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.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Akiko Kobayashi -- Yasashiku Damashite (優しくだまして)

As far as I can recall, I don't recall ever hearing an Akiko Kobayashi(小林明子)song appearing on "Sounds of Japan" during the 80s. It was all through our visits to our university-age karaoke haunt, Kuri, that I got acquainted with her most famous song, "Koi ni Ochite"(恋におちて)and those mellow Karen Carpenter-esque vocals.

Although, obviously, I couldn't easily obtain every tape and album of a Japanese singer whose output I heard and liked at the karaoke bar or on the radio, I felt that I was fairly lucky whenever I hit Wah Yueh in Chinatown. Strangely enough, lightning would hit once more after hearing the sweet "Koi ni Ochite" when I saw a couple of albums by Kobayashi sitting on the racks. Since one LP was titled "Koi ni Ochite", that was the one I got. Go with what's familiar, I thought.

It was quite the different album compared to the Akina Nakamori(中森明菜)and Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子)records I had purchased since Kobayashi's music was as mellow as creamy milk tea...quite along the lines of an album of Carpenters ballads. Compared to the title track, "Yasashiku Damashite"(Fool Me Gently) sounded even more slightly Carpenter-esque. Composed by the singer and written by Yoshiaki Sagara(さがらよしあき), the lush piano intro and the later mellow horns had me thinking of the American sibling act, although Kobayashi during the refrain sounded somewhat less like Karen. As for the lyrics, they relate one woman's plaintive hopes to her beau that even though she suspects or knows that there is another woman in his sights, that he will keep the charade going.

Back in those days, I would record LPs onto audiotape so that I could more easily listen to them if I had to pull off an all-nighter. "Koi ni Ochite" was definitely one of those albums that got heavy rotation status in the wee hours. There was just something very comforting about Kobayashi's vocals, and I'm pretty sure she did her time behind the mike on radio shows. By the way, along with the title track, you can also give another mellow track, "Diary", a try as well.

Source: Windows

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