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, September 19, 2014

Yoshie Kashiwabara/Miyuki Nakajima/Shizuka Kudo -- Camouflage (カム・フラージュ)

Now, here's a Yoshie Kashiwabara(柏原芳恵)tune with a bit more bite. Songwriter Miyuki Nakajima(中島みゆき)had created the tender-hearted "Haru Nanoni"(春なのに)for the Osakan aidoru earlier in 1983 which became one of Kashiwabara's signature tunes, but then came another Nakajima-Kashiwabara collaboration titled "Camouflage" in December of that year which dipped Yoshie-chan into more of that aidoru rock a la Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)and her musical predecessor Momoe Yamaguchi(山口百恵).

Enter that wailing guitar, enter the horns and enter that hint of disco rhythm, and one would expect a huskier voice. However, it is indeed Yoshie's light fluttery vocals, but somehow the melding of her aidoru voice and all of that funky music behind her work well just like some of Akina's earlier uptempo hits.

Not sure how long the above video will stick around with us, but for those who have wondered about bringing together Kashiwabara's aidoru tunes with her later career as a racy pin-up model, it's your lucky day! In any case, "Camouflage" peaked at No. 6 on Oricon and ended 1984 as the 72nd-ranked song. It managed to sell close to 200,000 records.

(karaoke version)

In 1985, Nakajima decided to give her own version on the song that she created for Kashiwabara. Her "Camouflage" was on her 12th album, "Oiro Naoshi"(御色なおし...Change of the Wedding Dress). It was also her 2nd album of cover versions, and her take on "Camouflage" hinted more at the Roppongi disco scene with all of the glitter and glamour. Nakajima's deeper and more weathered voice arguably better reflected her lyrics of the sinister spirit concealing one's darker impulses and gleefully threatening to set them free for all to see. The Lexington Queen may have been all bright lights, big city but there were plenty of dark hidden alleys surrounding it.

"Oiro Naoshi" hit the top spot on the album charts and was the 18th-ranked album of 1985.

(the music163 link is now dead)

I knew about the previous two versions for decades, but did not know about Shizuka Kudo's(工藤静香)cover until tonight. Kudo was another 80s aidoru who could thank a few of her hits to Nakajima as well, and she provided her own tribute via her August 2008 album, "MY PRECIOUS - Shizuka Sings Song of Miyuki".  Not surprisingly, the straight urban contemporary arrangement is more updated but no less urgent than the other two versions. The album got as high as No. 20 on the Oricon charts.

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