Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Wink -- Baby Me
When I started listening to aidoru duo Wink, “Baby Me”, which is actually a Shoko Aida (相田翔子) solo, was one of the first songs that caught my attention. It was a slicky and straightforward eurobeat/pop number that stood out in the “Especially For You ~Yasashisa ni Tsutsumarete~” (優しさにつつまれて) album.
Released in April 1989, “Especially For you ~Yasashisa ni Tsutsumarete~” was the duo’s second full lenght album (I’m not counting the “At Heel Diamonds” mini-album here), but the first one to be released after the success of singles like “Ai ga Tomaranai ~Turn It Into Love~” (愛が止まらない) and “Namida wo Misenaide ~Boys Don’t Cry~” (涙をみせないで). In typical Wink’s style, the album was mainly a collection of Western pop hits turned into Japanese synthpop/eurobeat songs. Based on that, “Baby Me” wasn’t an exception. In fact, it was a cover of Chaka Khan’s R&B/funk song that was released one year before, in 1988, as part of her seventh studio album, “CK”.
If you ask me which version I like better, I will answer you that I love both of them. Although we’re essentially talking about the same song, they are absurdly different. While Chaka’s original recording offers a raw/strong bass line and a mid-tempo swing that seduces the listener, Wink’s eurobeat approach was more urgent and close to the Stock Aitken Waterman’s brand of manufactured electronic pop music that was turning UK criticts crazy (in a negative way) and making huge waves of success in the Japanese market.
The “Especially For You ~Yasashisa ni Tsutsumarete~” reached #1 on the Oricon charts, selling 501,520 copies. It also reached #19 on the yearly Oricon chart. As for “Baby Me”, Japanese lyrics were written by Neko Oikawa (及川眠子), while music was composed by Holly Knight and Billy Steinberg. Finally, the eurobeat arrangement was done by Takao Sugiyama (杉山卓夫).
To finish, here’s my “Especially For You ~Yasashi ni Tsutsumarete~” album. I bought this very well conserved copy of it a couple of months ago on eBay.