Hikaru Utada has long excelled at turning love, longing and loss into pop music that can soundtrack a listener’s life.

Since debuting in 1998 at the age of 15, Utada has become among the most successful — artistically and commercially — J-pop artists of all time. They did so by taking complicated emotions and transforming them into songs that soar in the moment and can linger for years, to the point of defining the sound of the late 1990s. Their songs were built for everyone.

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