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Traveling (song)

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"Traveling"
A picture of Utada Hikaru, with her hand extending outwards. Pink, red, and orange digitalized patterns are geometric shapes are placed behind her.
CD and digital cover.
Single by Utada Hikaru
from the album Deep River
Released November 28, 2001
Format
Recorded 2001
(Bunkamura Studio, Shibuya, Tokyo)
Genre Dance-pop
Length 5:17
Label Toshiba EMI
Writer(s) Utada Hikaru
Producer(s)
Utada Hikaru singles chronology
"Final Distance"
(2001)
"Traveling"
(2001)
"Hikari"
(2002)

"Traveling" (stylized as "traveling") is a song recorded by Japanese–American recording artist Utada Hikaru. It was released as the second single from her fourth studio and third Japanese language album, Deep River (2002). The track was written and composed by Utada, whilst production was handled by Utada, her father Teruzane Utada, and long-time collaborator Akira Miyake. Musically, "Traveling" is a dance-pop song, influenced by house music. Lyrically, it discusses human activities and dreams.

The song received positive reviews from most music critics. Many selected it as one of Utada's best singles, and was complimented for its production and dance-oriented composition. It was also successful in Japan, peaking at number one on both the Oricon Singles Chart and Tokyo Broadcasting System's (TBS) Count Down TV singles chart. It was certified in two categories by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), and was the second best selling single of the year 2001. A music video was filmed for "Traveling" in 2001, featuring Utada as a hostess travelling on a spacecraft with passengers. It has been performed on some of Utada's tours, including Utada in Bokuhan (2004) and Utada United (2006).

Background and release[edit]

"Traveling" was written and composed by Utada, whilst production was handled by Utada, her father Teruzane Utada, and long-time collaborator Akira Miyake.[1] This was Utada's first original single to have been handled by Utada, her father, and Miyake since her single releases from her debut album First Love (1999); she had primarily worked with American producers, such as Rodney Jenkins, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis for her second studio album Distance (2001).[2] The song included live instrumentation by Saito Mitsutaka, who played the bass guitar, and Tsunemi Kazuhide, who played synthesizers, while it was arranged by Utada and Kawano Kei. The song was recorded and mixed by Ugajin Masaaki and Matsui Atushi in 2001 at Bunkamura Studio, Shibuya, Tokyo.[1] It was released as the second single from her fourth studio and third Japanese language album, Deep River (2002). Since then, the song has been remastered and re-released twice; the first on April 1, 2004, and the second time on December 9, 2014 for Utada's first greatest hits album Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 (2003).[3][4]

It was released as a CD single, in both Japan and China. Both formats included the original track, two remixes by PlanetB and Bahiatronic, plus the instrumental version.[1][5] The artwork for the CD single's were photographed by Utada's husband at the time, Kazuaki Kiriya. It has a close-up shot of Utada in front of a multi-colored background.[1][5] A promotional 12" vinyl was released by Toshiba-EMI in December 2001, and included both the remixed tracks.[6] Then on January 30, 2002, Toshiba-EMI released "Traveling" as a DVD single, which included the "behind the scenes" video and the music video. The vinyls artwork was a screenshot taken by Kiriya.[7]

Composition[edit]

Musically, "Traveling" is a dance-pop song, influenced by house music. Kano, editor in chief for Rockin'On Japan magazine noted elements of house music in the song's composition.[8] An editor for Amazon labelled the track a "party tune".[9] CD Journal staff member's wrote that the song had a "speedy dance beat".[10] Similarly, rock musician and music journalist David Bertrand Wilson had reviewed the parent album Deep River, and described the composition as a dance song.[11] Lyrically, it discusses human activities and dreams. Kano felt that although the song themes are about dreams and nightmares, he believed it should "be taken seriously" as he felt it intertwined with reality.[8] The reviewer from Amazon stated that "Traveling" was proof that Utada was one of the most successful singer-songwriters in Japanese music.[9]

Critical response[edit]

"Traveling" received very positive reviews from music critics. Journalist and rock musician David Bertrand Wilson had reviewed the parent album with journalist John Alroy, and selected it as the album's best track; he believed that the song was a "consistently catchy [melody]", one of the major factors that made the parent album "work".[11] Similarly, AllMusic's David Jeffries selected the song as one of Utada's best singles.[12] Fellow Japanese recording artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu contributed to The Guardian's music playlist columns, and highlighted "Traveling" as one of Utada's best songs; she further stated in a detailed review: "People living outside Japan will also enjoy her creativity. It’s pop and yet a little bit dark and scary. I like the chemistry."[13] A reviewer from Amazon praised the track, calling it "perfect".[9] In another positive review, a critic from CD Journal complimented the dance composition, but favored the lyrical content as the best feature from the track.[10]

Accolades[edit]

At the 16th Japan Gold Disc Awards, Utada won the Song of the Year award for "Traveling"; she had also won another similar award that year for her single "Can You Keep a Secret?"".[14] Similarly, she also received the Silver Award recognition at the 2003 Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers Awards (JASRAC).[15] In December 2015, in honor of Utada's comeback into the music business, Japanese website Goo.ne.jp hosted a poll for fans to rank their favourite songs by Utada out of 25 positions; the poll was held in only twenty-four hours, and thousands submitted their votes. As a result, "Traveling" was ranked at number seven with 71 votes in total.[16][17]

Commercial performance[edit]

Commercially, "Traveling" was a success in Japan. It became her sixth single to debut at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart, with over 277,100 units sold in its first week.[18] It stayed at number one for a sole week, and spent a total of 20 weeks on that chart.[19] By the end of 2002, the single was ranked at number two on Oricon's Annual 2002 chart, just behind Ayumi Hamasaki's extended play H; it sold 856,140 units by the end of the year.[20][21] This made it the second highest selling single by a female artist, just behind Hamasaki's entry, but was the highest selling single that did not include any other b-side or a-side tracks.[A] The single was certified million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) for physical shipments of one million units.[22]

The single debuted at number one on Tokyo Broadcasting System's (TBS) Count Down TV chart during the chart week of December 8, 2001, her seventh non-consecutive single to do so. It stayed at the top spot for two consecutive weeks.[23][24] The single stayed in the chart for 20 weeks, and was ranked at number 26 and 39 on their 2001 and 2002 Annual Chart.[25][26] Eight years after its initial release, "Traveling" entered the Billboard Adult Alternative Radio Songs chart at number 81 during the chart week of April 6.[27] It re-entered the chart during the chart week of May 6, 2015, peaking at number 75.[28] It was certified gold by RIAJ for cellphone downloads of 100,000 units.[29] According to the Oricon Style database, it is Utada's sixth highest selling single.[30]

The DVD single was a success on the Oricon DVD Chart, peaking at number one.[31] The Oricon Style database ranks the DVD single as Utada's second best selling DVD, just behind the live release of her Bohemian Summer 2000 Concert tour.[32] As of May 2016, it is the 51st best selling DVD in Japan, selling over 820,000 units.[33]

Music video[edit]

An accompanying music video was directed by Kazuaki Kiriya.[34] It opens with the camera traveling through a tunnel full of lights, and includes the song's title and Utada's name. For the first part of the song, it has Utada singing into a microphone, whilst walking inside the head of a spacecraft. The spacecraft exits the station, and flies all over a futuristic cityscape. The first verse has Utada as a hostess on the spacecraft, helping and serving the passengers in a dancing manner; the passengers are wearing theatrical clothing and headpieces that cover their faces. During the pre-chorus, Utada sings in front of a forest-like backdrop, whilst a stop-motion animation of her is walking through the woods, observing disfigured creatures. The chorus has Utada and the passengers marching across a bridge, while continuous intercut scenes of Utada outside a party is seen.[34]

During the second verse, it has the spacecraft traveling past the moon, whilst Utada cleans up the mess the passengers left on their tables. By the second pre-chorus, several passengers play ping pong, as Utada exercises. The second chorus has Utada dancing inside a party, whilst intercut scenes of different stop motion animations are seen. In the bridge section, it has a close-up of Utada in front of a forest-like backdrop again, and also has Utada sitting on a swing. The final chorus has the spacecraft falling onto the ground, and creates a vast field of flowers, trees, and grass. The final scene has the camera zooming out of the spacecraft next to a tree, riddled with vines and flowers.[34] The music video and the behind the scenes video was included on her DVD compilation Single Clip Collection Vol. 3 (2000).[35]

The video achieved success by critics and several award ceremonies. Japanese recording artist Kyary Pamyu Pamyu wrote for the The Guardian, and said that the video "is a strong interpretation of the music." She also praised the video's creativity.[13] At the 17th Japan Gold Disc Awards, "Traveling" won the Music Video of the Year trophy.[36]

Live performances and promotion[edit]

The single has been performed on majority of Utada's concert tours. Its first performance was in 2004, during her Bokuhan concert tour. It appeared on the live DVD, which was released on July 28, 2004.[37] It was included on Utada's debut English concert tour named Utada United, which was later included on the live DVD, released on December 20, 2006.[38] The song was performed during Utada's two date concert series Wild Life in December 2010.[39] Since the track's release, it has appeared on three compilation releases: Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 (2003), its 2014 remastered version, and a special bundle of the compilation and the vol. 2 collection on a USB.[4][40][41]

Track listings and formats[edit]

Charts[edit]

DVD charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Japan (RIAJ)[22]
Physical
Million 1,000,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[29]
Digital
Gold 100,000[29]
Japan (RIAJ)[44]
DVD
N/A 820,000[33]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
Japan[1][42] November 28, 2001 Toshiba-EMI
China[5] CD Single Meika Music
Australia[45] December 9, 2014 "Traveling"; Remastered digital download[B] Virgin Music
New Zealand[4]
United Kingdom[46]
Germany[47]
Ireland[48]
France[49]
Spain[50]
Taiwan[51]
United States[52]
Canada[53]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although Ayumi Hamasaki's single H charted on the Oricon Singles Chart, it is registered as an extended play as it features three original tracks, its instrumental versions, and was not titled by one of those three songs. This entitiles it as an EP, making "Traveling" by Utada the best selling original single. However, the Oricon Style database ranked H the best selling single as it was the only entry on the Oricon Singles Chart to reach over one million sales.[21]
  2. ^ Neither the EP for "Traveling" or the parent album Deep River were released in these regions below; taken from her remastered album Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 (2003).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Utada, Hikaru (2001). Traveling (CD Single; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba-EMI. TOCT-4351. 
  2. ^ Utada, Hikaru (2001). Distance (CD Album; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba-EMI. TOCT-24601. 
  3. ^ Amazon Japan Staff (April 1, 2004). "Utada Hikaru – Traveling (2004 Digital Remastered)". Amazon (in Japanese). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (New Zealand). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Utada, Hikaru (2001). Traveling (CD Single; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. China: Meika Music. MKCD-1581. 
  6. ^ a b Utada, Hikaru (2001). Traveling (Vinyl; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba-EMI. PRT-8516. 
  7. ^ a b Utada, Hikaru (2001). Traveling (DVD Single; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba-EMI. TOBF-5126. 
  8. ^ a b Kano (March 31, 2004). "Utada Hikaru Single Collection review". Rockin'On Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 4 July 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c Amazon Japan Staff (November 28, 2001). "Utada Hikaru – Traveling (single review)". Amazon (in Japanese). Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b CD Journal Staff (March 31, 2003). "Utada Hikaru – Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (album review)". CD Journal (in Japanese). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Alroy, John; Bertrand Wilson, David (2011). "Hikaru Utada – Ultra Blue (album review)". Warr.org. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  12. ^ Jeffries, David. "Utada Hikaru – Song Highlights". AllMusic. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Takemura, Kiriko (May 27, 2016). "Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's playlist: Ylvis, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson". The Guardian. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  14. ^ Recording Industry Association of Japan (2002). "16th Japan Gold Disc Awards". Japan Gold Disc Awards. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  15. ^ Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (2003). "16th Japan Gold Disc Awards" (PDF). Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) (in Japanese). Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  16. ^ Goo.Ne Staff (December 23, 2015). "Ranking songs by Hikaru Utada". Goo.ne.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  17. ^ Arama Japan Staff (December 28, 2015). "Hikaru Utada's Best Songs as ranked by Goo Rankings". Goo.ne.jp; published through Arama Japan. Retrieved April 25, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Highest First Week Singles Sales in Japan". Music TV Program (in Japanese). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  19. ^ a b Oricon Style Staff (November 28, 2001). "Oricon Singles Chart – Utada Hikaru – Traveling". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Archived from the original on January 13, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  20. ^ "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 August 26, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  21. ^ a b c McClure, Steve (December 28, 2002). "Japan's Music Business Ready to Fight Back in 2003". Billboard; published by Google Books. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  22. ^ 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 (PDF) on January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c Tokyo Broadcasting System (December 8, 2001). "Count Down TV Chart – Utada Hikaru – Traveling". Count Down TV (in Japanese). Archived from the original on June 20, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  24. ^ Tokyo Broadcasting System. "Count Down TV Chart – Utada Hikaru". Count Down TV (in Japanese). Archived from the original on June 19, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Tokyo Broadcasting System. "Count Down TV Chart – 2001 Annual Chart". Count Down TV (in Japanese). Archived from the original on September 18, 2006. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b Tokyo Broadcasting System. "Count Down TV Chart – 2002 Annual Chart". Count Down TV (in Japanese). Archived from the original on January 21, 2007. Retrieved May 28, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Japan Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay". Billboard (in Japanese). April 6, 2009. Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Japan Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay". Billboard (in Japanese). May 6, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b c 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. 
  30. ^ a b Oricon Style Staff. "Highest Ranking Singles by Utada Hikaru". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  31. ^ a b c Oricon Style Staff. "Oricon DVD Chart – Traveling – by Utada Hikaru". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  32. ^ Oricon Style Staff. "Highest Ranking DVD by Utada Hikaru". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  33. ^ a b c "Highest Music DVDs in Japan". Music TV Program (in Japanese). Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  34. ^ a b c Kazuaki Kiriya (director) (February 4, 2015). "Utada Hikaru – Traveling". Vevo; published through YouTube. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  35. ^ Utada, Hikaru (2002). Utada Hikaru Single Clip Collection Vol. 3 (DVD; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba–EMI. TOBF-5100. 
  36. ^ Recording Industry Association of Japan (2003). "17th Japan Gold Disc Awards". Japan Gold Disc Awards. Retrieved March 26, 2016. 
  37. ^ Utada, Hikaru (2004). Utada Hikaru In Budokan 2004 (Live DVD; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: EastWorld. TOBF-5325. 
  38. ^ Utada, Hikaru (2006). Utada United 2006 (Live DVD; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: EastWorld. TOBF-5506. 
  39. ^ "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. 
  40. ^ Utada, Hikaru (2003). Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 (Compilation; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba–EMI. TOCT-25300. 
  41. ^ Utada, Hikaru (2014). Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 1 + 2 (USB Drive; Liner notes). Utada Hikaru. Japan: Toshiba–EMI. PDEV-1901. 
  42. ^ a b "Traveling – EP – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Japan). November 28, 2001. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  43. ^ a b "宇多田ヒカルのリリース一覧" [List of Hikaru Utada's releases]. Oricon. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  44. ^ "Japanese single certifications – Utada Hikaru – Traveling" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  45. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Australia). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (United Kingdom). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  47. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Germany). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  48. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Ireland). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (France). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  50. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Spain). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  51. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Taiwan). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  52. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (United States of America). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  53. ^ "Utada Hikaru Singles Collection Vol. 1 (2014 Remastered) – Album – by Utada Hikaru". iTunes Store (Canada). December 9, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 

External links[edit]