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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Akina Nakamori -- Second Love (セカンド・ラブ)

I think I've been pretty good these past 4 years about covering the Japanese pop songs I've enjoyed over the past 35 years. However, considering the large number of tunes that have managed to get onto the blog since early 2012, I am bound to make a few rare omissions. Akina Nakamori's(中森明菜)"Second Love" is one of them.

Covering so many of her songs, I had assumed that "Second Love" was already up somewhere on the blog perhaps not as its own article but in the very first of the BEST articles that I concocted a couple of years ago. After taking a look at that one, I came to the discovery that I laid an egg. Well, as they say, when you get an egg, you can make a small omelet.

What makes my omission rather shocking to me at least is that "Second Love" was a song that I heard tons of times at Kuri, my old karaoke haunt in downtown Toronto during my university days. I would say that I heard the karaoke version of it more than I did the original version by Akina herself. Hearing this absolutely adorable and sappy love ballad created by Etsuko and Takao Kisugi( 来生えつこ・来生たかお)with the singer pulling out the high tones in her voice, I had assumed for the longest time that this was her 2nd single following the just-as-cute "Slow Motion" (スローモーション)from 1982. But as it turned out, it was her 3rd single, between the tough chick tunes of "Shojo A"(少女A)and "Ni-bun no Ichi no Shinwa"(1/2の神話). Apparently for the early part of her career, she was going AC-DC with her vocals.

As I mentioned in one of my early articles for Akina, I started listening to her when she had already attained superstar status so it was all about the funky and snazzy music accompanying her husky vocals by that point in the mid-80s. So it was with some surprise to finally hear the original version of "Second Love" when she still sounded truly like an early 80s aidoru. There was quite the "Awww" factor when I heard it.

"Second Love" was released in November 1982. It hit No. 1 on Oricon; in fact, it had an extended stay at the top spot a couple of times from November to December, and then in 1983 for a few weeks in January for a total of 6 weeks. That long stay helped it to attain the No. 8 ranking for 1983. It also earned a Grand Prize for Takao Kisugi at the Japan Composers' Awards in that same year. Furthermore, Kisugi did his own classy cover.

Another omission...cannot believe there is yet to be any Nana Mizuki(水樹奈々)article on the blog. Will have to rectify that sometime soon but in the meantime, here is her cover of "Second Love".


  1. Hi, J-Canuck.

    Not a "Second Love" fan here, but it was interesting to hear Mizuki's version, as I like her voice and find her one of the most talented vocalists of this generation of pop singers. And what a version!!! She really nailed it.

    Also, Nana's omission here on the blog is something I was already aware for sometime. And that's also my fault, as I like some of her songs and could have contributed with a couple of articles on her (I started writing one in the past, but never finished it).

    As for Akina, I never truly understood how "Second Love" was her best selling single. It's beautiful, but not far from a typical ballad. Even "Slow Motion" sounds better in my ears.

    1. Yeah, I'm gonna have to see if I can get some sort of article on Nana up there sooner or later, but it'll probably one of her contributions to the anime "Symphogear".

      Considering all of her hits since "Second Love", I'm quite surprised to hear that it was this particular song that has been her best-selling single. For me, this would be the nostalgic entry that would have me saying wistfully "Ah, yes, she did sing like that back then."

  2. J-Canuck,
    Yes, Second Love turns out to be Akina's best selling single. I was quite surprised to learn that too. Either North Wing or Desire would be my best guess.

    When I was browsing Akina's videos on YouTube, I saw one incident of her while singing Second Love. Akina was having a cold on that day and her voice was terrible. She managed to sing the first paragraph or so but then she lost her voice and bursted into tears on stage. It was a live program. She continuously bow and apologized. The hosts came out and comforted her. Akina's innocent appearance probably made people sympathize for her.

    Mizuki's cover is so good and so refreshing. I would be interested to know more about her.

    1. Hi, Larry. I guess when it comes to "Second Love", timing was everything. It's not a bad song but I think Akina has since performed hits that I had thought would do even better.

      I could imagine the pressure on Akina in that video must have been considerable. I have heard of one performer recently who forgot his lyrics on a live broadcast on TV and was ostracized/punished by his peers for being "unprofessional". Apparently as long as the contrition from the errant performer is seen to be very heartfelt, all is forgiven.

      I'm gonna have to find that Mizuki song to profile.


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