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.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Nozomi Inoue -- Refrain (ルフラン)

Earlier today, when I was writing about "Watashi-tachi ni Naritakute" (私たちになりたくて) sung by Miwako Fujitani(藤谷美和子), I mentioned that the song was composed by Nozomi Inoue(井上望). I had never heard of her before so when her link showed up the J-Wiki article for the "Sailor Moon" ending theme appeared, I decided to satisfy my curiosity.

As it turned out, although she is a music producer now, decades ago, Inoue had been a tarento and an aidoru for a pretty brief time between 1979 and 1982. Back in those days, individual aidoru were going in and out of the geinokai as if there had been an existential revolving door posted between the real world and the celebrity world, and I gather that the Fukuoka-born Inoue was just one of the many who tried. The entertainment company who had her contract, Dai-Ichi Pro, had never handled an aidoru client before and unfortunately the lack of experience by the company cost her a fame that really never came to be.

However, she was able to release 9 singles and 2 albums during those 3 years. Her debut was "Refrain" in May 1979, and was created by a couple of folks who certainly knew their way around a song, lyricist Michio Yamagami(山上路夫)and composer Koji Makaino(馬飼野康二). At first, I couldn't quite figure out what the title meant despite the katakana involved but after putting the title into, it was the French pronunciation for "refrain".

Looking at the brief video above, I thought Inoue's singing of "Refrain" was not too bad with the melody sounding like an aidoru tune from several more years earlier. I certainly liked some of that rat-a-tat-tat urgency of the beat in there. Yamagami's lyrics dealt with the usual aftermath of a romantic breakup as the heroine still can't seem to let her former beau go. That's a rather cute caricature of Inoue in the video, too, although I can't decide whether it resembles Jackie Chan's sister or Uma Thurman if she had become an aidoru!

(cover version)

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