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, August 7, 2016

Hiroko Yakushimaru -- Adolescence: Juudai Kouki (アドレサンス~十代後期)

All hail "Kokinshu"(古今集...The Collection of Poems of Ancient and Modern Times)! She was a good tape...emphasis on the "was". A few days ago, I decided to play the Hiroko Yakushimaru(薬師丸ひろ子)album on the tape recorder, and so the famous "Genki wo Dashite"(元気を出して)started things off when the sound went a tad wonky after a couple of minutes. I turned the recorder off to discover all that magnetic tape ended up looking like something that would be placed on a Xmas tree. Yup, audiotape has illustrated its status as the weakest leak in the history of recordable media. Well, at the time, I felt more like "genki wo dasanai"(元気を出さない).

But am I upset? Not too much. I'm fairly sure that I can get a CD version of Hiroko-chan's first album, and to be honest, a lot of her material that didn't become singles is pleasant but not necessarily must-have music.

One example is "Adolescence: Juudai Kouki" (The Latter Half of My Teens) which is the final song of the album. As sung by Yakushimaru, it's got her lovely vocals surrounded by those 80s keyboards including a nice ballad-y piano to provide a nice 4-minute melodic diversion. However, it's not something that would get heavy rotation from me but a song that would get a listen perhaps once or twice a year. Still, I realize that there are bigger Hiroko fans than me so I mean no offense here.

Yoko Aki and Akira Inoue(阿木燿子・井上鑑)created the song about a young girl who's probably facing the big Two-Oh which is still seen as the big age for entering adulthood. Inoue's music is interesting in that "Adolescence" starts off as being somewhat wistfully bittersweet before becoming hopeful in the refrain and then fading out with a riff illustrating an "Off we go to work and the rest of our lives". Time indeed doesn't wait for no one. And that would probably include my dead "Kokinshu" tape.

Plus, the song and the album must have also been poignant for Yakushimaru since the album was released in February just a few months shy of her own 20th birthday in 1984.

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