Cocco: Cocco-san no Daidokoro

Cocco may have come out of retirement back in 2005, but the artist who emerged from that hiatus was not the same who entered it. SINGER SONGER, her collaboration with members of Quruli, was breezy but rushed. 2006’s Zansaian attempted to conform to the Cocco template but fell short. The following year’s Kira Kira didn’t even make an attempt.

She managed to keep the birth of her son secret till he sang backup vocals on Kira Kira, and it’s a good guess his birth was responsible for soothing Cocco’s stormy inner world.

Cocco hasn’t released much music since 2007, but she has published more books. Cocco-san no Daidokoro essentially serves as a promotional item for a collection of essays with the same title. Regardless, a bit of the old Cocco surfaces in the new.

No, the wailing rocker chick from the early aughts doesn’t stage a comeback, but the tunefulness and majesty of her grander moments inform "Kinuzure" and "Ai ni Tsuite". "the end of Summer" is so transparent as to waft away, but "Bye Bye Pumpkin Pie" brings her back down to solid aural ground.

Kira Kira had a maverick, unpolished feel that wasn’t as refreshing as it should have been, but that kind of looseness gives Cocco-san no Daidokoro some room to breathe.

Cocco’s voice sounds radiant, her harmonizing the best it’s been in a long time.

Cocco-san no Daidokoro doesn’t overstay its welcome, but it’s also enough to crave for more. She struck a nice balance between her newer, lighter songs and her older, heavier sound. A full album would be nice?