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.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Keiko Kimura -- Denwa Shinai de (電話しないで)

When I met the newest collaborator in the "Kayo Kyoku Plus" family, Larry Chan, on December 30th last year, I told him that when it came to Japanese popular music, I realized that I had only tapped the top 10% of the iceberg. There was still that 90% that I've only started digging into. The genre of City Pop was one definite example of how much I had to go through, thanks to all of these new folks I have been discovering through the pages of "Japanese City Pop".

And the crazy thing is that Keiko Kimura(木村恵子)isn't even in my bible of the genre. I discovered her purely by accident when I was grazing through YouTube. And frankly speaking, that picture of her on the cover of her debut album, "Style" (1988) stopped me in my tracks. I had wondered if she was one of those models that kinda fell into a singing career (rather like Miki Imai).

Then I heard the track that was on "Style", "Denwa Shinai de" (Don't Phone Me). And it had that 80s City Pop groove that I've always swooned about. It was slick and urban contemporary, along the same vein that Junko Ohashi's(大橋純子)"Nemurenai Diamond"(眠れないダイヤモンド)and Tomoko Aran's(亜蘭知子)"Slow Nights" followed. I mentioned once before that at least some of the output from ennui-laden chanteuses like Asami Kado(門あさみ)and Ruiko Kurahashi(倉橋ルイ子)back in the early 80s was given that label of Fashion Pop. Perhaps Keiko, Junko and Tomoko during the 80s were tapping Fashion Pop II or a sub-genre that I would label as Sophisti-Pop. And yep, "Denwa Shinai de" makes me think that Kimura chose the right outfit for painting the town red. The song was created by lyricist Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆)and composer Shigeru Suzuki(鈴木茂), according to the Japanese music blog, "Music Avenue". Too bad that the video above doesn't have the whole song, but it was enough to get me wondering about acquiring "Style".

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of information on Kimura but I was able to glean some data from her J-Wiki entry. She was born in 1963 in Kanagawa Prefecture but spent part of her childhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before returning to Japan to attend junior and senior high school. From there, she was admitted into prestigious Keio University where she learned all about songwriting in the same music department that had Masamichi Sugi(杉真理)and Mariya Takeuchi(竹内まりや)as members. Debuting in 1988, she would release 4 original albums and a BEST album along with 6 singles.

1 comment:

  1. J-Canuck, thanks for the post. Now, I think I got a better idea what City Pop music sounds like. In fact, I can recall some HK songs that are in this genre. When I was in HK, and even now, people pay no attention to genre. In general, there're only 3 genres: classical Cantonese opera, mainstream = HK pop, and everything else that's not mainstream. So, if a city pop song becomes a hit, it's just HK pop.

    I like Denwa Shinai De. The melody and the arrangement feel familiar to me.


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