As one of the more internationally famous Japanese artists of the past few decades, Hikaru Utada has become a household name amongst fans of both J-pop and pop music alike. Her distinctive tone usually lends very well to more mid tempo and RnB tracks like the sensational First Love, which went onto become the one of the most popular songs of 1999. Her latest EP and single of the same name, One Last Kiss acts as the soundtrack for the final Evangelion Movie and brings a new psychedelic sound towards the series climactic act.
I’ve been meaning to talk about this track ever since it came out (it’s been sitting in my drafts since the 12th of March) and I’ve finally gotten around to doing it. And thankfully, time has only strengthened One Last Kiss‘ charms. This track is the definition of a slow burn, growing from nothing more than a few hits on a drumpad and Utada’s evocative vocals to a stunning, sonic experience at its climax. It’s a song that doesn’t really harbour the kind of traditional verse, big chorus, verse structure that we’ve become accustomed to, rather being much more indebted to its production and letting that do much of the work. As such, there isn’t much of a chorus to be found. In its place we have some truly gorgeous ‘tugging’ adlibs which get more and more prominent during the course of the song.
And while many may find One Last Kiss a little too bland or uneventful for their tastes, I urge you to listen to the track all the way through because the instrumental climax here Is just to die for. I love the driving electronic instrumental that comes into full focus here, coupled with Utada’s more airy adlibs. It creates a real sense of release and makes everything that came before it much more compelling. This is a fantastic display of production and performance and a fitting soundtrack for the finale of Evangelion.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10