Takuro Yoshida

Gozenchuni C

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Making his way through Japanese consciousness since 1970, Takuro Yoshida was once a straightforward folksinger. With Gozenchuni C, he finds himself in a more traditional, more melodramatic role as a balladeer. The songs laze about, rolling along in a nearly country format in "Nise Tora," allowing Yoshida to give some time to audience participation and chattering before bouts of song. In other places, he works with a more directed approach -- a driving rhythm section and a very basic hook to sing over. Throughout the album (which translates roughly to "Good Morning"), Yoshida takes his time with the songs, making sure to hit the notes he wants and carrying tunes from an older era of Japanese popularity into modernity fairly well. At the same time, his delivery is somewhat staid, somewhat free of emotion. He seems to be checking off the notes more than emoting them, and this is what really holds the album back from reaching a modern potential. There's plenty of nostalgia for musical styles from the melodramatic, formalized musical past in Japan, but there's an even stronger appreciation among the current generation for music with emotional content from the contemporary realm of singer/songwriters. Yoshida has the pedigree, but he isn't using it to its fullest on Gozenchuni C.