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

Taeko Ohnuki -- Jaja Uma Musume (じゃじゃ馬娘)

Another reason that I'm starting to love the initially somewhat neglected 1978 album, "Mignonne" by Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子) is the first track, "Jaja Uma Musume"(The Shrew). Now, for someone like me who got to first appreciate this singer through her techno/European entries in the early 80s, hearing her do a disco ballad was pretty intriguing, to say the least.

But then again, as I had mentioned in the article for the whole album, the then-24-year-old Ohnuki was seemingly trying to find her niche in the Japanese music world through her 3rd album as a solo artist. "Jaja Uma Musume" was the official single from the album, released in September 1978. And right from the opening notes of the song, she decided to go rather brassy with the ever-present sax of Jake H. Conception bursting in followed by a strutworthy urban beat and a great electric guitar. And indeed, Ohnuki was responsible for the music and words behind her 4th single....perhaps surprising at first for those accustomed to her later music in the following years, but I have come to the realization that she could whip up songs in a number of genres for herself and other singers.

Here, she comes across as a Japanese Carly Simon or Nicolette Larson (her picture in the liner notes of the album shows this), although her voice is a fair bit higher. As the title hints (I hope you know your Shakespeare), the protagonist is a suffer-no-fools woman who won't play the usual girly games, would prefer to be all by herself, and would more likely throw men out the window than accept any flattery from them. I could see her as a tough-as-nails detective striding down any street anywhere in Tokyo. I think it's a pretty refreshing song although not many people outside of the Ohnuki fandom probably heard it originally; I don't get the impression that there were many songs that portrayed women in Japan quite that way during that time.

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