|Studio album by Hikaru Utada|
|Released||March 19, 2008|
|Genre||J-pop, R&B, synthpop, dance, electronica|
|Label||EMI Music Japan|
|Producer||San-e Ichii (Executive producer), Hikaru Utada, Akira Miyake, Teruzane Skingg Utada|
|Hikaru Utada chronology|
|Singles from Heart Station|
|Rolling Stone Japan||link|
Heart Station's first week sales was 480,081 copies, collecting the lowest first week sales in Utada's career. However, it was still certified million by the RIAJ for shipments of 1 million copies in Japan, and stayed in the Oricon top 10 for 11 consecutive weeks, becoming her most successful studio album in terms of worldwide sales since the 2002 Deep River. It also managed to outsell her previous album, Ultra Blue, by over 100,000 copies, and became the 271st best selling album of all time in Japan.
On May 13, 2008, nearly two months after its release, Barks.jp reported that the digital sales of all songs on the album had surpassed 15 million downloads, and is the most downloaded album in Japan during 2008. The album also ranked as the 5th best-selling album of the Japanese Oricon Charts in 2008, and best-selling original studio album by a female artist.
- 1 Information
- 2 Track listing
- 3 Release history
- 4 Singles
- 5 Album promotions
- 6 Japan Sales Rankings(Physical)
- 7 References
Before the release of Heart Station, Utada had stated on her personal blogs that she was working concurrently the then unnamed Heart Station album and her second English-language album, and had been busy creating demos for new tracks at home on since October 23, 2007.
On January 16, 2008, Utada (on her official blog) confirmed that there are two tracks on the album that will include a strings section, "Flavor of Life: Ballad Version" and a then-untitled, now revealed to be "Prisoner of Love", that was being mixed. On February 1, 2008, Utada confirmed that she had begun mastering the album's final track, which would later be finalized to be "Celebrate," made between midnight and the following day when it was due, and is an upbeat track which she quite likes. A physical demo had been burnt for her to complete work on from home, and she mentioned that the album's mastering had begun. The album track "Celebrate" was under the tentative working title of "Yakekuso (やけくそ Desperation )". On February 6, 2008, Utada had finished the mastering stage of the album, which was done by SterlingSound, the people in charge of mastering Utada's albums from her musical career's beginnings. Her official website has confirmed that 13 (versus the earlier reported 12) tracks will be included on this album (with the 13th being a bonus track, the original "Flavor of Life"), meaning this is Utada's third album in total to feature a bonus track. A B2 sized poster will be included for people who pre-order a copy of the album. The album has reached as high as No. 1 on Amazon Japan's Pre-Order List, as well as other major online merchandise and music stores such as HMV Japan and CD Japan, among others. On February 15, 2008, two more new track titles were revealed in Japan's MUSICA Magazine's review of the album, which were "Celebrate" and "Niji-Iro Basu". On February 19, 2008, the album's track list was revealed via her website in its entirety, the day before the release of her 20th physical Japanese single, "Heart Station/Stay Gold". When titling Heart Station, Utada continued the tradition of naming her albums after a track within said album. However, Heart Station is the first album to be named after a promotional single, rather than recut singles such as First Love, Distance, or Exodus, or non singles, such as Ultra Blue or Deep River. Boku wa Kuma and Flavor of Life were recorded in 2006 while Beautiful World, Kiss & Cry, Stay Gold and Heart Station were recorded in 2007. Prisoner of Love was recorded in 2008.
According to reports by Shop EMI and Capitol Music on March 1, 2008, Utada's latest Japanese release would see a Canadian release on April 8, 2008. Much like the previous Canadian releases of Ultra Blue and Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1, Heart Station was reprinted in Canada and the Canadian version was sold at a lower price than its Japanese counterpart. The Taiwanese version of the album was confirmed with an official webpage by EMI to have a release date of March 28, 2008. A Hong Kong release date of March 28, 2008, was announced soon after, with a release in South Korea following on the 29th.
All songs written and composed by Hikaru Utada.
|1.||"Fight the Blues"||4:10|
|4.||"Flavor of Life ~Ballad Version~"||5:25|
|6.||"Kiss & Cry"||5:06|
|7.||"Gentle Beast Interlude"||1:13|
|9.||"Prisoner of Love"||4:46|
|10.||"Teiku 5 (テイク 5 Take 5 )"||3:42|
|11.||"Boku wa Kuma (ぼくはくま I am a Bear )"||2:23|
|12.||"Niji-iro Basu (虹色バス Rainbow-colored Bus )"||5:50|
|13.||"Flavor of Life [Bonus Track]"||4:46|
All songs arranged by Hikaru Utada.
- 4. "Flavor of Life ~Ballad Version~" – arranged by Hikaru Utada (arrangement and stringed instrument arrangement), Alexis Smith, Yuzuru Tomita (arrangement and stringed instrument arrangement), Takuo Yamamoto (stringed instrument arrangement)
- 9. "Prisoner of Love" – arranged by Hikaru Utada (arrangement and stringed instrument arrangement), Yuzuru Tomita (stringed instrument arrangement)
- 11. "Boku wa Kuma" – arranged by Yuzuru Tomita & Hikaru Utada
|Japan||March 19, 2008||EMI Music Japan|
|Hong Kong||Gold Typhoon|
|South Korea||March 29, 2008||EMI Korea Limited|
|Canada||April 7, 2008||EMI Music Canada|
|China||May 2013||Gold Typhoon|
|November 22, 2006||"Boku wa Kuma"||4 (Oricon)||22||147,041|
|February 28, 2007||"Flavor of Life"||1 (Oricon)||45||650,510|
|August 29, 2007||"Beautiful World/Kiss & Cry"||1 (Oricon)||26||235,050|
|February 20, 2008||"Heart Station/Stay Gold"||3 (Oricon)
3 (Billboard Japan Hot Single Sales)
No. 2 (Billboard Japan Hot 100)
1 (Billboard Japan Hot 100 Airplay)
|March 27, 2008||"Fight the Blues" – Digital||1 (Billboard Japan Hot 100)
1 (Billboard Japan Hot 100 Airplay)
No. 2 (J-Wave Tokio Hot 100 Singles)
|May 21, 2008||Prisoner of Love||2 (Oricon)
2 (Billboard Japan Hot 100)
6 (Billboard Japan Hot 100 Airplay)
8 (J-Wave Tokio Hot 100 Singles)
E-hon.com was the first website to post details on promotion of Utada's fifth Japanese album January 21, 2008, stating in its item summary that the "Boku Wa Kuma" track would be included in the tracklist, another (album) tie-up was in the works, and there would be a Media Blitz of TV commercials nationwide in Japan and Billboard Wraps in major cities. There were also some hyperbolic statements along the lines of "even as the music industry changes into a digital world, an enormous amount of care went into the creation of each and every track, making us realize that the album format will continue to live on strongly in the future. " On January 24, 2008, e-hon.com revealed further specifities when they listed the album as "Heart Station," changed from "Undecided. " EMI confirmed conflicting speculation on January 26, 2008, by revealing the album's title as indefinitely being "Heart Station," making this her first album titled after a track single released prior to the album's own.
Just over two weeks later, on February 7, 2008, Utada revealed in her blog that she had done one of the album's first direct promotional efforts by having done an interview and photoshoot with Rockin' on Japan, one of the nation's foremost music magazines. It had been six years since her last appearance in the publication, and according to the magazine's official blog, this issue will in fact hit newsstands on April 20, 2008 (the May issue). On February 19, 2008, it was revealed that Space Shower TV would be airing a special, 60-minute program entitled "V.I.P Utada," on March 8, 2008, featuring new interview clips of her talking about the album in anticipation of its close release. On the same day, it was confirmed another TV program, this time Fuji T.V.'s Domoto Kyoudai hosted by the popular J-pop KinKi Kids duo, would also be doing prelusive promotion for the album on March 16, 2008. This will also be Utada's first appearance and interview at the latter. Utada's Japanese site was updated February 21, 2008, with a list of television appearances she would make in the coming weeks for the upcoming release's promotion. The albums's opening track,"Fight the Blues" will be its pre-release promotional single, and will air on Japanese radio and be available for download via USEN on March 3, 2008. On March 1, 2008, her official Japanese site disclosed an official magazine promotional list for Heart Station, with a large amount of 30 magazines hosting a standard short Q&A with artist's picture while four will have exclusive interviews and longer photoshoots (including the aforementioned "Rockin' on Japan" and a cover + 20 page exclusive for CD Data). EMI Japan made available all blog parts for all the "Heart Station" singles on March 2, 2008, between "Flavor of Life: Ballad Version" and the newer "Fight the Blues." The clips vary from a small bit to full-length. The same day a 45-second preview clip of "Fight the Blues" would be available for listening at her official website and, in addition to a 45-second promo clip of the same song featuring Utada lip-syncing along.
According to a new Livedoor article, also publicized March 2, 2008, it was announced EMI took the unusual measure of having the album mastered twice, once for the physical CD and separately for the digital release of the album. This process, a first for any Utada release, was taken to ensure the quality of the audio for both formats given their individual media differences. Both were mastered at New York’s Sterling Sound, with Ted Jensen and Tom Coyne handling the mastering for each version, respectively. Additionally, the article mentions that Chaku-Uta clips for all album tracks will be available on the album's release date, while Chaku-Uta Full and PC digital downloads (iTunes, etc.) will commence on March 26, 2008. The next day her official Japanese site was updated with 2 additional TV appearances in promotional support of the album. On March 31, 2008, Utada will be appearing on Hey!Hey!Hey! Music Champ’s Spring Live Special, and on April 4, 2008, TV Asahi’s Music Station Special. Both programs are live broadcasts, and both will mark Utada’s first appearance on any live special program in her career. Given these two special live performances, another eight TV appearances, a 34 magazine promotion, an eponymously named site of blog parts and updates, and a special double-mastering of the physical and digital formats, "Heart Station" is easily Utada's most aggressively promoted musical release yet. The CX Domoto Kyoudai special featuring Utada was filmed the day of March 4, 2008, where she sang Flavor of Life. The March 4, 2008, issue of Gyao Magazine that featured advertisements for the album also dispersed details on two album tracks, "Celebrate" and "Prisoner of Love," as "a hot dance tune" and "a ballad with a sad chord" respectively, and that this project as a whole was Utada's most "heartwarming" album to date. According to many Japanese sources, her appearance in NTV Music Lovers will be shot and recorded on March 16, 2008, and Japanese music fans are currently being contacted for the event, with no news yet on which song(s) she'd perform. March 18, 2008, it was revealed that "Prisoner of Love," an album track, would be her performance song at TV Asahi's Music Station Special, the official first performance of the song. Utada made her first appearance on Japanese music program "Music Lovers" on March 22, where she performed four songs, including “Flavor Of Life -Ballad Version-.” The session was filmed the week before in Utada’s recording studio in Shibuya. The full setlist was than still unknown. The next day after the episode aired in Japan, it was reported Utada sang 3 tracks off of her "Heart Station" album. First up was the opening track, “Fight The Blues,” followed by “Flavor Of Life: Ballad Version” and “Celebrate” (featuring a maracas shaking Utada). As mentioned in one of her recent blog updates, Utada was sick during the performance, and was noticeably (albeit not horribly) nasally for both her talk and performance. Her encore performance of “Boku wa Kuma” would be aired next week, as this week’s episode had to be cut down due to scheduling. Later, Music Lovers aired the encore of last week’s Utada performance March 30, featuring “Boku wa Kuma.” Utada performed the 3-minute song, playing the keyboard for the interlude portion. After being called back to the stage by the clapping of the audience, Utada explained that she wanted to perform one more song, “Boku wa Kuma,” a song which would keep her up at night were she not able to perform it that night.
Utada appeared March 8, 2008, on SSTV’s Chart Cobain program, talking more in depth about her upcoming album “Heart Station.” She mentioned the importance of softness for this album, and how it feels like her identity as a woman played an important role in the creation of the album. She also explained that it was important for her to be more accepting of what her role is as an artist. She specifically mentions “Flavor of Life -Ballad Version-,” which had a huge tie-in to a teen oriented drama, and that she views the simplicity of the song as less of lowering her level as an artist, but rather just broadening her reach as a musician. Some more information regarding tracks from Utada’s upcoming album, “Heart Station,” had been revealed on March 9, 2008, according to the latest issue of Gyao Magazine, “Take 5″ is the most unique sounding track off the album, while “Niji-iro Bus,” the last song on the record, is said to be a cute and bright tune. On March 10, 2008, two more lists of promotional activities, including online websites featuring album-related articles and radio interviews respectively, appeared at her official Japanese site.
According to a Yahoo! JP article, Japanese social networking service Mixi, would collaborate with Utada and EMI Music Japan to celebrate her 10th anniversary as an artist as well as to promote her Heart Station. The campaign that was created between them commenced March 10, 2008 (the day of the article's posting) and ended on March 17, 2008, presented a special collaboration logo that replaced the normal Mixi logo on Mixi Mobile phones, prominently displaying “Utada Hikaru 10th Anniversary.” Links to the free “First Love” Chaku-Uta downloads are also present (which sold 700,000+ downloads within four days according to a Tokyograph article), helping to promote that campaign where the ringtones may be gifted to others, in time for Japan’s White Day. In addition, members who write journal entries recalling their memories of their own “first love" are automatically entered to win special Utada and Mixi prizes.
Tie ups and theme songs
- "Boku wa Kuma (ぼくはくま I'm a Bear )," the first Heart Station single, was the Minna no Uta children's music program theme song from October 2006 to January 2007.
- "Flavor of Life: Ballad Version," the second Heart Station single, was featured as the insert song for the dorama, "Hana Yori Dango 2".
- "Beautiful World/Kiss & Cry", the third Heart Station single, had major tie-ins for all three featured songs. The title track, "Beautiful World," is being used as the theme song for the upcoming first installment of the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, and a new 2007 remix of Fly Me To The Moon, also included on the single, will be featured in the trailers of the movie. "Kiss & Cry," the second A-side of the single, was featured as the new "Freedom Cup Noodles" commercial tie-in song.
- "Heart Station/Stay Gold", the fourth Heart Station single, was featured as the Kao's Ascience late 2007/early 2008 "Prism Hair" Shampoo CM song (Stay Gold) and 2008 Recochoku Download Service song (Heart Station).
- "Prisoner of Love" is the theme song for the Japanese drama "Last Friends", which aired on April 10, 2008. This is the first time in Utada's career an album track not released as a single had a tie-in. On April 8, 2008, her official Japanese website posted news that “Prisoner Of Love,” the theme song to the then-upcoming Japanese drama “Last Friends,” would actually be released as a re-cut single on May 21 (her only other single besides "First Love" and "Distance" to have such a distinction). The single will include a DVD for the PV (there is no CD only version) with a lengthy 8-page booklet, and will also contain a previously unreleased “Prisoner Of Love -Quiet Version-” on the CD, as well as respective original karaokes for both versions. According to a new Barks article published that same day,“Prisoner Of Love -Quiet Version-” will be played during the episodes of the “Last Friends,” and will act more so of an insert song, while the original album version will remain as the main theme song (played at the beginning credits). Chaku-Uta downloads for the Quiet Version begins May 1, followed by Chaku-Uta Full and PC downloads on the physical release date of May 21.
- "Fight the Blues", the pre-release promotional airplay/USEN single for the Heart Station album, was used during the ending credits of TBS’ houdou news NEXT program, with the first song-featured episode that aired on April 5, 2008.
Physical and digital sales information
Oricon Style web news announced the first week sales numbers for Utada’s latest album, Heart Station on March 24, 2008, and according to the music mag, the album sold approximately 480,081 units in its first week on sale in Japan, making it the highest first week album sales of 2008, and a predictable No. 1 debut week. This is Utada’s 6th consecutive weekly No. 1 debut album, and 5th consecutive weekly No. 1 for original albums, tying the record alongside the Checkers, Hikaru Genji, and Kinki Kids.
Since the album was released on a Wednesday (the 19th), and Oricon's Daily sales charts are updated every Tuesday, the published first-week sales account did not include the 21,600 copies sold its first Monday of release, which would account for a more accurate total of 501,681 units sold on the album's first week. In its first week of sales, it eentered and ranked on the Oricon Daily charts at No. 1, and eventually 13th Weekly chart for the Oricon Style 2008 Year, from March 18, 2008, until March 24, outselling Shibasaki Kou's "Single Best" collection by an approximate 1:4 ratio (which was the only other album to sell more than 100,000 copies in the time period). For a slightly more detailed day-by-day approximation for its first-week sales, there were more than 224,000 sold units by March 20 (its first official two days on sale) and 357,554 by the 22nd, its first four days of sales. Despite falling to No. 2 on the Oricon Daily Albums chart on its second Tuesday, March 25, 2008 (the day of new sales rankings) to Exile's Catchy Best, the album had sold an official upwards of 526,052 (or another 24,371 units as a Daily Chart total), and steadily remained ahead of noteworthy competition such as songstress Aoyama Thelma's debut Diary and two remix albums by J-Diva Ayumi Hamasaki. Despite falling to No. 3 Thursday and Friday on the Daily ranks, the album stayed solid at No. 2 for the rest of the second week of sales and had a 135,857 unit output over Thelma's "Diary," making it the official No. 1 selling original studio album by a female artist in Japan for 2008; thus, far ahead of Kumi Koda's Kingdom and Ayumi Hamasaki's Guilty.
The album also debuted at No. 3 and peaked at No. 1 on iTunes Japan's Top Albums Rankings on March 25, 2008, with a total digital sales figure yet to be determined. Billboard Japan updated their charts for the week of March 31 (which include digital sales in combination with airplay), with Utada taking the No. 1 spot on their Hot 100, Top Albums, and Hot 100 Airplay charts (Fight the Blues being on the composite Hot 100 songs and Hot 100 Airplay). The sudden rise on these charts can be attributed to the high first week physical album sales figures for “Heart Station.” Additionally, for this week, 16 out of the top 100 songs downloaded on iTunes Japan are Utada tracks, with “Prisoner Of Love” ranking highest at No. 1, followed by “Fight The Blues” at #7. On the album side, “Heart Station” ranks in at No. 1, ahead of 3 of her other albums for a total of 4 albums in the iTunes Japan Album Top 100 charts. The album also debuted on Taiwan's G-Music Combo and J-pop charts at No. 2 (6.23% of sales) and No. 1 (19.17% of sales) respectively in April for the week March 28, 2008, through 4/03/08. However, this is Utada's last No. 1 album in Taiwan after Ultra Blue also peaked at No. 1 for three consecutive weeks in the said chart. On the week of March 30, the album debuted at No. 4 on the Hong Kong Album Chart and rose to No. 2 its second week (April 6). On April 4, 2008, it reached No. 8 on the Korean Hanteo Weekly Pop Album Charts, as well as reaching a peak of No. 56 on the iTunes USA chart after being made available there the week of April 10.
On May 13, Barks.jp reported that the digital sales of all songs on the album had surpassed 15 million downloads.
On December 2, Tower Records Japan released their list of the Top Selling Albums of 2008, and Heart Station took the No. 2 spot, behind Namie Amuro's Best Fiction A day later, iTunes Japan released their yearly download chart and Heart Station took the No. 1 spot on the yearly album chart, as well as Prisoner of Love taking the No. 3 spot on the yearly singles chart.
Heart Station Magazine promotional schedule
- These 4 magazines will have exclusive interviews and longer photoshoots:
- 3月13日(木) Weeklyぴあ
- 3月14日(金) CDでーた
- 3月24日(月) 月刊ザテレビジョン
- 4月19日(土) Rockin' on Japan
- These 30 magazines will include a standard Q&A with artist's picture:
- 3月 1日(土) Mini
- 3月 1日(土) Como
- 3月 4日(火) GyaOマガジン
- 3月 4日(火) 日経エンタテイメント
- 3月 5日(水) Tower (タワーレコード FP)
- 3月 7日(金) Glamorous
- 3月 7日(金) S-Cawaii
- 3月 7日(金) Blenda
- 3月 7日(金) In Red
- 3月 8日(土) シネコンウォーカー
- 3月 9日(日) パチパチ
- 3月11日(火) Tokyo1週間
- 3月12日(水) 週刊ザテレビジョン
- 3月12日(水) Bea's Up
- 3月14日(金) ワッツイン
- 3月15日(土) 月刊Songs
- 3月17日(月) Barfout
- 3月20日(木) NaO (Tsutaya FP)
- 3月20日(木) Virgin (Virgin FP)
- 3月20日(木) ミューズクリップ (星光堂FP)
- 3月20日(木) Jam Spot (山野楽器 FP)
- 3月20日(木) Groovin' (すみや FP)
- 3月20日(木) Wave (Wave FP)
- 3月21日(金) Oricon Style
- 3月22日(土) Spring
- 3月24日(月) ブーン
- 3月25日(火) Music Master (HMV FP)
- 3月25日(火) Drops (新星堂 FP)
- 3月28日(金) With
- 4月 1日(火) ピチレモン
Heart Station television promotional schedule
- TV Appearances:
- Interview & Comment:
- 02.28 – Waratte Iitomo
- 03.08 – SSTV's Chart Cobain Program
- 03.09 – Space Shower TV Special-V.I.P Utada- (or SSTV's Chart Cobain program)
- 03.15 – TBS CDTV
- 03.19 – CX Sakigake Ongaku Banzuke
- 03.21 – NTV Music Fighter
- 03.22 – Japan Countdown
TV promotional performances
- February 26, 2007 – Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ-"Flavor of Life: Ballad version" (w/ "Boku wa Kuma" between takes)
- March 2, 2007 – Music Station-"Flavor of Life: Ballad Version"
- March 8, 2007 – Utaban-"Flavor of Life: Ballad Version"
- February 24, 2007 – CDTV-"Flavor of Life: Original Version"
- March 2, 2007 – Music Fight-"Flavor of Life: Original Version"
- August 31, 2007 – tv asahi, Music Station-"Kiss & Cry"
- September 1, 2007 – TBS, CDTV-"Beautiful World"
- September 3, 2007 – Fuji TV, Hey!Hey!Hey!-"Beautiful World"
- September 6, 2007 – TBS, Utaban-"Beautiful World"
- September 7, 2007 – TV asahi, Music Station-"Beautiful World"
- September 7, 2007 – Nihon TV, Music Fighter-"Beautiful World"
- February 18, 2008 – Fuji TV Hey!Hey!Hey! -"Heart Station"
- February 22, 2008 – TV Asahi Music Station -"Heart Station"
- February 22, 2008 – Nihon TV Music Fighter -"Heart Station"
- February 23, 2008 – TBS CDTV -"Heart Station"
- February 28, 2008 – TBS Utaban -"Stay Gold"
- March 16, 2008 – CX Domoto Kyoudai -"Flavor of Life"
- March 23, 2008 – NTV Music Lovers -"Fight the Blues," "Flavor of Life: Ballad Version," "Celebrate," and "Boku wa Kuma."
- March 31, 2008 – Hey!Hey!Hey! Music Champ's Spring Live Special -"Prisoner of Love"
- April 4, 2008 – TV Asahi's Music Station Special -"Prisoner of Love"
- April 16, 2008 – SMAPxSMAP Special Guest Performance Medley -"Aoi Inazuma (SMAP)," "Flavor of Life," "Boku wa Kuma," "Can You Keep A Secret?", "Traveling", "Shake (SMAP)," and "Prisoner of Love."
Heart Station online promotional schedule
- Yahoo! Music Magazine
- Oricon Style
- Listen Japan
- My Sound
Japan Sales Rankings(Physical)
|Release||Chart||Peak Position||Sales||Total Sales||Chart Run|
|March 19, 2008||Oricon Daily Albums Chart||1||1,011,373||56 weeks|
|Oricon Weekly Albums Chart||1||480,081|
|Oricon Monthly Albums Chart||1|
|Oricon Year-end chart||5||997,536|
All physical sales chart rankings
|Non Local Chart|
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