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Oddball Review: The Beatles in Mono

Readers of this site may remember a while back when I lambasted the Beatles and Apple Corps over the (what I saw as) ridiculous price points of the remastered Beatles catalogue. Looking back, perhaps I should have titled that post “I’ll Give You My Money…But Not Right Now” or “Wait a While, and You’ll Eventually Have My Money.” Why is that?

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"Romances sans paroles" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 16: Romances sans paroles

Romances sans paroles Album Cover Released on July 15, 2009, Romances sans paroles~bande originale du film~ is the soundtrack album to the documentary film about Shoko Suzuki, entitled Mugonka~Romances sans paroles~. The album was released on Shoko’s own label, Bearforest Records (which is actually her second private record label; two previous releases — Love is a sweet harmony and Absolutely Alone in Kyoto Jittoku — were released on Shoko’s Angel Records label) and was preceded by a single, “I’ll Get What I Want (Chou Tsuyoko na Onna)” (which is the theme song for Mugonka).

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"Sweet Serenity" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 15: Sweet Serenity

Sweet Serenity Album Cover Released September 10, 2008, Sweet Serenity was Shoko Suzuki’s 20th anniversary album. Also, for the first time since Love, painful love in 2000, Shoko released an album distributed by a major record label — Sony Music Direct, a subsidiary of Sony (with whom Shoko began her career under), released the record as (presumably) part of a one-off deal (seeing as how every Shoko release since then has been an indies release).

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"Suzuki Syoko" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 14: Suzuki Syoko

Suzuki Syoko Album Cover Shoko Suzuki’s self-titled album, released on January 25, 2006, was her first studio album in over five years (Love, painful love was released in September 2000), and her first studio album as an indies artist. The music within is often a bit more abstract than what she had released in the past, perhaps owing in part to her association with the experimental rock band (and then-labelmates) ROVO, which is lead by former Boredoms guitarist Seiichi Yamamoto (Yamamoto doesn’t appear on this album, but he does show up on Shoko’s next album).

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"I Was There, I'm Here" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 13: I Was There, I’m Here

I Was There, I'm Here Album Cover After a break of almost exactly three years since her last record (Love, painful love), I Was There, I’m Here was released on September 21, 2003. It was Shoko’s first live album, and her first record released as an indies (non-major label) artist — this and several of her following releases would come through indie label Wonderground Music.

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"Love, painful love" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 12: Love, painful love

Love, painful love Album Cover Original released on September 27, 2000 (held back from an originally announced release date of August 23), Love, painful love was Shoko Suzuki’s first entirely self-produced album, and also her last original album recorded under her contract with Warner Music Japan — and also, her final album as an artist tied to a major label.

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"Atarashii Ai no Uta" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 11: Atarashii Ai no Uta

Atarashii Ai no Uta Album Cover Atarashii Ai no Uta, released December 10, 1999, saw Shoko reunite with Yoshiyuki Sahashi, her original producer (and with whom she hadn’t worked in any capacity since RadioGenic in 1993). After the retro ’60s rock style of her previous three albums (all of which were co-produced with Hiroaki Sugawara), Atarashii Ai no Uta would see Shoko embrace more of an ’80s-style of pop/rock music, something along the lines of music she began her career singing (albeit with more of a rock edge).

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"Shishousetsu" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 10: Shishousetsu

Shishousetsu Album Cover Shishousetsu, released August 26, 1998, was Shoko Suzuki’s first album under her record contract with Warner Music Japan, with whom she signed after leaving Epic/Sony Records in 1997. Like her previous two albums there is an appreciable rock and roll influence; however, this is balanced with orchestrated pop, ballads and even a country number, making for a fairly diverse album (and more-or-less setting the pattern for many of Shoko’s future releases, which all tend to have a fair bit of diversity to them).

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"Candy Apple Red" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 9: Candy Apple Red

Candy Apple Red Album Cover Candy Apple Red, Shoko Suzuki’s final album recorded for Epic/Sony Records, was released on March 1, 1997. In hindsight, Shoko leaving her record company seemed to be a foregone conclusion — the record company wasn’t happy with Snapshots, and Shoko presumably wasn’t happy with how they handled her career after Hourglass.

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"Snapshots" Album Cover

SHO-CO-REVIEW 8: Snapshots

Snapshots Album Cover Snapshots, released June 21, 1995, is generally considered the album where Shoko Suzuki’s music went rock. Of course, this isn’t something on the scale of Dylan going electric, as Shoko had recorded rock songs as far back as her first album…and she would continue to showcase pop songs and ballads on her future works.

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