Peak Of Her Pop-ness with 'This Is The One'". popdirt. Retrieved 2 March 2009. 
  4. ^ Shin. "Universal Music lança Utada Hikaru no Brasil". jpop.com.br. Retrieved 5 May 2005. 
  5. ^ popdirt. "Utada Showcase Performance in New York City". popdirt. Retrieved 26 February 2005. 
  6. ^ "Elton's tip sheet". Interview. February 2005. [dead link]
  7. ^ About.com. "Exodus - Utada". About.com. 
  8. ^ AllMusic. "Exodus - Utada". AllMusic. 
  9. ^ MSN Music. "Exodus [CD] by Hikaru Utada". MSN Music. 
  10. ^ Carolan, Rob. "Utada - Exodus - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2006. 
  11. ^ Gardner, Elysa (October 19, 2004). "Jimmy Eat World's 'Futures' lacks bite; Utada's techno-pop is toothsome". USA Today. Retrieved 18 October 2004. 
  12. ^ http://www.stylusmagazine.com/review.php?ID=3685
  13. ^ About.com Review
  14. ^ http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/6906/Utada-Hikaru-Exodus-04/
  15. ^ http://www.jpopgo.co.uk/html/exodus.html
  16. ^ Unknown (October 19, 2004). "歴代アルバムランキング TOP280". Music TV Program. 
  17. ^ popdirt. "Utada's 'Exodus' Breaking Records". popdirt. Retrieved 12 September 2004. 
  18. ^ Schwartz, Rob. "Utada in 2/28 Billboard Magazine". U.Blog. Retrieved 25 February 2009. 
  19. ^ Exodus - Utada | Allmusic Charts/Awards
  20. ^ Oricon. "Utada、2位以下を圧唐キる好スタート!". Oricon. Retrieved 8 September 2004. 
  21. ^ Oricon. "Utadaが洋楽史上最高のスタートで首位!". Oricon. Retrieved 14 September 2004. 
  22. ^ Unknown. "2004年間シングルランキング TOP100". Music TV Program. 
  23. ^ "2004年の音楽". 
  24. ^ Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales

External links[edit]