Child In Me
Katherine gave this album
Kiyomi's LP Child Iin Me (sent to us by Mia Mind Music for evaluation) clearly comes from a place close to the heart of the artist, and uses the conventions of many different musical influences to carry the feeling behind the words to the listener. Kiyomi's composition and voice show the evidence of extensive education and training. J-pop, like its stateside sister, can be difficult to define, and at times invites images of idol groups for whom dancing and looking cute takes precedence over vocal talent and the ability to portray deep human emotion. Kiyomi lays any such worry aside with soulful tracks like "My Place" and "A Part of Me." These two carry a folk, almost country, easiness with a simple melody that sets a comfortable atmosphere in which to explore the aches and injuries that life and love can inflict. "A Part of Me" features a chorus that reminds me of The Bangles at their best.
My two favorite tracks on Child In Me were the loose-jointed waltzes "Flustered" and "Mysterious You". The music and lyrics working together to paint pictures of the bemusement and awkwardness that accompany love that is still young and new. I found myself singing along, even on the first listen. The off-beat delivery in "Flustered" evoked a chuckle from me because it felt so real. What also felt very honest were the maternal sentiments expressed in "One Day You'll Know". The hope and realism and the wonder work together almost like prayer for a beloved child - I found myself thinking about the children in my own life and my good wishes for the way they'll grow.
The stripped down instrumentation and dense harmonies of "Blue Eyes" gives clear voice to the jazz influences that are hinted at in the rest of the album. Rock flavors are sprinkled through "Child In Me" and "Why," but these were also the tracks that I felt were the weakest (perhaps at issue for me is more the arrangements by Tim Thorne). In "Child In Me" the poetry of the story broke awkwardly across the lines of music in ways that both diminished the effectiveness of the storytelling and made the music simplistic and jarring. The blues-y, broadway-y selection "What Do You Do?" offers a better showcase for Kiyomi's beautiful voice as does "Back to My Soul" with its Doo-Wop arrangement. "Little Girl Smiling" made me think of German Lieder pieces that I studied in vocal training that were so much fun to sing, but whose lyrics were about places of such deep pain; it is a fantastic way to highlight the difference between the outer and inner lives of the song's character.
This album has music that I'd want to have on during lazy afternoon, while reading or enjoying a warm beverage on a cold day. It's something I'd cook to, dancing in my kitchen, or sing along with while driving. It is pleasant accompaniment to life that, while it doesn't always go the way we'd like, can still be enjoyed.
|1.||Child In Me||7.||Mysterious You|
|2.||Little Girl Smiling||8.||Why|
|4.||My Place||10.||What Do You Do?|
|5.||A Part of Me||11.||Back To My Soul|
|6.||And One Day You'll Know||12.||Child In Me Reprise|