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Old 2019.06.03, 10:57 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by thespidereggs View Post
Here's Ringo on NHK SONGS performing Tori to Hebi to Buta, Jiyuu-dom, and TOKYO: Link
OMG
the first performance was almost an exact copy of the CDTV performance
that was disappointing =_=
the other 2 are fine tho
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Old 2019.06.05, 03:10 PM   #152
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working on my review
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Old 2019.06.05, 08:01 PM   #153
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I look forward to your contrarian opinions
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Old 2019.06.11, 06:32 PM   #154
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Shiina Ringo 2019: Has a bunch of NEW songs that she can use for a new MV, ignores them and makes a NEW MV for a 2 year old song that ALREADY HAS AN MV

The Main Street


Also, starts posting clips advertising RINGO EXPO '14 Blu Ray on her YouTube channel.
WHY

The end is nigh.
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Old 2019.06.11, 07:20 PM   #155
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Her YouTube channel just made available full length videos of her past live performances.
Did she finally give in to the modern world profit stream? Or just want to make a buzz for her new album?
Just so weird to release it at the same time of a PV.
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Old 2019.06.11, 09:37 PM   #156
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I mean the intro vocals have been changed so technically it’s a new track.

/sarcasm
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Old 2019.06.23, 08:47 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by deadgrandma View Post
Shiina Ringo 2019: Has a bunch of NEW songs that she can use for a new MV, ignores them and makes a NEW MV for a 2 year old song that ALREADY HAS AN MV
Still haven't watched it (which maybe says something), even as a song that's grown on me immensely. But yikes, it has less than a million views even. Pretty weak.

I'm surprised she hasn't made a PV for TOKYO yet.
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Old 2019.06.29, 06:02 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by thespidereggs View Post
I'm surprised she hasn't made a PV for TOKYO yet.
After quite a few spins I must say that (among the new songs) TOKYO and Ma Chérie are already two Ringo classics in my book.
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Old 2019.06.30, 07:14 PM   #159
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The Sandoukushi review

The Grade:

Thumbs up.


The tweet:

Sandoukushi is weird and mature. Shiina puzzles together her last five years of music in a sequence thats worth your attention.

The review:
Shiina Ringo is firmly in the third phase of her career. In the current, not-so-niche, cottage industry of weird J-Pop, Ringo leans into her prevailing weirdness. Weirdness is present on all of Ringo’s best work. Songs like "Tsumiki Asobi", "Tsumi to Batsu", and Zecho Shyou as a whole are pretty off-kilter; and among her best work. And I don’t even need to mention Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana which obviously fits this mold. She shyed away from this hard during the second phase of her career, Tokyo Jihen, Sanmon Gossip. During this era, she produced the blandest, most uninteresting work in her catalog. But in 2014 after a short hiatus, Ringo refocused the idiosynchroses that made her a special artist to begin with. Starting with Reimports 1, and continuing with the less dazzling but none-the-less consistent Sunny (or Hi Izuru Tokoro for the initiated,) it seemed like Ringo would ride a wave of new inspiration. Instead, she followed up Sunny with the longest full-length hiatus of her career thus far. But despite the break, Ringo mostly continues the energy of Sunny, though the two projects are sonically opposed. Sunny exuded a giddy energy throughout. Sandoukushi on the otherhand wears a certain anxiety. The songs feel earnest. You can feel it from the opening moments on "Niwatori to Hebi to Buta." This emotional thread carrys well enough through the tracklist that it starts to blend into the tracks that weren’t expressly composed for this project.


The elephant in the room is that while Shiina had not released an album in five years, it was not complete radio-silence. Half of the tracks found here trickled out over the last few years. It is a merit of sequencing and overall vision of this album, that I did not immediately recall which tracks were old. Though, it is ultimately not impossible to decude. Some of these songs I might as well have been listening to them for the first time. Songs I dismissed like "Ma Cherie" and "Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri" return fresh in this context. "Shijou No Jinsei" sounds like it might have been recorded just for this album, yet is the oldest track here.


Padding an album with previous singles is not unprecedented for Shiina. Sunny had the baffling inclusion of "Ariamaru Tomi." But the album I most compare to is actually Heisei Fuuzoku. Heisei Fuuzoku too was two (or more) projects mashed together. There were the electronic tracks, which were brilliant, and the Saito Neko rearrangements of classic Shiina songs, much much less so. While original tracks like "Kono Yo ni Kagiri" helped blend the album together, there were sore thumbs in the tracklisting. Sandoukushi has as good of a sequencing of basically any original recording. The transition from "Niwatori to Hebi to Buta" to "Kemono Yuku Hosomichi" is particularly inspired. There’s a great compare and contrast between the two songs. Niwatori is a climactic song with Shiina trading vocals with a male counterpart. All the same can be said for Kemono Yuki. Of course the former is quite unsettling, but this stark sound spotlights the ominous moment halfway into Kemono Yuki, and then a again the "funky" section a few bars later. I’m sure the first time I, and listeners like me, heard "Kemono Yuki Hosomichi", it was another Shiina big-band track that we’ve filter fed over the last ten years. But now, against the backdrop of Niwatori I hear just how stark the difference is between Miyamoto Hiroji’s voice and Shiina’s is; how quirky some of those arrangements are. Then "Ma Cherie" transitions into "Kakeochimono" — the heaviest, most intense song she’s ever made — and the cadence of the album is set. Shiina presents you with some upfront strangeness and then leads you to listen for that strangeness in songs you heard before and likely dismissed.


Sandoukushi is the best sounding record of her’s to date. For as much of her music as I have consumed, the raw sound has never been a particular highlight. The instruments are there. Shiina was always the center attraction though, and the rest of the tracks were of little note. You might be saying - but wait! Are you saying Honnou doesn’t sound phenomenal? ... And yeah, I kinda am. Its brilliant, but when I really listen to it now, the track sounds like its behind glass with Shiina in front. That is not the case with Sandoukushi. The drums explode, the remarkable abundance of distorted guitars overwhelm, the orchestra bounces and soars. Shiina cedes some of the spotlight. This does come at a few costs unfortunately. One creative impediment I will get to. A more technical one though, overall the mix is pretty hot. If "brickwalling" is your peeve, be advised. I don’t think this album is particularly offensive. I think clarity comes across, but I am not sensitive to clipping. I like loud things to feel loud. I’m a simple man.


The improved production delivers some fantastic arrangements. Kakeochimono is a particular marvel. The song starts off like Shiina and Sakurai Atsushi are whailing over the cliff of the end of the world. Especially in the first half of this song, there sounds like a creative mix of digital distortion and analog tape effects that make the background of this song so fun to try to pin down. Then after the halfway mark, the way Sakurai and Shiina trade breaths as they descend to the final chorus is exhilarating.


The musicality extends to the collected tracks too. Take Ma Cherie; if this were a Tokyo Jihen, this would have been another straight ape of sixties mod pop. Or, if it were a Jihen-era solo song, the orchestra would have been wall-to-wall. But there is a very nice balance of the typical four piece band with the more exotic harps, woodwinds, and strings popping in and out. (I am pretty on-the-fence about that solo. Is it quirky or just corny? I just can’t say.) This conciousness extends to Cherie’s sister track Jyuu Dame. The strings do slather much of the track early on after the jaunty piano intro. It sounds like it will devolve into 2010’s era silliness, but the breakdown at around the minute mark folds back in some weight to the track and the instruments come together. This song comes across like a "happy" take on "Poltergeist." The two big-band tracks here are her best. I spoke of Kemono Yuku Hosomichi already a bit, so let’s take its counterpart, "Menukidoori". Menukidoori is played a much straigher. But again, what seperates Menukidoori from the other unbearable big-band songs she’s done in the past is the arrangement and production. The drums feel like the real star in this track, and maybe give it edge. The brass is fat and the part where the barritone sax plays under the chime a little before the halfway mark is pretty pleasing. And talk about retraint, only one lounge song on the album in TOKYO. Even this song carries some interest early on. The minimalist piano phrase at the beginning is neat, and then when Shiina wafts in, you may trick yourself we’re hearing some KZK cuting room floor material. The song surrenders to the typical jazz lounge mode pretty readily. — The piano is still pretty entertaining throughout.


Of course there’s more contemporary pop here as well. Two examples pair her with her Jihen co-horts, Ukigumo and HZM. The former appears on "Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri" and is easily the better of the two tracks. Like I’ve said about other tracks on this package, in the sub-sub-genre of Shiina-Uki duets, this is the best one yet. "Isogaba Maware" is more of a mixed bag. The first part of the song struggles to coalesce and reminds me of the nadir of Jihen songs.


The Shijou no Jisei single is represented in its entirety and makes up the rock contingency on the album. Jisei is one of my favorite tracks on the album. In her earliest live performances, she played Radiohead’s "Creep," and this is the first song in her discography that shows the influencene. It’s an on-the-nose throwback to late 90’s, early 2000’s rock anthems. Slightly corny, but hits all the right notes. The guitar tones here slap.


As mentioned earlier, the way the sequence mirrors itself throughout the album starts to work against itself as the album closes. Nowhere is that felt more than the closer, "Ano Yo no Mon." Even though this is one of the new tracks, we already know what is coming and feels perfunctory. The song is fine, but thematically and sonically is too similar to Niwatori without the benefit of being as good. For an album that starts off so jolting, it ends with a thud. This is far from the first time Shiina’s symmetry fetish has worked against her. This is the hardest she’s leaned into it though. If nothing else, its a strong choice that she didn’t wimp out on. Sometimes you have to embrace the follies of an artist that’s a slave to their idiosynchroses as Shiina than fight against them and advocate for impersonal, middle of the road, work.


Another strong choice made is to contrast Shiina against male voices. Something she’s dabbled with before, but dives in fully here. I think each duet is interesting in its own way. Vocally, its the most interesting piece of the record, because otherwise Shiina plays it pretty safe. Again, Kakeochimono is an exception, but Shiina’s voice does not impress. I think this circles back to the better production and arrangements. Shiina allows us to pay attention to the rest of her work, and not just the literal her. This is something I felt was true with Sunny and I’m happy this trend continues.


The songwriting is more memorable than it was, but not as good as it ever was. Sandoukushi is certainly more than the sum of its parts, and those parts don’t stand too well on their own. Jinsei, Nagaku Mijikai Matsuri, Niwatori, maybe Nagaku Mijikai. While the performances are vibrant all around, the songs themselves aren’t so sticky. There are songs on here that don’t need to be sticky, patricularly the new tracks. But the one-off singles that were included here are obviously intended to be catchy. Not Kid A exactly. What we get is an album where the "hits" don’t hit but you stay for the filler.


Sandoukushi is largely a success. It may be her most mature and well conceived albums to date. Even in spite of it’s obvious handicaps. This review is largely for the Shiina Ringo fan, such as myself. For the Shiina Ringo fan, I know you’ve heard it by now, but I recommend to revisit this. For the J-pop fan, if "weird" j-pop is your thing, give this a spin, even if you must put up with some tracks that could be edgier. For those whose quirk is to list things: not as good as the first three, but we really should stop including these in the measuring stick. The best of the next three though.


As I wrote the review, my wife "recognized the screeching." It was a sneaky long time since I last reviewed a Shiina Ringo album. Truth be told, talking about Shiina’s music is my favorite activity. Possibly even the only thing I’m good at. I hope I’ve matured at it. We can grouch about what isn’t in this record and mask what it is. I hear an artist that is concerned about her songcraft. I don’t totally disagree with her new pattern of releasing one-off songs, even as maddening as it may be. If someone has something to say, they don’t have to wait until they have nine to fifteen other things to say. I think its a challenge to try to compile these different statements into one cohesive album. Even if it has seams, there are bold and confident choices that makes an interesting listen. Given the last hiatus, it seems unlikely to expect another album soon. When there is, I’d like to hear more of the new ideas here.
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Old 2019.06.30, 11:49 PM   #160
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Great review, Jihad! I always love hearing your thoughts on her music and honestly your review has made me inclined to seek out the album! I'm looking forward to giving it a listen.
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