Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Minako Tanaka -- Last Graduation (ラスト・グラジュエイション)
It’s time for another Minako Tanaka (田中美奈子) gem, and this time it’s one of my personal favorites.
“Last Graduation” was released as a single in May 1993, and it served as the lead single for Minako’s last original album, “ROLL ON”, which was released in 1994. Initially, I wanted to talk about the full album, which is, alongside her debut album “Kimi no Hitomi ni Utsukushiku” (君の瞳に優しく), the best release of her career. The problem is: Minako Tanaka’s songs are especially hard to find online, and I only listened to the majority of her songs after buying used copies of her albums on ebay.
With these limitations in mind, my solution was to talk about “Last Graduation”, even if the version posted on YouTube is not in its entirety (the final part is very beautiful and the album version is even better).
Way different from Minako’s Eurobeat roots, “Last Graduation” shows a more mature sound composed of 70s disco. The arrangement is quite nice with a big focus in the horns, but also with synth-y strings accompanying in the background (real strings were not very used in the 90s). In fact, her “ROLL ON” album is very focused in this type of disco/R&B sound, something that helped it in my personal scale. I can even hear a bit of Masayuki Suzuki (鈴木雅之) and his nightlife style here.
Like I said, it’s a pity that YouTube or other sites are not offering the full version of “Last Graduation”, but we can have a taste of it through the black and white video with the always gorgeous Minako Tanaka.
Lyrics and music were composed by the great Kahoru Kohiruimaki (小比類巻かほる), while arrangement was done by Keiichi Ueno (上野圭市).