With the coronavirus pandemic forcing us to spend a lot more time at home, many of us are taking on projects and challenges around the house. Maybe you finally cleaned out that junk drawer, or are teaching yourself how to bake your favorite sweets since your favorite dessert cafe is closed.
And then there’s J-pop artist Hikaru Utada, who produced an entire music video shot entirely in her home.
“Here’s the video for ‘Time,’ all of which was shot in my living room and home office here in lockdown London!” Utada tweeted while unveiling the finished product. “All of us (just 2.5 staff members) got tested right before filming. There was also a male staff member with us on the first day, but he couldn’t make it after that so including me it was just us three women who finished this off.”
Sure enough, the visuals for the “Time” video are a mixture of Utada photogenically lounging on her sofa, dancing in her living room, and a few segments where she’s digitally put against an abstract colored background. The musical compensation has a lonely vibe, but with an optimistic strength to it too, much like Utada’s voice and the mixture of subdued lighting punctuated with intense bursts of color throughout the video.
The audio version of “Time” was released on May 8, and odds are the original plan wasn’t to film the whole thing in Utada’s living quarters. But the unique circumstances behind its production have given it a unique charm all its own, with reactions from fans including:
“Best stay at home video ever made during the lockdown.”
“The lighting is too cool! The atmosphere is as good as anything you’d get filming in a studio.”
“Knowing that this is a glimpse into Utada’s home makes me want to watch the video again and again.”
The “Time” title is turning out to be an apt one, too. Several fans have commented on how the song’s pop/R&B sound feels like a deliberate throwback to Utada’s late-‘90s major-label debut era, as opposed to some of her later, more experimental work. Some even see the video’s style as a callback to the one for her 1998 hit “Automatic,” while others saw a parallel with the video for “Hikari” (also known as “Simple and Clean”) which also featured a domestic setting.
It’s not just the past the “Time” video has people thinking of, though. “Years from now, I bet when we watch this video, we’ll think back and say ‘That really was a tough time, when the coronavirus pandemic hit,’” mused one commenter, and hopefully having to stay home in order to stay healthy will become a thing of the past as soon as possible.
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