Seiko Oomori has set herself some serious standards with all her releases prior to this- from her folky beginnings to the hyper pop of 2014’s Sennou– every release has been a delight for fans to absorb and get lost in. So it comes as no surprise that people are getting just a little excited about her latest release (and second major album), TOKYO BLACK HOLE. What I personally did not expect, however, was it to SURPASS everything before it. This is a phenomenal album, and I feel like it’s my duty to gush just a little over it.
With TOKYO BLACK HOLE, Seiko Oomori takes all the elements that have made her such a compelling artist to follow, honed them, taken a step back in the full frontal delivery and focused on the album as a whole- and damn, it’s an album to write to your Grandma about. It’s an event- and everyone’s invited.
Working with mainly the same team from Sennou, as well as a few other notable producers such as Kameda Seiji, Mito (from Clammbon) and Sakurai Kentai, a great sense of the familiar along with some brand new inspirations- such as Shibuya Kei- is created. Together it all adds to bring a formidable, colorful and superb mix of tracks with a delightful amount of variation in instrumentation. There’s a surprise around every corner, whether it be a drum outburst, a guitar solo or an utterly heartwarming stretch of gorgeous melodies.
At the center of it all, of course- is Oomori. You never forget who’s album it is- her vocals are insatiable here. They’re definitely the best she’s had put down in a studio setting and are just perfect in the songs here. She might not wail as much as she used to- but the amount of restrain is quite impressive in itself. That’s not to say that she’s weakening things- she does still do her trademark vocal spikes- but only when they’re used for a hard hitting, often crushing effect. And it’s breathtaking.
There’s not a dull track in it’s near one hour run-time. I can’t even get myself to pick a favorite tune anymore- I seriously have a deep love for everything here! Every song seems to focus on a different element of the modern Tokyo lifestyle- and while at times, points out the most bleak elements- always manages to give it a cup half-full approach. It might completely crush you emotionally, but always leaves a sense of hopefulness regardless, with Oomori as your ever supporting coach.
Indeed, Oomori has crafted yet another masterpiece in a surprisingly short amount of time. The album seems to set another high for her- and it again, is hard to imagine her topping it. So go ahead, tell everyone about it. Let your neighbours hear it by blasting it absurdly loudly. Laugh with it, cry with it, but most importantly, embrace it. Cherish it. Cause it’s probably a safe bet to say we won’t get anything better than this for quite a long time.
Like it’s unbelievably overwhelming and triumphant closer, the album gets an unwavering 10/10 from me. I don’t expect to be listening to much else for a while. If you’re a jpop fan, look no further.