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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Akiko Kobayashi -- La Siesta

I mentioned in the article for Akiko Kobayashi's (小林明子)5th album, "Bon Voyage", that it was her first album in around 18 months...a slightly longer absence from the recording studio for her, at least....and that it had a somewhat different fresher sound. I compared it to an ocean cruise on the open blue water and sky.

Well, her next album came out pretty quickly...only a 9-month gap this time, and "La Siesta" provided a musical trip closer to the Mediterranean shore. Even the colour scheme for the cover was notably different this time...a warm orange hue in contrast with the fresh blue of "Bon Voyage". Although the June 1990 6th album was recorded in Japan and Belgium, the liner notes don't mention directly where the photographs were taken. But from the album title and the title from one of the tracks, I'm guessing St. Tropez at the southeastern tip of France at least...and perhaps Barcelona.

The European trip begins with the urbane pop sound of "Free Your Reins" with Suzanne K. Kim providing the lyrics and Kobayashi providing the music as she does for most of the tracks. Kobayashi sings about desiring to get on that voyage of exploration once more and the music illustrates that she is continuing that new outside-of-Japan musical journey that she started in "Bon Voyage".

The first ballad of the album is also a Kim/Kobayashi collaboration. "Without A Heartache" took a while but it has grown on me over the years, and the amazing Toots Thielemans on harmonica helped out a lot. This sounds like a first night on the trip through an exotic clime as the heroine here settles into her hotel room and contemplates about looking for love again after so long.

Kobayashi wrote and composed the next track, "Celebrate Tonight", which happened to be the first song that I really started enjoying on "La Siesta". In fact, this was her 17th single from July 1990, and I actually bought the CD single for a friend of mine who had been a casual fan of Kobayashi's from our Kuri days. The lyrics sound as if that heroine from "Without a Heartache" hit romantic paydirt on the 2nd night. With the keyboard and mellow sax, I think this is the Carpenteresque song for the album.

Since I'm on this theme of journey, I can then say that the title track of "Kokoro no Siesta"(心のシエスタ...Siesta of the Heart)would probably take care of the montage scene of the movie...the one where the heroine and her new beau along with a couple of zany sidekicks zip around Barcelona in a little over 4 minutes. Written by Miho Takai(高井美浦)under her pen name of 暮醐遊, Kobayashi gives "Kokoro no Siesta" that old-school old-world sophistication from the black-&-white films. It was her 16th single from March 1990 and was also used as the commercial song for that bottled straight tea that I have missed so much since getting back from Japan.

"La Siesta" which follows "Kokoro no Siesta" is the instrumental extension. Enjoy your tapas!

Following all that racing around the town, it seems that the heroine and her new buddies have all decided to take a little respite for a few days in the resort area of St. Tropez as indicated in the 2nd-last track, "Holidays in St. Tropez" which was written by Kobayashi. The song just seems to cry out for a lot of refills of sangria while everyone enjoys taking root in their respective chaises lounge.

"La Siesta" the album would be the final original album for Kobayashi for over a decade until she came up with "Beloved" in 2001. However, she did release an album in 1994 under her new nom de guerre of holi titled "under the monkey puzzle tree".

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