Sanmon Gossip (Japan Version)
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YesAsia Editorial Description
|Sanmon Gossip (Japan Version) 三文 Gossip (日本版) 三文 Gossip (日本版) 三文ゴシップ (日本版) Sanmon Gossip (Japan Version)
|Sheena Ringo 椎名林檎 椎名林檎 椎名林檎 시아나 링고
|Publisher Product Code:
|1 What is it?
|YesAsia Catalog No.:
Product Information / Track List
*First Press Sold Out.
14. 丸の内サディスティック (EXPO Ver.)
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features
Professional Review of "Sanmon Gossip (Japan Version)"
Fans looking for the old Ringo Shiina may not be so happy to see her these days; the once-bad girl rocker has shown that she has evolved since the days of girl power-fueled pop-rock songs like Honnou and Koko de Kiss Shite and even experimental music like the Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana album. Ever since the second Tokyo Jihen album Adult, Shiina has moved towards a more mature, Western-oriented jazz sound that fits her surprisingly well. On the other hand, it has also earned plenty of doubts from hardcore fans looking for the edge that attracted them in the first place.
However, even these hardcore fans will sure have something to praise about Sanmon Gossip, Shiina's first full-length solo album since 2007's Heisei Fuzoku (half of which was a cover album of her own works in the first place). Produced, as always, with the mysterious Uni Inoue, Sanmon Gossip continues the maturing process of Shiina's musical style, not only blending the jazz elements that she has embraced four years ago, but also integrating surprising new elements into her established style as well. The result is Ringo's best work since Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana and her most accessible solo effort since her debut album.
Right from the intro of opening track Ryuko (Track 1), one can already hear Shiina trying to change her game up with the integration of rap, courtesy of Mummy-D of the rap group Rhymester. While most cases of putting rap into a pop song result in embarrassment, she plays it a little smarter in Ryuko, putting the rap sections only in the opening and ending sections instead of forcing in a little mic time with Mummy-D in the bridge. The energetic big band-jazz-hip-hop hybrid gets the album to an explosive start, and the energy is even fluidly continued to the funky Rodousha (Track 2).
Perhaps the biggest change Shiina has made since her old rock days is her departure from the early 20s, melancholic angst to fun, nostalgic genre-crossing pieces like Mittei Monogatari (Track 3), an English-language track written in the style of a theme song to a British spy movie from the 70s.
Blending in the flute and guitar-based arrangement of the short-lived genre with the funky, nostalgic rock sound of Tokyo Jihen, Shiina belts out the tale of a globe-trotting super spy out to stop a villain named Dr. Bow Tie with great fun and without the showy vocal style that has dominated her past works. Incomprehensible English lyrics aside, Mittei Monogatari represents the kind of seemingly effortless fun Shiina has on Sanmon Gossip.
Arranged as two sets of continuous tracks, the album is split evenly in half - with even the Japanese song titles placed in symmetrical order. Amidst all the noise and the energy, the best track of the album - Shun (Track 7) - is appropriately placed right in the middle. The only ballad on the album, Shun is a huge departure from the rest of the album's bombastic style, but it's also fluidly composed, with the jazz-style piano-based arrangement balancing nicely with the other musical elements. Shiina's vocal also doesn't just dominate the song like she has done in the past (especially in Heisei Fuzoku); she holds back to keep with the laid-back style of the song and lets arranger/conductor Neko Saito have his day instead during the outro, giving him over a minute for his orchestra to show off their stuff. It's a fantastic way to wipe the slate clean for the beginning of the second half.
Despite the fact that Shiina has embraced her newfound adult jazz style, she also pulls out a couple of old tricks on Sanmon Gossip as well. Zero Chiten Kara (Track 4) and Togatta Teguchi (Track 10) both herald back to earlier in Shiina's career, blending her old rock style with bits of experimental electronic touches from Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana. The former leans heavier towards the experimental electronic style, while the latter's guitar-driven arrangement makes it the most bombastic song of the album. Shiina also brings back Mummy-D to integrate her newfound infatuation with hip-hop into her genre formula, giving it a slight twist without deviating too much. Even though neither track stands out on its own, Shiina nevertheless manages to fit them into their respective places in the overall scheme of Sanmon Gossip perfectly.
Sanmon Gossip is not quite the perfect album; even though Shiina's fans will be happy to see her revisiting old genres, she also continues her die-hard habit of rehashing past songs to the point of exhaustion. This time, it's Heisei Fuzoku's Karisome Ryojo (Track 5), yet again rearranged into a big band-style Latin jazz song, and the classic Marunouchi Sadistic (Track 14), here given a pseudo-hip-hop arrangement and brand-new English lyrics filled with music references. However, neither adds enough to the actual song to justify the rehashing, and only feels like they're taking up space.
In my 2007 review, I called Heisei Fuzoku a reinvention of Ringo Shiina, which makes Sanmon Gossip a continuation and a maturation of that new style. As the album marks the 10th anniversary of her major debut, Shiina also takes the opportunity to acknowledge her previous works (including those with Tokyo Jihen) while bringing in new elements as well. Sanmon Gossip is not only entertaining enough to be perfectly accessible for pop fans (first signaled by the pop-rock ballad Ariamaru Tomi, the single that was not included in the album), it also shows Japanese commercial pop music at its best, bending and defying genre rules without alienating her listeners along the way. It's not as brave and original as Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana, but Shiina has once again brilliantly outdone herself.
by Kevin Ma
Customer Review of "Sanmon Gossip (Japan Version)"
See all my reviews
July 21, 2009
This customer review refers to Shiina Ringo - Sanmon Gossip (Korea Version)
|Shiina Ringo's "Sanmon Gossip" is a tour de force. Beginning in familiar J-Pop territory, the CD soon takes us to jazz, R&B, a Broadway show tune sound-alike, techno, Brazilian jazz, rock, and hip hop. It seems there is nothing Shiina Ringo cannot do. There is never a dull moment and there are plenty of wonderful musical moments here. While there are two or three moments when Miss Shiina pushes her voice past its ability, those flaws soon are swept aside by all the spectacular surprises. Don't miss this one!