Released in September 1981, I came across it in one of the CD shops in Tokyo. I'd already bought a number of her late 80s/early 90s discs when she was in full thrall with American R&B, and their covers consisted of a very vivacious and smiley Eiko Kawashima standing against a very summery setting. On the other hand, the cover for "Kanashimi no Kujaku" from those early years had Anri looking very pensive in a heavy jacket standing against a tall rugged man with 5 o'clock shadow. Later buying her first 2 albums, "apricot jam" and "Feelin'", the cover for her 3rd album also had her looking more mature when compared to her teenage sylph-like looks on those covers.
In any case, looking at that distinctive cover, I snapped up that album in a jiffy. I listened to the 12 tracks and found them revealing in that Anri sounded very un-Anri-like. Her creamy vocals were still recognizable, but they were pushing in a totally different direction. Case in point, the 2nd track, "Espresso de Nemurenai"(エスプレッソで眠れない....Can't Sleep Cause of the Espresso) is basically Anri's telling of an Italian romance-comedy in which a love 'em-and-leave 'em Casanova takes off in his green Fiat while his latest conquest is left wondering whether he'll return. The lyrics were by prolific Shigesato Itoi（糸井重里） and the song was composed by Keiichi Suzuki（鈴木慶一） (I wonder if Suzuki had been a few of those small cups of the killer coffee when he was creating this song). The video is up above. The song was also Anri's 9th single released in February 1982.
Like "Espresso de Nemurenai", the rest of the tracks in this album took on a more European New Music feeling which, as Anri fans would know, was a dramatically different bent for the singer, who had just turned 20 at that time. The official age of turning into an adult in Japan is the big Two-Oh, so perhaps Anri may have wanted to reflect this more mature turn of musical phrase. In the album, she took on old-fashioned French pop, something that sounded more Central Asian, and even a touch of New Wave via Blondie mixed in with some of that old summer pop through Track 10, "Itsu no Hi ka Happy End"（いつの日かHappy End...When Is My Happy End?) which was written by Taeko Ohnuki（大貫妙子）, who herself had been going through some musical changes at the time as well.
In any case, listening to the album again today after so many years to prepare for this profile proved to be a fascinating experience, especially in light of what was to come for her in the form of another producer by the name of Toshiki Kadomatsu（角松敏生）. There wasn't much information even in Japanese concerning "Kanashimi no Kujaku", but what little I could get I found on The Moonriders website which did give some insight into this very different Anri album. After Anri's debut success with "Olivia wo Kikinagara" in 1978, the singer went through a dry spell for a number of years. I mentioned that perhaps the coming-of-age for her may have influenced her temporary direction into this European sound, but it could also have been an attempt to break out of the slump. Thanks in part to Kadomatsu and Anri's efforts, she could finally achieve that lasting success two years later with "Cat's Eye".
|The streets of Manhattan|
|Anri -- Kanashimi no Kujaku|
As a bit of a PS, I came across this cover version of "Espresso de Nemurenai" by a singer/model by the name of nAo, which was released in 2011.