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.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tomoyo Harada -- Silvy

Tomoyo Harada (原田知世) has an impressive and varied repertoire. Most people recognize her as a fresh-faced schoolgirl performing “Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo” (時をかける少女) back in the early 80’s or the soft-voiced singer with laid-back music in the recent years. I’ve been exploring output from the various points in her career and was impressed by my findings. I think she was quite underrated as an idol and had some memorable singles such as "Aijou Monogatari". In the early 90’s, she underwent an image change as a delicate songstress who specialized in nuanced introspective songs. Shortly after, Harada teamed up with Keiichi Suzuki from Moonriders to create what I would call “avant-garde impressionist music”, and then with Tore Johansson in the late-90’s for Sixties-styled Swedish Pop in the vein of The Cardigans. I’ll try to represent some of my favorite works from those different periods in my entries, starting with the second one here.

Silvy” was Harada’s 14th single from February 1990 and the first to launch this new phase. It also appears on her 7th studio album "Tears of Joy", which came out three months later. Seeing as the aidoru culture was becoming a thing of the past around the turn of the decade, she changed gears to survive in the market. Not that her releases were popular, but she gradually established connections with some respected songwriters who used her wonderful soothing voice and presence to showcase some quality music.

This song was written by Yoshihiko Ando (安藤芳彦), composed by Mioko Yamaguchi (山口美央子) and arranged by Takao Sugiyama (杉山卓夫). From what I understand of the words, it concerns the female subject pondering over her uncertain feelings towards someone. Musically speaking, it's an intimate and elegant composition tinted by melancholy. I found the whole piece quite powerful in a nuanced way. Can't pinpoint the exact reason why. Her delivery reminds me of a French singer Elsa Lunghini, who also performs a similar kind of gentle and feminine music. And speaking of French, there are a couple of French lines in the lyrics and the way Harada pronounces the title sounds like "C'est la vie". I wonder if that was intentional.

Now, hopefully this doesn't come off as a spoiler, but I was quite taken aback by the soft jazz outro when I first heard it. You don't see it coming judging by how the rest of the song is but somehow it feels quite satisfying, almost like a kick into the material world after several minutes of internalized sorrow. Either way, it works.

Source: cress30.exblog.jp/i138

3 comments:

  1. Hi, nikala.

    Really soothing song...and yes, I can pick up on the "C'est la vie" pronunciation. With the sunset of the 80s aidoru, I think Harada was joined by fellow aidoru Iyo Matsumoto and Kyoko Koizumi in heading into a more eclectic pop vein (http://kayokyokuplus.blogspot.ca/2015/01/iyo-matsumoto-tandai-owaru-to-mijikai.html).

    I also like the jazz riff at the end as well.

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    1. Yep, I like how Koizumi also took the plunge and continued strong in the 90's. Her work with Yoko Kanno is intriguing. Never paid attention to Matsumoto, but listening to the song in that article piqued my interest.

      As you may have noticed already, I have a certain fondness for idols who transition into other areas of music, whether through songwriting or interesting collaborations.

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    2. As do I. I think with these aidoru, they became a bit more interesting musically when they got to expand beyond their horizons.

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