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.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Akina Nakamori -- Southern Wind (サザンウインド)

I've always thought that there was some sort of link between Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜) 8th single, "Southern Wind" and her previous entry, "Kita Wing"(北ウィング), besides the temporal proximity and the use of geographical directions in the titles. The two songs seem to have been plucked from a couple of periods in Akina's young timeline. As I wrote for "Kita Wing", I imagined the singer trying to catch that plane from Narita Airport for a literal flight of fancy from the mundane normalcy of life as a co-ed to the scary-but-exhilarating excitement of life in another country with that mystery man.

Well, for "Southern Wind", I felt that we've gone forward a few years, and Akina has become a slightly jaded veteran of tropical travel and has even gone through a few of those Lotharios in her growing maturity. However, the giddy excitement has been replaced with a sense of suspense and adventure. Etsuko Kisugi's(来生えつこ) lyrics of Panama hats, silhouettes of coconut tree fronds and beautiful men on white yachts conjure up some of those old flicks from the 40s I've seen on Turner Classic Movies that starred Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall (or their wannabes). Then, there is Koji Tamaki's(玉置浩二) racing melody arranged by Ichizo Seo (瀬尾一三)with the bumblebee-like strings and the tight horn section which bring in those images of gun-spiked intrigue. All that is missing is the sinister guy in black from Europe.

Perhaps I should be hosting Turner Classic Movies after that paragraph. Anyways, "Southern Wind" continued Akina-chan's musical progress from good girl/bad girl from high school into a more mature woman as her voice took on more timbre. The song was released just a few months after "Kita Wing" in April 1984 and actually went all the way to the top position on Oricon compared to "Kita Wing" peaking at No. 2, but it finished just behind it at No. 10 in the annual charts of the year.


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    "Southern Wind" is probably my favorite Akina song. I love the strings and everything else you described. But different from you, I always think about summer during the Japanese bubble years. Something like spending a lot of money with resorts and travels.

    As for the arrangement, contrary to the summer thematic, is full og tension and ansiety, although everything is very well put tohether (the beautiful strings and the brass). The instrumental bridge is also very nice. It adds an epic feel to the song. In the end, I really love "Southern Wind". Like I said before, I really think Akina should have given more attention to this song. Well, with so many hits under the sleeves, it's kind of difficult to remember them all.

    Totally out of topic, I wonder if you like Rick Astley. I attended his concert in Rio de Janeiro earlier this month and it was a great experience to see him singing live with his big vocals.

    1. Hi, Marcos.

      Yeah, those were quite the days for Japan, weren't they? I guess for Akina in the first half of 1984, the theme must have been "travel and adventure". Although "Kita Wing" and "Southern Wind" were created by two different pairs of people, I always thought that the two were different sides of the same coin for some reason.

      I actually did like Rick Astley when he first appeared in the late 80s, but I only know a couple of his songs, "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Together Forever". I believe I still have his remix album somewhere on the shelves.

    2. I agree with you. The songs are kind of similar in thematics. I also feel like "Southern Wind" is "Kita Wing's" sister, even though "Kita Wing" is not among my favorite Akina's songs.

      About Rick Astley, I liked his debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody" (1987), so much that I had to order it. I also put Akina's "Femme Fatale" album in the same package.


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