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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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Yoko Oginome -- Verge of Love (ヴァージ・オブ・ラヴ)



One of my all-time favorite 80s Japanese gems comes from Yoko Oginome (荻野目洋子) and her Narada Michael Walden’s produced album “Verge of Love”, which was released back in 1989. In fact, it’s exactly of the title track, “Verge of Love”, I want to talk about.

I don’t know, but maybe this groovy R&B song could have been an American hit. Instead, Narada Michael Walden gifted Oginome with this treasure, and I thank him for doing that.

“Verge of Love” is beautiful and features an array of interesting sounds through its arrangement. From the groovy bass line, a melodic guitar solo and all the delicate synths, it all comes down to Yoko’s soulful, yet vulnerable, delivery. Honestly, I could not think about another singer to record this song, and I’m not what one would call an Oginome fanboy.

Oginome’s “Verge of Love” album was released in two editions: an English one in December 1988, and a Japanese version in February 1989. She was probably trying to break out in America, which, I think is quite safe to say, didn't happen.



“Verge of Love” was released as a single in January 1989, and reached #5 on the Oricon charts. Lyrics, music and arrangement were composed by Narada Michael Walden, Joyce Imbessi and Carolyn Hedrich. As for the Japanese lyrics, Moritaro Hirai (平井森太郎) was the responsible.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, Marcos.

    I never got this album but I do have "Verge of Love" somewhere in my collection, and it definitely has Yoko going into American R&B perhaps sounding a few years earlier than the 1989 date. Those years were pretty interesting to see how the big guns of the aidoru-turned-pop superstars of that decade such as Seiko and Akina turned to the pop styles of America while some of the lesser-known aidoru sang songs which infused a certain whimsical Western style.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, J-Canuck.

      I like the "Verge of Love" album very much, although I agree it's pure American R&B. Not a bad thing, but it lacks what you called "a certain whimsical Western style", which, as I understood, is a good mix of Western elements and a more Japanese way of doing things (let's say the aidoru world, for example).

      As for the "Verge of Love" song, I find it one big standout in Oginome's career. She was probably trying to get away from Eurobeat, which is something she continued to do in "FAIR TENSION" (it still had some Eurobeat songs, but, unlike 1988's "CD-RIDER", the album was diverse and flirted with other genres), a couple of months later.

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