Monday, May 3 2010

Dear Ai Kago,

[Update: Okay, now that my ears have recovered from the assault, I can say that 17才よさようなら doesn’t suck. I barely reached it the first time I listened to the album, because everything else is so awful. This one has better voice processing, better use of your range, a less amibitious vocal style, and, yes, you know how to deliver lines in Japanese far better than in English. The worst part about the song is actually the part where you’re not singing, so go ahead, do more like this one.]

The title of your new album is “Ai Kago Meets Jazz”. In line with my policy of supporting the segments of your career that do not involve truly dreadful photo shoots, I included it in my latest order from Amazon Japan. Thirty seconds into track 1, I began regretting this decision, as I realized that they never said anything about singing jazz.

I knew your voice was thin (but occasionally pleasant), I knew your English was weak (in an often-amusing way), but I admire the way you’ve managed to build more publicity and success after being kicked out of Hello!Project than most of the other girls will ever get while they’re members. So I bought it, and, well, it sucks.

I mean, really sucks. Halfway through, I found myself hoping for a duet with William Hung, so my ears would stop bleeding. And I liked your previous single “No Hesitation”, and even the b-side “Children of the Night”, despite its painful Engrish interlude. It wasn’t that you were singing in your own language, just that you were working within your limits. Jazz, particularly in a language you’re not comfortable with? Forget it; you simply don’t have the skill and confidence to deliver the lines.

[okay, there are some non-painful moments, when you stick to your lower register and don’t try to jazz it up, but they don’t last long; honestly, if you’d just done it as a standards album, sung straight and pitched for your voice, it might have worked]