I've been a fan of Japanese popular music for over 35 years, and have managed to collect hundreds of CDs during that time. So I decided I wanted to talk about Showa Era music with like-minded fans. My particular era is the 70s and 80s (thus the "kayo kyoku"). The plus part includes a number of songs and artists from the last 20 years and even some of the early stuff. So,let's talk about New Music, aidoru, City Pop and enka. (Sorry but music163 is now dead so ignore those links.)
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, February 17, 2015
Reimy -- Shotgun （ショット・ガン）
Reimy -- My Sanctuary
Ever since I first found out about singer-songwriter Reimy Horikawa（堀川麗美）back on that old MTV Japan interview in 1990 when she introduced the videos for her hauntingly beautiful "Dear Tess" and the indie-pop-ish "Tower of Vanity", I became a fan and started collecting her CDs first through ancient money order via "Eye-Ai" magazine and then by tracking down her increasingly rare albums when I started living in Japan again from the mid-90s.
As I bought up her albums from 1989 onwards as a full-fledged singer-songwriter specializing in light pop/AOR tunes, I discovered that she had debuted from much further back as an aidoru under the initial aegis of Yumi Matsutoya（松任谷由実）as well as a backup singer . Intrigued, I picked up her BEST compilation from those years in the early 80s, "Reimy Brand". And so I had thought that was her career consisting of those two halves.
However, one day when I was browsing in one of those oldies CD shops, I came across a Reimy disc that I had never seen before. And if my memory serves me correctly, it was "Speed of Light", a single from 1988. I don't know why I never picked it up, but by the looks of the cover and the title, it was some sort of American dance-pop sort of release which didn't quite chime in with the two different images I'd had of the singer. But my curiosity was stoked...what indeed had she done during that time between 1986 and 1989?
Well, on another day, YouTube provided an answer when I found out this song called "Shotgun" by Reimy. Of course, I had never heard of it and played the official music video (unfortunately it has been taken down), and just saw a very casually dressed Reimy walking in a hot summer landscape while this cool saxophone started tooting away as if were perfect for Los Angeles. And as the song went on, I realized that this was an entirely new animal. It was a Reimy who still had that higher voice from her early years singing something that was hovering midway between City Pop and American urban contemporary R&B of that time.
The hunt was on. And gradually I tracked down the CD that it had come on, "My Sanctuary" which was released in July 1986. And as you can see at the top of the page, it was a very stripped-down look compared to the cutesy aidoru before and the laid-back & folky pop singer with the sauvage hair style after. I had been under the impression that her visit to the United States lasted at least a couple of years but reading the really small personal statement she made in the liner notes in "My Sanctuary", I found out that she had gone to LA to record the album for just 42 days, although she also noted that it was a pretty big trip for her.
In any case, I'm going to have to listen to the album again in full just to get some more impressions about her style during that intermediate period. Reimy was responsible for the composition while veteran lyricist Masao Urino（売野雅勇）took care of the words.