Artist Spotlight: Bonnie Pink (Redux)

This Spotlight has another long tangent that is more about me than the music, so you can skip the first few paragraphs and start where I say OKAY if you wish.

Over a year ago, I posted my first Artist Spotlight about my favorite musical artist, Bonnie Pink. Back then,I tried to limit the number of Youtube videos to eight, worried about whether the time-suck would be too intimidating. Now, I am not quite as concerned with the runtime, especially since the 110 minutes for these twenty-six videos is not even that long of a runtime for these things anymore. So, on this Easter Sunday, I am going to try this again, though still with limitations…limiting myself to two songs per album and limiting myself to the regular albums except for two tracks at the end. Still, just like last year, I have trouble describing music, so do not be surprised if the words and terms that I use to talk about particular songs do not match the actual songs.

There is a lot to be said about being a fan of a musical act from the beginning. And a lot has been said. There is, however, a perfectly good experience to be had from coming in later in an artist’s career and absorbing all of that person’s work in a short period. There is a musical narrative already laid out and one can hear later works within the earlier works as well as vice versa. One can more easily hear threads that connect one era to the next as well as when certain threads are cut or created. While certain things may stand out on their own, they are still treated as pieces of a greater whole. And instead of it being a distancing effect, it can make one feel like one is everywhere with all of the music at once. That is how I felt when I first began absorbing the works of singer-songwriter-guitarist-pianist Bonnie Pink, fifteen years into her career.

In 2010, I learned about some controversial and ridiculous manga called Gantz…which was about…well, it is unimportant. Anyways, while soldiering through it, I learned that there was an anime show based on it. I watched…some of it. The manga was not great, but the anime was terrible. The only thing that I kind of liked about the anime was the gentle song during the end credits, which turned out to be Last Kiss by Bonnie Pink. I was used to anime shows featuring oddly chosen songs in their credit sequences, but this one intrigued me more than the others did. I tracked down the song on Youtube and thought that it was enjoyable enough to listen to another song. I don’t exactly remember what the song was, but it was different enough from Last Kiss to intrigue me.

After some hesitation, I…ahem…tracked down Bonnie Pink’s discography and listened to the album that arrived first…which was the most recent one. Then I listened to the rest in chronological order. I think that listening to the last one first gave me a completely different listening experience when listening to the rest of her albums than I would have had when listening to them in strict chronological order. In a sense, I spoiled myself, knowing exactly how things would end before even starting. But that in itself was a mystery; because the last album was so different from the first that the question was not where Bonnie Pink would go musically, but how she got to where she eventually did. Movies and TV do that a lot, so why not music? And perhaps that particular listening experience allowed me to actually feel more fondly towards her work as a whole, and she soon became my favorite musical artist as a result.

Musically, I suppose that there is nothing particularly special about Bonnie Pink. She does rock, folk, pop, blues, jazz, swing, reggae, dance, pretty much whatever she wants. Like many artists, she started off kind of rough and tumble and somewhat indie, but gradually became more polished and poppy. That is not really the most unique trajectory, but my feelings towards that trajectory are a bit different. For one thing, I know very little about her as a person…or even as a performer or artist. Some people need to know everything they can about the artists whom they love to love their music, but not me. From a purely personal standpoint, that sets her apart not just from well-known pop acts like Taylor Swift or…uh…P!nk, but also revered performers from before my time like the Beatles or Beethoven.

Since Bonnie Pink is in Japan, she is not in the news Stateside at all, let alone frequently. I know that she was born Asada Kaori in Kyoto forty-four years ago today…or yesterday given the time difference. I know that she got married only within the past few years. I know what she looks like. I know that she spent some time in the United States and Sweden. I know that she picked her moniker because she thought that it sounded cute. I know that she can sing in English quite well, though I have no idea how comfortable she is with the language when her words are not planned out beforehand…and that is about it. She seems fairly nice from the bits of footage that I have seen and interviews that I have read, but I cannot be certain. I don’t know how popular she is in Japan or how she is perceived. I have only a vague idea how she has been marketed. And this is not because she is a recluse or mysterious, which themselves can be turned into marketing strategies. She as a person is just not on my radar, and so I can approach her musical trajectory any way I want.

This may be an objectively insignificant point, but it may psychologically be the most important detail: she is the only artist whom I discovered all on my own. There was no radio promotion, nobody I know either in person or online pointed me towards her music, no one made me promise that I would give her music multiple chances to grow on me like it is some sort of ongoing chore that might pay off at some point in the indefinite future, no word of mouth came my way, no internet algorithm or logarithm recommended her to me, and I didn’t even accidentally stumble upon an internet article talking about her while I was looking for something else. I just found her music on a terrible anime that wasn’t recommended to me and I didn’t even finish; and I can easily disassociate her from that show in my mind due to it being so unlike the show. So there was pretty much nothing to color my perception of her beforehand or for a while after. While many people love artists who remind them of loved ones or tight-knit music-lover communities or specific experiences in their lives, the lack of either with Bonnie Pink allowed me to claim emotional ownership of her music more than I could for any other artist.

While it would be easy (and maybe more realistic) to apply any of several cynical narratives to her evolution as an artist, I like my interpretation that she just plays whatever is in her comfort zone, has been expanding that comfort zone for the past twenty years, and just focused her music on different areas at different points of her career. Is that too naïve an interpretation? Does it give her too much credit for something that other artists have also done? Perhaps. But, with a few glaring exceptions, each song of hers sounds like the type of song that she could make an entire career of doing. It all sounds easy and natural, even the songs that I do not like that much. Granted, she rarely goes hard into any of the genres, so she is not exactly a musician for purists, but her branching out seems organic and not the result of executive meddling or some awkward identity crisis. And even if I do find out that the true story is more typically cruddy than the one that I made up in my head, the six-years-long effect that it had on how I hear the music will probably not easily be shaken. I just find it to be so…comforting. I like quite a few musical acts that sound confrontational or experimental showy or silly. To me, though, Bonnie Pink sounds just right.

As I said earlier, I will talk mostly about the albums and feature two songs from each. I will also mention other songs from each album on Youtube that I like, but did not feature. I will also bring up songs that I like that I could not access on Youtube. As you might begin to notice, there are a lot of songs in this category. Either they were never on Youtube to begin with, are hidden somewhere that I could not find, buried under numerous videos of non-album (or not even Bonnie Pink) versions, were taken off of Youtube for whatever reason, or are not available to play in my country. You might be able to view a couple of the videos on this channel https://www.youtube.com/cha…, but I am unable to view any of those. And, since they all seem to have had no views for a year and a half, I am counting them as unavailable if I see them only here. Many of them are on itunes and Amazon, though, if you are willing to part with a bit of your hard-earned money. Lastly, I will mention a B-side or two that I believe should have been on the album.

OKAY

Bonnie Pink started performing…uh…I am not sure when. She apparently performed in a couple of songs that were released in 1994, but I could find no audio confirmation. Apparently, she was featured in the second song of this, but the version that I found on Youtube did not feature her and the version that I managed to track down that might feature her was from a collection released in 2002. But it was of the guy’s early works, which could…well, whatever. In any case, she released her first album Blue Jam on the 21st of September, 1995. Or the 22nd. Or the 20th? Again, timezone issues. I have no idea whether the title was related to the British radio show by Chris Morris, but I am just going to assume that it was not. Now, here is where the listening to later music first had come in handy: if this album had been my first exposure to Bonnie Pink, then I probably would not have given her another chance. It is not that the music is necessarily bad…it is just not really my thing. For the most part, it is the kind of breezy jazzy pop rock that would be performed in those outdoor craft festivals that my parents would drag me and my younger brother to when we were kids…or the type of frat-friendly hippie jam band music that my freshmen roommate would put on when he could no longer tolerate me playing my weird stuff on his stereo. Yet, my predisposition to dismiss this music was overridden by my sheer curiosity over just how she could have gotten to where she ended up from here. And so, I listened to it with that context in mind. And I frequently returned to it. And even though it is hardly my favorite album of hers, I warmed up to it a lot. Well, half of it, at least.

The two songs that I am featuring are Curious Baby and SenakaCurious Babyis an early example of her sort of…well, the type of keyboard-driven pop jazz that she would employ for a while before it kind of evolved into something else. One thing to notice is her voice: it is a little rough and deep. She would use this voice for maybe half of the songs on the album, while applying a lighter touch to the others, such as Senaka. With a focus on an acoustic guitar, this is a melancholy folk-light track that takes a slightly creepy turn at the end with a time signature change. Her vocals would naturally deepen slightly over time, but mostly sound like this over the former, at least in studio recordings.

Curious Baby – 4:48

Senaka – 3:48

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
If I were really going to assault you with music, then I would have included Freak and Orenji in this list. Freak (type in “BP” instead of “Bonnie Pink” when searching for it) is my favorite track from this album, but mostly because of how obnoxious it is with the noises and the messy menace and Bonnie Pink screaming at the end. It is a bit of an outlier in Bonnie Pink’s sound, so I ultimately decided to exclude it. Orenji…about forty seconds shorter in its video form than the album version, is gentle jazz funk that is just pleasant.

Bonnie Pink released her second album, Heaven’s Kitchen on the 16th of May, 1997. While Blue Jam had a rotating roster of Japanese arrangers, a Swede named Tore Johannsen (The Cardigans) was responsible for producing and arranging all of the songs on this album. Bonnie Pink would work with him on her next album and on occasion after that. The sound quality on Blue Jam was not exactly high, but this album and the next sounded a little more lo-fi. I am not sure why this was the case, but I don’t mind. Perhaps it was to make it sound as if it came from the 1960s or 1970s, as much of the musical stylings seem rooted in those decades. Whatever the reason, Bonnie Pink grew a little more confident with her music, expanding on her sound and adding a little groove to the rhythm that was oddly not really there in her first record. You can hear it on her horn-heavy funk tune Silence. The second song Mad Afternoon is an example of the sort of psychedelic-sort of track that showed up in this album and the next. This one is…I think…the only one that applies an “unconventional” time signature, doing that 1-2-3-1-2 rhythm that makes up the 5/4 time in the verses. I just love the odd melody and the buzzy fuzzy bass drone.

Silence – 3:31

Mad Afternoon – 4:00

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
The title track is a 70s tinged rock song with horns. It’s Gonna Rain is a lightly funky pop song. Do You Crash (or “Clash” as the video title says, even though she pronounces it correctly) is probably the most overtly Beatles-esque of her Beatles-esque songs in this period sounding like an homage Dear Prudencewith a slight dash of Magical Mystery TourGet In My Hair (type in “BibeAi” instead of “Bonnie Pink”) is another kind of psychedelic-ish song, but more focused on atmosphere and the keyboard section.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
While there are several songs like this on Heaven’s Kitchen, the ones that I am particularly unhappy to not see on Youtube are the gentle jazz pop number Hohoemi no Kate and the fun little bossa nova-like piano piece Pendulum.

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
Kanawanai Koto is a lively and slightly sensuous jazz pop track that I highly enjoy. There is also One Night with Chocolate, a string heavy song that sounds like half lullaby and half soundtrack of a kid sneaking downstairs before Christmas. The second song is on Youtube.

Bonnie Pink released Evil and Flowers on the 17th of March, 1998. Given the short turnaround time and the use of the same producer, it is kind of similar in style to Heaven’s Kitchen, though with fewer out-there tracks. I am not sure that I like it as much, and I am glad that she started going in a different direction after this. It is still pretty good though. I particularly like the two tracks that I have featured below. Forget Me Not is a groovy little pop rock song that had at least one person online saying that she was mimicking Alanis Morissette. Maybe, but I like it regardless. It does have a pretty noticeable element that is a feature of many Bonnie Pink songs: the really long outro. This four-minute song has an outro that goes on for over a minute and has an obnoxious guitar whistle that gets higher in pitch as the rest of the song keeps playing this one part of the chorus over and over again. It’s great. Kingyo is more distorted, but more relaxed and even dreamlike. Like you are floating in a…goldfish bowl….huh.

Forget Me Not – 4:09

Kingyo – 5:11

NOT ON YOUTUBE
Yeah, I just skipped the ALSO ON YOUTUBE section because I couldn’t find anything else. But I would have loved to include either version of the title track, be it the piano version or the full band quiet rock version. I would have also liked the blues rock of Your Butterfly, the 70s-ish rock of Hickey Hickey, and especially the alternately dreamlike and bouncy rocker Only for Him. I am pretty sure that that was on Youtube a few years ago. Oh well…

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
The Last Thing I Can Do is a beautiful song that is primarily focused around an acoustic guitar, though a clean electric guitar provides occasional color. While it is sort of in 4/4 time, the rhythm is completely non-existent, counter-intuitively allowing for a natural-sounding flow.

Let Go came out on the 5th of April, 2000. This was the first album where she was credited as a co-producer. It may be due to the fact that it was recorded and produced in Hollywood, but a lot of it sounds like the final days of 90s alt-rock, as if it were performed near an indoor pool. The songs are a little more…”mature” is not the right term, but it is closest to the concept that is in my head. Fewer horns and less playing around. Anyways, maybe you can hear what I mean in the featured songs. Sleeping Child is a moody little song that sounds like something playing while James Bond is sneaking around São Paulo while You Are Blue, So Am I is pure 90s quiet rock…until the end when the distorted guitar solo kicks in. Both are fairly fast paced while being relaxed, though with quite different moods.

Sleeping Child – 4:13

You Are Blue, So Am I – 4:24

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
Kako to Genjitsu is not my favorite song, but it is a nice relaxing jazzy number. You can find it under 過去と現実」 BONNIE PINK 歌詞付き. Refrain is a pretty little guitar instrumental that ends the album.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
Fish is…well, kind of in the same vein of You Are Blue, So Am I, though with less percussion. Call My Name is a chunky funk rock track. Rumblefish is a slow and primarily acoustic guitar ballad that I feel is just beautiful.

Just a Girl was released on the 21st of October, 2001. Whether or not the title was a reference to No Doubt, I have no idea. Bonnie Pink was co-producer again, but had to share that title with five people this time around instead of just one. I cannot say whether that caused tension in the creative process, but it could have. Her music was never exactly inaccessible, but the music here overall sounds more poppy and accessible, with a cleaner production quality that would pretty much be the same from here on out. At the same time, the tone and undercurrent of most of the songs suggest frustration, anger, despair, regret, and resignation on a level that she had not reached before and has not reached since. It is not necessarily stark, but there is this sometime subtle thread that seeps into the mindset as opposed to bludgeoning it with melodrama. This seeming discrepancy helped to make this one of my favorite albums by her and in general.

Two rock songs demonstrate that mood. The buzz-bassed Communicationprovides a danceable upbeat setting for a song about exasperation that is bordering on anger, but not quite there. The slower and somewhat quieter title track that closes out the album sounds like someone who has finally stopped trying to keep from breaking apart in utter hopelessness.

Communication – 4:44

Just a Girl – 5:08

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
I was…erm…thinking of including Thinking of You instead of one of the others just to show more of the poppy side of the album…and also because I love the somewhat unconventional chord progression of the verses. Ultimately, though, I figured that there would be plenty of time for pop later. There is the 33-second long guitar interlude Live Life, which you can find by looking up live life ninaniena. The understated ballad Nemurenai Yoru is my favorite song. My favorite song. I would have included it, but I already included it in my original Bonnie Pink spotlight and wanted to include other songs when I had the opportunity.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
The album starts with Sweet, which is part rock, part drum and bass, part jazzy whatever. For some reason, there are several videos of the remix version, though. Building a Castle is a string-heavy piano belter. Saisei is…kind of…disco. Are You Sure? is a dreamlike country-esque track. The sparse Movin On is her first real stab at r&b. Boku ja Nakatta nara is a chipper rock song, but with vocals that sound like someone grinning through their teeth trying not to scream.

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
That’s What It’s All About is a rock song with an acoustic guitar. Perhaps it was too bright-sounding to get on the album, but I still like it a lot.

Present was released on the 19th of February, 2003. While not completely sunshine and rainbows, it was a lot more…at peace than the previous album was. It is like she has decided to find her way around the wall instead of screaming at it. The balance between pop and adult commercial was weighted towards the latter in this case. Perhaps that is what reaching the other side of 30 did to her. The more settled mood does make me feel less passionate for this album than Just a Girl, but it is all right.

The chipper Tonight, the Night kicks off the album and is the mix of sort of adult contemporary and pop that started to form in Just a Girl and would inform much of Bonnie Pink’s work from then on out. The slow and sleepy acoustic April Shower ends the album.

Tonight, the Night– 4:52

April Shower – 4:59

NOT ON YOUTUBE
Everything else on this album. The poppy title track has a wonderful beat. Rope Dancer is similar to Building a Castle, but the differences pretty much reflect the differences between the albums themselves. Passive Progressive is a sparse acoustic r & b number. Wildflower is another pop rock song that is reminiscent of her second and third albums.

Even So was released on the 12th of May, 2004. While similar to Present, it is brighter and more energetic, a little more poppy and just a little rockier. 1 2 3 is one of her first dips into late 80s/mid-90s pop rock nostalgia. Last Kiss, the song that introduced me to Bonnie Pink in the first place, is a sweeping piece of rock pop that leans more on the string section than the guitar.

1 2 3 – 4:20

Last Kiss – 4:26

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
Private Laughter starts the album, switching back and forth between electronic pop and forceful commercial rock. I Just Want You to Be Happy is a quiet lightly-touched acoustic number.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
I enjoy all of the songs on this album, but I do wish that I could have included these songs in particular. The Answer is a disco dance number like Saisei, but with more guitars. I am not usually into this stuff (and Bonnie Pink would make another song of this type later on that I do not particularly care for), but I like this. Mint, which I know for a fact used to be on Youtube, is a breezy swing-lite track. Bedtime Story is another slow acoustic number.

Golden Tears was released on the 21st of September, 2005; ten years to the day after Bonnie Pink’s debut. And it is quite different from her first album. By this time, she had fully embraced pop and the first track, So Wonderful is like and epic pronouncement of that decision.. I love the string section, particularly that little riff that sneaks in during the second chorus and is heard clearly only towards the end. Of course, she had not completely abandoned rock, but tracks like Cotton Candy show that the commercial sheen has grown. Now, while there is still a great variety in the styles of songs, many of them have a similar start-stop-start melodic pattern, which gets a bit repetitive after a while and ultimately makes the album less than the sum of its parts.

So Wonderful – 3:29

Cotton Candy – 3:47

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
Monster was difficult to track down. It is a pop song sort of in the vein of Maroon 5, but don’t hold that against it. You can find it under Bonnie Pink CLOUD0106.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
The country pop-via Sheryl Crow Paradiddle-free is a fun little whiplash-inducing song to play after So WonderfulNichinichisō is a pleasant pop track with a little nod to…erm…traditional instruments. Robotomy is a slightly less clean pop rock song than Cotton CandyRise and Shine is plain synth pop. You Got Me Good is a rhythmically superb pseudo funk song. Believe ends the album with a semi-trippy rock song.

Thinking Out Loud was released on the 6th of June, 2007. In it, Bonnie Pink continues to navigate through various arenas of pop, and bringing back the horns that had been largely absent from the previous album. All in all, the greater variety in composition makes me prefer this album to the previous one. The one real down side for me is Sakamichi; while there are several Bonnie Pink songs that I do not care for, this is the one Bonnie Pink song that I outright dislike.

A Perfect Sky was probably the song that got Bonnie Pink on people’s radar, primarily due to an advertisement for some…body thing. It was actually released as a standalone single a year before this album, but it was popular enough for it to be included here. There have been other standalone singles: SurpriseInu to TsukiDaisy, and Love is Bubble. All of them are great (and all but the first are on Youtube), but only A Perfect Sky made its way onto a proper album. The album version is actually a bit different, and would seem a bit awkward for anyone who has not heard the original version, and since the album version is not on Youtube, I am going with the original. Also, I love the chord progression in the verses and the blast of the synth horns. Yeah, it may sound like an early J-Lo song. So what? The next track is Water Me a kind of 80s ballad.

A Perfect Sky – 4:06

Water Me – 3:50

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
I had originally thought to feature Anything for You instead of Water Me, but ultimately decided against it. It is too similar to A Perfect Sky in style, with the main difference being that it is a full-on assault on the ears, with the production throwing as many sounds at once as it can at the listener.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
There is the poppy Gimme a Beat, which kicks off the album. I don’t know if that version is the album version or just another live version. Burning Inside is another swingy pop song. Imagination is a loud funk rock song reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you hate the band, then you may hate this song; if you love only certain eras of the band, then may hate this hardened version; if you love the band, then you may hate the odd synth playing in the background throughout most of it; I love this song. Lullaby is a song that starts out quiet before becoming horn-filled rock song. Chances Are also starts out quiet before turning into a string-filled whirlwind.

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
Interlude -Siesta- is just a guitar playing over the sound of the tide going in and out for less than two minutes…so it is not much. But it is pretty and Bonnie Pink has included super short tracks as well as instrumentals before, so this would not be totally weird.

One was released on the 13th of March, 2009. There are a few slight changes in her style. The jazzy-bluesy stuff started to split off into two camps, the stuff that largely retained the college jam feel of her early work and the stuff that I call barroom blues, though it is probably officially called something else. Meanwhile, the rock songs started focusing on driving momentum.

This album is a mixed bag. There is stuff that I love, and nothing that I dislike as much as Sakamichi. Unfortunately, there is a lot that I skip and a few that I find just plain embarrassing. I have largely skipped over talking about her collaborations with other artists along with covers because the idea of her subordinating her creative voice to a shared project does not interest me as much, even if some of the results are good. But here she is, featuring a song that she did with…Craig David? Now, some of the collaborations (and covers, for that matter) are quite good, but I dislike this song. There is also a song right after that where she tries to rap a bit. I did not mind her occasional lapses into spoken word in her early works and I know that she has collaborated with J-Rap artists on occasion (I am not big on J-Rap, but I enjoy some of these collaborations, particularly GAGLE‘s Corona & Lime from later that year), but she herself mostly stayed in the R&B girl mode in those cases. This was a step too far for me; a rare step beyond of her comfort zone that she has not taken since. There are a couple other clunkers on this album, but the ones that I like, I like a lot.

Joy is an early version of the barroom blues that I mentioned before. Of course, it is not quite fully formed; it is a little too clean while leaning heavily on a gentle keyboard sound and a string section for it to really count. But it is a start in that direction and a good song anyways. Rock You Till the Dawn is just a fun little guitar-based pop song.

Joy – 4:19

Rock You Till the Dawn – 3:33

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
Kane wo Narashite, the big single, is an example of the use of forward momentum in her rock songs. There is also a fully-English version called Ring a Bell.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
Won’t Let You Go is some horn-based pop. While she had played reggae covers before (and maybe got her start on a goofy dub song called 4 Seasons Lover), Fyewsha Fyewsha Fyewsha is her first stab at her own composition, though maybe the string section discounts it; I don’t know. One Last Time is a ballad similar to Water Me, but with a greater emphasis on the dirty guitars and…I guess just more epic.

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
I am a little iffy on Pump It Up. While it is a fun song, it is very very reminiscent of At First Sight by Kylie Minogue. On the other hand, if Ke$ha got away with it a whole year later with Tik Tok after Bonnie Pink released this, then why not have this song on the album? It’s on Youtube under the title {CD} Character Profile-Tear Skyes if you want to check it out.

Dear Diary was released on the 6th of October, 2010. This was the first Bonnie Pink album that I listened to. It did not immediately grab me, but I found it pleasant enough to start my journey down the rabbit hole. Maybe it is because it was my introduction, or maybe because I kept returning to it, but whatever reservations about its poppiness I may have initially had got chipped away as the months went on. It soon became my favorite Bonnie Pink album…this and Just a Girl. Granted, I don’t like all of the songs as much as I like all of Even So. A few I could take or leave and Suki Killer could have used a better ending. But the good stuff is just so good.

Is This Love? is the first song on the album and is pop rock that is more pop than rock. It didn’t initially register with me, but I grew to love it. By the time someone pointed out that the vocals in the chorus ripped off Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis, I didn’t even care. Bleeding Love doesn’t have that buzzy bass, does it? Kite is a pop song that, like Anything for You, has a lot of production. It is a little more organized, though, so it doesn’t sound like an assault.

Is This Love? – 3:51

Kite – 4:15

NOT ON YOUTUBE
Morning Glory is a horn-centric pop. Find A Way is a loud, but dream-like rock song with an echo-ey little ending that I love. Many Moons Ago is an almost country song that has the audacity to have this 80s-sounding synth just playing in the background for pretty much the entire time. I guess that that is not a big deal now given the rise of bro-country, but this was 2010. Birthday Girl is a late 80s pop song that sounds…a bit too much like another song on Thinking Out Loud, but I heard this one first and like it better. Grow is a pleasant little acoustic number. Nagare Boshi is a lush and beautiful pop ballad with a 70s vibe.

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
Busy-Busy-Bee is a wonderful little late-80s/early-90s pop rock number. Perhaps Bonnie Pink was watching Beverly Hills 90210 or something when she thought up this one.

Chasing Hope was released on the 24th of July, 2012. By this point, I had had a year and half of listening to Bonnie Pink’s discography. I had heard almost everything; her albums, her B-sides, her non-album singles (which I have largely neglected to mention, but are mostly really good too), her covers…not so much her collaborations or remixes or that Christmas mini-album, but pretty much everything else that I could get my hands on. A year and a half is not necessarily a long time, but long enough for me to have these works burrow deep into in my head and in my heart. I was cautiously optimistic about this new album, but…it didn’t grab me. I was like those OG fans who hated the new stuff. Well…that is not exactly the case.

I didn’t care for the first five tracks on the album. The adult contemporary stuff kind of overtook the pop and rock, and the pop that was there was a bit too goofy. The other seven tracks won me over almost immediately, which had a better balance of adult contemporary and pop along with a couple of nice rock tracks and a grin-inducing reggae song. Still, it took a while for me to warm to the first half of the album, and I am still not quite as into it as I am the second half.

Mountain High smack dab in the middle of the first five tracks. It is kind of folk rock and just chugging along and…it is fine. I initially thought that it was a boring reject from Let Go, but…it is fine. My Angel, however, is a gorgeous piano piece. I guess that it…kind of…sounds like Let It Be by the Beatles, but whatever.

Mountain High – 3:46

My Angel – 4:27

ALSO ON YOUTUBE
I was quite excited for Tsumetai Ame when I first heard it as a single, with it being lively rock. I have started to feel like it has an awkward song structure, but it is still enjoyable, particularly the end.

NOT ON YOUTUBE
Animal Rendezvous is an 80s-esque pop number. Baby Baby Baby is a super great pop rock number with an outro that is long even by Bonnie Pink’s standards. I would have switched this with Tsumetai Ame as the penultimate track. I have not really been able to display a good example of what I call Bonnie Pink’s barroom blues, so you will just have to take my word for it that Don’t Cry For Me Anymore is my favorite of the bunch.

B-SIDE THAT SHOULD HAVE MADE IT
Keep Crawling is a fast-paced and energetic pop song that I really wish would have been the fourth song on the album instead of what was the fourth song.

So, that is it for her albums so far. I have largely avoided talking about non-album singles even though they are mostly great, but I would like to highlight a couple more recent picks, just to show that she has still been doing stuff of her own.

Bonnie Pink released the song Spin Big on the 21st of September, 2015, to commemorate twenty years of releasing music. Sounding no more like Blue Jam than anything on Golden Tears did, it is a fun pop song centered around an acoustic guitar. There is a slight chance that she based that little electric guitar bit from Fire and Rain by James Taylor, but I have no idea.

On the 24th of March, 2016, Bonnie Pink released We Belong, which was included in some game called Tales of Asteria. I am not entirely sure what the game is or how the song fits into it, but there it is. It is also a pop song, but leans more on electronic and synth elements.

Spin Big – 4:29

We Belong – 4:02

Actually, there was an even more recent single. On the…4th of July, 2016, she released a limited single called Heartbeat. As it was limited, I know nothing about it, I have not heard it, and have given up trying to figure out a way to download it or import it. Erm…so that was kind of an anti-climactic way to end this.

I realize that my experience with Bonnie Pink is different from both how other people (including you) have been exposed to her work and how I have been exposed to the work of other artists. And perhaps that has affected how I feel about her music more than the music itself. I am fine with that conclusion. Even if it is true, however, it does not change my attachment to her work as a whole and as individual parts. As she says: so what? It’s so wonderful.