In the latest sign of her frustration with the music biz, singer Utada Hikaru (27) has made it quite clear that she is unhappy with record company plans to release two of her hits albums on the same day. EMI had previously announced that it would be releasing “Single Collection Vol. 2” on November 24. So when Universal Japan chose the exact same date for the release of “Utada the Best,” an album of material previously available overseas, Utada was quick to slam the decision on Twitter and her blog. She said, “I’m not against the release of a hits album, but from a music industry point of view isn’t this decision just senseless and rude?” She added that, as an artist, she wasn’t prepared to just stay quiet and accept it.
The 16-track “Utada the Best” was previously released in the U.S. under the Island Def Jam label. Utada said of its Japan release, “It contains no new material and is not an album I put my heart into. I don’t think there’s any reason to but it.” The EMI release contains 18 tracks, including hits as well as and rare inserts such as TV commercial tie-up songs. They include a cover of the 1950s Edith Piaf song “Hymne Ã l’amour (Ai no Anthem).” Utada sings the original French lyrics, as well as her own Japanese translation.
Utada, a major star for more than a decade, is clearly jaded and probably frustrated that she hasn’t been able to translate her superstardom at home into commercial success overseas. She announced back in August that she is taking an indefinite break from her music career from next year.
Utada Hikaru to Take Indefinite Break (Aug. 10, 2010)