An early buzzing 2019 hit comes courtesy of singer/songwriter Satoko Shibata, an artist who has attracted attention in the past for her playful acoustic pop numbers which often come with clever videos. “Namida” plays out like an update of something you’d find on Taeko Ohnuki’s Sunshower, striking a balance between daily-life ennui and a nice groove that makes the complicated emotions a little easier to swallow. It’s a charming number, falling somewhere between modern day urban funk and something like the (surprisingly viral) YeYe.
But remember this blog ultimately just reflects the views of one doofus, and I’ve always been a fan of Shibata’s slightly stranger creations, like the one where she sings about dogs over a frantic electronic beat that creeps pretty close to footwork, all while flutes play. “Kekkonshimashita” isn’t quite as oddball as that one, but it jumps out as a touch more loose-limbed and with more twists going for it then “Namida,” not to mention slightly more charming lyrics. Shibata jumps from pleasant guitar melodies to tropical breakdowns to surprisingly heavy chugging sections, all without losing the energy pushing it forward. If “Namida” is Sunshower, this one is Tropical Dandy, taking strains of “world music” and creating something loose-limbed but surprisingly dramatic out of them. Listen above.