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, September 25, 2013

Mari Hamada -- Emotion in Motion

Well, I’m not a rock fan at all, but Mari Hamada (浜田麻里) has caught my attention recently. Her big voice, nice looks, and the fact that she is a beautiful woman may have influenced in this, but her songs are not behind at all. And age is not a problem for Mari. She's as beautiful in her 50s as she was in her 20s.

The song that easily became one of the most played in my everyday life during the last couple of weeks is “Emotion in Motion”, a pop/rock song that was included in her commercial successful AOR oriented album “Return to Myself”, in June 1989.

After an underestimated hard-rock career, Mari started recording some AOR pop/rock material around 1988 and 1989 (she returned to the hard-rock genre after a while, though, which was great). The commercial success was evident in the rising sales. The “Return to Myself” album was the icing on the cake for Mari with the “Return to Myself ~Shinai, Shinai, Natsu.” (Return to Myself 〜しない、しない、ナツ。) song leading it. But “Emotion in Motion” was a heavy promoted song as well, which is understandable as it’s one of the catchiest and nicest songs of the album.

With a catchy chorus and a nice arrangement, featuring horns and a funky bass breakdown, “Emotion in Motion” is a highlight in Mari’s mainstream pop career. Although not a hard-rock song as Mari’s previous hits, “Emotion in Motion” is not a song to be ignored in her discography.

The “Return to Myself” album reached #1 on the Oricon chart and sold 431,000 copies. It ended the year as the 23th best-selling albumAs for "Emotion in Motion", the lyrics were written by Mari Hamada herself, while the music was composed by Hiroyuki Otsuki (大槻啓之).


  1. Hi, Marcos, and thanks for putting up the article on Mari Hamada. I had seen her on the music store shelves all these years but never got around to listening to any of her stuff which is why I never got to post up anything by her on the blog.

    Listening to "Emotion in Motion" brought back memories of some of the pop-rock that was going on both sides of the Pacific. Over in Japan, I think I could imagine singers like Miho Morikawa and Kahoru Kohiruimaki being her contemporaries. Of course, being a sucker for a good bass and horn section, I enjoyed this song thoroughly.

    1. Thanks for the comment, J-Canuck.

      I'm still discovering Mari Hamada, but I already have a dozen of songs that I'm hooked up. I'll probably write a couple more posts about her soon.

      About late 80s/early 90s pop-rock, I was trying to like some bands like Pink Sapphire and Velver Paw, but with no significant effect. I really don't care for rock. But I liked Mari Hamada, which is a plus. I also like some poppier Princess Princess songs, like "Dakara Honey", for example.

      Japan surely experienced a rock band boom in the late 80s/early 90s, especially in the girl bands territory. I think we can thank the success of Princess Princess for that (in the good and in the bad way).

  2. The bass line during the interlude sounded even more awesome. Listening to this song brings back the fond memories of the days when I was looking for good hard rock artists to listen to. Mari Hamada is definitely one of the standouts from the genre. Always liked her powerful presence and voice.

    About rock artists, have you ever given Show-Ya ( and Megumi Hayakawa ( a try? They all started out in mid-80's like Hamada and followed a similar-ish music path over the years.

    1. Yeah, the bass line during the interlude is like candy to me. I dig it a lot. Mari Hamada surely is a name to look for. Her recent work is very nice too.

      I've given Show-Ya a try, but I didn't like so much. Megumi Hayakawa, on the other hand, I didn't know about. I'm listening to some of her songs on YouTube and she kind of sounds like Mari Hamada in certain ways. It was a great tip of yours. Thanks a lot.


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