It technically isn’t the 20th anniversary since Sheena Ringo’s major-label debut, as that would have happened last year. Yet we are about two decades on from the singer-songwriter’s first album Muzai Moratorium bum-rushed the Japanese charts and introduced her style of rock to the mainstream. She has since become one of the nation’s most celebrated artists, achieving sales and critical success. So now is a perfectly suitable moment for her to put out her first best-of compilation ever, collecting songs she has put out over that timespan. It offers a chance to revisit
Of course, you sometimes need to dangle a carrot in front of the public to get them to drop about ¥3000 on a CD stuffed with songs they probably already know well. Ringo released a new song and video, titled “Kouzen no Himitsu,” to help build the hype up for her first best-of set. Watch the video for the song — featuring jazz backing, dancers and plenty of military-style uniforms — below.
The sound of “Kouzen no Himitsu” leans closer to Ringo’s approach from later career rather than from the breakthrough moments of her early years. This is a number leaning heavily on jazz arrangements, which have fascinated her since she formed the band Tokyo Jihen in the mid 2000s. It’s a credit to her that she has found a way to find new angles on this sound over more than 10 years, and “Kouzen” in particular features a nice energy buzzing throughout, with Ringo working in a good beat and a splash of electric guitar (which she summons at one point by simply saying “guitar,” always a good look). It’s not a song to really fit into her larger narrative — this has been her vibe for a bit now, and could have appeared at any other point — but does serve as a reminder that she’s still plucking away at this style and coming up with something interesting along the way.