This entry summarizes the release posts made over the last few weeks. I am really not impressed with how the US fall release schedule is shaping up. Every time I look at what’s coming up, I have to stifle a yawn. So this round-up is 99 percent Japanese.
Bonnie Pink, Thinking Out Loud, July 25
Bonnie PInk is somewhat hit or miss. Golden Tears had its intentions in all the right places, but Bonnie’s voice as a songwriter is too established — perhaps too rigid — for that kind of experimentation. Because of her prolific output, it can be a gamble predicting when she has her A-game on. It’s been almost two years since Golden Tears, so perhaps she’s had more time to edit.
unkie, The Price of Fame, July 11
Tokyo Jihen, "OSCA", July 11
Tokyo Jihen, "Killer Tune", Aug. 22
The first time I listened to "OSCA", I thought, "WTF?" The second time I listened to "OSCA", I thought, "WTF!" The chorus is odd, and the arrangement of the song is bizarre. It eventually gets catchy but not after it shows off a lot of grotesque. That rhythm, though, is one hell of an ass-shaker. How weird would it be if Tokyo Jihen actually tried to cover some Straightener?
Emmylou Harris, Songbird, Sept. 18
I already have the Portraits boxed set released back in 1996. I’m no Emmylou Harris completist by any leap of the imagination, but this woman is the very definition of artistic integrity. Success wasn’t so much luck as it was a beneficial side effect.
Utada Hikaru, "Beautiful World/Kiss & Cry", Aug. 29
She should co-write with Jonathan Mendelsohn.
the brilliant green, "Stand By Me", Aug. 22
the brilliant green was a very ’90s-sounding band. After a five-year hiatus, would that sound still have the same kind of impact? Assuming, of course, they pick up where they left off. I’m wondering if all the solo work will have any impact on how they work.
Hajime Chitose, "Anata ga Koko nite Hoshii/Miyori no Mori", Aug. 22
More Ueda Gen!
Hatakeyama Miyuki, Summer Clouds, Summer Rain, July 4
ART-SCHOOL, TBD, Sept. 19
This mini-album hits the stores at the same time as a live DVD.
Dragon Ash, The Best of Dragon Ash with Changes, Vols. 1 and 2, Sept. 5
I think Dragon Ash are taking the same approach Yaida Hitomi did with her best collections — have the fans decide the track listing of one edition, while she picked her own favorites. Dragon Ash’s sound got far too muddled when they attempted to throw in 15 different genres into their music. It’s a nice challenge to get reggae, electronica and hip-hop to co-exist, but just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should.
[UPDATE, 7/2/2007. I should really pay attention to my e-mail, particularly ones from CD Japan.]
Shiratori Maika, "Aitai", Aug. 1
It’s been three years since Shiratori Maika released her third studio album, Gemini, but now she’s releasing a new single, "Aitai", with a new label, Universal Music. It looks like she offered up a pair of singles on iTunes Japan in the meantime (as if it does any of us gaijin any good.)
Chara, "Cherry Cherry", Aug. 29
I guess when it rains, it pours.