Chihiro Onitsuka has a bit of a sordid history with record companies, as I’ve mentioned previously. After leaving Toshiba EMI in 2004 after they released a singles box against her wishes, Onitsuka signed up with Universal. During her time at the new record label, she released only one single, Sodatsu Zassou, which was almost a complete change of her typical folk-rock musical style. Fans were generally shocked, though not at all appalled; the song was still quite good. Personally, though, it was a bit of a disappointment on my part; what made Onitsuka such a great musician was her unique melodies, consisting almost solely of compositions comprised of piano, drums, acoustic guitar, and violin, all which made for a very unique listening experience, especially with her somewhat twangy accent and nasal tone. “Sodatsu Zassou,” was, and I hesitate to say it, mostly because it really didn’t matter in terms of why I didn’t enjoy it so much, more commercially acceptable with its clean-cut production; it just mattered that the single wasn’t all that great, especially in comparison to the absolutely amazing work she had previously been putting out. It appears that one of the reasons Onitsuka changed her style so much was to get away from the image she had with Toshiba EMI, an attempt to start over after she lost all of the rights to her entire back catalogue.
Since this release in October of 2004, Onitsuka has been rather absent from the music scene on a whole, not releasing any material for two and a half years due to “mental fatigue” (her old record company, however, released The Ultimate Collection and Singles 2000-2003 in a last ditch effort to bank on a lost artist). Luckily, Ontsuka has been making apearances and showing signs of activity once again; on March 17 of this year, she performed a brief live of two songs and the new single her official site has finally announced, a single titled “everyhome,” to be released at the end of May. I’m very excited to see what the piece will sound like: if Onitsuka will turn back to her distinct, folk-rock sound or continue to expand on the rockier edge she hinted, nay, blatantly alluded to, with her last single. Furthermore, Onitsuka has promised a new “come-back” album of sorts, alongside a future concert tour. What do you know, 2007 is actually starting to look up.
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