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, November 25, 2016

Taeko Ohnuki -- Keibetsu (軽蔑)

Time to once again return to the wonderfully amazing world of Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)from decades back. I'm going to take a look at one of her tracks from "Romantique", the 1980 album that was the starting point of a new fascinating turn for the former member of Sugar Babe. That rather stark picture of her in the inner booklet pretty much said it all. She was no longer the same City Pop/New Music singer of the 1970s.

(check 29:46)

I was once watching an anime in which a character had an internal monologue fearing that a friend that she greatly admired and loved was looking at her with keibetsu. I didn't know exactly what she meant by that expression although I could gather the basic meaning from the scene.Well, all I really had to do was look up "Romantique". There is a track in there with that very same word as the title. And it means "disdain".

As I mentioned, "Romantique" was the launching point of a new Taeko Ohnuki. She was now dabbling in the wonderful world of technopop (with the help of her good buddies at Yellow Magic Orchestra) and some romantically European sounds. However, with "Keibetsu", Ohnuki decided to take yet another musical dip, and it sounded like New Wave. Specifically I was thinking Blondie. I can't think of any other songs off the top of my head right now but as much as Debbie Harry and her band's hits of "Heart of Glass" and "Call Me" were major parts of the musical memories of my youth, my impression is that a lot of songwriters in Japan were also inspired by that band. And I think Ohnuki was one of those folks when it came to "Keibetsu".

Lyrically, Ohnuki may have been ahead of her time or perhaps the Japanese entertainment media was always supremely nosy in the affairs of singers, tarento and actors. In the J-Wiki article for "Romantique", the singer-songwriter used "Keibetsu" to rail against the morbid need for folks to delve into the lives of celebrities and then fill in the blanks among the bytes of information that they could get to create the latest rumours. Certainly her melody had that sort of protest march sensation to it. Man, I wonder what she must be thinking about some of the stuff that's happening in America with the Kardashians and even Justin Bieber. Mind you, there's plenty of local stuff to keep the geino reporters very happy.

I've enjoyed all of the songs in "Romantique" and although I'm not sure whether Ohnuki's pipes quite fit the New Wave mode (a tad high?), "Keibetsu" is still one of the more intriguing ones in her long discography.

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