“This album got me through a difficult time in my life.”

Thank you to Okubo san, pictured here, for sharing those personal sentiments with me as he showed me his recent score of independent singer-songwriter and poet, Satoko Shibata’s highly awaited re-release debut album from 2012, “しばたさとこ島 [Shibata Satako Island]”

I was unfamiliar with Shibata’s work, and even her name, however, I have seen this album’s cover and others by her, including her 2022 release “Bochi Bochi Galaxy” appearing over and over as featured recent scores by music lovers of a certain age, becoming beloved lost treasures in their collections. Something about Shibata albums covers beacons a listen, and combined with Okubo’s testament, this was finally my invitation into her work. What a revelation it’s been.

I have no aspirations to be a music critic but even if I did, I would barely be able to confidently convey with words my appreciation for the tender melodies or emotional chord progressions nor for the unpretentious instrumentation or honest songwriting found in Sbibata’s work. And with only my elemental Japanese ability, I would be even less equipped to assess any of the confessional, diaristic, heart-on-sleeve lyrics that I presume all float upon it. And yet, despite this, just by listening, and opening up to Shibata’s intention, surrendering to reception, I’m taken over with a sense of empathy not only with the artist but with Okubu. I can get almost all the way there, there being a shared feeling and understanding, or at the very least a personal interpretation, without completely, or even partially, needing to know what’s going on. Music has that power where words alone don’t.

Thank you Okubu for what I imagine was reflecting some of Shibata’s honesty in admitting that the album got you through a moment. It was a fleeting, but authentic, moment in time to share. Until next time…

More Tokyo Records Style on the way.

柴田聡子 [Satoko Shibata] – しばたさとこ島 [Shibata Satako Island]
Label: AWDR/LR2 – DDJB-91234, AWDR/LR2 – BIDDC-92134
Format: Vinyl, 10″, 33 ⅓ RPM, EP, Reissue CD, Album
Country: Japan
Released: May 24, 2023
Genre: Rock, Pop
Style: Indie Pop

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