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, June 3, 2015

Miho Nakayama -- Tropic Mystery

A couple of hours ago, when I was finally shaving my beard (an activity I hate to do), I left some random and unknown Italo Disco songs playing loud. I generally do this when I shave, because there are tons of Italo compilations in my HD (around 70 CDs with 12 to 15 songs) and I rarely have a good chance to listen to them.

(excerpts from the album only)

The thing is, I almost always find a very good song in these compilations, and today wasn’t different with a melodic song called “Acapulco Nights”, which was recorded by G.J. Lunghi and released in 1984.

Somehow, “Acapulco Nights” reminded me of “Tropic Mystery” by aidoru Miho Nakayama (中山美穂), a song that served as an opener for her third album, “SUMMER BREEZE”, in July 1986.

“Tropic Mystery” has always been a favorite of mine when it comes to Miporin’s early album songs, and it’s not hard to tell why after hearing the funky bass and the decadent synths that creates a very distinct summer mood. It’s something like the twilight in a lost paradisiac beach, or something like that, and this is probably why I heard a little bit of City Pop in it. The only flaw I see is Miho’s vocals, but the girl was very young and still improving at the time.

Although I’m only talking about “Tropic Mystery” here, the whole “SUMMER BREEZE” album is a winner in Nakayama’s career. There are a couple of Toshiki Kadomatsu’s (角松敏生) compositions in it, and one of them is Miho’s first version of the ballad “You’re My Only Shinin’ Star”. Fortunately, she recorded a new version with improved vocals two years later and released as a single, making it one of her finest classics.

“SUMMER BREEZE” reached #8 on the Oricon charts. Lyrics for “Tropic Mystery” were written by Reiko Yukawa (湯川れい子), while music was composed by Daisuke Inoue (井上大輔). As for the arrangement, Jun Irie (入江純) was the responsible.



  1. Hi, Marcos.

    I hope the shave went well...I usually draw a bit of blood but that's what I get for using cheap razors. :)

    As I was listening to "Tropic Mystery", I remember your remark for the Arashi article last week where one has to look carefully and be selective. I never heard of this song before tonight and I can't ever remember seeing it on any of her BEST selections. Yeah, the vocals were still a work in progress but were fascinating since I could pick up a bit of Akina in there.

    I liked the melody quite a bit because of that cool summery vibe and the City Pop aspect. Plus, being the nostalgia music freak, it simply brings back some fine memories from way back when. :)

    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      "Tropic Mystery" remained locked in "SUMMER BREEZE" forever, never being released anywhere else. Honestly, though, I was not able to hear Akina on it, but that's a subjective matter, of course.

      Like I said in the article, I don't see it as a happy summer song, but I like the melancholic feel. A lot of Miporin's 80s album songs were pretty nice.


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