|Miki Imai -- Lluvia|
Another Imai custom is to have a bossa nova-style song in her albums, and so here is "Tea For Two"...makes for a nice segue from my tea-sipping remark in the last paragraph. Imai was behind the lyrics here as well, but the composer (although the J-Wiki article has the Antonio Carlos Jobim responsible for music and lyrics with Kamayatsu adapting it and Imai translating the words) was Hiroshi 'Monsieur' Kamayatsu（かまやつひろし）, a frequent visitor on TV and former member of the Group Sounds band, The Spiders way back when. This time, the words are much less bittersweet with the couple involved much more in thrall with each other.
The very first song from this album that I heard was actually "Plus Alpha"（プラスα）, an atypically funky number for Imai written by Yuuho Iwasato and composed by the bassist on the song, Jun Sato（佐藤準）. I heard this being played in a CD shop just in the last couple of days before my departure from Narita; took me a bit of time to realize it was Imai singing this. Lyrically, this might be the more raunchy Saturday night in Roppongi compared to the sunny Sunday morning of "Tea For Two".
For the 2nd album in a row, none of the songs on the album were ever made into single releases, but it became the first Imai album since "Bewith" in 1988 to hit the top spot on Oricon and managed to become the 13th-ranked album for 1991 despite the relatively late release date, selling a little over 750,000 copies. As I mentioned at the top, I eschewed calling "Lluvia" an epilogue of "Retour". However, the album did signify an ending of things, namely the soft tea-friendly sound of her early years, something that hasn't been lost on Imai fans....in the Japanese social networking site, Mixi, there are Miki Imai communities but there is also one that emphasizes those early years from 1986 to 1991 for which I am a citizen. Her sound underwent changes from her next album, and although I have enjoyed a number of her tunes from that time onward, for me, it will always be those years mentioned that will be my favourite time when it comes to her.