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Old 2009.07.12, 06:00 PM   #41
Glathannus
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We should be comparing the two albums on the basis that none of the songs were written by Shiina Ringo. Another parallel is that this album has two distinct producers for different sub-sections, while Variety has two distinct composers responsible for MOST of the tracks. Plus one of the two producers of UM (Kameda) was the producer for Variety.

The main 'advantage' that Variety has over UM, is that Shiina Ringo got to write lyrics for most/all of the songs. If you're a gaijin, then whoop-dee-fuckin-do. The music is either good or it isn't. I don't need an expert on the Japanese language telling me that Shiina Ringo's own lyrics are "better enough" to offset Ukigumo and Izawa not being as good of songwriters as Shiina Ringo's own inspirations...

The point is, if Shiina Ringo is going to be singing along to a lot of music she didn't write, concentrated all into one release, then UM is the golden example of how it's done.
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Old 2009.07.12, 06:25 PM   #42
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hey, I'm a ginger, so watch out~

truth in told, I prefer UM to Variety as well, mostly because it is as close as we will ever get to an official cover of UFO right now. Also, Hairo no Hitomi is purely orgasmic. gets me every time. I don't necessarily want to listen to a lot of the covers on this album, but I enjoy them.

I agree about Momen no Handerchief, that song is quite possibly one of the best pop songs Ringo has ever released, although I think some of that goes to the strength of the original (although Ringo's production here is amazing).

Also, Happy Onion Song is AWESOME. People really hate it but is so stupid and over the top I can't help but enjoy it. It was definitely a high light at EXPO.
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Old 2009.07.12, 06:51 PM   #43
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The original Momen is a a classic kayoukoku, a popular japanese song. In my feeling, the original song have already this melancholic touch, but it's more like: cute woman singing a melancholic tale about the lover that got lost in city lights.
The strength in Shiina Ringo take is that the modernization isn't just a mere arrangement thing, or better saying, the new arrangement changes the mood and focus of the tale. The girl in this "new" history is way more pathetic than cute. The distance between the couple keeps increasing and she refuses to notice and when he, finally, break-up, she just asks for a last gift without a complain. I think that this is a kind of woman that some man (traditional) would consider a role model...
It's interesting that Shiina sings the male part, like focusing more in the urban cinism than in rural naiveness, leveling up the melancholy of the song.
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Old 2009.07.12, 08:09 PM   #44
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I highly recommend Nao Matsuzaki stuff!
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Old 2009.07.12, 08:59 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by clakaz View Post
In my feeling, the original song have already this melancholic touch, but it's more like: cute woman singing a melancholic tale about the lover that got lost in city lights.
The strength in Shiina Ringo take is that the modernization isn't just a mere arrangement thing, or better saying, the new arrangement changes the mood and focus of the tale. The girl in this "new" history is way more pathetic than cute. The distance between the couple keeps increasing and she refuses to notice and when he, finally, break-up, she just asks for a last gift without a complain. I think that this is a kind of woman that some man (traditional) would consider a role model...
I dunno, I disagree. The lyrics don't change so how can the meaning behind them? Plus, when she asks for the cotton handkerchief, it is very much a dig at him. "Hey, I know you said you wanted to get me a gift, and now you're leaving me--so here's what I want, a cotton handkerchief to wipe my tears, JERK." She isn't complaining outright but she is very much making her feelings clear that she is annoyed about this (especially when she calls it "a last selfishness [from me]"--like, "oh, soooo sorry to inconvenience you as your long-distance girlfriend you're supposed to CARE ABOUT"); it's almost passive-aggressive.
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Old 2009.07.12, 09:39 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Glathannus View Post
The point is, if Shiina Ringo is going to be singing along to a lot of music she didn't write, concentrated all into one release, then UM is the golden example of how it's done.
please, there's no point at all. on this album she sang songs by john lennon for goodness sakes! most of the songs she covered are very good songs to begin with; that this is a good album doesn't say anything against variety in terms of how an album not written by her should sound. the only thing i can really get from what you said is that she shouldn't sing songs by anyone else unless it's a cover of a famous song, in which case it still has nothing to do with variety.
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Old 2009.07.13, 12:07 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by frecklegirl View Post
I dunno, I disagree. The lyrics don't change so how can the meaning behind them? Plus, when she asks for the cotton handkerchief, it is very much a dig at him. "Hey, I know you said you wanted to get me a gift, and now you're leaving me--so here's what I want, a cotton handkerchief to wipe my tears, JERK." She isn't complaining outright but she is very much making her feelings clear that she is annoyed about this (especially when she calls it "a last selfishness [from me]"--like, "oh, soooo sorry to inconvenience you as your long-distance girlfriend you're supposed to CARE ABOUT"); it's almost passive-aggressive.
really? I don't get that vibe. this song is quite sad to me. then again, most traditional Japanese songs, even pop, contain a melancholy story usually focusing on leaving a loved one or love lost or sake or what have you. I think the Japanese woman in this song is quite traditional, hence when she says "my last selfishness" I don't think she is being passive aggressive, I think she is just being uber polite, the same way when you gift a gift you say something like "tsumaraimono desu kedo" "this is a quite uninteresting gift..." then you follow it with "but please enjoy it!" etc etc. It is just the Japanese trait of putting yourself down in order to be humble and raise your host. Especially with traditional marriages a wife normally puts herself down for her husband, so that is what I sense here. When she says she wants a cotton handerkercheif from him to cry into, I don't think she is taking a snip at him, I sense her as being quite sad and honestly asking this one last favor of him to remember him by. This strikes me as EXTREMELY Japanese. I've had conversations with my Japanese friends and family about this and they all agree. They usually ask when I sing it at karaoke "why would you sing such a sad song?" haha.

as for Ringo, I don't think she was pulling a Strange Little Girls here...She said her record label was being impatient about her lack of work during her pregnancy so she selected music that she was listening to quite a bit at that period and created a cover's album. I don't think she picked the music to put some female cynical commentary spin on them, most of these covers tend to remain pretty true to the spirit of the originals, just with a bit more modernized production. If anything, it reads like Ringo's love letter to her favorite songs.
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Old 2009.07.13, 08:01 AM   #48
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kuro neko is sooo in insightful !!!!
I do love this cover album though.

-- sometimes songs are soo different when you know what they mean.
(thanks freklegirl.)

Last edited by makenshiww : 2009.07.13 at 08:10 AM.
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Old 2009.07.13, 08:25 AM   #49
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^ really? i always found it so lame. i like the concept, how they are back-to-back, but i don't like the actual design at all =/.
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Old 2009.07.13, 08:40 AM   #50
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Hm. yea its pretty interesting. Its like a peak at pretty japanese behavior, really kind of sweet. but sounds like it should be a drama. I tend to enjoy story telling songs. So It can be that as well.
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