Kou Shibasaki

Kou Shibasaki: Single Best

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With a long back catalog to go through, Kou Shibasaki released a pair of compilations in 2008. Single Best focuses on her released singles, covering everything from her debut recording to items released just before the compilation. Her singing style is straightforward, with a plaintive quality to much of the vocalization. The compositions are largely straightforward pop ballads, though there are hints of other influences hidden in them from time to time. "Omoide Dake Dewa Tsura Sugiru" has elements of a gospel hymn buried within, "Tsuki no Shizuku" could just about pass as quiet storm, and the recent "KISS Shite" pounds along as something of a happy hardcore throwaway. Shibasaki's voice throughout is strong, but not as pliable as say, Yuki from Bennie K. Her delivery is put together efficiently, thought not as fluidly as Ayumi Hamasaki. All around a fair album and an excellent intro to one of the major stars of the J-pop scene. Fans should be thrilled, newcomers should be at least a bit intrigued.