Keikoku (Caution) by Ringo Sheena
Ringo Sheena is big in Japan. Since her debut single as a 19-year-old in 1998, every album she’s released has reached the top 3 in her native country. This includes her records with the band Tokyo Jihen, while she’s also written hits for boyband Tokio. This all suggests a confident performer who panders to the mainstream, but Wikipedia describes Ringo as “well known for her eccentricity” and her body of work is diverse and challenging.
Ringo Sheena was barely 20 when she released her debut album Muzai Moratorium, writing all of the tracks. It’s not her most acclaimed work. I’ve seen it described as having too much of a debt to Alanis Morisette, and her arty fourth album Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana is often deemed her best. But I love ‘Keikoku’, buried down as the second last track of Muzai Moratorium. Sheena wished to release it as her first single but was overruled by her record company.
Guitarist Susumu Nishikawa only worked with Shiina Ringo for her first couple of albums, but he’s monstrous here. The bluesy opening riff is huge, and there’s a great solo too. The rhythm section is funky, while Sheena’s lead vocal is youthful and athletic.
The language barrier has prevented Ringo Sheena from becoming popular outside of Japan, but she’s a fascinating artist.
Interesting pick. I bet most folks reading this have never heard of Ringo Sheena. That guitarist is quite a firecracker. Some cool wah-wah action going on in the solo.
I hadn’t heard of her until relatively recently, but she’s a pretty major artist, just in a different language.
It certainly is a good reminder there is a whole music world out there beyond the English speaking sphere.
Frankly, I have zero clue about Japan’s music scene. It’s not just the language barrier. It’s also how different the Japanese language sounds from English, Spanish, Italian or French.
Love the guitar of course…and the groove and drive in this one. I like this pick Graham…
Apparently he just played on Ringo’s first two records, then she married a different guitarist and had to let him play instead.
Wasn’t expecting that sound. Little Faith No More sound. The band is cookin. Im with two guys above on the guitar.
Faith No More is a good reference point, even though the vocalists are quite different.
More the music and vibe. Thats what my ear heard a little bit of.
It’s surprisingly good, and way more Americanized than what I was expecting. I hope she takes English lessons so we can enjoy her lyrics as well as her singing.
I can’t see her suddenly going English language. She does have a covers album where she sings in English.
I will have to look for that album, thanks.
I enjoyed this listen to someone I don’t believe I ever would have heard of outside of the song draft. The singer has a great voice. As msjadeli says, the production was surprisingly Americanized, which admittedly made it easier for me to listen and get into the song right from the start.
Yup, it does fit right into that 1990s alt rock sound, but her vocals have lots of personality too.
Way late to the party here Graham but really love this song. The beginning of the song reminds me a bit of Lenny Kravitz. Great groove to it. Really appreciate you posting stuff from outside the US for the draft that otherwise I would probably never hear
Thanks for listening. It’s pretty akin to US mainstream rock, really, just in Japanese.