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Old 2013.07.01, 06:44 AM   #1
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Default What's the best thing Ringo's ever done?

Dumb thread time!

Just what's on the tin: what would you consider to be the singular greatest thing that Ringo Shiina has ever done? Not limited to anything in particular; releases, perfomance, singular actions, a particular quote, anything. Just that painfully specific moment where you consciously recognize that everything post-dating it can never compare and her career began it's downward spiral into what we know and love today. Go. And be specific. (watch, every response is DVL Souretsu or EM)

My vote is for Nippon ni Umarete from Zazen Ecstasy, from the opening to the end of the first chorus, just after the lights come on; that's it. Never been better.
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Old 2013.07.01, 07:36 AM   #2
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As time has gone by, there have been lots of answers I'd give to this. It used to be Souretsu. Obviously. But now I've gotten older and (I'd like to think) wiser, and thinking about which song I'm always, always in the mood for. I've gone from the heart... and my heart screams....


The more I think about it, seriously think about it, the more and more perfect it seems. It's like the deadgrandma theme song. This is probably why "nu" Ringo hasn't given me the shits... I totally dig this side of her and just want MORE of it.

You may scoff at me choosing something so new, so SG, but fuck me, dat song. If you can't/flat out won't see how wonderful it is, then I feel sorry for you. The PV: single most sexy moment in her history too.
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Last edited by deadgrandma : 2013.07.01 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 2013.07.01, 08:16 AM   #3
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Dynamite Out.

That's how you do a rock concert. That's how you use performance to elevate material. Every musician gets their moment and shares screen time equally (at least it feels that way.) It may be the item that is least focused on Shiina, but she becomes a player for the band like she never again did -- every one did, and for at least one night, Tokyo Jihen became more than the sum of it's parts.

KZK is amazing and deserves every drop of recognition, but I do not tire of Dynamite Out. If KZK deserves to be in the same breath of Kid A, Funeral and other great 2000's records, Dynamite Out deserves to be with The Last Waltz
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Old 2013.07.01, 02:36 PM   #4
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@dg: Release of the PV or the album cut itself? Important distinction. Like I said, specifically. Same goes for Jihad. What's the "this is it" moment of DO?

As an aside, Shun used to be my goto "smoke cigarettes in my car and unwind after coming home from wherever" song for like two years straight.

Anyway, to elaborate on my choice:
Adult is my favorite album. KZK is the most musically inspired. Sanmon Gossip is the most diverse. Shouso Strip is both the best and the most true to Ringo Shiina. Hear me out. Best, while a completely subjective statement, I feel is apropos being that it is the most well-selling and critically acclaimed of any of her works. This was the height of her creative success, without question. It's also the truest, in the sense that, while both MM and SS are comprised of mainly songs written before she was signed, MM clearly shows the sheen of production from a label looking to protect their investment, whereas with SS you can tell they took a step back after realizing that Shiina pretty much knew what she was doing. Hence, we have songs written without the same level of external influence as her later work and produced with more input by the creator of said works than anything prior.

But you say, "Wait a minute, KZK was produced in a vacuum too; it's all her!" I disagree. Sure, maybe she locked herself in her house and wrote the entire thing in one long meditative session after taking copious amounts of peyote. But this was already a changed woman. She'd had a kid, been in the industry for nearly 5 years, worked with and learned from many other professional musicians, etc. These things leave their mark.

Zazen, Nippon ni Umarete specifically, exemplifies the end of this age, the age of Shouso Strip, the age of "young", "raw" or "passionate" Ringo, if you will. From the choice of wardrobe, a departure from her rock'n'rock persona, to, most strikingly, the crucified effigy of GX Ringo during the final performance. Even the conscious decision to go out on a song that was given to someone else and not a part of her actual discography is telling.

So this is the truest moment in her entire career (at least that we've been able to see); before her kid, her dynamic shift, Jihen, everything. Hence why I limit it only the beginning of the song to the end of the first chorus, because it's all her. Also, she's very emotive and never played piano like that since.

It's only a shame it took us so long to be able to see it.

Last edited by karateexplosion : 2013.07.01 at 03:50 PM. Reason: Somehow didn't read the last line of dg's post.
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Old 2013.07.01, 06:01 PM   #5
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Well this isn't as specific as you asked for, but I'd like to say Yokushitsu/La Salle de bain. Between these two incarnations of the same song, I can feel almost everything that SR represents for me. It sounds both rough and polished at the same time. With La salle you get her "disney" sound, but Yokushitsu gives you the SS edge. It's both experimental and accessible. You can hear it and say "This sounds crazy as hell but I want to hear it again", and that goes for both versions. So it's not exactly a moment, but this song totally explains why I love Shiina Ringo.
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Old 2013.07.10, 07:57 AM   #6
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quite a tricky question but I'd say Shuukyo. it was always my fave work of her and it's a huge missed oportunity that she never did it live
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Old 2013.07.10, 04:41 PM   #7
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What I consider the best thing for Ringo has to be uniquely Ringo. It's one of the reasons why I can't say SS, simply because large chunks of that album are incredibly derivative. It's an excellent album but it can at times feel like a summary of the greatest rock music from the 90's.

So what has Ringo done that is so completely Ringo? I would say it is her characteristic blending of rock music with cool jazz and sweeping orchestration. Songs like Suberidai, which is not quite jazz and not quite rock and not quite pop, Meisai, which is a punk-ish jazz song with dense, chaotic alt rock arrangements, and Stem, which is sweeping and beautiful and passionate but it's not quite in that showy "diva" style or chamber pop adjacent. I haven't heard songs like that from other artists (though I think parts of Sufjan Steven's Illinois come really close to STEM)

But, ultimately, the best thing that Ringo has ever done is that she changed the landscape for popular music in Japan. She brought a genuine bratty punk attitude with a creativity in her songwriting to a market that did barely anything to acknowledge female songwriters (Matsutoya Yumi aside). I think Ringo is influential enough that she, Chara, Yuki from Judy and Mary, and Utada Hikaru all should get credit for allowing the new crop of songwriters today to have artistic freedom, especially female songwriters. Of those, Ringo was the one who was most obviously abrasive against the stereotypes for Japanese female singers.

Just my two cents.
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Old 2019.10.20, 03:34 PM   #8
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Resurrecting a dead thread!

But in all seriousness, as much as I love the answers in this thread (and I really do), I have to go with the cliché answer that every dude who has a RateYourMusic account would go with and choose KSK. I wish I could be as contrarian as deadgrandma or as cool as Tokyo Jihad is, and you know, karateexplosion made some really good points about why the SS/Zazen/GX Ringo IS the definitive Ringo in many ways but be that as it may be, KSK is my personal favorite thing she's ever done and probably ever will do. It's greater than the sum of its parts. It's so much more than that.

So many words have already been said about the album on this forum and by others who are much more eloquent than I am. People mention how she plays 15 instruments on it, how complex the arrangements are, how great the songwriting is, etc. and I agree with all of that. People with far better musical credentials than me can take each track, pick it apart piece by piece, and explain why it's well done. It's visceral, intense, layered, beautiful, well-crafted, diverse, fragile, sincere, strange, and bold.

KSK is all of those things.

But the thing that always has stuck around with me when I listen to this album isn't actually any one of these things.

It's the fact that KSK is haunted.

I realize that's a very loaded term. What the hell does "haunted" even mean? Well, obviously no one died in the making of the album. It's not some kind of chilling epitaph to Shiina Ringo or anything (I mean, unless you're an EMFer ) so what the hell do I mean by that?

Each track is about death in some way, whether it be dark or whimsical, and it is a constant theme that permeates throughout the album. Do you feel anything when you hear the voices singing "mellow" as they ascend into heaven in Shuukyou? How about when Ringo's voice begins to say "and possess you whole" but gets cut off at the end of Doppelganger and is played out by an ominous music box? How does the screeching violin that sounds like it's in its death throes at the end of Meisai grab you? Or how about the guitar that sounds like it's a heart monitor that is coding at the end of Odaiji ni, suggesting the person who wants to "get well soon" may be in their final moments? Or the trapped, lifeless vocals Ringo delivers coupled with a simple drum loop in Yattsuke Shigoto in front of a lush orchestra of the "outside world"? Do you like the final crescendo of Kuki ending with "Entry Number One", suggesting a rebirth? Did you ever notice the middle 8 for Torikoshi Kurou seems to have ghosts singing backup to Ringo's lead vocal? Or how the haunted train finally arrives in Okonomi de? The unsettling and strange intro to Ishiki coupled with the unnerving pauses? Poltergeist almost sounds like an abandoned carnival springing to life at midnight. And do I even need to start with Souretsu?

That's what I mean. Each track feels like one facet of death and has some sort of ghostly presence that is inescapable. The best way I can describe KSK is that it feels like going to an old, abandoned temple and finding a bunch of yokai musicians doing an impromptu concert. You know how every single alien in the Cantina scene in Star Wars is memorable and eventually got their own backstory in the EU? I feel like KSK is the same way with its songs. Every single track feels like an individual character with so many layers and complexities. No other album feels that way to me. For an album that seems so fixated on death it's just so full of life. That's why I feel like it's haunted. Every track is imbued with some sort of spirit. I can't even articulate it well into words. And maybe it's just me who feels that way. But regardless, I feel like it's a massive accomplishment.
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Last edited by Osiris12345 : 2019.10.20 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 2019.10.21, 01:12 AM   #9
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For me it would be the live version of Kuki from the Electric Mole dvd, and the reasons are perfectly described by the way Osiris described KZK
IMO this specific performance culminates everything KZK represents
the rest of the dvd feels like maaaany maaaaany bonus tracks to this performance
of course I love Kyouiku and dynamite out, but IMO they stand as the last excellent outputs of SR, together with shuraba single
but they are not better than that performance of kuki, nothing is.

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Old 2019.10.23, 07:41 PM   #10
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The best concert she's ever done is Electric Mole, period. Music from her absolute best album, coupled with the absolute best vocals of her career. And the very, very best performance, of all the excellent performances during that concert, was Okonomi de. That one, heart-melting moment. You know the one. Everything else stands in comparison to that one, fleeting bit of transcendent perfection.
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