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.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kahoru Kohiruimaki -- So Real

Although according to J-Wiki, Kahoru Kohiruimaki's(小比類巻かほる) "So Real" from November 1988 is treated as her 5th studio album, it has tracks going back all the way to her 2nd single, "Ryote Ippai no Johnny" and songs that have already appeared on previous albums, so I consider it a BEST album of sorts. Also, this was Kohhy's final album for Epic Sony, the studio that helped her get started, so perhaps the singer and the producers had wanted to leave a nice summary of her early years for the fans.

As for the tracks on "So Real":

1. Ryote Ippai no Johnny (両手いっぱいのジャニー)
2. Tobenai Bluebird (飛べないブルーバード)
3. Tonight
4. Little Sister
5. Together
6. I'm Good At It
7. Cotton House
8. Shiny Rain
9. On The Loose
10. Come On
11. Hold On Me
12. I'm Here

"Tobenai Bluebird" (Lame Bluebird) was Kohiruimaki's 9th single, released in May 1988. Written by the singer and composed by Yoshiaki Ohuchi(大内義昭), this track on "So Real" stands out for me since not only is it fun to listen to, it also sounds somewhat like a throwback to the early 80s City Pop genre. Especially love the horns here.

I'm no longer sure which album by Kohhy I had bought first: "Time The Motion" or "So Real". However, I do remember on first listening to the latter album, "Tonight" was the new track (I'd already known about "Hold On Me") that got my attention. Again, she and Ohuchi were behind the creation of this quietly epic ballad that seems to soar among the skyscrapers among Tokyo during the refrain. This was also released as her 10th single and was also the theme song for a NTV drama titled "Shinkon Monogatari"(新婚物語...Newlywed Story)which came out in October 1988. It went as high as No. 16 on Oricon.

Single No. 11 was "Together" which was released just a month after "Tonight", and although it has that early Kohhy sound of power pop, there is also some of that gospel flavour that she would also later use in her more R&B years. And yep, this was another Kohiruimaki/Ohuchi collaboration. It peaked at No. 13 on the charts.

The final track of the album is "I'm Here", another wonderful ballad with also a bit of gospel and inspiration with the age-old theme of love conquering all. This was Kohhy's 6th single from May 1987 which was written by Keiko Aso(麻生圭子) and composed by Masayuki Suzuki(鈴木 雅之). Coming back to read the liner notes from "So Real" in more detail, I was surprised to see Suzuki's name since I had always imagined him purely in front of the mike, but then he's also acting as backup vocal for Kohhy here.

But of course, there is the song that I will always associate with Kohiruimaki, "Hold On Me". It already has its own article, but I just wanted to bring it in here as well. As I pointed out above, "So Real" is a summary of sorts of her early discography, so I would definitely recommend it for those who want to know about the singer in the mid-to-late 80s. The album did hit the top spot on Oricon.

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