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.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Hiromi Iwasaki -- Lemon (檸檬)

So, that's how "lemon" is written in kanji, eh? Well, that's why I'm so grateful the Japanese developed the katakana syllabary(レモン).

But I digress. Hiromi Iwasaki's(岩崎宏美)"Lemon" is her 27th single released in February 1982. Written by Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composed by Kisaburo Suzuki(鈴木キサブロ), the title gives a good hint at the nature of the lyrics which involves Iwasaki sweetly singing about some bitter jealousy against a man with another woman on his arm. At one point in the song, the protagonist wants to pitch a green lemon right at his chest. That's pretty darn harsh. I don't think he'd be able to make lemonade all that quickly.

Over the times that I've written about one of my earliest discoveries in Japanese popular music, I've realized that Iwasaki has dipped her toe in a variety of musical styles: her upbeat aidoru songs from the mid-70s, some of the more disco and City Pop ventures going from the 70s into the 80s, and those soaring epic ballads that often became the ending themes for suspense dramas in the early 80s. But also in that part of the decade, the long-haired incarnation of the singer was known to sing songs that had a mix of jaunty pop, folk and even a bit of European, and "Lemon" fits into that category. The composer Kisaburo Suzuki is a name that I've seen associated with female balladeers such as Ruiko Kurahashi(倉橋ルイ子)and Mariko Takahashi(高橋真梨子), and the pattern that I've noticed with some of his songs is that he seems to like that rush of shimmering strings (the Joe Kato Group is one unit that I've read in liner notes a lot for these singers). And yep, my nostalgia nerve clusters get plenty pressed when I hear this stuff.

"Lemon" got only as high as No. 16 on Oricon but no worries. Iwasaki's next single would become one of the biggest hits of her career. By the way, the single also was on her 11th studio album in 1982, "Yugure kara...Hitori"(夕暮れから。。。ひとり...From Twilight--Alone).

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