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, February 15, 2013

Mieko Nishijima -- Gin Lime (ジンライム)

(karaoke version only)

Hey, it's Friday night....time for the weekend and to get together with a bunch of buddies for a drink, eh? In the 1970s, the Japanese economic miracle was still chugging away like a well-oiled machine (aside from the Nixon Oil Shock), and the workers were hitting the izakaya and nomiya after many many hours toiling away at the desk or on the assembly line. Of course, those who were going up the corporate ladder and starting to mass up on the seasonal bonuses were also starting to climb the ladder of drinking sophistication into Western-style bars. Kayo kyoku was kinda paralleling this upward trend via singers who were crooning tunes with a swirl of jazz and bossa nova incorporated into them with the skill of a tuxedoed mixologist (just came up with that last phrase sober, ironically enough). And the sub-genres of City Pop and Mood Kayo were more than happy to have them.

Keiko Maruyama's(丸山圭子) "Douzo Kono Mama"(どうぞこのまま) and some of Junko Yagami's(八神純子) early hits (both are already profiled) are among the best examples of Japanese popular music via a bit of Henry Mancini and Antonio Carlos Jobim. However, I'd also like to put in one song by Mieko Nishijima(西島三重子) titled "Gin Lime"(Gin & Lime). A few of her other songs have already been profiled here, and they come under the category of folk ballads, but "Gin Lime", as the title makes abundantly clear, is an urban contemporary song made for the expensive hotel top bar in Shinjuku or Ginza or Roppongi in Tokyo. Written by Jun'ei Sato(佐藤順英) (also responsible for Nishijima's big hit "Ikegami-sen") and composed by Nishijima in 1977, the song has that languid guitar and strings which somehow always make a great accompaniment while nursing that cocktail. Nishijima hints through the lyrics that the protagonist is starting to appreciate drowning those sorrows through the titular drink after a failed romance.

"Gin Lime" also evokes that atmosphere that would have a lot of hard-working young men and women thinking or fantasizing about being able to enter a wood-and-brass bar and proudly ordering that sophisticated cocktail with the Western name. Not sure if a lot of people remember this song, but for me, it makes for a nice little tonic from the past.

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