Chiaki Kuriyama Circus

Release Date: March 16, 2011

Track Listing

  1. Roulette de Kuchizuke wo
  2. Cold Finger Girl
  3. The Creamy Season
  4. Mirai no Hikari
  5. The Decisive 3Min
  6. Kuchi ni Shita Love
  7. Shinkai
  8. Kanousei Girl
  9. Gokoku Houhou ROCK
  10. Ladies & Gentleman
  11. New Moon Day

Review

Chiaki Kuriyama is probably best known to those outside of Japan for two of her most famous roles. The first being Takako Chigusa in the film adaptation of Battle Royale. Her scene where she offs a dude by stabbing him repeatedly in the junk is one that makes all men cringe. I believe that everyone will know her more as the sadistic bodyguard Go Go Yubari in the first part of the Kill Bill trilogy.

In 2010 she started a singing career with the first ending theme song to the Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn series (Ryuusei no Namida) followed up by 3 more singles Kanousei Girl, Cold Finger Girl and Oishii Kisetsu/Ketteiki Sanpunkan. Those singles were followed up in early 2011 with her debut album Circus.

Those of you expecting another actress turned pop tart can probably turn away now. Kuriyama has gone into the less traveled road of J-Rock. This isn’t angsty girl rock but rather well structured songs created with artists such as Chris Cester and Mark Wilson of Jet and Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind along with those from Japan such as Taki Yoshimitsu (9mm Parabellum Bullet), Shiina Ringo and Tomoyasu Hotei.

With firepower like that behind the boards one should expect at least a decent album right?

Circus starts out with a bang with songs like Roulette de Kuchizuke wo and Cold Finger Girl and then the momentum stops when you hit The Creamy Season. Pacing is the one major flaw of this album. Just when stuff starts to kick ass you get a cold splash of reality when a mediocre mid-tempo song kills the vibe.

But that’s what the skip button is for. Besides the singles and the tracks mentioned above give Kuchi ni Shita Love, Gokoku Houhou ROCK and Ladies & Gentlemen should give you an idea of the goodness on this album with Kuchi ni Shita Love being the most accessible of the group with it’s some what No Doubt type of throwback groove.

I wasn’t sure what to expect out of this album to be honest. I have always seen Kuriyama as an actress so to hear her as a singer was revelation. She doesn’t have the stereotypical squeaky, high pitched, cutesy voice so that already earned points in my book. Instead she’s surprisingly strong which is something definitely needed for the genre she has chosen to work in.

Too bad Circus is kind of hit & miss. Again, mostly due to rather poor track placement/selection that really ruined the buzz early on. Still, this is a fairly decent effort whose mistakes will hopefully be rectified whenever she decides to do another album or single.

Circus

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