Praising Music #3: Passion (Utada Hikaru)

Updated: May 26

Image from: Passion Promos - Utada Hikaru Photo (14752286) - Fanpop

For this series, I search for songs that I believe should get their own praise and analyze them. I will break down the desired track into time frames, thus realizing how each section contributed to make it sound great!

Instead of being standard singles and Anime OPs/EDs, these songs will come in other forms of releases (soundtracks, remixes, promotional, etc.).

0:00-0:30- Passion opens up with a dream-like sound, giving Utada the wheel to take control of. Underneath her vocals is a synthesizer, letting its marvelous tonal quality to capture your ears. At the 0:17 mark, an electric guitar comes in as a "hype man" for the upcoming segment.

From that point, the instrumental descends until 0:30, getting us ready to enter into a new world.

0:31-0:33- I love that the electric guitar acts as a transition point here.

0:34-1:08- Utada opens this section up with her magnificent voice, supported by more of her background vocals, beautiful synth, drums, and a 808 bass. This is the hook, so Passion is not letting us be patient for its main chorus.

1:09-1:17- This acts as a break between the hook and first verse. Two synths compete against each other, with one sounding aggressive while the other sounds pure. Drums are added too, implementing the kick this segment needs.

1:18-1:34- Utada comes back with a captivating melody. What I do what to point out here is the electric guitar and synth. Like the previous section, both these instruments differ in sound. The guitar has that "getting ready for battle" tone, while the synth offer a calming sound. It's like a "Ying and Yang" situation.

Another interesting point here is that the verse is short, and there's not really a pre chorus that follows this time frame. I guess this song really wants to focus on the chorus.

1:35-2:10- As always, this hook is pretty iconic. It really fits the concept of Kingdom Hearts II. The overall sound is pretty, yet some fragments of the music make it sound like Passion has an underlying goal of fighting through.

2:11-2:36- I originally had two time frames here, but I decided to withdraw that and instead tell you guys that this is the same structure as 1:09-1:34. Don't worry. The track will eventually become more unique!

2:37-3:12- We're back to the chorus, but this time, Utada added in a few background vocals. Nothing very unique, but she sounds soulful.

However, when the electric guitar comes in at 3:09, this song will shortly unveil its peak production.

3:13-3:48- This is my favorite section, by far!

Utada brings forth a dazzling melody tone, and every time she sings it, Utada also implements another melody right after. To make this clearer, listen to the melody 3:13-3:17. After that, another melody from her comes in at 3:18, ending at 3:21. It's like Utada has another persona that is responding to her, like a conversation.

This section is even more impactful with the drums, 808 bass, and synth. At 3:31, a string comes in to give the production a richer sound. So heavenly!

3:49-4:23- We then arrive at the point of the song when it decides to extend its outro for us to appreciate the music quality.

I feel like I shouldn't have to explain how it sounds and what instruments are being used to help this track maintain its production. Just enjoy the elegance of Passion!

Also, at 4:06, there's an instrument that kind of sounds like a duck, if I'm being honest. I do find it as the most unique instrument during this whole track, though can you blame me?

4:24-4:40- We then get a nice synth melody to close out the song. It's very unique, and I bet the producers were having fun implementing this sound as the closer.

Just like that, we've completed one of the most iconic Video game themes out there. Very ambient. Very ethereal. Simply put, possibly Utada's most beloved song during her career.

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