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.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Yuki Saito -- Love

Y'know, could put on a few more lights.

I didn't think that I would ever feature a Yuki Saito(斉藤由貴)album. Although I did buy her 10th album, "Love" on ancient audiotape, I never considered myself a die-hard fan of the singer-actress and only listened to this particular album a few times before I left for Japan in 1994. Cracking it open again for the first time in over 20 years, I was surprised with some of the nostalgia and enjoyment along with the bit of dust that puffed out of the case.

"Love" was released in December 1991 so I must have gotten it through the "Eye-Ai" order form since I had already returned from Gunma by that point. I don't remember the particular reason for purchasing the tape aside from the facts that I enjoyed some of Saito's earlier hits and was interested in finding out what she was singing at the time.

One of the songs that I remembered as soon as the tape started rolling was "Itsuka"(いつか...Someday)which would incidentally also become her 15th single from January 1992. As was the case with all of the songs on the album, "Itsuka" was written by Saito herself, and then given its melody by singer-songwriter Mioko Yamaguchi山口美央子. It's a very comfy and folksy ballad which evokes images of traveling on a slow train through the countryside; Saito's soft vocals make a nice match with the gentle music. The single peaked at No. 50 on Oricon.

Compared to her aidoru days, "Love" is about Saito singing more mature arrangements in a mellow pop vein, somewhat reminiscent of Miki Imai and Reimy(今井美樹・麗美). And she's apparently added a whispery element to that high-toned voice of hers. "Yours" is definitely in that pleasant pop vein. It's another Saito/Yamaguchi collaboration about a young lady who very sweetly is putting a flame to her potential boyfriend's feet to get him to commit more. It may have been composed by Yamaguchi but there is something fairly Yuming(ユーミン)about the music as well.

The final song here is "Julia" with music by Akira Okamoto(岡本朗). I'm not sure if the girl from Ipanema was ever named that way, but it's chock-filled with enough bossa nova that to make me go "Hmmm...". Saito probably didn't scare Astrud Gilberto with her's not bad but some of those high notes...but I still have enough of a weakness for the genre that I like the song to a certain extent.

After re-acquainting myself with "Love", I think the songs are pleasant enough but perhaps the reason that I let it go for such a long time is that the tracks occupied the same sort of melodic space instead of dipping further into other genres, and I've come to the realization that my most favourite albums have been ones with some good variety. The album reached as high as No.16.

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