Time Will Tell (Utada Hikaru song)

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"Time Will Tell"
A close-up shot of a Japanese–American woman (Utada Hikaru) laying on a flat white surface.
The promotional CD cover
Single by Utada Hikaru
from the album First Love
A-side "Automatic"
Released December 8, 1998
Format
Recorded August 1998
(Studio Z'd, Wonder Station Yoyogi Studio, Studio Terra, Tokyo, Japan)
Genre R&B
Length 5:30
Label
Songwriter(s) Utada
Producer(s)
Utada Hikaru singles chronology
"Time Will Tell"
(1998)
"Movin' On Without You"
(1998)
"Automatic/Time Will Tell"
(1998)
"Movin' On Without You"
(1998)
Alternative cover
The CD that commercializes "Time Will Tell".
The CD that commercializes "Time Will Tell".

"Time Will Tell" (stylized as "Time will tell") is a song recorded by Japanese–American singer Utada Hikaru, taken as the lead single from her debut album First Love (1999). It was released on December 8, 1998 through Toshiba-EMI in two physical formats: mini CD single and 12" vinyl. Additionally, the single was originally served as a B-side to "Automatic", but was changed into an A-side. The song was written and co-produced by Utada herself, while Akira Miyake and the singer's father Teruzane Utada served as producers. Despite working previously in English language under the name Cubic C, "Time Will Tell" is Utada's first Japanese recording, and premiered after finishing high school in Japan.

Musically, "Time Will Tell" is a dance tune that incorporates elements of pop, jazz and funk music. Lyrically, it delves into themes of love, and focuses on moving on from a relationship. Although an English version was recorded, it was placed as a B-side recording to the re-released CD single. Upon its release, "Time Will Tell" received positive reviews from music critics, who commended Utada's vocal abilities and production style. It was nominated for numerous accolades in Japan, and has subsequently been listed as one of her best releases. Commercially, "Automatic" and "Time Will Tell" experienced success in Japan, reaching number four on the Oricon Singles Chart and sold over 772,000 units there.

After it was re-released as a 12cm CD single, the track peaked at number two and sold 1.291 million units, tallying over two million copies in Japan; it was certified million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for physical shipments. Since its release, Oricon has ranked it amongst many best-selling singles in the country, and has earned other distinctions for its commercial success. In order to promote the single, Utada had included it on all her concert tours, such as her Bohemian Summer 2000, Budokan 2004 concert shows, Utada United, In the Flesh and her most recent Wild Life tour. Additionally, the recording appeared on compilation albums conducted by the artist, and has made appearances on various commercials in Japan.

Background and production[edit]

Born and raised in New York City, Utada had her first solo experience in professional recording with Cubic U, a pseudonym used for her earlier English language work. After completing her first record Precious (1998),[1] with the help and guidance of her parents, musicians Teruzane Utada and Keiko Fuji, it failed to generate interest in both the United States and Japan, with the record only appearing at number 38 on the Oricon Albums Chart in the latter country. At the time however, Utada had moved to Toyko and attended Seisen International School, and later the American School in Japan, subsequently scoring a record contract with label Toshiba-EMI.[2] Executives at the company worked with her to become a classified singer-songwriter instead of an idol singer, but prompt her to write and record songs in Japanese language rather than English.[3]

From the bunch, Utada solely wrote "Time Will Tell" in Tokyo, and recorded a demo tape in mid-1998—which then appeared on the special 15th Anniversary edition of her album First Love (1999).[4][5] An English language version was recorded, but it appeared as an additional recording to the physical release, titled the "Dub mix". She received help by her father, his friend Akira Miyake, and they both served as producers to the track. Additionally, the singer acts as a co-producer and co-composer to the recording, two roles which she felt was necessary in becoming a singer-songwriter.[3][4] The trio begun working on her debut single, and recorded it in June 1998 at Quad Recording Studios in New York City and Studio Terra in Tokyo.[6]

Composition and release[edit]

Musically, "Time Will Tell" is a dance tune that incorporates elements of pop, jazz and funk music. According to a contributor of Japanese magazine CD Journal, he/she noticed that the sound was "very mid-tempo" and believed it to be inspired by contemporary American culture.[7] Kano, writing for Rockin'On Japan, felt the song infused contemporary R&B and hip-hop elements. The writer commented that her experimentation with R&B music was signfiying to Japanese culture, as he felt the country did not emphasize the genre. Additionally, he noticed her "positive" songwriting.[8] In a similar review, Mori Tomoyuki from Amazon.com believed that the singers use of R&B "influence the country" and other growing musicians.[9]

"Time Will Tell" was released as a double A-side with "Automatic", which premiered on December 8, 1998 through Toshiba-EMI in two physical formats: mini CD single and 12" vinyl. Both packages feature the two song, but included a different third track; the mini CD featured an original karaoke of "Automatic", while the vinyl included an English-dub mix of "Time Will Tell".[4][10] The cover art for the mini CD was a shot from the accompanying music video, which has the singer sitting on the yellow sofa.[4] In the United States, "Automatic" and "Time Will Tell" were added onto a special 12" vinyl that was published for promotional usage, namely through underground clubs.[11] Furthermore, her record label re-released the single the following year as a standard CD single, where it took the track list from the vinyl; the artwork was yet another shot from the clip, this time with Utada standing in the blue room wearing white clothes.[12]

Critical response[edit]

Since its release, "Time Will Tell" has received positive reviews from music critics. A journalist of CD Journal awarded it a special star recognition, praising Utada's songwriting and her vocal performance. Additionally, they commended the singer's experimentation of genres.[7] Kano, writing for Rockin'on Japan magazine, examined the single's ability to re-ignite J-pop globally, and praised her vocal performance and sound.[8] While reviewing her greatest hits album Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol.1 (2004), Satoshi Shimada of Yeah!! J-Pop! and Kanako Hayakawa from Shinko Music both felt it was one of the strongest hits from the collection.[13][14] David Bertrand Wilson, writing of Wilson & Alroy's Reviews, said the number was "sugar-coated" but pretty "digestible".[15] "Time Will Tell" has been nominated for the gold award for most royalties received from the previous year at the JASRAC awards, but "Automatic" was the winning recipient. Despite this, it achieved the silver award instead.[16]

Commercial response[edit]

Commercially, the mini CD single of "Automatic" / "Time Will Tell" experienced success in Japan. It opened at number four on the Oricon Singles Chart, her first charting experience in that category, and spent a total of 23 weeks.[17] By the end of 1999, Oricon ranked the single at number 22 on their year-end chart, with estimated sales of 772,080, making it the seventh highest entry by a female artist—five of which were claimed by the singer.[18] After the singles re-release on a 12cm compact disc in early 1999, "Automatic" and "Time Will Tell" re-entered the chart at number two, two positions higher than the original format. In total, the single spent another 23 weeks, tallying it up to a run of 46 chart appearances.[19] This release claimed an additional 1,290,700 units, making this Utada's best-selling physical single; it was listed at number five on Oricon's year-end chart for the same year.[18]

Because of their individual releases, "Automatic" / "Time Will Tell" has sold 2,062,780 copies together, effectively marking it as the second highest-selling single of 1999, just behind "Dango 3 Kyodai" which was a collaborative release between Kentaro Hayami, Ayumi Shigemori, Sunflower Kids, and the Dumpling choir.[18] Furthermore, it is the second highest-selling single by a female artist, only behind Namie Amuro's hit "Can You Celebrate?" which has amassed 2.750 million copies in the region.[18] It was certified million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for physical shipments.[20]

Promotion and cover versions[edit]

An accompanying music video was directed and produced by Tomu Izawa, and despite Utada's previous musical work, it is her visual debut.[21] It depicts the singer in a red and white room singing the track, whilst a pictorial slideshow of her is played throughout the visual. The clip was included on her 1999 DVD collection Singles Clip Collection Vol. 1, and subsequently on the 15th anniversary edition of First Love, which included all the visuals from the record.[22][5] In order to promote the single, Utada performed it on two concert tours; its first appearance was her Bohemian Summer Tour in 2000, where it was scheduled as one of the opening numbers.[23] 11 years later, its most recent appearance was on her December 2010 show Wild Life.[24] In 2014, musicians Tofubeats and Bonnie Pink collaborated to record the song for Utada Hikaru no Uta, a tribute album celebrating 15 years since Utada's debut. Tofubeats took only three hours to create the backing track for the cover.[25]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the CD liner notes of First Love: 15th Anniversary edition.[5]

Musicians and personnel

  • Hotoda Goh – mixing
  • Kei Kawano – additional arrangement
  • Masashi Kudo – recording
  • Tsuyoshi Kon – Guitar
  • Akira Miyake – production
  • Nobuhiko Nakayama – synthesizer programming
  • Akira Nishihira – arrangement, keyboards, programming
  • Taka & Speedy – rhythm tracks arrangement, programming
  • Masaaki Ugajin – recording
  • Hikaru Utada – writing, vocals
  • Teruzane "Skingg" Utada – production

Charts and sales[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Japan December 8, 1998
  • Mini CD single
  • 12" vinyl
Toshiba-EMI [4][10]
1999 CD single [12]
December 9, 2014[A] Digital download EMI Music Japan [26]
Australia [28]
New Zealand [29]
United Kingdom [30]
Ireland [31]
Germany [32]
France [33]
Spain [34]
Taiwan [35]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Automatic" was not released individually, but appeared on the remastered versions of Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 when it was distributed worldwide.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Precious (CD album; Liner notes). Cubic C. Sony Music. 1998. 
  2. ^ "派手な宣伝よりも音楽そのもので勝負 FM、クチコミでアルバム825万枚" (in Japanese). Trendy Nikkei. 1999. Archived from the original on December 7, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Lister, Tim (June 15, 1999). "From cotton candy to acid rebels, Japan's pop scene heats up". Cable Network News (CNN). Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Automatic / Time Will Tell (Mini CD single; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 1998. TODT-5242. 
  5. ^ a b c First Love: 15th Anniversary (CD album; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 2014. TYCT-69015. 
  6. ^ First Love (CD album; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 1999. TOCT-24067. 
  7. ^ a b "Automatic / Time Will Tell / Utada Hikaru". CD Journal (in Japanese). December 8, 1998. Retrieved February 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Kano (March 31, 2004). "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1" (in Japanese). Utada Hikaru's official website (www.utadahikaru.jp). Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  9. ^ Tomoyuki, Mori (March 10, 1999). "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1" (in Japanese). Amazon.com. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Automatic / Time Will Tell (12 vinyl single; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 1998. TOJT-4140. 
  11. ^ a b Untitled (12 vinyl EP; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 1998. PRT-8402. 
  12. ^ a b c Automatic / Time Will Tell (CD single; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 1998. TOCT-4127. 
  13. ^ Shimada, Satoshi (April 5, 2004). "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (album review)" (in Japanese). Yeah!! J-Pop!. Archived from the original on June 11, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  14. ^ Hayakawa, Kanako (April 15, 2004). "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (album review)" (in Japanese). Shinko Music. Archived from the original on June 11, 2004. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  15. ^ Bertrand Wilson, David (2016). "Hikaru Utada". Wilson & Alroy's Record Reviews. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  16. ^ "JASRAC賞" (in Japanese). JASRAC. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Automatic/Time Will Tell – Utada Hikaru" (in Japanese). Oricon News. December 8, 1998. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f "1999 Yearly CD Chart" (in Japanese). Oricon; published through Music TV Program. 1999. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  19. ^ a b "Automatic/Time Will Tell – Utada Hikaru" (in Japanese). Oricon News. December 8, 1998. Retrieved January 22, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b "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 (PDF) on January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Utada Hikaru – Time Will Tell" (in Japanese). Space Shower. December 1999. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  22. ^ Singles Clip Collection Vol. 1 (DVD album; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 1999. TOBF-5020. 
  23. ^ Bohemian Summer Tour 2000 (DVD live; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 2000. TOBF-5060. 
  24. ^ Wild Life (DVD live; Liner notes). Utada, Hikaru. Toshiba-EMI. 2011. TOBF-5701~2. 
  25. ^ "『宇多田ヒカルのうた』全貌明らかに。井上陽水、椎名林檎、浜崎あゆみ、吉井和哉ら参加アーティストコメント" [All details revealed for Utada Hikar no Uta, comments from contributing artists such as Yosui Inoue, Ringo Sheena, Ayumi Hamasaki and Kazuya Yoshii] (in Japanese). Barks.co.jp. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  26. ^ a b "Automatic – Single by Utada Hikaru on Apple Store". iTunes Store (Japan). December 9, 1998. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  27. ^ a b "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 (in Japanese). Retrieved May 21, 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  28. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (Australia). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (New Zealand). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (United Kingdom). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (Ireland). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (Germany). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (France). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (Spain). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 – Album by Utada Hikaru at Apple Store". iTunes Store (Taiwan). December 9, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 

External links[edit]