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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.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Yoshimi Iwasaki -- Aka to Kuro (赤と黒)



As you have most likely gleaned, I am a huge fan of chanteuse Hiromi Iwasaki(岩崎宏美), but when it comes to her younger sister, Yoshimi, I really only know her trademark tune "Touch", the classic 1985 anison with that old-style rock n' roll touch. Then, nikala added the second article on the singer for the song "Vacance" which was the B-side to an earlier 1982 single, "Margarita Girl". I mentioned it on the "Touch" article, but I had read somewhere that despite the aidoru tag, the junior Iwasaki's material seems to have tended toward the more mature side of adult contemporary, something that has intrigued me especially since her trademark song sounded anything but.

I finally pulled the trigger and decided to purchase my first anything on Yoshimi Iwasaki(岩崎良美). So I purchased a remastered edition of her 3rd album from July 1981, "Weather Report". Along with the original 10 tracks for that album, the disc contains several of her singles, including her debut release of "Aka to Kuro" (Red and Black) which came out in February 1980.


Written by prolific lyricist Rei Nakanishi(なかにし礼)and composed by guitarist/singer Fujimal Yoshino(芳野藤丸)from the band SHOGUN, "Aka to Kuro" starts off with a raunchy guitar-and-horn blast as if it was starting off some 70s cop show, but then it quickly settles down into a sweeping yet dreamy account of some fellow pulling off a Romeo gambit by secretly approaching the window of his beloved for a bit of communication while Juliet is slightly fretting over whether this is the right thing to do.

All I could say was "Wow!" Quite a few impressions pierced my fragile little mind such as the fact that Yoshimi did sound quite a bit like her older sister in this one. And the arrangement of the song had hints of Hiromi's 70s heyday. The guitar and horns popped in and out just to keep that bite in "Aka to Kuro" but there was also some Latin along the lines of Junko Yagami's(八神純子)early work and even a bit of City Pop sound although the lyrics don't have anything to do with the big city.

Yoshimi's 1st single managed to peak at No. 19 on Oricon. After listening to the whole of "Weather Report" and those singles (which also included the aforementioned "Vacance" but not "Touch"), the songs haven't made that much of an impression as of yet, although there were a few pleasant tracks. But that doesn't faze me since I've had not-so-amazing first impressions gradually turn into much greater respect for a number of albums I've bought over the years. So chin up, Yoshimi! I'm still rooting in there.


5 comments:

  1. Yoshimi is a hit or miss for me. Her good songs can be sort of lost among not-so-memorable ones, but the ones I like are truly lovely, like "Vacance" and "Koi Hodo Suteki na Show wa Nai" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW9PM3X0vv4 ) I've warmed up to "Aka to Kuro" over time. Certainly makes for a relaxing listen on a rainy afternoon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, nikala. Good to hear from you again. I hope things are going well with your teaching career. I see that you've got another article up...glad to see that up there since I'm feeling exhausted after an emergency request from a client to edit 19 articles that were not all that well translated by another fellow; I may not be in great shape to put up an article of my own tonight.

      Yoshimi's album was that for me...some nice songs in a sea of rather flat tunes. But we will see how my ears and mind go with them over the months to come.

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  2. I'd like to point out this Hiromi Iwasaki tune called Joyuu (Actress), which she performs in this clip. The song and the performance is gorgeous. However, at 1.26, is that Yoshimi (in white) sat next to Momoe (in blue)?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4mhHwPCqfM

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    Replies
    1. Hi there.

      Yep, another lovely delivery by Iwasaki of a stylish Tsutsumi tune. I can't be 100% sure but I think that might indeed be her younger sister beside Momoe since the latter was active until late 1980.

      Delete
  3. I found this really odd video over the Christmas period, of Yoshimi performing Aka to Kuro in some kind of bar. The odd thing is the arrangement, which is reminiscent of jungle (an offbeat dance variant in the UK). She looks and sounds like a guest singer in some eurobeat track, crooning over drum and bass. It's rather good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4BbHUtIemU

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