So on December 9th the preview to “Face My Fears,” by Hikaru Utada and Skrillex, debuted and was met with quite a few mixed responses. I talked about it last month. You can find it here. This month though, on January 18th, the full song was released (not the full opening, though it has been leaked…goddamn leakers). And let me tell you this song is a full bop and a half. I’ve looped it on repeat for about three days. It may rank as one of my favorite Kingdom Hearts openings, but I’ll get to where I rank that later. I wanna first talk about why I like this song so much.
So the opening progression makes you believe that it’ll be a classical or at least more instrumental song. I found out from a tweet that was RT’d a lot, originally posted by NΣΣT, that the chords of the song pay tribute and can easily mashup into “Dearly Beloved” (aka the Kingdom Hearts menu music you sometimes just listen to instead of playing the game). Skrillex then replied to the tweet and mentioned that he wrote it in the same key as “Passion” aka “Sanctuary” (that song people worship a lot either due to nostalgia or that it’s attached to the Kingdom Hearts game with the best gameplay or they just like the song…we’ll get to this later), which is pretty cool.
Next let’s get to the lyrical content, unlike “Simple and Clean” or “Sanctuary,” “Face My Fears” has less words. When I first heard it via the preview trailer video, I was confused by the order of the words i.e., Breath, should I take a deep? Faith, should I take a leap? Taste, what a bittersweet, because I’m apparently an idiot. I eventually figured out (by that I mean like on the second listen of the preview) that it’s using Yoda-esque sentence structure, where it’s the object first then the descriptor (except leap of faith since faith describes the type of leap). But the lyrics set up a melancholic situation, very much fitting of a game like Kingdom Hearts III. Everything is hitting the fan. Everything’s going wrong. Not just in this third main title, but also throughout the entire series.
We’re then hit with the chorus:
Let me face, let me face, let me face my fears
Oh, let me face, let me face, let me face my fears
Won’t be long, won’t be long, I’m almost here
Watch me cry all my tears
This is a song about facing adversity, confronting your fears, and even arriving, figuring yourself out as a person. You’ll become stronger through this tough situation, but it won’t be a fun ride. It won’t be a joyous adventure, Sora isn’t going to be able to work this series event with the usual happy-go-lucky perspective he’s so heavily relied on. He’s gonna cry. You’re gonna cry. I’m already crying.
Then it’s a series of very Skrillex known sounds, it’s very electronic, very EDM-lite. But it’s pretty mellow. It isn’t overbearing, it’s something I have and will continue to enjoy listening to. Though for some, it goes on for too long.
After that we get the second verse, that for the most part follows the same structure as the first verse:
Lose, soon have nothing to
Space, this is what I choose
A mile, could you walk in my shoes
All your, all your life
And let me just say, when the beat amps up, and Utada says, Lose, soon have nothing to, I FELT that. It’s my favorite line in the whole song, maybe cause I resonate with it. But this verse essentially sets up this whole context of, Hey, please understand me, understand my life choices. In some interpretations this could very well be Xehanort’s perspective in this game, which it would be really cool if it were, but I feel as though it’s Sora’s cause he’s surely about to lose a lot if that “Final Battle Trailer” means anything.
Then there’s what for a lot of the fandom is their favorite part of the song, where the beat kind of lowers a bit before the big drop, and it sounds like Utada is chanting something. I’ve checked a few lyrics sites to see what she was saying, and it seems like no one knows, because no one’s put it down. Genius actually just put, [Pre-Drop] [?], which I find hilarious. In order to figure out what she might have been saying during that part, I downloaded the song, reversed it, and then played it at half speed, and it kind of sounds like she’s saying, I am who I am, repeatedly or maybe, I am who I am, I am me. I’m not too sure. But it amps up the song before the conclusion of a beat drop, Utada repeating, watch me cry all my tears, and then a return to just the piano. If it weren’t for the fade out at the end, this song could be a wonderful loop maybe, but nevertheless I enjoy the cyclical nature of it. It’s a song that lets you get with your emotions, lets you cry, all while being a hype, beat driven bop.
Now if I were to rank this in my hall of Kingdom Hearts openings, I would place it second, next to my favorite opening, “Simple and Clean Ray of Hope Mix.” So it’s a sure fire bop, and you all should give it a listen. I guess I’ll leave you with the song itself. Later days.