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 28, 2012

Yumi Matsutoya -- Sakuban O-Aishimashou (昨晩お会いしましょう)

(Te no Hira no Tokyo Tower...手のひらの東京タワ)
The sound is quite low, though.

This has been an album that's just been growing in enjoyment for me as time has gone on. Yuming's 12th original album was released in November 1981, and launched a successful run of being the first of 17 of her albums to reach No. 1 annually until and including 1997's "Cowgirl Dreaming". The title "Sakuban O-Aishimashou"(See You Last Night) apparently alludes to something from the opera "La Traviata" according to the J-Wiki writeup of the album.

To my ears, aside from the two most well-known tracks, this album strikes me as being the closest to AOR/City Pop that Yuming has ever done. It can rank up there with Makoto Matsushita's "First Light". There are some mellow Donald Fagen horns in there and the Fender Rhodes is a popular instrument on most of the tracks. As for the cover shown above, the photograph was taken in Iceland with a model who looked like the singer from the back doing the honours.

The first song here is the first track, "Tower Side Memory", which immediately hit me when I first played the CD with its AOR groove. However, the title doesn't refer to the famed 333-metre tower in Tokyo, but actually to the Port Tower in Kobe. In her tradition to lyrically refer to geographical points and pop cultural trends, she also mentions the Portopia Exposition which took place on Port Island in 1981, a place that my classmates actually got to visit earlier that summer. I distinctly remember the Tower, the Portopia Hotel and lots and lots of pictures of pandas. However, there is a track which is a love song to Tokyo Tower and that is "Te no Hira no Tokyo Tower"(手のひらの東京タワー....Tokyo Tower in the Palm of Your Hand) .

For Yumi Matsutoya fans, this is arguably the most famous song of the album, and perhaps the most popular song by her in the early 80s. "Mamotte Agetai"守ってあげたい...I Want to Keep You Safe) is a lovely pure pop ballad which I first heard at Kuri the karaoke joint multiple times, and never fails to calm me down whenever I've heard it on this disc or on her BEST compilations. It was used as the theme song for a high school movie and released as one of the two singles to come out of "Sakuban". It was released in June 1981 and reached as high as No. 2 on Oricon, and was ranked No. 10 for the year. Hopefully, it doesn't happen for a very long time, but when Yuming does leave this mortal coil, I think this song will be played a lot on the airwaves as tribute.

"Kanna 8-go Sen"カンナ8号線...Canna Route 8) wasn't released as a single but probably is the 2nd-most well-known song of the album since it's a popular request at her concerts. It plays like a good driving song with a mix of disco-pop. The title apparently incorporates the Canna flower and the Route No. 8 section of a major beltway going through Tokyo. However, the synthesized blaring of a horn at the beginning has always made me think that the song was more about a fast-running train than an automobile.

For me, it's hard for me to rank the very best of Yuming's albums, but let's say that I would put it up there with "Cobalt Hour"(1975),"The 14th Moon"(1976), "No Side" (1984)  and "Love Wars" (1989).

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