Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Ryoko Shinohara -- Rhythm to Rule (リズムとルール)
Even though she had a very brief singing career, Ryoko Shinohara (篠原涼子) is still one of my favorite singers. Some of her songs and albums have already been covered here on the site by J-Canuck and me, but other gems, like “Rhythm to Rule”, are patiently waiting for some love.
Back in the early 90s, Ryoko was one of the main members of the aidoru group Tokyo Performance Doll (東京パフォーマンスドール), which, even if somewhat obscure in the mainstream, managed to build a solid career for some of the girls. Ryoko was the luckiest, as she experienced a real breakthrough, but it wasn’t without her own merits, as not only a gorgeous and sexy young lady, Ryoko Shinohara could sing very well for an aidoru.
In 1994, after a commercial flop with the “Sincerely” single, Ryoko teamed up with famous producer Tetsuya Komuro (小室哲哉) and released the dance-pop “Itoshisa to Setsunasa to Kokoro Zuyosa to” (恋しさと せつなさと 心強さと), a single that was related to the Street Fighter II animated movie and, most important, sold more than two million copies (I even have my own copy of the single), becoming a huge hit for both Ryoko and TK. After that, in 1995, she released the rock ballad “Motto Motto...” (もっと もっと…) and the Latin-oriented “Lady Generation”, which was not only the single released prior to her second album, but also its title track.
After the release of the “Lady Generation” album, Ryoko continued to release singles, although, without TK, her popularity as a singer started to vanish. So, in 1997, after a string of not-very-successful pop songs, she released her third album, which happened to be both her last album and first compilation, titled “Sweets”. Also, it was during that time she started venturing more into her acting career, which proved very successful years later. The sad thing is she really left her singing career behind.
Before stop singing for real, though, Ryoko Shinohara graced the world with a few more singles until the early 00s. One of them was “Rhythm to Rule”, released in March 2000, which was the theme for a drama called “Obaachama, Kowachatta no?” (おばあちゃま、壊れちゃったの?).
“Rhythm to Rule” is a strong pop song with influences from Disco, House, R&B and Latin music. However, besides the fun arrangement, what really grabs my attention is Ryoko’s sexy and mature vocals, which makes me even angrier about the fact she left the music industry. How could a talented and gorgeous girl like Ryoko Shinohara stop singing? Maybe she wasn’t very fond of it, but it would be great if she still sang some of her classic songs, even if just on some TV shows like FNS, for example.
“Rhythm to Rule” reached #63 on the Oricon charts, selling 6,000 copies. Lyrics were written by Shoko Suzuki (鈴木祥子), while music was composed by L. SOUL. As for the arrangement, Shinichiro Murayama (村山晋一郎) was the responsible.