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Here’s a question: If more than 8 million people have already bought Utada Hikaru’s “Flavor of Life” as a physical or download single, do they really need it on an album too?

Super-megastar Utada, 25, is not alone in releasing an album that is chock-full of previous single releases — in Japan it’s a depressingly common practice. But really, when you unwrap your ¥3,059 copy of “Heart Station” and realize that seven of the 13 tracks have been released as singles or B-sides, stretching back 16 months, you may feel a little short-changed. Especially when among those songs are “Boku wa Kuma,” a sweet throwaway children’s song that kills the album’s melancholy vibe stone dead, and two versions of “Flavor of Life.”

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