December 6, 2007
Rie fu released her third full album on 11/21. Entitled “Tobira Album“, it encompasses the singles “Until I Say”, “Tsukiakari”, “5000 Mile” and “Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu.” While fans have been a little lukewarm on a individual singles leading up to this album, I think “Tobira Album” as a whole is worthy of the standard set by “Rie fu” and “Rose Album.”
In addition to the four A-side single tracks, the album also includes a number of the B-sides from the singles including “tobira”, “Dreams Be”, and a live version of “Sunshine of My Day.” Filling things out are a number of strong album original tracks. “Come To My Door” (another allusion to the word “tobira”, Japanese for “door) is a fast, upbeat song that carries the pace after the album opens with “5000 Mile.” After “Kimi ga Ukabu you” the album slows down a bit through “Until I Say.” I hadn’t liked “Until I Say” much when it came out, but now I really do. It may have hurt it that the PV was so dull. The pace picks up again with “SMILE” and stays fairly quick before rounding things out with “Anata ga Koko ni Iru Riyuu.”
In a strange musical gestalt effect, Tobira Album manages to, as a complete composition, strengthen the individual tracks that comprise it. Rie again demonstrates the quirky cleverness of her songwriting that made her first two albums so much fun. Fusing elements of Japanese pop with the American country culture she picked up while living in Baltimore as a kid creates a unique sound that would appeal to listeners of both nations. The slight Maryland twang in her accent is kind of cute too. 😛 Unfortunately, Rie isn’t a huge commercial success in Japan, but with her albums and most of her singles hitting the top 50 I hope we’ll continue to hear from her for a long time to come, and see her reach greater success. For now though, she’ll have to be my top artist that not many other people have heard of.