Chihiro Onitsuka / everyhome / May 30, 2007
everyhome / 02. MAGICAL WORLD / 03. Himitsu
I honestly prefer sticking to writing reviews of music that I enjoy because I’d rather someone attempt taking away something from the whole sitting down to read a whole album review before downloading the track to see if it’s all I’ve hyped it up to be experience (roughly 3% of the readers; according to my statistics, about 83% of visitors spend less than 3o seconds on the site at a time. I’m guessing they’re just scrolling to see what’s for download, then take the file and leave. Nice). However, about two months ago I did a short post about Chihiro Onitsuka’s big comeback, aka, her first single release since October 2004. With almost three full years of rest and absence from the media, I’d figure Onitsuka would offer something of “Rasen” or even “Beautiful Fighter” proportions of awesomeness, and thus, deliberately anticipated the days leading to May 30 and made a bit of a hoopla of the whole thing and now find it my obligation to report back.
It’s not that I just like Onitsuka; she has real talent. With a fantastic composition style, interesting and basic, sticking to organic instruments like the violin, piano, and acoustic guitar, she manipulates music to convey her sentiments in the style of, say, Jewel, but with enthusiasm and zeal that many in her field fail to muster. Sure, she branched out from time to time to compose some more rock n’ roll driven numbers, but for the most part, her forte has and seems, always will be, those heart-wrenching ballads, but on a lesser, more accesible scale. Unfortunately, Onitsuka’s latest release, “everyhome,” which contains three original new compositions, is lackluster and almost mundane in delivery. From the reluctant lyrics that lack the passion and ambition of songs like “BORDERLINE” where Onitsuka takes us to heights beyond reality in order to relate her bouts of sadness and make the listener feel empathetic towards the situation, regardless of whether or not the listener actually speaks Japanese or can discern the brief bits of carefully woven English. Instead, the title track leaves the listener with little discernible emotion aside from ennui. The second track leaves much to be desired as well: another stripped down melody based on piano and accompanied by Onitsuka’s vocals which attempt desperately to convey a feeling of perhaps anxiety, but leaves the listener grasping for a semblance to hang on to, something that can prove their time is gladly forfeited to care, but failing to find one worthy enough to even offer their condolences.
The third track, “Himitsu,” picks up the pace of the disc’s solemnity, retaining a classic rock vibe that brings to mind the struggle of the audience of VH1’s Rock Honors to rock out to the reunion of Phil Collins’s Genesis. What remained was an audience staring blank-eyed and unmoving at halfhearted guitar solos and a man frantically straining to capture his youth once more, but unable to catch the attention of a crowd Hell bent on watching Ozzy perform. And much like Phil Collins’s space in my music collection, Onitsuka’s latest single fails to make me want to have anything to do with it.