Kurayami Monogatari

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Hitomi Shimatani – Sign Music February 28, 2012

Filed under: Hitomi Shimatani — solarblade @ 10:47 am

Track Listing

  1. Furusato
  2. Soshu Yakyoku
  3. Oborozukiyo
  4. Shabondama
  5. Soushunhu
  6. Natsu no Omoide
  7. Aka Tombo
  8. Pechika
  9. Okaasan
  10. Kono Michi
  11. Ondo no Funauta (CD only)

1. Furusato

I could have only hoped that it was going to be a cover of Morning Musume’s “Furusato” but nahhh it’s based off the children’s song of the same.  I really must say that I love the breezy and jazzy feel this song has and Hitomi’s vocals really sound nice amongst the arrangement as well (but then again who doubted that she would sound bad?).  Adding the flute solo and I was just happy with this song for sure!

2. Soshu Yakyoku

Next song in the album is just as jazzy but a little more soothing and has a nice deep bass involved as well.  I will say I’m surprised there was a much longer solo to be had from the violin but I guess it works for here.  It’s nice but I think the strings could’ve been less seen because I felt myself paying so much more attention to that than poor Hitomi.

3. Oborozukiyo

I guess the could be considered the album’s first ballad (maybe?).  Either way, I’m loving the fact that I hear saxophone opening this wintery tune.  This is where I start to see Hitomi’s real exceptional vocals since she’s soft and singing so peacefully and pleasantly.  It’s nice and the sax solo in the middle worked well as well…

4. Shabondama

I’m surprised that Shabondama is as short as it is because it would’ve made a great full song though once again, I kept thinking of Morning Musume here but once again, it’s the children’s song.  I like the deep string acting as the low beat and then hearing marimba in the background and having a solo as well.  It’s a nice song but I wish it was tad bit longer.

5. Soushunhu

One song I’m pretty sure I’m not going to listen after this review is probably Soushunhu which can be compared as lifeless and just plain boring.  Shimatani fans should know that she’s been on this major line of songs that really are plain jane and features not a whole of instruments.  Soushunhu has acoustic guitar only and Hitomi singing along.  It makes me feel like I’m listening to “Kantan ni Ietanara” or “Mayonaka no Guitar” which isn’t a very good thing here.  Just boring and not really fitting the album very well.

6. Natsu no Omoide

After that speed bump, Natsu no Omoide kind of brings us back into that jazzy/bossa nova side to this album and I’m so happy it did!  I like the fact that this time the sound is based upon the trumpet and even from the solo to the end was pretty awesome.  It’s pretty good but I think the music took over Hitomi who I felt didn’t have enough time to sing the song but it’s still nice otherwise.

7. Aka Tombo

I felt our next song started so oddly with those ~ahs~ going on there.  As another slow song on the album, I felt zoned out with this song but not at the same level I did with “Soushunhu”.  At first it felt so slow and quiet and essentially was a blur in my mind.  After a while, the song does grow louder and I start paying attention and she pulls it off at the end but just barely for me.

8. Pechika

Which sucks because it’s followed by another slow-moving song in Pechika.  I think by now you guys know that my weak points to music are ballads and seldom are seen repeated on my iTunes so this one definitely was testing my patience.  There were a few parts that did connect to me like the muted trumpet solos throughout.  Besides that, I couldn’t tell you how the melody of the song went hahaha.

9. Okaasan

Our next song is for all teh mothers out there XD.  Kind of a shame as it’s the only other song that’s under three minutes in length (the other was “Shabondama” by the way).  It’s kind of cute in a way because of the arrangement that has some interesting instruments playing along with Hitomi’s vocals which are a bit cutesy (I guess you can call it that).  Short but sweet I guess.

10. Kono Michi

Ending the album, Cono Michi is a soft way to end things (despite most if not all of the album is soft songs).  It seems to be paralelling “Soushunhu” because unlike acoustic guitar, there’s only piano in this song.  However, I felt this suited her quite a bit more to be honest.  Pleasant, but not the best the album offered.

11. Ondo no Funauta

Of course it was shocking to see that the CD only had a bonus track with Ondo no Funauta.  When I saw the title, I was thinking it was going to be actually an ondo-type song.  Which made me think of numerous songs from H!P…  What we got was an interesting song that features Hitomi singing in an enka style (something we haven’t seen or heard since her debut!).  I was surprised that like “Kono Michi”, the song only uses piano but that’s alright because Hitomi totally took over the arrangement with her powerful vocals.  I’m surprised she pulled this song off since she really didn’t do well on “Osaka no Onna” but those were different times for her.  Great song to finish up!

Tracks Recommended

  • Furusato
  • Shabondama
  • Ondo no Funauta
  • Okaasan
  • Natsu no Omoide

Song of Avoidance

  • Soushunhu

As this is Hitomi’s third cover album (first that isn’t based off of guy’s songs) Sign Music is nice but now I’m sure she’s trying to leave her dance/pop phase in the past because of everything since “Flare” was released.  I guess I’m alright with it but at the same time I feel she’s leaving what made her amazing for something that’s lowkey and not super popular as in the case of this album.  I don’t think jazz is VERY popular in Japan.  Otherwise this was her most interesting release since “Flare” so that should tell you guys something.  Though that enka song at the end was a nice little treat for people TBH.

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2 Responses to “Hitomi Shimatani – Sign Music”

  1. aavikkokettu Says:

    Hi! I have to tell that I’m big fan of your blog – because of you I have found so many new jpop artists! So, thank you!

  2. Ashen Twilight Says:

    DId you notice that Oborozukiyo is the same as Mika Nakashima’s Oborozukiyo~Inori? I wonder if Mika’s song was based off a children’s song?


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