Review by David Cirone
Bonnie Pink’s work will always have polish and cleverness, but Chasing Hope is missing the emotional investment of her early albums. Opening tracks “Stand Up!” and “Natsu Gare” sound like extended jam sessions, and even provacative titles like “Bad Bad Boy” and “Animal Rendezvous” emerge half-hearted and aloof.
For a woman who so powerfully declared “I’d rather hear you scream from your soul” (Even So’s “I Just Want You To Be Happy”), there’s a cerebral distance in Chasing Hope. I suspect Bonnie Pink the songwriter has become either too happy or too experimental for her own good, and no matter how great her voice and musicianship, the album can’t seem to shift into high gear.
Speaking of voice, her performance on “My Angel” is warm and effective, and it’s the one place in the album where she’s not overpowered by the multi-layered studio production.
Single track “Tsumetai Ame,” included late in the album, brings the albums’s sharpest lyrical phrasing. I have a feeling that I’ll love this track if it’s ever released as an acoustic version, but right now there’s just too much going on.
After such a long and celebrated career, it’s not fair to expect every album to be a treasure, but there’s plenty of great Bonnie Pink albums to replay from start to finish. Chasing Hope is worth a one-time listen, but I’m not going to replay it anytime soon.