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, May 27, 2015

Yurie Kokubu -- I Wanna Be With You

Thanks kindly to J-Canuck for his great review of Yurie Kokubu's (国分友里恵) debut album "Relief 72 Hours", which propelled me to obtain the CD as well. Even though some of the links in that post don't work any more, you can still get a sense that it's a strong assortment of City Pop songs with all the right ingredients: sophisticated mellow groove, sparkly musicianship and Kokubu's velvety vocals. Whenever I play this album, it refreshes and nourishes me like a nice glass of berry mix smoothie. So while picking up "Relief" from my local Tower Records in Gifu, I spotted two of her other albums on the shelf, both of which were just then-recently remastered. "Steps", her second album from October 1987, really jumped out at me with that striking artwork. And so, I ended up getting that one as well.

Compared to Kokubu's smooth debut, "Steps" is more of a dance pop album, though it does slow down here and there to give the tired clubbers a break. The second track, "I Wanna Be With You", made the biggest impression on me from the bunch thanks to the lush arrangement by Masaki Iwamoto (岩本正樹) . I can feel wealthier just listening to those rich horns and the bass groove, and since I'll be treating myself to a nice trip to Vancouver for the next three weeks, I might as well take this as an appetizer. In any case, it makes for nice background music to a meal at a high-end restaurant that overlooks a brightly-lit urban skyline. Kokubu breezes through this with her vocals so seamlessly as if they are part of the band. Definitely the perfect fit for the genre. Credits wise, she was responsible for the song's lyrics while Hitoshi Haba (羽場仁志) composed the tune.


  1. Hi, nikala.

    Nice song with those champagne keyboards, and that horn arrangement had me thinking of Tatsuro Yamashita.

    Hope you enjoy the trip out to Vancouver.

  2. Hi,
    Just to make a point the song actually uses the music from the 1981 song Wanna Be With You by Earth,Wind & Fire from the Raise!! album.

  3. Hi
    A Yurie Kobubu fan here as well, This song uses the music to Wanna Be With You from Earth,Wind & Fire's 1981 album Raise !!

    1. Hi, Trevor. Thanks for the information. Nikala doesn't show up much anymore since she's busy with work and all that stuff so I decided to chime in. Any other favourites by Kokubu?

  4. Hi J-Canuck,
    The Releif 72 hours is a favorite, I am waiting on the Letting it flow single on discogs and just purchased the Steps CD a day ago from Amazon. Really only started buy Asian/Japanese artists in the last 6 to 8 months really.So i look forward to exploring this blog and discorvering further some of the great musical treats from East Asia.

    1. Hi Trevor!

      Yup, I got my copy of "Relief 72 Hours" after reading about it in "Japanese City Pop" and then coming across a few YouTube videos of some of the tracks. One of the classic City Pop albums.

      Just in the last 6~8 months, eh? Then you're at the beginning of the adventure. If City Pop is a genre that you like, then I highly recommend getting a copy of my bible about it:

      Happy New Year!


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