Why I love Shiina Ringo

A few years ago I ran across a music recommendation – Tokyo Jihen’s Adult. I don’t even remember where I saw it or why I followed it. But I did follow it, and I didn’t regret it. Adult is a great album, largely because of one person – the band’s frontwoman, Shiina Ringo.

Miss Ringo is a popular Japanese singer-songwriter who’s gotten some attention in the West. She seems to go for a mix of jazz and pop-inspired elements in her music. This could potentially turn into a mess, but Shiina is very good at her job. She’s a fine pianist (and she can play a bunch of other instruments as well) and a great songwriter – almost every song of hers I’ve heard so far is catchy as hell. For an example, check out this song from her solo album Karuki Zaamen Kuri no Hana:

She also has a great voice. Here’s a live rendition of Poltergeist, a song from the same album:

Shiina Ringo is one of the few singer-songwriter types I care for at all. A lot of the really popular ones seem kind of overrated to me, and some of them are full of themselves or attention-grabbers etc. which can come through in their lyrics sometimes. I have no idea what she’s like – from the little I’ve read, she doesn’t say much about herself and puts on a mysterious persona. And since I can’t understand most of her lyrics, their contents don’t present any problem to me. It might sound weird, but I prefer not to know what she’s singing about. Though it’s possible her lyrics are really profound. I have no idea.

If this post seems short, it’s because I have a hard time writing about music. A few writers are really good at it and I’m not among their number. For me, trying to describe music to someone through words is a poor substitute for just playing the music for them, so check out the links above instead if you’re interested.

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3 thoughts on “Why I love Shiina Ringo

  1. Writing about music certainly is tough. Reviewing a movie or game is easy as there are so many things to talk about (actors, story, visuals etc) but I would struggle writing more than a sentence describing a song.

  2. I love this woman, Shiina Ringo. It’s not because of her looks even though she is beautiful. I love her for her music. Her melodies are wonderfully unique and at times haunting. Friends and family that I’ve tried to introduce to her music stubbornly dismiss her mainly because she’s Japanese. It’s their loss. Ringo-san has musically cast a spell on me and I love it.

    • I know exactly what you mean. I haven’t really tried getting anyone else into her music (at least not anyone I know in real life) but that “spell” she puts on you is the real thing. She’s foxy as hell too, but of course that doesn’t affect what I think of her music at all.

      As for people dismissing Ringo’s stuff, maybe it’s not because she’s because Japanese but because she’s foreign. I’ve gotten asked a few times why I listen to any foreign music at all. Why not? If music is good, I don’t give a damn what country it came from.

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