I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ringo Shiina -- Gips (ギブス)

When I bought the CD of Ringo Shiina's(椎名林檎)5th single way back when, I already had my impression of the singer as this terrifying ball of energy armed with a guitar and an assassin's glare. Still taking a look at the cover above, I had thought it was a fairly innocent looking photo of Shiina slicing up an apple...aside from the death glare. Then, I decided to take a closer look at the bottom right corner of the cover and realized that it wasn't the apple she was slicing; it was her wrist. Bloodless, to be sure, but still, I just went "Yeah, that's the Ringo I know and love."

"Gips" (Orthopedic Cast) was released in January 2000 as basically the singer-songwriter's first ballad single in which Shiina is screaming her heart out for a guy. And according to J-Wiki, she had created the song before her debut some years previously to relate her memories about an old flame. I hope the guy was properly flattered. In her lyrics, she even made reference to Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love since he was a big fan of Nirvana although she wasn't.

(cover version by Eri[?] Uchida)

I remember the music video for the song which unfortunately I could no longer find online with Shiina slowly and powerfully striking the guitar in a dark foreboding landscape. It's probably one of the most famous images I have of her along with her in that nurse's uniform in the video for "Honno"(本能). Apparently, that pink one-piece dress was something that she simply purchased at the famous fashion emporium Shibuya 109 in Tokyo.

"Gips" managed to hit the charts right at No. 3 soon after its debut and that's where it peaked, ultimately selling more than a million copies and going Gold. It is still the 2nd-biggest hit for Shiina after the aforementioned "Honno", ending the year as the 27th-ranked single. The song also appeared on her 2nd album "Shouso Strip"(勝訴ストリップ...Winning Strip)which came out in March 2000. By the end of the year, that album came in at No. 3 in the yearly rankings.

To leave off, I had always wondered why the Japanese word for orthopedic cast was "gips" or as I had thought it was spelled according to its pronunciation "gibbous". Well, "gips" comes from German, meaning "plaster". A couple of years before Shiina's single came out, I regrettably had my first experience with a plaster cast, thanks to a trip down some steps at what is now the Japan Bank for International Cooperation during a teaching session there. Ended up having that thing on my leg for 3 weeks. Mind you, there was one fortuitous consequence during my convalescence at home. It was the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano and I got to see the Japanese ski jump team win a Gold live on TV.

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