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.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Taeko Ohnuki -- Signe

Almost a year ago, I posted up an article on Taeko Ohnuki's(大貫妙子)7th album, "Signifie" which continued the singer's mix of cute techno tunes and lush French-sounding pieces during the early 80s. I didn't get to highlight this particular track, but "Signe" (Sign) is one of my favourite songs on the album. Written and composed by Ohnuki, this one falls definitively in the former category, as it launches with a rat-a-tat-tat of the drums, followed by a perky quirky synthesizer darting around and seemingly dueling with an alarm clock. Ohnuki goes even more whispery-voiced here with an even more wraith-like EPO on backup and J-Pop's go-to saxophonist, Jake Concepcion, going a bit free jazz. The lyrics are also somewhat avant-garde with Ohnuki riffing about "the practical joke of stopping the pendulum of a clock being the way of changing your life" and "lovers passing each other in the fog at a pensive time using words of love as if stabbing each other in the chest with knives". Whoa, yeah!

I first heard the song, though, when I had bought one of Ohnuki's BEST compilations, "History 1978-1984" many years ago. Before then, her name was one that I had often heard mentioned on TV and in magazines but I never recalled seeing her on the tube at all. So, when I came across this double-CD album in a shop, on a whim I decided to pick it up and listened to it once. And I let it then sit on my shelf for several more years....I guess her stuff was just a bit too "fancy" for me at the time. However, when I did try the discs one more time, it was "Signe", along with a few more songs such as "Kuro no Clair"黒のクレール...Black Clair) that started to pull me in and had me appreciate the sounds of her pop. As you can see from the number of posts I've made for Ohnuki over the past 18 months, I'm now fully appreciative. Her music at that time 30 years ago could evoke images of either "Wuthering Heights" or the coolest cafe in Shinjuku or Shibuya.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi, Rick.

      I'm crazy about her, too! And I hope it didn't take you as long as it did for me to finally realize what a good singer she is. Any other Taeko favourites?


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