AI – Tsumi to Batsu: Not as offensive as I expected but nothing to write home about either. It ends up being a kind of ho-hum cover, at least from the preview. One thing this showcases though is that Tsumi to Batsu has a f-ing brilliant melody and even a garbage tier artist would sound decent because of how good the song is, not to say that this artist is necessarily “garbage tier” but the point still stands.
Inoue Yosui – Carnation: I’m not terribly familiar/attached to the original but I know it’s better than this crap. This is a real snoozefest of a cover. Ringo deserves better.
Utada Hikaru and Some Guy: Would be much better if it was just Utada covering the song. The guy doesn’t add anything substantial. I know a lot of people on the forum are poo-pooing the arrangement of this because it’s kind of RnB styled or more like the EXPO MaruSadi version but that doesn’t bother me. I could get into a Hikaru Utada slow version of Marunouchi Sadistic. It’s basically inoffensive.
Kimura Kaela – Koko de Kiss Shite: Ah, the Basic Bitch version of Koko de. If Shiina Ringo’s original is a black caffeinated coffee, this is a decaf with extra cream and sugar. I’m not saying the original is my fave Ringo tune but shit, man. They just took all of the energy and edge out of a song that was already one of the most mainsteam pop songs in Ringo’s catalog. This is the version of the song you play for people who think Ringo is “really loud” and “has an angry voice”. Smh.
Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku – Jiyuu e Michizure: Actually a surprisingly fun piece of bubblegum pop. Sounds pretty close to the original but the female singer gives it a Puffy Ami Yumi vibe. I’m actually okay with this, especially since it’s no slight against the original.
Tajima Takao – Tsugou no Ii Karada: Wow. This is AWFUL. Like, trainwreck awful. I looked up this guy and apparently he was a vocalist in Pizzicato Five from 1987-1990, which is a shame because they’re great but the guy can’t sing this to save his life. I mean, there’s more bum notes here than there are seconds in the preview. Couldn’t they have tried to convince Maki Nomiya to sing this? Nothing about this works. In fact, it’s kind of so bad it’s funny. To me this is basically if Tommy Wiseau directed La La Land, which again, does a 180 and kind of becomes amazing in its awfulness.
Fujiwara Sakura – Akane Sasukiro Terasa Redo: Video won’t work in my country
Matsu Takako – Arikitari no Onna: Same shit
Miura Daichi – Suberidai: This is REALLY GOOD. Seriously. I had no idea I needed this cover in my life but this guy is GREAT. Tonally and musically PERFECT for the gentle nostalgic mellow vibe of Suberidai. Honestly the highlight of the album for me.
MIKA – Sid to Hakuchuumu: I actually like this. I’m sure he wanted to avoid singing Japanese lyrics so he didn’t look like a weeaboo so the French works for me. I’ve always love Mayonaka Sid so this is perfectly serviceable.
RHYMESTER – Honnou: You know, this cover actually reminds me of the ending scene in Saw V when the brutal successor to Jigsaw’s legacy played expertly by Costas Mandylor, let’s call him “RHYMESTER”, lures the detective we’ll call “Honnou”, played by Scott Patterson, to a renovated nerve gas house where he finds an underground room containing a clear box filled with broken glass. Inside Honnou finds a tape that he picks up. When he presses play, the tape is RHYMESTER’s voice. RHYMESTER asks Honnou to enter the box but Honnou stops the tape when he hears the sound of someone coming into the building. It’s RHYMESTER with a gun. RHYMESTER steps inside the room to find Honnou missing but when he looks into the door of the glass box, he sees the reflection of Honnou. The two fight each other and Honnou actually manages to overpower RHYMESTER before throwing him into the box, sealing the room’s exit. Honnou tries to get out but the door won’t budge. He turns back to the glass box and urges RHYMESTER to tell him how to open the sealed door. RHYMESTER points down to the tape player that’s lying on the ground. Honnou picks it up and presses play again. It conveniently picks up from where it left off and tells Honnou if he doesn’t go into the box he will never be heard from again. “You will never be found. You will simply vanish.” As soon as the tape ends, the walls of the room begin to slowly close in on Honnou, like a noose tightening around his neck. He desperately tries to push against the walls or do something to escape. He begins shooting at the glass box now containing a smirking RHYMESTER but the bullets have no effect. The music swells as the walls close in on our hero. RHYMESTER, now safe in the glass box, begins to be lowered down into the floor as he watches upward to see Honnou’s inevitable fate. Honnou only has seconds left now. As the walls get closer, he begins to try climbing up against both walls using his hands and feet to make an escape through the ceiling. The clock is ticking. This is his last chance to get out. He manages to make it up to the grating on the ceiling and he holds on with his hands, suspended over the room that is about to swallow him. It’s too late. His arm is crushed by the wall and he screams in pain, blood spurting out onto the glass coffin below as a gleeful RHYMESTER watches his handiwork. Honnou screams in horrible agony as the walls slowly crush him, blood now quickly pooling down onto RHYMESTER, as credits roll.
Yeah, that about sums it up.
LiSA – NIPPON: Passable, I guess. I’m not a huge fan of the original so a karaoke version is not offensive. Is it great? Meh. Not for me but I bet the average Japanese fan will like it just fine.
Rekishi – Koufukuron: I really like this. It’s actually a really fun, lively cover of this song that you would expect in a cover album. I wish the others were this quality, to be honest.
The Urashima’s – Tadashii Machi: Really good. Definitely another highlight of the album. So many great people on this track. SPITZ, Mr. Children, and ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION. I mean, fuck. Couldn’t we have gotten them all to do separate tracks? There’s too much awesome compiled into one song!
Like many other posters are saying, this isn’t what I’d want my Ringo tribute album to be, but maybe for Japanese fans it’ll be what they’re craving. Miura Daichi, Rekishi, and The Urashima’s are all the clear winners here. The rest range from god awful (Tsugou no ii Karada, HonNOOOOOOOOOO) to decent (MaruSadi, Sid). It’s probably a middle of the road album for me. I may pick up the album regardless although it’s not high on my priorities.