BIGGER PICTURE, by Rie fu & the fu

29-biggerpicture

Released November 21, 2012

37 min, 15 sec

When talking about delofamilia’s archeologic, I mentioned that Rie fu had a tendency to adopt a darker sound when writing for that band, to fit the band’s more aggressive instrumentation compared to her solo music. With BIGGER PICTURE, Rie fu essentially hit “import” on her delofamilia style and converted it back into her own solo style.

What does this make? A fantastic album. Like with the rest of Rie fu’s catalogue, I have no context for anything she does with her career beyond just listening to each album and trying to figure out what’s happening. Because of this, I have no idea why this album was released under the name “Rie fu & the fu.” No clue whatsoever. Perhaps it was to help illustrate how different this album was from her previous work – sung primarily in English, darker, almost grungier instrumentation at times, aggressive lyrics.

BIGGER PICTURE also marked Rie fu’s debut in the U.S. iTunes store, and every album since then has also seen a U.S. release through iTunes. This was a huge, huge relief – finally, I could just buy her music normally instead of trying to navigate websites in full-on Japanese. I don’t think this has expanded her fanbase in any significant fashion, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

It’s funny to me that BIGGER PICTURE is, in a lot of ways, the reverse version of Audioslave – an album that imitates a side-project instead of the side-project imitating its source parts. Like Audioslave, Rie would not retain this sound; future albums Rie fu sings the Carpenters and I both have a wide variety of sounds in their songs, none of them quite lining up with the darkness of BIGGER PICTURE.

And, a lot of times, that darkness is pretty heavy. “PRE-LOVE SONG” is incredibly sparse in instrumentation, but Rie’s voice is weighed down with the emotion in its lyrics. Sparseness is a recurring theme in BIGGER PICTURE; “THE LOOK” features just Rie’s voice and a solitary, distorted guitar line, while the primary instrument of “SILENCE” is an echo-laden piano.

BIGGER PICTURE is my favorite Rie fu album. Maybe it’s the English lyrics, maybe it’s the gorgeous instrumentation, maybe it’s just because Rie pulled out all the stops for this one.

Maybe it’s the big-ass picture of her face as the album cover.

When I first heard BIGGER PICTURE, I had no idea how she would ever top it. This was the perfect Rie fu album. Of course, then I found out that fu diary existed, and that took over.

We’ll talk about that one later.

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