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.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mayumi Itsuwa -- Fuyuzareta Machi (冬ざれた街)

Kinda needed to cool down tonight. I had my usual Skype English lesson with my long time student who informed me that he needed some help preparing for a big meeting that he needs to conduct in English in a couple of weeks. Now, I've always appreciated his patronage and the lessons for the past number of years but it's even better to know that there is an imminent need to apply his language skills, so I was quite a bit more excited than he was about the prospects. In any case, I will be busy for the next couple of Saturday nights.

So, I was thinking about which kayo to cool down with. Mayumi Itsuwa(五輪真弓)is someone that I hadn't covered since last summer, and her songs are often very calming and introspective...the perfect cafe ballad. I actually thought about "Atsui Sayonara"(熱いさよなら)from 1984 but found out that I had already written about that one back in late 2014 (considering the number of articles up on the blog now, I can hopefully be forgiven for some memory lapses).

Well, that gave me the opportunity to explore some of her earlier material in the 1970s. And so I discovered her 5th single from February 1974, "Fuyuzareta Machi" (Wintry Streets). It starts with a thumping drum roll before some nostalgic piano comes on and then things slow down to match the pace of a stroll on those wintry streets after a major storm when the sun comes out and the snow seems to absorb all of the ambient sound.

Written and composed by Itsuwa, it definitely has that 70s pop sound that I've identified with her buddy Carole King and also with Minako Yoshida(吉田美奈子)at around the same time. It's interesting to compare her New Music days of that decade with the more French-sounding material in the following ten years. I guess in a way comparisons can be made between Itsuwa and Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)in terms of how their respective careers evolved during the same time but there are some significant differences in their sounds.

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