New Nanba Shiho: “Kami O Kiru 8 No Riyuu”

She’s on the left, away from the creepy puppet thing.

Straight to the point: This new single from Nanba Shiho pails in comparison to her last two releases, particularly this year’s triumphant “Shoujo, Futatabi.” That song, released all the way back in January, hinted at a better path for J-Pop to follow, one able to hold hands with the future (electronics) while still being loyal to the structures of the past. Shiho imagined a J-Pop world where the digital leanings of Perfume were common-place and integrated into pop form in clever ways. It was the first of many J-Pop songs exploring new territory, whether that be from MiChi’s post-Perfume jaunts or Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s candy-coated madness. “Shoujo, Futatabi” may not have ended up a sales juggernaut, but it is important in 2012.

This new song, though, seems to be about getting your hair cut over some relatively safe piano strokes and guitar strums and beats. It’s not bad…and their are legitimate sweet moments, like the post chorus “fu-ooos”…but definitely an effort by Shiho’s people to nab her a TV theme show or commercial appearance (a hair cuttery, perhaps?). Nothing wrong with that, but it’s possible to achieve commercial visibility without having to play it so safe…case in point…Shiho’s face graced a series of mobile phone ads here in Tokyo for the last few months, presumably on the strength of her first two, far more adventurous singles. Here, she’s too safe and cutesy…the part where she says “bye bye,” presumably to her hair, just makes me click over to the Zooey Asks Siri Twitter. I’ve still got hope (two for three, not bad!) so let’s just hope the below is able to spread her name more and move on, yeah?

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