Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Hitomi Tohyama -- Rainy Driver
NHK News is reporting the annual temporary mass migration that signifies another Bon holiday season. So, there a lot of scenes of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the various highways. Here in Toronto, we also have the similar situation on a daily basis involving the country's largest parking lot known as the Don Valley Parkway. It gives me further vindication to my choice on not learning how to drive.
Not the smoothest segue into today's tune, but I'm still happy to introduce my 2nd Hitomi 'Penny' Tohyama song（当山ひとみ）. The first one was the breezy, Bacharach-penned "Our Lovely Days" from 1983 that I wrote about all the way back in 2012. Today, I listened to CD 1 of the double-disc BEST album for Penny, "W Deluxe" that I got from Tacto some years ago, and came across this number, "Rainy Driver" which had originally been on the Okinawan singer's very first album, "Just Call Me Penny" from May 1981.
Unlike the AOR sunny "Our Lovely Days", "Rainy Driver", which was probably written and composed by Yoshihiro Yonekura (米倉良広...whoever was responsible for the production of the liner notes for "W Deluxe" just threw in the arrangers, composers and lyricists in romaji as if they were corporate cogs on a floor plan), is very much in the nighttime mode of pressing down on the accelerator on the highway as the city lights flash past. Kaz-shin on his Japanese music blog, "Music Avenue" wrote that although he didn't think the song was bad, he said that it was a bit of a waste to bring in a certain kayo kyoku air into "Rainy Driver". He later wrote as a summary for the whole of "Just Call Me Penny" that the music overall sounded somewhat dated, although he conceded that there were many people who enjoyed that sound. Yup, I would put myself into that category...as you readers have all figured out by now. City Pop is indeed my beat.
Listening to the rest of the songs on CD 1 of "W Deluxe", Tohyama did her share of 80s-style power ballads, and explored American funk and soul along similar lines as Irene Cara and Melissa Manchester from that time. And to respond to Kaz-shin's point about some of the dated nature from her first album, I thought that some of the later songs on "W Deluxe" such as "Let's Talk In Bed" went a tad overboard and entered pastiche territory. But as for "Rainy Driver", I'm fine with listening to that on any car stereo...on the passenger side, of course.