Written by Erin Grace
When I heard the news, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
“Wake up, everyone! Ring the bells! Clap your hands! Sing! Dance! Shiina Ringo is back!”
That response always makes me feel foolish. Technically speaking, Ringo never left us. Oh, there was the threat as far as back as 2000 when she said that she would leave after producing her third album, and the threat became palpable in 2003 when she had her beauty mark removed and “retired.” But she couldn’t stay away from us any more than we can stay away from her. She started up the band Tokyo Jihen in 2004, barely a year after she quit solo work, and continued playing brilliant music with them. All the while, there were signs that she’d come back – a collaboration with Saito Neko in 2007, a best-of collection release in 2008. Like the fascinating backward rush of the sea as a tsunami rushes in, she seemed to be leaving only to come back bigger and stronger.