Credits

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.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wink -- Celebration


Vanessa Williams...it took me a number of minutes to even recall the name. I initially plugged in Deniece Williams into the search engines, only to find out that she was the singer who had that hit, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" in the original version of "Footloose" back in the mid-80s. The target of my search though did, as I recall, appear on the American remake of "Ugly Betty" and a couple of episodes of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". And of course, there was all of that early kerfuffle about her having to resign as Miss America after a scandal arose.

However, all I really had to do was plug in "Save The Best For Last" (January 1992) into YouTube, and out popped her name. I got to see that Xmas video of hers and then the most famous scene of her singing to the camera in black-&-white. And of course, there was the smooth chart-topping radio-friendly ballad which became a theme song for Williams.


I've bought my fair share of Wink albums during the early 90s, and "Nocturne" was my final purchase of the ladies. It came out in November 1992, and a couple of singles were on it: "Real Yume no Joken"(リアル夢の条件...Conditions of a Real Dream)and their cover of the kayo classic "Furimukanaide"(ふりむかないで)by The Peanuts.

However, I was rather surprised to hear a familiar tune done in Japanese on the album. It came under the title "Celebration", but it was no doubt "Save The Best For Last" as done by Shoko Aida(相田翔子). Rui Serizawa(芹沢類)came up with the Japanese lyrics, and the arranger was Satoshi Kadokura(門倉聡), but frankly, I couldn't really tell the difference between his music and the arrangement for the Williams original. I would have said that it was basically Aida doing karaoke...except that Aida's version was beyond-karaoke good! Although it was a pretty straight-on interpretation of "Save The Best For Last", I have to say that it was one of the better covers of an English-language song by a Japanese singer. In fact, it was the one song I remember from "Nocturne". For about three minutes, I rather forgot that she was one-half of a Eurobeat-driven aidoru duo that took the late 80s by storm. Good on her!


3 comments:

  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    Shoko’s voice is among my favourites. Although I like Sachiko a lot (how not to love one half of Wink?), Shoko will always be my girl.

    It’s been a while since I listened to “Nocturne” for the last time. Even though I’m a big fan of the duo, I generally listen to the early albums more frequently, so it was great to hear “Celebration” again. Like you said, Shoko’s version was beyond-karaoke good.

    The great thing about your article is that I listened to the original for the first time. And I’ve seen Vanessa William on TV recently in a cooking-based show called Chef Roblé (she was not cooking, but contracting a chef to cook for a special barbecue in her house). I remember the chef from the show talking a lot about Vanessa’s beauty, but I forgot to check it after. Now I see what he was talking about.

    As for the song itself, it’s not really my cup of tea, but both versions are great. If I had to choose, Shoko would win for obvious reasons... but I found Vanessa Williams quite appealing.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Marcos.

      Strangely enough, I saw Shoko for the first time in many months on an NHK program this afternoon. She hasn't aged a bit!

      Yeah, I guess the fact that she did such a good job on "Celebration" is the reason that I remember this song the most from "Nocturne".

      Speaking of singers' ages, I couldn't quite believe that Vanessa is now 51 but then again, her song was from the early 90s. In a way, she reminded me of Beyonce...even before Beyonce got really big!

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    2. Hi, J-Canuck.

      It's been a while since I last saw Shoko. Maybe a year or more. I listened to the album she released back in 2013, but it's probably too light for my ears. You can see what I'm talking about in the link above. And, like you said, she is the type that doesn't age at all. When I see her smile, it's as if I'm looking to a teenage girl.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy1TlQrOVDI

      Also, today I finally had my share of Vanessa Williams. Knowing she would have some dance songs, and not only ballads, I searched for a couple of her singles on YouTube. Honestly, most of her material is comprised of ballads, like “Save The Best For Last”, but I was able to find this gem called “Running Back To You”, which is an interesting throwback to the old New Jac Swing style. I just loved it and the catchy synth melody that keeps being repeated through the whole song.

      Yeah, Beyoncé is a good comparison. About her, she has a great voice, but, unfortunately, her songs are crap (my father repeats that every time Beyoncé appears on TV, and I totally agree with him). As I could see, Vanessa had better songs (even the ballads are great, although not really my style).

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