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.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Akiko Kobayashi -- Bon Voyage

Well, last December when I wrote about Akiko Kobayashi's(小林明子) "Perfect Love" (currently this article is out of service since there are no longer any recordings of the song online), I mentioned that its sister songs from her 1989 studio album, "Bon Voyage" couldn't be found on YouTube or anywhere least, until now. In the last few days, I was able to hunt down some of the tracks to this Chinese-language site.

I gave my opinions on the album itself over in the "Perfect Love" article, but to reiterate, the cover by itself hints at the feeling of the music in "Bon Voyage": a bit more of a different direction for Kobayashi....lighter and a fresher feel...something like standing at the bow of that resort cruise ship. There is more of a skip in her step musically speaking, and I guess those 18 months off after her last album, "City of Angels", provided her lots of time to reflect on how she was going to approach this one. Anyways, the above is the 2nd track, "Yo Te Amo", which is a prime example of this new approach. Kobayashi composed it with Miho Takai(高井美浦) as the lyricist (she uses a pen name that I just haven't had time to try to decipher....暮醐遊), and there is a peppier pace to it along with some lighter-sounding synths. It has a bit of a City Pop lilt to it but it also sounds as if it can also be that theme song to a walk along the bay on a sunny day.

"Diga Mais" is another one by Takai and it was composed by Brazilian singer-producer Osny Melo who also provides guitar and backup vocals here. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album since it has that mysterious sunset hook to it, and actually this version, which was included on one of Kobayashi's BEST compilations, is more amped-up with some horns.

For some reason, "Mr. Lonely Guy ni Tsutaete"(Mr. Lonely Guyに伝えて...Tell It To Mr. Lonely Guy)has an intro that sounds like one for an early Kahoru Kohiurimaki (小比類巻かほる)song. This was another Takai/Kobayashi collaborative effort that at first I was a little standoffish about since the melody sounded fitting for a sitcom theme, but it's managed to grow on me over the years, although it's still distinct when compared to the other songs on the album. The strange thing about it is that for the longest time, I always had an image of Jack Lemmon's corporate nebbish, C.C. Baxter, from "The Apartment" whenever I listened to "Mr. Lonely Guy". When I finally looked a bit harder at the lyrics, sure enough, "Jack Lemmon" was right in there.

The last song here, for this article and the album, is "Be Together", Kobayashi's sung equivalent of a hand-in-hand walk of a happy couple. Kobayashi was once again composer but Reiko Yukawa(湯川れい子)was behind the lyrics this time. As with this finale, the whole album can be played on a sunny Sunday afternoon for a nice melodic enhancement for a J-Pop fan.

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