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Music Review: Sakura

Posted by representingpuroresu on 04/22/2010

If you looked at my Sakura Matsuri Festival post a couple weeks back, you may have noticed I managed to get a picture of a “cosplay cutie” at a booth in an area of the festival near some J-Pop performances. Some post-festival research I did revealed this cute girl to be J-Pop/cosplay artist Reni, who also had her first US release on sale. I didn’t pick it up at the festival but got it soon after I got home, and having listened to it here’s a brief review of what appears to be her US debut album, “Sakura”.

From her website: “Reni specializes in Akihabara style performances, a genre that emphasizes the cute look of Japanese pop-culture with the hip appeal of Japanese animation. Through her singing and dancing, she creates an adorable, peaceful, yet exciting mood.

Reni was born and raised in Japan and began training in the art of dance and theater at a very young age. Her big break came after she entered and won a talent search competition from among 1,000 singers. She then released her first Japanese CD in 2006 produced by Takahiro Yamautsuri, who composed the music for one of the Pokemon movies.

In 2008 Reni relocated to New York City and hopes to bring this unique style to the United States. As interest in Japanese entertainment grows among the American youth, Reni offers her audiences the most fun and authentic Japanese pop experience, without ever having to travel to Tokyo. In 2009, she began her regular monthly Japanese ‘Maid’ Show events, and has been invited as a guest performer to Japan Society, Otakon and NY Anime Fetival this year. Reni is quickly winning over the hearts of many new local fans, thanks to her pretty stage costumes, upbeat personality, and her outstanding singing talent.

Her new CD album “Sakura” is released on September 25th, 2009.”

I’ll get the obvious out of the way-she’s ridiculously cute, upbeat, perky, etc. She also calls her fans “her angels”. As for the album, the style of the music varies quite a bit. It starts out very J-popish, very cheerful-sounding which, the first time I heard it drove me to the brink. I can take it in small doses at times but too much like this is just too much for me. She tries to mix both Japanese & English lyrics in her songs as well but it isn’t the best fusion. If you make it through the first 2 songs though, the other 2 songs are much better as she slows the tempo down a little and brings the pitch down a bit as well. She also tries to convey some messages/stories in her songs, including one she wrote to be about showing gratitude towards her parents.
Overall Reni definitely gets an A for effort, and obviously for extreme cuteness. As far as the music goes, it’s not a bad first US album, there is definitely room for improvement and her style is not for everyone, J-Pop fans included. But if you give it a chance you might find it kinda catchy. You can listen to the songs on her website so I’d strongly recommend going the “try before you buy” route. But I of course wasn’t thinking straight, I was just thinking she looked really cute and I wanted to sample her music, plus like the other purchases I made without thinking because it’s also an opportunity to support the artists! Hopefully it leads to more music and artists like them coming to the USA and elsewhere. This album wasn’t quite what I hoped for but I definitely would like to see and hear more.

Reni is Reni Mimura. Released in September 2009 by Aspire Communications, Inc. Total running time: 24:33.

Album rating (1-10): 6.5 (Decent).

Recommendation: Listen first before buying.

Download these (singles I feel are must-buy or good buys from the album): Shining Star, DNA.

Available on CD from DFJams Store (dfjamsstore.com) for $10 or for download from iTunes for $3.96. (Buyer Beware: There are 2 different versions on iTunes, one has songs labeled “Original” where the other doesn’t. I inadvertently got both and while I haven’t listened to both, sampling seems to indicate they’re both the same)

For more about Reni, including songs, videos and much more, check out her official website (in both English and Japanese) at the URL below:
http://www.renireni.com/
You can also visit her on MySpace at this URL:
http://www.myspace.com/renichan
Also check out her YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ReniMimura
Finally, you can follow her on Twitter here:
http://twitter.com/ReniMimura

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