Y'know, I'm not sure when I bought Anzen Chitai's （安全地帯）"Remember to Remember", the band's very first album from January 1983. Up until that point, my perception of Koji Tamaki （玉置浩二）and the guys had originated from their breakthrough hit, "Wine-Red no Kokoro" （ワインレッドの心）which wouldn't come out until almost a year later in November of that year, and from that point, I gathered all of their studio albums up to their eighth effort. So for me, I'd assumed that the Anzen Chitai mythos started from their 2nd album, "II".
But I finally decided to make the collection more complete and one day, I got "Remember to Remember" at one of the Tokyo music stores. Purely from a superficial level, it still remains a bit apart from its descendant albums since: 1) the title is an English expression instead of a number, 2) almost all of the tracks are also in English, and 3) the photo of Koji and company on the back cover makes them look like a backup band in need of a lead vocalist ("Where's Yosui?" is what I thought). Finally, 4) that picture at the front looks more suited for a J-AOR compilation album.
However, I started listening to the band's first track and their 3rd single from April 1983, "Las Vegas Typhoon"（ラスベガス・タイフーン）. And my first thought was that it sounded like a lost Anzen Chitai song coming back into the fold (all of them were). The Anzen Chitai sound of silk and dark chocolate was already in there. There was a fair bit of thunder in the music by Tamaki but it all seemed to part to form a calm eye when the vocalist began to sing the lyrics by Yukio Matsuo（松尾由紀夫）. His voice just flowed and cut through the air like a glider. The one thing about the words that amused me was that the first two lines seemed to paraphrase that famous motto about the titlular city, "Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".
There is a bit more speed in the 2nd track, "Run of Luck". I'm not sure if both Tamaki and Matsuo had gambling on the brain when they were getting the above song and this track together (the two created most of the songs on "Remember to Remember"), but there was another similarity with the two songs in that they both wrangled about the trials and tribulations of love.
By the time I got to the 3rd track of "Age", I realized that the Tamaki I was hearing was the one who had yet to develop a lot of that darkness whenever his voice dove into the lower registers. Those vocals seemed to still have just those angel wings instead of the additional devil's tail. Still, listening to this song, I definitely got those images of East Shinjuku on a Friday or Saturday night with all of the hustling and bustling among the young and naive/not-naive. This track also served as the B-side to the aforementioned "Las Vegas Typhoon".
Another song that stood out to me was "I'll Be On My Way", the band's 2nd single from October 1982. With the brassy sax and the rest of the arrangement, it didn't quite sound like the usual Anzen Chitai song although Tamaki's vocals probably reassured all of his fans that "I'll Be On My Way" was part of his discography. And indeed, Tamaki and Matsuo worked on this one as well, but with help from Motoki Shimizu（清水宗己） and Patrick Napukum (just going with the katakana here so not sure if this is the right Romaji spelling) on the lyrics. Speaking about reassurances, "I'll Be On My Way" is the usual on-the-road song with an uptempo beat in which the lonely driver will make his way through no matter what the challenges are in terms of distance and romance.
The final song for the article is the soothing "Fuyu City-1"（冬CITY-1...Winter City-1）. The title sounds like one segment of a shopping mall up in Hokkaido, but the feeling is more like that picture on the front cover of the album. Tamaki sings about a man on a date with a woman in a tea room one fading winter afternoon as he wonders about his (and her) feelings and their plans. In one verse, he mentions about suggesting to go off to see some horses via his car with the sunroof which really does make me think about Xmas up in Japan's northernmost main island, Anzen Chitai's home turf.
At the beginning, I mentioned that "Remember to Remember" had some differences between it and the rest of the later albums. But I also said that those differences were superficial. The album may not have been the spark to launch Anzen Chitai's career up into the stratosphere, but I think the songs here are still worthy additions in the band's list of great tunes and not just musical prototypes for the band's sound.