It would turn out that I didn't need to look too hard. As soon as I entered the very air-conditioned store, "Close Your Eyes", one of the tracks, was playing over the store speakers and the album was featured very prominently on the wall. I had bought her albums during the late 80s, and frankly found them not too listenable since she seemed to get a bit too avant-garde or hard rock for me. But I was struck by "Close Your Eyes", a very atmospheric piece with a Mediterranean feel; her voice sounded different, too. The huskiness that had been her trademark since her mid-80s peak was still there but transformed into something more delicate. This was an Akina who sang as if she were a seen-it-all, heard-it-all, felt-it-all diva in resignation. The lyrics, by the way, were provided by Masako Arikawa（有川正沙子）, who had written many of Akira Terao's（寺尾聡）tunes on his hit album, "Reflections" (already profiled) in 1981.The music was composed by Brazilian artist Osny Melo, who has written songs for a number of Japanese singers like Hiromi Go（郷ひろみ）and Akiko Kobayashi（小林明子）.
When I bought "Cruise", the significance of the situation hadn't been lost on me. I did feel somewhat eerie about buying an album just a few weeks after the artist had tried to leave this mortal coil.
"Liar" was the only track that had been a single release back in April. Written by Mitsuko Shiramine（白峰美津子）and composed by Kazuya Izumi（和泉一弥）, this was a song of lost love. Not quite sure if it had been meant for Matchy. The single hit No. 1 from the get-go and ended up as the 28th-ranked song of the year. "Cruise"itself also reached the No. 1 mark and became the 31st-ranked album of 1989.
As much as the Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut album had become my very first J-Pop purchase on cassette tape almost 10 years previously, "Cruise"was my very first CD purchase of a J-Pop singer. Unlike some of her past albums, I bought this one without feeling any trepidation at all.
|Akina Nakamori -- Cruise|