When it comes to the last number of years of Japanese pop music, I've been drawn to the mellower side of things. Tomita Lab's "Shipbuilding" album comes to mind, along with the ballads of Sing Like Talking. Y'know....music which would be nice to hear in a trendy little café somewhere in the side streets of Harajuku.
Then, I came across this song by Yuko Ando（安藤裕子） via a commercial. "Samishigariya no Kotobatachi" (Words of the Lonely) fit the bill perfectly. It could go well with that cup of chamomile tea. It was something about those mellow horns, the relaxing melody and Ando's vocals that got me to see if I could track down the single or the album. As it turned out, I went for her 2nd album, "Merry Andrew" which came out in January 2006. The single itself had been released as Ando's 4th single in October 2005, and was written by the singer and composed by Dan Miyagawa（宮川弾）, who was the keyboardist for the band Love Tambourines.
Ando was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1977 and took the equivalent of a bumper car ride to her current role as a singer-songwriter. According to her Wikipedia article, she had always been a creator and started out drawing. As she grew up, she decided that she wanted to get into making films but without any breaks in that area, she became an actress for a short while, mostly getting roles as extras. But then in 2002, Ando handed over a demo tape to a film director that she had gotten acquainted with on a TV drama which got the completed song a place as an ending theme for another movie he was directing. A 2003 mini-album, "Sally" would follow and then a concert. And the rest as they say is history.
"Samishigariya no Kotobatachi" peaked at No. 35 on the Oricon singles chart. And "Merry Andrew" was able to reach No. 10 on the album charts.