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A screenshot from the Science Fiction announcement trailer. Featuring Hikaru Utada in a wet bob, a black fitted dress and long adorned black nails. Bathed in green light, whilst stood in front of an orange and pink backdrop.

Hikaru Utada walked around some Tate Modern looking-ass installation looking absolutely snatched and with the nails did for the announcement of Science Fiction. The title of their upcoming best album and tour.

Hikaru Utada. Namie Amuro. Bad bitches with the word ‘Fiction’ in the titles for their Best albums and tours.

A new release. A new tour. This is all great news. But the most interesting thing to me is that Science Fiction is officially (and interchangeably) being referred to as ‘a Greatest Hits album’ in addition to a Best album, which further goes to show how Hikaru Utada and their team are being really considerate of the global market. Although we’ll see just how much so when the tour dates go out. Following their appearance at Coachella and their surprise performance at a Sacai after party, Hikaru Utada had said that they wanted to tour and do something for their fans outside of Japan. So let us all cross our fingers that Science Fiction has European and North American dates. Along with South American dates for the Brazilian stans and some dates for East Asia for the Hikki fans in the Philippines.

Science Fiction is also being touted as being Hikaru Utada’s first best album. Which…sure, whatever. I guess Single Collection Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 are being regarded as single collections. Which are still Best albums to me. But, whatever.

Hikaru Utada is part of a select group of Japanese acts who doesn’t have a whole section of their discography which is littered with Best / Greatest Hits albums. So I’m not mad at Hikaru releasing one, regardless of whatever their team wants to refer to it as. 

Best / Greatest Hits albums may not hold as much value as they once did in this age of streaming, where many of us playlist songs from our favourite music acts. But in light of Namie Amuro’s music being yanked from streaming services, the continual high price of CDs in Japan, how older albums don’t get repressed regularly, the high price of Japanese vinyl’s (not even factoring in import costs) and how streaming and digital services across music, movies, TV and video games are pulling things left and right, even when people have paid for them – there is still a great deal of value in the physical release of a compilation album. Especially when it comes as part of a tour.

Science Fiction will mark Hikaru Utada’s first tour in 5 years, with their last being Laughter in the Dark in 2018, which was in support of their seventh studio album, Hatsukoi. I really thought Laughter in the Dark was longer than 5 years ago. Time really be flying. Science Fiction will be Hikaru’s first compilation release since Single Collection Vol. 2 in 2010, which was right before their hiatus.

Despite Science Fiction being touted as a Greatest Hits album, I do wonder what the criteria for the songs will actually be. So often acts will put out a Greatest Hits and include songs which were not hits, along with a new song or two. I’d really like a compilation album which includes songs from Hikaru’s ENTIRE discography, including the Def Jam / Utada releases. Especially in the wake of Hikaru continuing to merge Hikaru Utada and Utada as one and including “Hotel Lobby” in the setlist for their Live Sessions from Air Studios gig. And whilst there has been no information concerning new songs, I think there is a high likelihood that it will feature a couple alongside “Gold ~Mata au hi Made~”, which was absolutely not a hit.

A screenshot from the Science Fiction announcement trailer. Featuring Hikaru Utada walking in front of an orange projected backdrop.
Hikaru Utada – Science Fiction | Sony Music Labels Inc.

Science Fiction is a really interesting development following what has been a pretty active couple of years for Hikaru Utada. There seemed to have been a real shift in Hikaru’s approach to not just their music, but their career. Before they seemed very tentative to do anything. But then they hit a point where releases became frequent. They started to do promo. Do televised performances. Make public appearances. Do interviews. Partake in livestreams. Do gigs. Be included in magazine features. Stretch an album out for a whole year after its release; which is uncharacteristic for any Japanese album release, let alone just Hikaru Utada. It’s been really cool to witness and see Hikaru switch into a different gear and they’ve really been spoiling us. And it seems they’re not done yet.

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Hikaru Utada announces ‘Science Fiction’. A best album and a tour.