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.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Junichi Inagaki -- 246:3AM

(karaoke version)

 Junichi Inagaki(稲垣潤一) started his solo career with the release of his first album, "246:3AM" in July 1982. Two singles came from the album; his first one was "Ame no Regret"雨のリグレット....Regret in the Rain), a mid-tempo pop ballad. The other one was the title track itself, released on the same day as the album, and I think it's the one that started his reputation as a City Pop crooner much like his contemporary Yasuhiro Abe(安部恭弘). Composed by ex-Off Course member Kazuhiko Matsuo(松尾一彦) and written by frequent Inagaki collaborator Reiko Yukawa(湯川れい子), Inagaki's 2nd single is a shibui 4 minutes of Japanese urban contemporary along the lines of what Akira Terao(寺尾聡)put out in his 1981 album, "Reflections"(already profiled).

As for the title, it refers to a time and place: 3 in the morning somewhere along Japan's National Route 246. In Tokyo, that portion of the highway is represented by tony Aoyama Avenue which starts from Shibuya, and passes through Omotesando, Aoyama, Gaienmae and Akasaka before finishing its part in political Nagatacho. I am assuming that lyricist Yukawa was thinking more along the lines of the high-style Omotesando or Aoyama. Inagaki reminisces about snippets of a romance coming to an end in a cafeteria in the wee hours which he states right off the bat.

It's interesting to compare Inagaki and Terao. Both singers were singing the same style of City Pop around the early 80s, but their voices were quite different. Whilst Terao had that low and cool delivery, Inagaki sang in a much higher register and yet his voice carried a somewhat haunting, echoing quality which has struck me as being appropriate to some of the wistfulness that a number of his songs have.

The main intersection at Gaienmae right on
Route 246.

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