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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Kanako Wada -- Dessert ni Hoshikuzu no Jelly wo (DESSERTに星くずのゼリーを)

Happily re-discovering Kanako Wada (和田加奈子)through her 6th album, "dear" in 1989, I wasn't nearly as hesitant when it came to purchasing another Wada album the following year. Given the far longer title of "Dessert ni Hoshikuzu no Jelly wo" (Stardust Jelly into your Dessert) and seeing the cover of Wada looking up from a pool, I wondered what I was in for. Released in September 1990, her 7th album would be her final full album up to the present day. All of the tracks were written by the singer.

The first track is the dreamy "Tsuki no Hotel"(月のHOTEL...Moon Hotel)which was composed by TSUKASA. If it hadn't been so, the song should have become a fine theme tune for some sort of anime or game about a fantastical quest, especially at the end when Wada and company give an Enya-like greeting of "Welcome to the Moon Hotel". Methinks that the accommodations referred to here isn't anything like a Motel Six but something more along the lines of a place that the kids at Hogwarts might end up in on a field trip.

Aside from the ethereal "Tsuki no Hotel", the rest of the songs seem to weave the overall theme of a woman's life with all of the ups and downs in whatever community she resides. The 2nd track, "Good Luck Factory" is my favourite entry for "Dessert". Composed by Kumiko Sawada(沢田久美子), the song just blasts open with a cheerful set of horns representing the start of another day in the life of a working woman rushing off and making her way through Tokyo corporate life. I could say that it's a musical 4 minutes and 38 seconds of a late 80s trendy drama.

"Convenience Boy" stands out from the other tracks due to the slightly techno-funky beat which perhaps may have been more her style in her earlier albums. The music by Chika Ueda(上田知華)describe a comical recon mission by a woman who sees a potential rival with the man of her dreams or fantasies.

"Baby Class no Grandmother" (Baby Class のGrandmother...Baby Class Grandmother) is something that I'd never seen in a song before. This composition by TSUKASA again has a bit of the comic with some synth-Latin thrown into the pop mix while Wada's lyrics describe a plucky grandmother who wants to refresh her life by trying new things despite some of the congenial discouragement by the folks around her. The baby class of the title refers to the fact that Nana is basically starting from square one. Considering what is happening with the growing ranks of the elderly in today's Japan, perhaps there was some unintended prescience on Wada's part.

My final track of the article is "Kaze no Oka"(風の丘...Windy Hill), a poignant ballad by Ueda that has Wada reminiscing about the old days and dreams. A saxophone that sounds like it came straight off of a Carpenters' song sets the mood here. Perhaps, it can be a thematic relative to Yuming's "Sotsugyo Shashin"(卒業写真). By the way, there is one more track from the album that I did cover on her BEST album, "Heart de Furimuite"(Heartでふりむいて).

After purchasing "Dessert", it would literally be years and years before I found a new Kanako Wada album which turned out to be her BEST album, although I later found out that she had released one more mini-album, "Yakusoku no Eve"(約束のイヴ...Promised Eve)just in time for the Holidays in 1990. After that, I did play a near-successful bit of catch-up by getting all those late 80s albums of hers. But I still have yet to get "Yakusoku no Eve". I'm not sure whether Wada will ever release a new studio album after over 20 years but the impression I get is that "Dessert" was a farewell of sorts. The power pop singer behind all those songs for the anime "Kimagure Orange Road" was finally settling down and at least some of the tracks described her transition back into civilian life.

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