I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Akiko Kobayashi -- Kokoro no Mama ni (心のままに)

"Kokoro no Mama ni"(Morning Wish) was Akiko Kobayashi's(小林明子)2nd album released in September 1986. Her debut album "Fall in Love" made it up to No. 8 on the yearly rankings but this album didn't break through unfortunately. But then again, this was basically a continuation of the light pop from that first album. Of course, the Carpenteresque influences are in there, so it's definitely more of a tea-sipping album rather than a beer-swilling one. I start off with the title track, written and composed by Kobayashi, which has her sweet vocals, but compared to the opening titular track from her debut album, "Kokoro no Mama ni"has a slightly grander sense, although as its English title hints at, it also melodically feels like waking up on a hopeful day.

Then again, it could be pissing buckets out there. But no problems for Kobayashi who composed all of the songs on the album. "Ame no Nichiyoubi"雨の日曜日.....Rainy Sunday) is a warm, fuzzy track....basically, anything with the words, "rainy"and "Sunday"will inevitably end up as an AOR tune. With lyrics provided by Reiko Yukawa(湯川れい子)and a schmaltzy harmonica thrown in, this could be the Norman Rockwell painting entry. Get the Earl Grey ready!

"Ai wa Energy"愛はエナジー....Love is Energy)was one of two tracks that were individually released as singles (kinda sounds like I'm talking about cheddar cheese slices here). This was one of my favourite songs on the album. It's one of those inspirational tunes that starts out slow and uncertain but gradually rises up to a hopeful peak....almost along the lines of a "Bridge Over Troubled Water", and it sounds like a good way to finish off "Kokoro no Mama ni". Lyricist Etsuko Kisugi(来生えつこ)was in charge of this one.

The English version of "Fall in Love" is included as the very last track, and the video has been included on my write-up of that song. There is also another track in the middle titled "Thief in the Night" which is a pop/rock song done totally in English which, personally speaking, hasn't dated well. A bit jarring within all these very comfortable songs.

After first hearing "Fall in Love" at Kuri, I was happy to find that the first two albums by Kobayashi were just screaming my name at Wah Yueh, the old record shop in Chinatown on Dundas Ave.

Akiko Kobayashi -- Kokoro no Mama ni

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