Credits

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, August 31, 2016

Anri -- Remember Summer Days



I shall certainly remember these summer days as we make the change into September very shortly. Compared to the past couple of years, Toronto got blasted with some major heat this summer which made a lot of sun-worshiping folks very happy. Being heat-proofed during nearly 2 decades in Japan, I was fairly OK with the 3H (heat, humidity, haze) weather but to be honest, I will be grateful for the eventual cooling down.


Now, here's a blast from the past...a very nice one, in fact. As I've most likely mentioned before in past articles regarding Anri(杏里), Ms. Eiko Kawashima(川嶋 栄子)has had a good run with her summery songs but I have to say that my favourite time with her has been during her collaboration with Toshiki Kadomatsu(角松敏生)in the early 1980s. Whether her material back then could be called City Pop, its subset Resort Pop, or J-AOR, it was all those wonderful horns and thumpy bass that helped her star rise.

"Remember Summer Days" was a bonus track that was added to the remastered 2012 version of Anri's 6th album, "Timely!!", originally from December 1983. I'm not quite sure whether the singer was trying to be ironic with the title considering when it was released. Anyways, the song is a natural fit for the album with all of the ingredients I've mentioned in making a nice and mellow Anri song of the 80s. Yup, it was indeed Kadomatsu behind the words and music, and if "Remember Summer Days" had actually been included in the original album at its release date, then the title would have been perfect as a memory of the hot season while folks were shivering away and sipping their cream stew.


Apparently, a lot of YouTube folks cottoned onto the song when they discovered the Macross 82-99 remix. Welcome to the wonderful world of old-school J-Pop, folks! What I've liked about "Remember Summer Days" is how things start off and progress like a typical City Pop tune before the refrain gets a little old jazzy and whimsical...almost on a level of an aidoru song by two of the Tanokin Trio.

As for "Timely!!" (could never be sure whether it was 2 or 3 exclamation marks in the title), this was a No. 1 album for Anri. Good times, they were. The album also had a couple of singles, both of them bona fide hits: "Cat's Eye" and "Kanashimi ga Tomaranai"(悲しみがとまらない).

Into September, we go!


7 comments:

  1. I just wanted to thank you for this blog! This is the only blog I have found with extensive information on Enka and Jpop on the net. I am an amateur on the genre but have a voracious appetite for new music. Do you have a recommendation for mixed compilation for Enka or cd essentials? That would really help me. Thanks!

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    1. Hello, Kokyo and thanks very much for your comments. I hope you have been enjoying the articles by everyone and advance apologies if any of the videos have been taken down from some of them (occupational hazard).

      As for enka compilations, I think the expert to ask would be Noelle Tham, our enka contributor. You just have to click on the Enka label to the right and you'll see a number of her articles. She can most likely steer you to some sites and CDs with those enka songs.

      I'm also an enka and Mood Kayo fan. The easiest source for me has been CD Japan since it doesn't require customers to have a Japanese address and they can pay by PayPal as well as credit cards. I found one enka compilation but if you're into Mood Kayo, which is the more bar-oriented cousin to enka (Yujiro Ishihara, The Cool Five, Frank Nagai, etc.), I saw plenty of compilations there.

      If by chance, you are interested in the genre of City Pop which is a Japanese melange of AOR, disco and urban contemporary, check out the "Light Mellow" series at CD Japan (http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/). You can just punch in the words into their search engine.

      Tower Records is another source but it does require a Japanese address. However, it is easy to register for an address through Tenso or Buyee which is offered at the Tower Records site (tower.jp) although there will be a small fee involved for shipping it from that address.

      In any case, I hope you can find what you are looking for. If you have any other questions about singers or other genres, let me know! :) BTW, which enka singers have you gotten interested in?

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    2. My apologies for misspelling your name there. It is Kokyu, of course.

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  2. I thought maybe you'd do a piece on this someday. Macross 82-99 and many other "future funk" remixers love to sample from this era of Japanese music. Some are sampled so often it's become an inside joke because of how recognizable they are it's almost become taboo to continue using them - Tatsuro Yamashita's "Merry-go-round" is a good example.

    It's great that this circle of music online has rekindled interest in a genre and era that westerners would have otherwise never heard. One thing that irks me, however, is that often these people remixing the songs will not mention the source, even though the material they use is hardly even changed aside from a sped-up tempo and some extra flavor to the backing track.

    Thankfully there's often at least someone who knows who the original artist was who will comment for those curious. Still, once they find out, it can be hard for people to get their hands on it - at least a legitimate copy, anyway.

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    1. Hi, Ryan.

      Yeah, it's good to hear that there has been some interest generated in the source material behind all this Future Funk, and yep, it is also annoying that I have to sometimes scroll up and down the comments section to find out what the original song was (and sometimes even that won't provide an answer). I can only assume that the remixers are afraid that if they even identify the source in writing, they would be open for a "cease-and-desist" order although the original recording companies would recognize their songs immediately in any case. Luckily though, the original song occasionally pops up on the right side of the screen.

      Since a lot of the City Pop material that hasn't been done by Toshiki Kadomatsu never really got onto the Oricon charts, it can be very difficult to track down any copies for purchase. I tried to get this one-time duo called Tohoku Shinkansen since I like their material on their lone album "Thru Traffic" (1982) but no copies exist at Tower Records or CD Japan, and Amazon is selling any copies at about a price of 7000 yen at least.

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    2. wow that is really hard to find. idk if i'd pay that much for it, but if that's all there is..

      i have seen remixes get taken down. seems these days youtube is not a very good place for japanese music. it's unfortunate because it used to be, but i have noticed more and more takedown notices as time goes on. it's a great outlet to offer sales for music, i feel it's a wasted opportunity to use algorithms to take down all the great music.

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    3. Yeah, I'm wondering if I should still make a play for "Thru Traffic" despite the price. After all, I've become a collector partially because of this blog; should at least try to get something a bit pricey now and then if the quality is there. :)

      It's somewhat disappointing when stuff from YouTube or even Niconico gets torn down. I realize that technically speaking copyrighted material shouldn't be getting on YouTube unless it's by the actual company itself and that some singers or companies (aka the accounting departments) might get irked with viewers getting free listens. However, there are folks who are not only discovering this great old music that wouldn't be discovered otherwise but purchasing the albums or singles because of these discoveries. I'm one of those folks. Plus, there are (or were) some wonderful homemade videos put up with the songs that were obviously uploaded out of love for them and not to steal some yen from the recording studios. Perhaps Accounting might think me naive but that's the way I feel.

      Still, I have found some fine kayo on YouTube that have been there for close to a decade. :)

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