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Hard On

Finally there's someone who isn't afraid to let her happy thoughts spill out like crayon-drawn smiley suns and flowers. Tujiko Noriko is a musician who drops the rock star front and just lets her heart pour out.
December 1, 2002, 12:00am

Finally there’s someone who isn’t afraid to let her happy thoughts spill out like crayon-drawn smiley suns and flowers. Tujiko Noriko is a musician who drops the rock star front and just lets her heart pour out. This Japanese Parisian writes songs that warmly embrace the same pop culture that any Takashi Murakami or Charles Baudelaire character would otherwise mime with a forced and ironic grin. But ?to speak loudly about sadness,? Tujiko thinks, ?is too basic a thing? (I think that means, ?Irony is dead?). So instead, she works to link playful, dribbling keyboard layers; clicking electronic riddles; and soft, rich arias. Turning away from the simplicities of a much too familiar world of sorrow and misery, Tujiko Noriko takes the uncharted path of finding things to really beam about. But even though her methods are something a lot of artists and musicians couldn’t or wouldn’t think of stepping to, the sweet taste her music leaves in the mouth is proof of her success. Tujiko jokes that the sweetness really comes because ?The world’s made of non-calorie sugar,? but her music is exponentially more satisfying than any low-fat brownie or Fig Newton.

Sean’s opinion:

I like this Japanese woman. It’s like uh, instrument sounds. She did it all with computer? I like computers. She has a pretty voice. I like Bobby Vinton, too. I had one of his CDs, from a long time ago.

It’s not just some pastel baby shit or trippy Lisa Frank glitter sticker. Tujiko’s got a real side, too. And it’s a keeping-it-real side that Ja Rule and Clipse only wish they could be down with. ?On the night of my first show, I drank too much and smoked too much. By the time I was supposed to perform, my voice was gone. So in the end I just played my CD and pretended to be singing live.? Now for the jaw-dropping part: Tujiko’s already released three LPs and a 12”, including her brand new Hard no Sasete, which translates to “Make Me Hard.” And while we had all but overlooked Tujiko for a few years, now we seem ready to hear her lingering melodic labyrinths and the selfless echo of her voice. With the age of the parody nearing its end, sincerity is the next big thing. Tujiko Noriko’s latest album, Hard no Sasete, is out now on Mego. And check out her guest appearance on Aoki Takamasa’s Indigo Rose, due out in early 2003 on Progressive Form.