Traveling (song)

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"Traveling"
Single by Hikaru Utada
from the album Deep River
Released November 28, 2001
Format CD, DVD, Regular Single
Recorded Bunkamura Studio, Shibuya, Tokyo
Genre House, dance-pop
Length 5:13
Label EMI Music Japan
Writer(s) Hikaru Utada
Producer(s) Akira Miyake, Hikaru Utada and Teruzane Utada (1)
Russell McNamara (2)
Hikaru Utada singles chronology
"Final Distance"
(2001)
"Traveling"
(2001)
"Hikari"
(2002)

"Traveling" is a song recorded by Japanese recording artist and producer Hikaru Utada taken from her third studio album Deep River (2002). The song was written, co-produced and co-composed by Utada herself, while additional production was handled by her father, Japanese producer Teruzane Utada and Akira Miyake. The song was used on her greatest hits compilation Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 (2004). The conception for the track was first recorded and written while she was in progress off Deep River, but she put off all work for the single and album after she was diagnosed with an benign ovarian tumor, which caused her to stop all musical activity.

Musically, the song is a dance-oriented song that is particularly different from her previous efforts. The song incorporates traditional house music and disco music. The music composition was composed by Utada like her previous singles and contains instrumentation of synthesizers, keyboards, electric guitars and bass guitars, which is similar to the tracks on the parent album. Lyrically, the song talks about traveling through a dream and differentiating the difference between reality and fantasy, incorporating the theme off spirituality throughout the track.

"Traveling" achieved favorable reception from most contemporary music critics, who praised the production values and vocal delivery. Many critics have also cited the song as one of the album's and her career highlight. The song was a commercial success, peaking at number one on the Daily and Weekly Oricon Chart, becoming her sixth single to do so. The song peaked at number two on the Yearly Chart, only just behind Japanese recording artist Ayumi Hamasaki's EP single H, which was the only release to sell over one million units. The song was certified million by Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments off one million units within Japan, despite selling over 850,000 units.

An accompanying music video for "Traveling" was directed by Utada's ex-husband, Kazuaki Kiriya and features Utada on a train traveling through a computer generated world with passengers with a variety off colored costumes and clothes. The music video was commercially successful, peaking at number one on the DVD chart in Japan. The song was performed during Utada's two date concert series Wild Life in December 2010, and has never been performed on live television.

Background[edit]

During her four year career since her 1998 debut with her single "Automatic", Utada's status as a Japanese singer and producer was enormous and had benefited with strong sales around Japan. Her first two singles since her debut; "Automatic" and "Movin' On Without You" sold over one million units in Japan, with the first selling over two million.[1][2] The parent album First Love eventually became the highest selling Japanese album of all time, exceeding sales of more than 7.6 million units in Japan and was certified octuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of eight million units; the album eventually sold an additional three million worldwide, totaling to 10 million sales.[3] By the end of the year, Utada was rank number 5 on a Japanese radio station Tokio Hot 100 Airplay's Top 100 Artists of the 20th Century by the station and its listeners.[4]

After having a two year break from the public, her second studio album Distance (2000) became another success in Japan and sold over four million units in Japan.[5] The album was backed by the singles "Addicted to You", "Wait & See (Risk)", "For You" / "Time Limit" and "Can You Keep a Secret?", with nearly all the singles achieving over one million sales in Japan.[6] Utada then begun work on her second studio album Deep River in 2001. During the process off the song and the parent album Deep River, Utada discovered a benign ovarian tumor and was omitted to undertake surgery to remove it.[7] This caused Utada to suspend work on both writing and composing the track along with any additional promotional activity.

Composition[edit]

"Traveling" was written, co-produced and co-composed by Utada herself, while additional production was handled by her father, Japanese producer Teruzane Utada and long-time collaborator Akira Miyake.[8] The song was arranged by Utada herself with the help off Kawano Kei, who also programmed the song, and Utada was assisted recording the song by Ugajin Masaaki and Matsui Atsushi.[8] There are several instrumentation through the song, which includes keyboards and guitar sampling by Kei, synthesizers by Tsunemi Kazuhide and the electric bass guitar was handled by Saito Mitsutaka.[8]

"Traveling" is a dance oriented song. According to Kevin from Sputnikmusic, he commented about the musical composition being more fore-fronting that Utada's vocals stating "She more or less sings this way regardless of what’s going on in the background, whether the backdrop is bouncy and danceable "Traveling" [...]"[9] Instrumentally, he commented on the song and majority off the tracks off Deep River; "she favors electronics and guitars as the key instrumentation for [Deep River], but she manages to do so sparingly and tastefully enough that each song stands out and caresses the ears on their own unique merits."[9] Akira from TheNihonReview.com commented on the track; "It begins with an arpeggio rhythm, which carries out through the entire song, giving it a sense of motion [...] The vocals are absolutely perfect; from the addictive verses to the chorus, they're powerful, passionate and on pitch. The beat is solid and pounding [...]"[10] A reviewer from CDJournal said that the song was a "speedy" dance song that the song references parts off the 12th century story The Tale of the Heike.[11]

Lyrically, the song talks about a mysterious "music world" and Utada commented that she was influenced by a "floating house".[12] The song talks about the mixture between reality and dream.[12] The lyrical content also depicts "painful" yet "strong" spirituality within the dipiction and Utada commented that it was inspired by her experiences off loneliness.[12] CDJournal had commented that the lyrical content was "passage" and lacked "tolerance" due to the "hyper-beat" dance composition.[11] The pronunciation guide on the single gives 'Traveling' as 'Toraveringu (トラヴェリング)', and will be pronounced this way by the average Japanese speaker.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

"Traveling" received favorable reviews from most contemporary music critics. Kevin from Sputnikmusic was highly favorable towards the track itself. While reviewing the album, he commended the track and Utada for allowing the background music and composition to make her vocals more settled.[9] He commented "She more or less sings this way regardless of what’s going on in the background [...] nothing ever comes across as redundant or unfitting."[9] David Jeffries from Allmusic, who had written the extended biography of Utada, had listed the song as an album and career stand out.[13] Akira from TheNihonReview.com was positive towards the track and highlighted it as an album standout. He commented "In every album of hers, there's always one song that stands out as the best of the pack. In Deep River, "Traveling" is that song [...] Once again, "Traveling" is another one of those songs you just can't resist but sing along with."[10] While reviewing the parent album, CDJournal was positive towards the song and album tracks for lyrically talking about human beings and being more prominent than her previous records.[14]

Commercial response[edit]

Commercially, the song was a chart success. The song debuted at number one on the Oricon Daily Chart, which became her sixth number one single on that chart. In its first charting week, the single debuted at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart, which became her sixth number one single on the chart and sold an estimate 277,000 units in its first week.[15] It peaked at number one for two consecutive weeks and eventually stayed on the Oricon chart for twenty-one weeks.[15] In March 2002, "Traveling" song had sold over 850,000 copies in Japan and was certified million by Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for shipments of one million units within Japan.[16] In October 2010, the song was then certified gold by RIAJ for 100,000 legal digital downloads inside off Japan.[17] The song became the second best selling single off the year, just behind Ayumi Hamasaki's EP single H (2002) which peaked at number one and was the only single that sold over one million units in Japan.[A][18]

The song also charted at number one on the Oricon DVD Chart, which became her first number one on that specific chart. The song had also charted on the Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay chart in Japan at number eighty-six.[19] The song became her sixth single to be certified million in Japan and her last single to be certified million was "Colors" in 2004.[20] It then remained her last single to have this feat.

Promotion[edit]

An accompanying music video for "Traveling" was directed by Utada's ex-husband, Kazuaki Kiriya (who also shot the photography and helped with the art direction), and is the second of the famous Kiriya Trilogy of Utada promotional videos. This is the second of Utada's singles to have a DVD Single. The music video was the second part of the Kiriya trilogy of PVs. The PV featured elaborate costume design, a cohesive setting, and extensive lighting and computer effects.

It was used as the DoCoMo FOMA CM song. Utada never performed it live on TV (except for in the SMAP x SMAP medley) for unknown reasons. Noriyuki Makihara covered Traveling on his Listen to the Music 2 album. The song was performed during Utada's two date concert series Wild Life in December 2010.[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Hikaru Utada. 

CD Version
No. Title Arranger Length
1. "Traveling"   Kei Kawano, Hikaru Utada 5:13
2. "Traveling (PLANITb Remix)"   Russell McNamara 10:34
3. "Traveling (Bahiatronic Mix)"   Yuzuru Tomita 6:42
4. "Traveling (Original Karaoke)"     5:14
DVD Version
No. Title Length
1. "Making of Traveling"   -:--
2. "Traveling"   -:--

Charts, peaks and positions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although H and "Traveling" were certified million by Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), "Traveling" also achieved a gold certification for 100,000 digital sales.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年2月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. February 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 473: 9. April 10, 1999. Archived from the original on January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年3月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. March 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 474: 9. May 10, 1999. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 1999年9月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. September 1999 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 480: 8. November 10, 1999. Archived from the original on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Announcing the Top 100 Big Artists of the 20th Century as chosen by listeners and J-wave (リスナーとJ-WAVEが選んだ20世紀のビッグ・アーティスト100人を発表!)". www.j-wave.co.jp (in Japanese). 1999. Retrieved August 26, 2007. 
  5. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2001年4月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. April 2001 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 499: 8. November 10, 2001. Archived from the original on January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ "JaME – The 1st database and information website about Japanese music – www.jame-world.com". Jmusiceuropa.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Japanese teen pop star home after bout with side effects of ovarian surgery". AP Worldstream. May 11, 2002. Retrieved August 27, 2007. 
  8. ^ a b c Liner notes from Traveling (CD) by Hikaru Utada, November 2002. Toshiba-EMI.
  9. ^ a b c d Reviewed by Kevin. "Utada Hikaru - DEEP RIVER".
  10. ^ a b http://www.nihonreview.com/music/deep-river/
  11. ^ a b Utada Hikaru / Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1. CDJournal.com.
  12. ^ a b c http://www.utadahikaru.jp/sc/review.html
  13. ^ Hikaru Utada | Songs | Allmusic. Retrieved in February 2015.
  14. ^ http://artist.cdjournal.com/d/deep-river/3202040210
  15. ^ a b http://www.oricon.co.jp/prof/artist/193854/products/release/
  16. ^ a b "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2002年1月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. January 2002 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 508: 12. March 10, 2002. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ レコード協会調べ 10月度有料音楽配信認定 [Record Association Investigation: October Digital Music Download Certifications] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. December 22, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  18. ^ "GOLD ALBUM 他認定作品 2002年1月度" [Gold Albums, and other certified works. January 2002 Edition] (PDF). The Record (Bulletin) (in Japanese) (Chūō, Tokyo: Recording Industry Association of Japan) 508: 12. March 10, 2002. Archived from the original on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Japan Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay". Billboard (in Japanese). April 6, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  20. ^ ゴールド等認定作品一覧 2003年12月 [Works Receiving Certifications List (Gold, etc) (December 2003)] (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. January 10, 2004. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ "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.