I could claim that it comes from my years living in a foreign culture, but I don’t think that’s true. When I was young, even English lyrics were foreign to me. Most songs, I knew the melody, and maybe the chorus, and the rest of the lyrics I didn’t know or care about. (There were any number of exceptions, but they remained exceptions.) This might have been an early manifestation of my partial nerve deafness, which makes it difficult or impossible for me to separate sounds from background noise.
So, for me, listening to foreign pop music brings no cognitive dissonance at all. Even when, as in many Asian pop songs (including some on this album), a few English phrases are thrown in.
Kokoro No Furyoku by Hiroumi (it was also released under the title Secret Ocean) is a quiet, minimalistic delight.
It’s just Hiroumi singing, playing acoustic guitar, a few backing instruments, and an occasional backing vocal. Not over-produced at all. (In point of fact, there is a fair amount of production on most of the tracks, but it’s skillful, subtle, and perfectly suited to each song. Making it all feel simple, intimate, and perfect.)
The tunes are hopeful, positive, and yet wistful in some way. There is no anger or cynicism here (unless in the lyrics, because, again, I speak almost no Japanese).
All in all, it’s just lovely.
You can download Kokoro No Furyoku from Jamendo.
Kokoro No Furyoku by Hiroumi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.