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.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kanako Wada -- dear

Anyone who has read the Kanako Wada(和田加奈子)entry on her debut album "Tenderness", would know that I hadn't been all that impressed with it aside from a couple of tracks, so I put it aside after having bought it back around 1987 or so. Then in 1989 I was in Japan for my tour of duty. I was watching TV one day when I saw this commercial for soup pasta, and heard this snappy Bacharachesque jingle. Luckily, commercials always put the name of the artist behind the song in the corner of the screen (commercial and song tie-ups are so big there), and I was surprised to see the name 'Kanako Wada'.

Although "Dreamin' Lady"had been released as a single, I wanted to search for the album that it was on, and with a bit of persistence, I found her 6th album "dear". Compared to the young lady in denim with the long hair and sad expression I saw on her first album, the new Kanako had a short cut and a beaming smile against a bright flowery background. That smile would just continue throughout the booklet inside. Quite a few changes. And listening to the full version of "Dreamin' Lady", I found that her voice had become appealingly huskier and more confident to handle more variety in her melodies. This song, by the way, had been written by Goro Matsui(松井五郎), who has helped out on a number of Anzen Chitai(安全地帯)tunes, and composed by Tsukasa. It was the only single to come from "dear".

(excerpt only)

Listening to "dear", my re-discovery of Kanako Wada saw that the singer had found her niche in the adult contemporary genre. So, who better to compose the first track, "Aka to Kuro"赤と黒...Red & Black) than J-AOR singer Yasuhiro Abe(安部恭弘)? Matsui also wrote the lyrics to this funky sultry opening to the album as Kanako sings about a lady on a night out on the town. Abe added a nice touch with the synthesizer mimicking a naughty cat in the intro.

Wada herself was the lyricist behind the introspective ballad, "Crescent Moon" while singer-songwriter Chika Ueda(上田千華) took care of the melody. Ueda was also behind a number of Miki Imai's(今井美樹)hits in the early phase of her career, and I can imagine this song as a piece that Imai could also cover quite easily.

There would be one more full album a year later that I would get, and then over the next several years, I set about filling the void between "Tenderness" and "dear". I would find out that Wada had a lot to do with the songs for the anime "Kimagure Orange Road" in the late 80s. With "dear", I think some of her admirers from her KOR days can enjoy this easy-listening release as well.

Kanako Wada -- dear

The lady loves her flowers!

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