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.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Anri -- Timely!!


Well, after hearing the album a couple of more times in recent days and then listening to the individual tracks on YouTube, I finally decided to write about the entire album known as "Timely!!", Anri's(杏里)6th album from December 1983, after having already written about a few of its other tracks over the years, such as "Windy Summer" and my recent "Remember Summer Days" which was added onto a remastered version of the album.

City Pop maestro (and all you Vaporwave/Future Funk fans out there, track him down and kiss his ring!) Toshiki Kadomatsu(角松敏生)produced "Timely!!". In "Japanese City Pop", Kadomatsu had given full kudos and recommendations to the album "Awakenings" by the late Hiroshi Sato(佐藤博)as one of the quintessential City Pop albums of the decade. However, I think he shouldn't sell himself short here since I think this particular project by him and Anri also deserves to stand along "Awakenings" in terms of the genre. Despite its release date near Xmas, the title "Timely!!" seems quite worthy as a happy reminder of the summer that passed and the one to come.


(full album)

Kadomatsu took care of all of Track 3 (7:15), "Stay By Me", another uptempo beach-friendly classic, notable for the punch of Masaki Matsubara's guitar and the horns. If there is one thing that was great about Kadomatsu in those early 80s, he did like a good and tight brass section which was arranged here by Jun Sato.

Anri was responsible for the words and music for Track 4 (10:53) "A Hope From Sad Street". There is some interesting dreamy synthesizer work by Keishi Urata to go along with that fresh morning feeling as the heroine starts to come out of her post-breakup funk and stride back into the life of the city with that coffee and cinnamon bun. Kadomatsu was on guitar here.


The relaxing and reassuring "You Are Not Alone" was most likely the last song on Side A of the original LP. Written by Chinfa Kan(康珍化)and composed by Tetsuji Hayashi(林哲司), I'm starting to get the feeling that Hayashi loved that flugelhorn back then in his ballads. Anri's vocals soar nicely here alongside Matsubara's guitar solo at the end. A very nice sunset song.

Intermission


Grammar aside, "Shyness Boy" is the one song out of the album that really stands out for me. For a tune about falling in love with that bashful guy, Kadomatsu's creation has got a lot of soaring brass oomph, those bright Anri vocals, and even a tribute to the Doobie Brothers in the arrangement. And it also sounds as if it just incorporates a lot of daytime and nighttime feelings into its short 3-minute-and-change time.


The final track on the original LP "Good Night For You" (before the addition of "Remember Summer Days" in the remastered edition) is a wonderful way to finish up the album. Starting off with a gospel blues piano riff, it goes off into a dreamy direction as Anri gets everyone to turn off the lights and turn down the bed after a worthy day (or album). Some nice guitar work here too by Tsunehide Matsuki. The chorus consisting of Kadomatsu (words and music), Yurie Kokubu and Yoshihiko Kadomatsu (a relative?) sends everyone gently off into that good night.

I still have a couple of more songs on the tracks left before considering "Timely!!" complete but I'll leave those as a follow-up. Anyways, the album is one of my personal City Pop favourites. Plus, it did hit No. 1 on Oricon and what I didn't get on J-Wiki was that it was also the 10th-ranked album of 1984, according to entamedata. Listening to this one, I can remind myself of how wonderful those Anri-Kadomatsu collaborations were back in the day.

Then again, with a very pretty young lady from Kanagawa Prefecture with a fine voice, some great album photography and splendid songs by one of the City Pop princes, how could it lose? :)


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