Shoko Nakagawa

Cosmic Inflation

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Known perhaps more as a pinup than a singer, Shoko Nakagawa has a fairly strong catalog behind her. Cosmic Inflation collects various singles (and a few B-sides) from the previous year or so, and adds in a handful of new material. The sound moves to a slightly more rock-peppered version of J-pop than some of her previous works, which also lets her stretch out on vocals a little more. She still has a sugary edge to her delivery, honed to perfection on straightforward balladry and bouncing, lilting pop numbers. On the newer material, though, she takes chances. The sound is still straightforward dance-pop, but her vocals come with more variety, more power, and a little more intentionally chaotic delivery. This is a less formulaic sound for her, and suits her tone well. Nakagawa is unlikely to change any minds about her pop with this album, but she's also unlikely to need to change any minds.