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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mariko Nagai -- Yasashikunaritai (やさしくなりたい)

Doing the Gunma part of "Memories of my Standout Singers" had me thinking about the spritely Mariko Nagai(永井真理子)once more after a long time. In fact, I decided to pull out her ballad album "yashishikunaritai" from 1992 and put that onto the player. It was nice to hear that bright voice again since it did musically represent my days in the Japanese Alps to a good extent. There was her very genki "Miracle Girl" and the ballad "ZUTTO" that will always rattle around in my memories of 1989-1991.

(empty karaoke version)

However, her 15th single "Yasashikunaritai" (I Want to Be Kind) was released in November 1991, a few months after my return to Toronto. In terms of tone, this lovely song is situated quite nicely between "Miracle Girl" and "ZUTTO" as Nagai seems to be singing about a girl's feelings in the hours before she makes up her mind to confess her feelings to a guy she likes in school. Just pure speculation from me, but I kinda wonder if lyricist Airin(亜伊林), aka Yoshiko Miura(三浦徳子), had Nagai herself in mind as that protagonist since my impression is that the girl is a tomboy who rather wants to appear more feminine in front of her love.

Makoto Kitano(北野誠)must have been on the same wavelength as well since he creates a melody that starts off as an amiable theme for the tomboy but then suddenly brings in these wonderfully lush strings into the refrain and bridge that signify this potential transformation into this beautiful swan to get that guy's heart to flutter. And then at the end, it sounds as if the girl is drawing in her strength and heading to school to make that fateful confession. A nice little 4-minute story.

"Yasashikunaritai" made it all the way up to No. 5 on the charts and the album "yasashikunaritai" hit No. 1. The single was also a campaign song for a yogurt commercial since perhaps Vitamin B12 is just the thing to get through those love confessions. As for Nagai herself, she did get married and have that kid not too long after the release of this song.

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