Bokumetsu by Satoko Shibata

Released: 15.09.16 / Label: P-VINE

Today’s track is from previously reviewed artist Satoko Shibata. While I wasn’t entirely impressed with her track Ryokou it did make me want to do a bit of a deep dive and see what else she’s released. I eventually ended up here, Bokumetsu off her self-titled release Shibata Satoko from way back in 2015. But is it all that I’d hoped for? Perhaps even more?

It is! It’s a much more subdued and sweet composition than Ryoko. And I must say I prefer this energy. Bokumetsu is a well written balled featuring delicate vocals supported by a dreamy and simple indie pop band sound. The lyrics are sweet, and the little spoken asides that float in the background give it a dreamy feel. The acoustic guitar, bass, and drums provide the base of the song while a soft lead guitar noodles around in the reverb-laden background of the tune. I particularly enjoy the lilting melodic phrases and slightly odd timings employed in the vocal line. It’s just enough outside of expectation as to invoke a sense of suspense and surprise. While the production isn’t as good here as in her newer music, this feels much more focused and well executed. Perfect for a relaxing playlist.

Verdict: Worth your time. (3.4/5)

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Released: 22.05.25 / Label: AWDR/LR2

Satoko Shibata is originally from Hokkaido, Japan, but her musical journey began after heading to college in Tokyo. While she seems to have had moderate success there, this is the first time I’ve heard her music. The album the song is taken from, Bochi Bochi Galaxy, marks her career’s 10th anniversary and after just a cursory look at her previous work, she seems to be an artist that has had several style shifts over the years. While she lands squarely in the J-Pop genre, her approach for this album leans towards a mature cuteness.

The lyrics are the main selling point of this track, telling of a fun journey through the lens of a dream. While the lyrics are written in the typical non-specific style of the genre, that vagueness is explained away as having been a dream the whole time. Just by providing an out it’s already doing better than most other J-Pop tunes in my book.

Sadly the music, while wonderfully performed, is rather plain. There’s nothing really that unique is going on here other than the instrument choice. The arrangement is full of cool sounds and instruments, and they seem to be trying to create a samba-like feel but are stuck within the confines of the pop song. I would love to hear her work with an arranger who can really take this music and create something a bit more creative. The mix is also a bit messy for being her 10th year doing this. I was expecting a tighter sound given the genre, but we get something more fitting of an indie band. That being said it doesn’t sound bad, but it could have been better.

The packaging is also a bit of a flop. The album jacket is a direct rip from the lead single’s music video. And while her glasses are really cool, the music video is pretty boring. The making-of video is really interesting though, I’ll recommend that. It’s always fun to see how things are made!

Verdict: Take it or leave it (2.9/5)

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